Facing ‘Different Animal,’ Meyer Plans to Turn Up Tempo
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS — For one quarter, Ohio State got all it could handle, and then some, from Don Treadwell’s Miami squad over the weekend. If not for a few key drops – including a pair of dropped touchdowns – the Buckeyes may have been staring at a 14-0 hole to open the second quarter.
Instead, Devin Smith’s acrobatic one-handed touchdown catch jumpstarted Urban Meyer’s offense. The Buckeyes went on a torrid 56-7 run over the next three quarters.
Photo by Dan Harker
“I’m very proud of the way our guys played,” Meyer said Monday during his weekly press luncheon at Ohio State.
“Very disappointed in the first quarter, but I'm glad after you evaluate it now. I'm very glad that happened. It gives us an opportunity to coach very, very hard and get some things corrected.”
Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman turned up the tempo in Ohio State’s 56-10 victory over Miami this past Saturday, but he realizes his team will have to play on a whole different level in week two.
“Whole different animal coming in here this week,” Meyer said of Central Florida, his week-two opponent.
“I know this team, I know this coach, I know this coaching staff, and we have great respect for everything they've done. They've led the defense in their conference (USA) the last three years.”
The last time Meyer saw UCF, head coach George O’Leary was in his third year at the program, and just two years removed from an 0-11 season in 2004. Meyer was in his second year at Florida, and the Gators welcome the Knights to Gainesville in week two for what would become their most lopsided victory in three years.
Florida quarterback Chris Leak threw for 352 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-0 shutout. It was 34-0 at halftime, and the Gators outgained UCF 637-153. Tim Tebow threw for 81 yards and ran for 62 more in his second game at Florida, but this will be a different UCF team coming to Columbus on Saturday.
“They have very good players,” Meyer said Monday.
“One is a 340 pound – Jose Jose I believe his name is – a 340 pound defensive tackle as opposed to 270 (for Miami), so that tells you right there. So we have to get no huddle and wear them out. But this is a whole different animal that we're facing.”
Like Ohio State, O’Leary’s team is dealing with a postseason ban from the NCAA this season, but the Knights do have talent. They were just 5-7 a year ago, but many were projecting UCF to compete for a Conference USA title in 2012.
“On offense, they pounded Akron a couple weeks ago – or I guess it was last week – and they ran power downhill at them with a big effort at quarterback that also threw the ball very well,” Meyer said of UCF sophomore Blake Bortles.
“His stats were really good. You guys can find that out, but to say that we don't have a lot of respect for Central Florida would be nonsense.”
The Knights throttled lowly Akron, 56-14, in their season-opener over the weekend. Bortles passed for 168 yards and three touchdowns, while tailback Latavius Murray racked up 108 yards and a score on 14 carries, playing little more than one quarter.
“Miami, they're going to make their first downs throwing the ball; this team's going to run the power directly at you and get their first downs,” Meyer added.
“So, a much different team and very talented team.”
Also a team that could be without Murray, who left the opener against Akron with a shoulder injury. Regardless, Meyer knows the Buckeyes will have to be much crisper in every aspect of the game this week than they were in his first game at Ohio State.
“We've got to coach better, and we've got to adjust a little better, and the players have to adjust too,” Meyer said.
“So much was new. I'm so glad. I can't stand first games because are we going to the golf course, what shoes do we wear? Can I wear this? What about a visor, what about my parent's tickets, instead of getting locked in on the game.”
There won’t be any excuses this week.
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