COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Revenge is in the air.
Urban Meyer hasn't had any problem picking up the scent this week, which likely won't leave much for the Ohio State coach to do to motivate his team.
He obviously wasn't around for the collapse last season on the road against Nebraska, but Meyer is certainly aware of what happened. And if he wasn't, all he'd have to do is walk around the practice facility and listen to the Buckeyes, who have apparently been talking plenty about settling the score with the Cornhuskers on Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
"I've heard this one, I’ve heard them talk about it," Meyer said after practice Wednesday. "I haven’t brought it up.
" ... I’ve heard them saying, ‘We owe this team.’"
The Huskers ripped a win away a year ago by roaring back from a 21-point deficit in the second half, capitalizing on a couple turnovers and a third-quarter injury to Braxton Miller to deliver a bitter defeat to the Buckeyes in a game they had controlled early.
The taste is clearly still in their mouths a year later. But as opposed to a previous shot at redemption that Ohio State made the most of last week at Michigan State, the conversations about Nebraska have seemingly been much louder.
"That was a tragic, tragic night," cornerback Bradley Roby said. "That’s going to give us more fire to just go out there and dominate them early and continue to dominate them early, because that’s what we did last year but we didn’t finish. That’s our main goal, to finish this year.
"We’re trying to get revenge. It’s going to be a big game."
On the line: The Buckeyes still aren't prepared to turn Nathan Williams completely loose during the week leading up to a game. But the senior doesn't have to worry about getting most of his rust-clearing reps on Saturday in live action now.
The coaching staff is continuing to keep an eye on the defensive end and his surgically-repaired knee, but Ohio State is gradually giving him more chances to clean up his technique and get back in the kind of shape that allowed him to make his first sack of the season at Michigan State.
"He went the first few games and would practice, maybe, once a week," Meyer said. "Now he’s practicing pretty much [full time]. They keep him out of some stuff, [defensive line coach] Mike Vrabel keeps him out of some stuff, but he’s pretty much a go."
The line also has Michael Bennett now working back in the rotation on the practice field, though the sophomore still isn't quite back to full strength after missing the first four games with a groin injury.
But if Bennett is able to make the kind of progress Williams has made since returning to practice, a line that was struggling at times to generate pressure and was somewhat limited in its depth early in the year could be ready to make the kind of impact that was expected of it in the preseason.
"[Bennett is] not quite full speed," Meyer said. "But he had a good week of practice."
Feeling fresh: With the adrenaline still flowing on Saturday night, Miller wasn't feeling any soreness yet.
The next morning wasn't quite as comfortable for him and the sophomore quarterback was limited a bit in practice on Sunday and given some extra time to recover after grinding through 23 carries against a hard-hitting defense.
But he's had no problems getting through workouts the last two days, and Miller also indicated there was nothing wrong with the knee he dinged up that briefly forced him to the sideline against Michigan State.
"It’s the Big Ten, you know you’re going to take big hits," Miller said. "I’m good now, my body is good."
Bumps and bruises: Glancing at the rest of the injury report heading into the weekend.
Jordan Hall: Meyer ruled the senior running back out thanks to the partial tear of his posterior cruciate ligament suffered against Michigan State
C.J. Barnett: The safety's status remains unclear at this point, with Meyer labeling his availability as a "maybe." Barnett has missed the last two games with an ankle injury.
Roby: The sophomore cornerback indicated his sore shoulder is still bothering him "a little bit," but after returning following a one-game absence to make an impact against the Spartans, he will again be available for the Huskers.