Andrew Holleran / Photo editor
News of former Ohio State football lineman Jason Winrow’s death cast a dark cloud over Buckeyes first-year coach Urban Meyer’s weekly press conference Monday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
According to a Columbus Dispatch report, Winrow, 41, died suddenly in his Westerville, Ohio, home last night. The Bridgeton, N.J., native played offensive guard under former OSU coach John Cooper from 1989-1993. He was a teammate of current Buckeyes coaches Luke Fickell and Mike Vrabel.
Meyer did not address Winrow’s death, nor did reporters ask him to comment on it.
No. 14 OSU versus No. 20 Michigan State
Meyer said OSU’s Saturday game against MSU in East Lansing, Mich., will be a great challenge, particularly for the Buckeyes’ offense.
“I’ve seen some good defenses in my career and this is one of the best,” Meyer said of MSU. “They’re going to take away the run and force you to throw the ball down the field. Very good players … a bunch of NFL players on their defensive line. So, we’ve got our work cut out for us.”
Meyer also called the game a rivalry matchup.
“This is a game that will be instrumental in the Big Ten,” he said.
Junior safety C.J. Barnett and sophomore cornerback Christian Bryant are probable for Saturday’s game in East Lansing, Meyer said.
Junior running back Carlos Hyde will also be in action for the Buckeyes after missing OSU previous two contests.
Something to play for
Meyer said he and his coaching staff first established the goal of winning the Big Ten Conference’s Leaders Division during team activities Sunday at the WHAC.
Despite being banned from the Big Ten Championship Game and bowl competition, OSU can still receive the Leaders Division trophy should it finish atop the division.
“Are we playing for something around here?,” Meyer said on Monday. “You’re darn right we are.”
Every Monday, Meyer announces the players whose performances garnered “Champions Club” recognition, and nine players claimed the honor against Alabama Birmingham on Saturday.
Junior defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, sophomore corner back Doran Grant and Bryant graded out as champions during Saturday’s 29-15 win against UAB, Meyer said.
On offense, senior right tackle Reid Fragel, redshirt senior receiver Jake Stoneburner sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller, senior running back Jordan Hall and junior receiver Corey Brown also graded out as champions, Meyer told the assembled media. Freshman long snapper Bryce Haynes was the lone specialist to garner a champion-grade performance.
Meyer said Fragel’s performance was the best game of the player’s career.