Meyer: How Good Are We?
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Urban Meyer knows his team has a tendency to play up, and down, to its competition this season. He also knows the Buckeyes probably cannot survive another lackluster performance like they had against Purdue two weeks ago.
Photo by Dan Harker
It doesn’t matter whether they are playing Illinois or Michigan, this Ohio State team has to come ready to play every week or they can kiss their undefeated season goodbye.
“We're in no position to start worrying about down the road or who we're playing,” Meyer said after practice Wednesday evening.
“Here's the thing: How good are we? That's the question you want to ask yourself,” he added.
“At times, we're really good. At other times, we're not. I think Illinois has got every bit as much talent as we do. I think if we execute we'll be OK, and if we don't, we'll look like we have in the first quarter against Penn State and some other games.”
At 9-0, the Buckeyes are only three games away from completing an undefeated regular season in Meyer’s first year as the head coach of the program. They are also about three or four plays away from having a couple losses under their belts.
That fact is not lost on Meyer, who has done a tremendous job turning this Ohio State program around after a 6-7 season a year ago. The Buckeyes needed a last-minute touchdown from Devin Smith to beat Cal, a 4-minute drive at the end to preserve a one-point win over Michigan State, an onside kick to hold off Indiana, and a 2-point conversion against Purdue just to get the game to overtime.
None of that changes the fact Ohio State is one of the few teams in college football that remains unscathed heading in to the 10th week of the season.
“What 9-0 means to us – you hear me say it, but we all believe it – the best thing about being 9-0 is the chance to go win one more,” Meyer said.
“Don't look back, look forward. We're the only team in America that can line up and go for 10 wins this week. That means a lot to us.”
This OSU team is not without its share of flaws. Some might argue a tougher schedule would have things looking a lot different in Columbus right now, but Meyer and his players can only line up and play against the opponents they are supposed to.
And each and every time the Buckeyes have taken then field as a team this season, they have come away victorious.
“This is a special team,” Meyer said Monday during his weekly press conference.
“They're fighting for each other. It's a refuse‑to‑lose type atmosphere, which some of us have seen teams that play really well, and they're blowing teams out all the time. We're not that type of team for I can give you 150 reasons why.”
He went on to list a few major hurdles the 2012 Buckeyes have had to clear in order to get to this point of the season without a single loss.
“To go on the road, to face adversity, face injuries, to have an offense on your team that's not doing very well, and your defense just scores hangs in there, dealing with special teams woes because new guys playing new positions every darn week on that team,” Meyer said.
“But I see some of the intangible locker room conversations and I see a team that this is a special team. We're a bunch of guys that work really hard, blue‑collar approach, that show up every Tuesday and want to get better.
“You don't want anything else as a coach. There is some discipline and leadership taking place, that's why it's pushed above the 7, 8 wins.”
To a place where the magic happens, as Meyer said during the offseason.
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