Andrew Holleran / Photo editor
The No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0) will open divisional play this weekend, when they travel to Bloomington, Ind., to face the Indiana Hoosiers (2-3). First-year coach Urban Meyer talked about the upcoming challenge the Hoosiers might present, last weekend’s game against Nebraska and recruiting at the weekly Big Ten football coaches’ teleconference Tuesday.
Looking past the Hoosiers?
After back-to-back wins against ranked opponents, including a 63-38 drubbing of then-No. 21 Nebraska last weekend, the Buckeyes seem to be a confident bunch. But are they too confident?
Meyer said it’s important for his team to realize there is plenty of football to be played before they can be considered a great team.
“These kids are 6-0 and a lot of people are telling them how good they are,” Meyer said. “Quite honestly, we have a long way to go.”
It is something that, arguably, happens every year in college football. Teams can win a big game against a ranked team, ride that high all week, and then lose to an inferior opponent that they underestimate a week later.
Meyer said, however, that he is not concerned with his team’s focus as they prepare for an Indiana team that has lost its last three games.
“We’re not at the point that we can start overlooking anybody,” Meyer said. “I’m concerned about execution and stopping them, not overlooking them.”
Last week’s win bodes well for the future
Last Saturday’s win against Nebraska could have major implications on the OSU football program for years to come.
Meyer wasn’t able to give an exact number of recruits in attendance, but said that “there were a lot” of prospective Buckeyes in the Horseshoe last Saturday.
Meyer also said the atmosphere in the stadium during the Buckeyes’ blowout left an impression of some of the nation’s elite high school prospects.
“It’s a little risky sometimes to have a bunch of recruits come in on a big game, because if you fail and you lose, it’s miserable,” Meyer said. “The atmosphere was tremendous. The way we won in the second half, that was very critical for recruiting.”
Miller, the Heisman Hopeful?
As one of college football’s leaders in rushing yards per game, and the quarterback of the Big Ten’s only unbeaten team, sophomore Braxton Miller is gaining hype as a Heisman Trophy contender.
“He’s one of the best players in the college game,” said Indiana coach Kevin Wilson.
Wilson did say that, “there are better players out there,” but pointed out that the sophomore quarterback will only improve as he grows into Meyer’s system.
“He’s young,” Wilson said. “Knowing a little bit about him, and knowing the coach that he’s got, he will get better and better. You’re not seeing the best of him.”
A key component in winning the Heisman Trophy is having big games on big stages against ranked opponents. Miller might have done that last Saturday, rushing for a career-high 186 yards and scoring two touchdowns in a win against Nebraska.
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, however, was not willing to anoint Miller as a favorite for college football’s most prestigious individual award.
“That’s up to you guys,” Pelini said.