Ohio State could have its expected starting secondary in place for Saturday's game against San Diego State. On the other hand, the Buckeyes again could be missing two starters.
Free safety C.J. Barnett, who missed last week's victory over Buffalo with a sprained left ankle, is expected to be ready to play against the Aztecs. In addition, star cornerback Bradley Roby comes off a one-game suspension. But coach Urban Meyer said Roby will have to earn his starting job back.
"He is competing for a spot," Meyer told reporters. "He will not be named starter. We'll probably see Armani [Reeves] or Roby start. Depends on how they practice."
Reeves, a sophomore, started for Roby against Buffalo.
Meyer said he thought Roby, who pondered leaving for the NFL draft after the 2012 season, "went through a little bit of a funk of buyer's remorse or whatever" about not leaving but that he was over it.
Junior running back Rod Smith, who also served a one-game suspension, should return to the lineup "if he has a good week of practice and does it all right," Meyer said.
The Buckeyes played four running backs against Buffalo, and senior Jordan Hall rushed for a career-high 159 yards. Projected starting tailback Carlos Hyde has been suspended for the first three games; Smith was No. 2 on the depth chart, and Hall was set to start in the slot before he returned to running back last week.