How did Ohio State spend its bye week?
First, Urban Meyer said the eighth-ranked Buckeyes had to put an embarrassing 49-20 loss at Purdue on Oct. 20 behind them.
“We had a team meeting on Tuesday, you know, and the whole, clear-the-air (meeting), clear the bad taste from your mouth and move forward,” Meyer said. “That was what was the objective of last week, and then as fast as you can, get involved with a Nebraska team that’s hitting the stride pretty good.”
The Cornhuskers will take on the Buckeyes at noon Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
Nebraska started the season 0-6 but has won its last two game, downing Minnesota 53-28 on Oct. 20 then overwhelming Bethune-Cookman 45-9 last weekend.
First-year coach Scott Frost has injected life into a Nebraska offense that ranks in the top 20 in yards per game (though just 62nd in scoring), but the Cornhuskers have struggled defensively, ranking 102nd in yards and 101st in points allowed.
While Frost’s offense is an innovated shotgun option attack, Nebraska runs a 3-4 defense with a “bear front” other teams have used to befuddle Meyer’s offense in the past.
Meanwhile, Ohio State had plenty to work on during its week off.
“We worked and are continuing working very hard,” Meyer said. “There’s two areas, the run game and the red zone, and that were basically the whole devotion of the bye week last week on offense.
“On defense, it’s missed tackles and, you know, getting people on the ground when they get in space. So we just worked — that was a whole bye week as far as what we spent time on.”
He wasn’t ready to declare any problems fixed until seeing how the Buckeyes practice this week.
“We’ll know more today and tomorrow,” Meyer said. “A lot of the coaches were out on the road last week (recruiting), so it was kind of a little bit of a scramble, but we’ll know more today.”
Health not a factor
Ohio State’s flop at Purdue not only knocked the Buckeyes from the ranks of the unbeaten but also raised questions about the state of the state of the program given that many of the issues Meyer mentioned have persisted all season.
ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, a former Ohio State quarterback who starred at Centerville High School, called Meyer’s sideline demeanor “anguished” on a national radio show last week.
“He looks frustrated,” Herbstreit told Dayton grad Dan Patrick. “He looks very emotional and erratic.”
Told his health had become a topic of conversation again and a source of concern for fans, Meyer said, “I appreciate it and I’m fine. I want Ohio State to be successful in the worst way. Working extremely hard to make sure that’s happening. I love Ohio State. I love the players.
“I don’t want people to worry about me. The issue is making sure we get things right around here, and that’s 100 percent of our focus.”
A pair of Ohio State players are in the running for awards from the Maxwell Football Club.
Quarterback Dwayne Haskins is among 20 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award, which goes to the best player in the nation annually. He leads the coutnry with 30 touchdown passes and set Oho State single-game records with 49 completions on 73 attempts for 470 yards at Purdue.
Defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones is among 20 semifinalists for the Bednarik Award, which goes to the country’s best defensive player.
The Cleveland native leads Ohio State in sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (nine).