By: Will Burchfield
Two rival defensive linemen caught Urban Meyer’s eye in Ohio State’s win over Michigan on Saturday.
He’s ready for both to move on.
One of them — Maurice Hurst — will indeed be gone next season. The other — Bryan Mone — might not be.
“73 (Hurst) is the real deal. He’s gotten better and better and better. It’s time for him to go to the NFL and get paid,” Meyer said at his Monday press conference. “That’s how much respect I have him as a player, though.
“He’s not the lone soldier there. That other big dude, 320-pound No. 90 (Mone), time for him to move on, too.”
Hurst has been one of the best defensive linemen in the country this season. The fifth-year senior has 59 tackles, 13.5 for loss. He was selected as a midseason All-American and will likely be chosen in the first round of the NFL Draft in April.
The Buckeyes did a good job of neutralizing Hurst on Saturday, holding him to just three tackles. His single-game high this season was 10 versus Michigan State.
Mone is someone who flies more under the radar. He entered Saturday’s game with just five tackles on the season, but doubled his total on the afternoon.
The 6’4, 325-pound senior has one more year of eligibility after missing the entirety of the 2015 season with a broken leg.
Meyer also provided an update on Saturday’s strange pre-game incident in which J.T. Barrett was injured by a cameraman on Ohio State’s sideline. Afterward, he said he planned to launch an “all-out investigation” to determine the culprit.
Asked on Monday if Michigan had provided any explanation, Meyer said, “That’s all administrative. I made a comment that they should look into it, and I guess that blew up and all that, and they should. The quarterback got hit on the sideline before the game.
“But I trust that all the right people will look into it. And sidelines have gotten — it’s too much now. I know I can speak on behalf of our sideline, and I’m disappointed.”
Meyer said that Barrett is probable for Saturday’s Big 10 Championship game versus Wisconsin.