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Urban Meyer praises Larry Johnson hire, breaks down keys to Penn State matchup

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Four days before the Buckeyes are scheduled to take the field against Penn State, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer took to the Big Ten teleconference to discuss a quality coaching addition, keys to the Penn State matchup and the development of some young Buckeyes.

OSU (5-1, 2-0) is set to take on the Nittany Lions (4-2, 1-2) after beating Rutgers, 56-17, last weekend.

  • Meyer said losing Mike Vrabel to the NFL was like losing a key player. “You can’t replace him with a lesser quality coach.” He added that he “pinpointed” Larry Johnson when he first got to OSU, and brought him in after Vrabel left. “He’s done a great job for us.”
  • Meyer said he talked to Johnson about Penn State junior defensive lineman Anthony Zettel. He said Zettel is “a great inside player, pass rusher, spins on contact. He’s an athletic guy playing inside.”
  • He said redshirt-freshman H-back Jalin Marshall wasn’t a good practice player last season, and was lazy in the classroom. Meyer said he’s now one of the Buckeyes’ “better practice players” and added that he “does well in school.”
  • More on Marshall: “A gentleman, a guy who represents Ohio State the right way.”
  • Meyer on redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett: “He’s saved our bacon a few times” with his scrambling ability.
  • He said quarterbacks need to have escapability, but don’t need to have world-class speed. “We cannot not have that kind of player again,” he said.
  • Meyer said “everything starts” with the matchup in the trenches. He had specific praise for sophomore defensive lineman Joey Bosa.
  • He said there are “a bunch” of guys on the defensive line who need to earn more playing time. “It’s time for them to start contributing more,” he said.

The Buckeyes are scheduled to face-off with Penn State on Saturday in State College, Pa. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.

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