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September 5, 2012
Follow Noon | Givler | Axelrod | Birmingham
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer met with the media on Wednesday night to provide a midweek update on his team heading into its game against Central Florida on Saturday. Speaking for just under 10 minutes, Meyer touched on topics ranging from the news that the Buckeyes are now eligible win the Big Ten's leaders division to the status of his team three days before their duel with the Knights.
Something to play for
Earlier on Wednesday, the Big Ten announced that the Buckeyes are now eligible to win the conference's Leaders Division championship- trophy and all- despite being ineligible to play in the Big Ten championship game. Meyer was unaware of this news and said that it won't affect the way his team plays moving forward.
"We're 1-0, we're not a very good team. We're average right now," Meyer said. "There's going to be zero conversation about that in our locker room."
Although not outwardly excited by Wednesday's news, Meyer admitted that the incentive of winning an official championship could be beneficial to his team down the road.
"It's not going to make us play harder on Saturday," Meyer said. "But I think somewhere in November, yeah, I think that'll be interesting."
Preparing for the Knights
Meyer has made it clear throughout the week that he's not overlooking UCF, who he has compared to a Big Ten team. On Wednesday he reiterated that sentiment, stating that he's seen no less than five NFL-caliber players on the Knights' roster while reviewing film.
"There's people on that team, at certain positions, that are as good or better than our positions," Meyer said. "We better be ready. It's going to be a brawl."
The Ohio State coach said that playing the Knights' balanced offense will put his team in its base defense more, which should test the depth of a young OSU linebacking corps.
"Curtis Grant didn't really play much (against Miami), so he's going to play more this week," Meyer said. "We've got some depth issues and those guys have to perform. Because it's coming right at them."
A game on inches
Although the Buckeyes won by 46 points in Meyer's debut last Saturday, one negative stuck out like a sore thumb. With three seconds remaining before halftime, the Buckeyes ran a play from Miami's 1-yard line, only to have running back Carlos Hyde stopped short of the end zone. Never one to mince words, Meyer was clearly disappointed by his offensive line on that particular play.
"Our offensive line didn't play the way I'd expect," Meyer said. "You don't knock it in from the 1-yard line, that's probably below average."
Meyer admitted he has used the Buckeyes' final play before halftime as a motivational tool and that the team spent five minutes at the end of Tuesday's practice working on goal line offense.
"We need establish who we are. It was a missed block by our offensive lineman, that's what happened," Meyer said. "The good thing about these guys is they're smart guys. They get it. There was no push back."
-Defensive lineman Michael Bennett is doubtful for Saturday's game. Running back Jordan Hall is out.
-Meyer said it's easy to recruit during the season when you're playing well. Mentioned the ESPN All-Access show and Devin Smith's catch as recruiting tools.
-Meyer said that some players lost eight or nine pounds during Bloody Tuesday this week.
-Meyer said the cramping issues with Braxton Miller have been addressed by the nutritionist. Said that Reid Fragel and Jake Stoneburner also had cramping issues on Saturday.
-Meyer said Miller's progress from the spring has been tremendous. Said he's a much more mature player.
-Meyer said Adam Griffin has made tremendous strides this offseason and that he really had a strong fall camp. Wasn't surprised considering who his father is.