|Ohio State is so thin at linebacker that Urban Meyer has been forced to use FB Zach Boren at the position. (US Presswire)|
News and notes from around the Big Ten:
- Of all the defensive positions, the Buckeyes' linebackers have by far the weakest depth on the roster. Starting LB Etienne Sabino broke his leg, forcing coach Urban Meyer to play FB Zach Boren at the position last week vs. Indiana. Boren proceeded to lead the team in tackles in his defensive debut. “That position is not Ohio State standard right now, at least depth-wise,” Meyer told Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus Dispatch. Aside from Ryan Shazier, who has been the most consistent linebacker, Ohio State may have to resort to defensive end Nathan Williams to fill the position.
- The Huskers have given up an average of 357 yards per game on the ground in their only two road games this season. Both games were against mobile quarterbacks and teams that ran offenses similar to Northwestern and Michigan, the Huskers' next two opponents. The Nebraska mettle is about to be tested, wrote Steven Sipple of the Lincoln Journal Star. “If I were Nebraska's head coach, resiliency on defense would be my overriding concern,” he wrote.
- On Tuesday, before Iowa's practice, coach Kirk Ferentz sounded doubtful that Mark Weisman, who injured his ankle late in last weekend's win over Michigan State, would play Saturday night against Penn State. Later on Tuesday he said that Weisman had been medically cleared to play but it's more a matter of whether he could make an impact. “He's not at risk,” Ferentz said to Ryan Suchomel of the Des Moines Register. “It's can he play effectively? That's the big if right now. If he was our left guard, maybe it would be different. But it's tough for a guy to just gut it up and play running back.”
- There are two distinct styles of offense being played right now in the Big Ten: spread-option and pro-style. Michigan coach Brady Hoke said the Spartans' pro-style prompts a more physical, “bloody your nose,” type game. “I'm going to come off the football. I'm going to lead with the fullback, we're going to run the power play.” Hoke also said that Michigan State's vertical passing game will test the Wolverines secondary more so than in recent games against Illinois and Purdue, Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press reported.
- Penn State defensive end Pete Massaro has battled through knee injuries throughout his career and missed three of the Nittany Lions' last four games with another injury, this time to his shoulder. “I have a persistent personality,” the senior told Guy Cipriano of the Centre Daily Times. “Once I start something, I'm going to see it through to the end.” Massaro and the Nittany Lions have just six games left until then.
For more Big Ten coverage, follow Mike Singer and Dave Carey @CBSSportsBigten.