Cody Cousino / Multimedia editor
One of Ohio State’s most experienced football players is back on the field for the Buckeyes. Redshirt senior linebacker Etienne Sabino, who started the season’s first six games before missing the last four with a broken right fibula, is back practicing with the team this week.
“He had two good days (of practice this week),” coach Urban Meyer said during a Wednesday press conference. “He’s still got a little bit of a gimp, but he’s practicing. He’s running with the first-team defense.”
Meyer said senior Zach Boren, who was converted from fullback to linebacker following Sabino’s injury, will continue to start at linebacker alongside Sabino and sophomore Ryan Shazier in the team’s 4-3 base defense.
Shazier, who has won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for two consecutive weeks, said it is great to have Sabino back on the field because of the experience he brings to the team.
Another linebacker, senior Storm Klein, has been limited by what Meyer called a “back disk injury.” Meyer also said redshirt senior safety Orhian Johnson and senior right tackle Reid Fragel, both of whom left the Illinois game early with injuries, have not practiced yet this week.
Bye week approach
The Buckeyes have their only bye week of the regular season this weekend, and therefore no game to play on Saturday, but redshirt senior defensive lineman Garrett Goebel said it has not been an off-week in practice.
“It pretty much feels like every other day,” Goebel said Wednesday. “We’re making sure we don’t waste any opportunities to get better, and I think we’ve had two great days of practice so far.”
Redshirt junior offensive tackle Jack Mewhort said the coaching staff is making sure the team does not lose their edge during the bye week.
“(Offensive line coach Ed) Warinner (is) coaching us like we’re playing the Super Bowl on Saturday,” Mewhort said. “They don’t let up, and we’re working just as hard as we would any other week.”
Sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller said not having a game this week is important rest for the team.
“A lot of guys (are) beat up right now,” Miller said. “It’s a good time to get some rest before our last two big games,”
The bye week is also an important time for the OSU coaching staff to hit the recruiting trail. Meyer said all 10 members of his coaching staff, including himself, traveled for recruiting visits this week.
The Buckeyes are less than three weeks away from their annual rivalry game with Michigan on Nov. 24, but Meyer said he hasn’t started looking ahead to that game.
“No, just Wisconsin,” Meyer responded when asked if he was focusing on the Michigan game yet.