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August 17, 2013

Meyer announces key suspensions

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- With two weeks to go until their season opener, at least four members of the Ohio State football team have been suspended for the Buckeyes' battle with Buffalo, including three players who would have started for OSU.

On Saturday, Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer announced that both cornerback Bradley Roby and running back Rod Smith won't be active when Ohio State takes on the Bulls on Aug. 31. Earlier this summer, the Buckeyes suspended freshman tight end Marcus Baugh (underage possession of alcohol and fake identification) for the season-opener, as well as running back Carlos Hyde ("conduct not representative of the football program or university") for the first three games of the 2013 campaign.

An All-Big Ten selection in 2012, Roby's suspension comes as the result of an altercation that took place at a Bloomington, Ind. bar on July 21. The initial charge of battery to Roby was downgraded to disorderly conduct on Friday, and The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that a surveillance video exists that could drop charges against the fourth-year junior altogether.

Regardless of any reduction of Roby's charges, Meyer insisted he'll miss at least the first game of this season.

"He'll be suspended one game, just because there was an issue. I'll make the full determination," Meyer said. "He was there and he shouldn't be there. Will he play in the first game? No."

A native of Suwanee, Ga., Roby recorded 63 tackles and led the country in passes defended per game (1.73) in 2012. Expected to be counted in his absence are junior Doran Grant, sophomore Armani Reeves, and freshmen Eli Apple, Cam Burrows, and Gareon Conley.

Smith was slated to start in place of Hyde while the second-team All-Big Ten selection served his suspension, but now finds himself sidelined following a violation of team rules that occurred in February. Playing in nine games a season ago, Smith was the Buckeyes' fourth-leading rusher with 215 yards and two touchdowns, and touted a 6.7 yards per carry average.

With his top two running backs out for the opener, Meyer said that fifth-year senior Jordan Hall -- who's expected to play the H-Back/'Pivot' position in the OSU offense this season -- will start at tailback for the Buckeyes.

"Jordan Hall's doing great," Meyer said. "He's what I thought he would be when I saw him in the spring a year ago. He'll be a very valuable member of our team."

Having faced criticism for the way that he handled player discipline during his six-year tenure at Florida, Meyer is hopeful that the recent suspensions to some of Ohio State's key contributors sends a message to his team.

"There's two ways: you either take their money or you take their playing time. If it was earlier in the summer, I would've taken all of their scholarship money. It's the end of summer though, so you take their playing time away," Meyer said. "It's our job."

Meyer also confirmed the loss of three players to the Buckeyes' active roster on Saturday, with tight end Blake Thomas (neck), cornerback Adam Griffin (shoulder), and safety Jamie Wood (shoulder) all suffering career-ending injuries.

"They're great kids and they're obviously going to get their degrees from Ohio State," the second-year OSU head coach said. "Those are three losses for us."

In other personnel moves of note, a program spokesperson said that freshman Billy Price has moved to the Buckeyes' offensive line from the defensive line, while defensive end J.T. Moore has spent time playing tight end since the start of fall camp.

The Buckeyes will now enjoy 46 hours of rest, before returning to practice on Monday.



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