Meyer builds up OSU before test at Michigan State

September 24, 2012

COLUMBUS – It has not gone unnoticed by Ohio State’s football players

that coach Urban Meyer was a psychology major in college.

He will be highly critical of their performance at times, then at other

times he will talk about how they’re headed in the right direction and are

just a step or two away from doing great things.

Going into this week’s Big Ten opener at No. 20 Michigan State (3:30

p.m. Saturday, ABC-TV), Meyer used both approaches after Ohio State played

its least impressive game of the year in a 29-15 victory over winless


After the game last Saturday, described it as “painful to watch,” but by

Sunday, he had a video put together to show the team highlights of four

drives from the UAB game which he said were “about as well as we’ve played

all year.”

Meyer said the video made his players feel better about themselves and

joked that he did it for himself, not the players. “I did that more for

me, I think. I have to each lunch and I wasn’t about to eat lunch after

what I saw,” he said.

No. 14 Ohio State (4-0) has struggled more than expected in its last

three games – a 31-16 win over Central Florida, a 35-28 win over California

and last week’s win over Alabama-Birmingham. Difficulties have arisen on

offense, defense and in the kicking game.

Meyer said he felt “terrible” on Saturday night as he thought about the

UAB game. “I was very disappointed we didn’t play better. But you watch

four drives and you’re like, ‘OK, we do get it.’ I said, ‘I want these

guys with a good taste in their mouth and ready to go play a big-time

college football game.’ ”

Meyer said Ohio State right now is “a workman-like team that has to get


But by the end of the season, he thinks OSU could be much more. “I know

we’re Ohio State and there are all kinds of expectations here. I still am

not giving up. I think by the end of the year this might be a hell of a

football team. I mean it might be sooner than that,” Meyer said.

Saturday’s game at Michigan State (3-1) will be Ohio State’s first road

game. A year ago, MSU beat OSU 10-7 in Ohio Stadium in a game in which the

Spartans manhandled the Buckeyes’ offense and sacked quarterbacks Braxton

Miller and Joe Bauserman nine times.

Linebackers Chris Norman and Denicos Allen, who both had two sacks in

last year’s game, are back this season. Linebacker Max Bullough, who led

the Spartans in tackles and defensive end William Gholston, who had three

tackles for losses are also back.


* *

* INJURY REPORT:* Ohio State could get all its key people on the field

together for the first time this season on Saturday.

Meyer said defensive end Michael Bennett (groin), running back Carlos

Hyde (knee), and defensive backs Bradley Roby (shoulder) and C.J. Barnett

(ankle) all probably would be ready to go.

On Bennett, he said, “Every indication is that he will play.” He called

Roby and Barnett “probable on both at this point,” and described Hyde as

“very probable, pretty close to cleared.”

*IMPRESSING THE COACHES:* Sophomore cornerback Doran Grant had seven

tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery and a quarterback sack when he

filled in for the injured Roby last Saturday.

That performance might have earned Grant more playing time.

When Meyer was asked if was possible Grant could move ahead of Travis

Howard at the other starting cornerback spot, he said, “He sure could,

especially after the way he played. Before Travis got dinged up, he was

playing at a high level. But I think we have three guys that can go play

corner for us now. And the guys who have the best week of practice will


Howard leads Ohio State with three interceptions.