After an off week, but not a week out of the headlines, Urban Meyer met with the Ohio State media on Monday.
It was an interesting press conference that tried to run through a season's worth of concerns left to cure for a work after the Buckeyes lost to Purdue on Oct. 20. Meyer was asked about his desire to coach next season, Ohio State's run game, his sideline demeanor, the run game, changes on the offensive line, the run game and the run game.
Oh, and JD Spielman. He was asked what came to mind when thinking of Nebraska's sophomore wide receiver.
"Just a playmaker," Meyer said. "Speed. He's having a great year, and had a good game against us last year."
Spielman was about the only good thing from the last time the Huskers and Buckeyes met, a 56-14 evisceration in Lincoln. Nebraska put up 393 yards that day (Ohio State: 633), and 200 of them came on 11 catches from JD Spielman. It was a school record for receiving yards, but one that stood for less than a year. Fifty-one weeks after going for 200 against Ohio State in Lincoln, Spielman had nine catches for 209 yards in the 2018 loss at Wisconsin.
That those two huge games came in big losses during a 1-12 stretch for Nebraska probably dampened the recognition Spielman received. Losing does that. Spielman earned accolades and awards for his play a year ago, but the hype train never got up a full head of steam the way it has for, say, star Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore.
Meyer was asked how Spielman's skill set compared to that of Moore, who had 12 catches for 170 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Ohio State.
"I think he's very close," Meyer said. "Very talented guy."
The numbers bear that out in 2018. Moore ranks second in the Big Ten with 802 receiving yards (100.3/g) on 68 catches with seven touchdowns. Spielman ranks fourth with 686 yards (85.8/g) on 53 catches with seven touchdowns. Moore has added 163 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground while serving as the Boilermaker's primary punt and kick returner. Spielman only has six carries in 2018, but also leads Nebraska in kick and punt returns, adding a punt-return touchdown to his total last week.
In fact the only real difference, at least from a numbers perspective, between Moore and Spielman is the offenses they play in. Moore has accounted for 32.5 percent of Purdue's receptions on the season and 30.4 percent of the receiving yards in an offense that runs it just 43.3 percent of the time. Spielman's about the same –– 31.4 percent of catches, 34.2 percent of receiving yards –– but in an offense that's 54.8-percent run.
Very close. Though I'm sure Spielman's just fine with the amount of attention he's getting, even if I feel it's somewhat subdued based on his actual production.
(Programming note: I'm planning to return to the rest of that strange Meyer Monday press conference later this week.)
The Grab Bag
- Good Monday column from Derek Peterson noting that Nebraska's offensive line deserves some love for the Huskers' production in October.
- Greg Smith gets you ready for what could be a huge recruiting week for the Huskers.
- Jacob Padilla offers updates on volleyball and men's basketball.
- And here's your Monday press conference report for Nebraska football.
Today's Song of Today
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.