Just five games and seven weeks into the season, the Ohio State football team has already found itself with two bye weeks.
The Buckeyes (5-1, 1-0) are scheduled to return to the field this weekend, two weeks removed from their 52-24 win against Maryland on Oct. 4. On Monday, OSU coach Urban Meyer met with members of the media to discuss the unusual early-season breaks, the development of offensive skill players and the talent on his young roster.
- Meyer said the Buckeyes have to find a way to keep the momentum going after a week off between the Maryland win and the week leading up to a matchup with Rutgers.
- He called the second early-season bye week “a little bit of uncharted waters for myself.”
- Meyer called Rutgers’ last game — a 26-24 win against Michigan on Oct. 4 — a “tremendous effort.”
- Meyer: “We’re a young team that’s getting older.” He said the young players on both sides of the ball are continuing to develop and contribute.
- He said he will talk to the team “like grown men” to discuss keeping the momentum going this week.
- Meyer said the Buckeyes are “no where near where we will end up.” Said the team is “still growing” and “much better” than where it was two weeks ago.
- He said the defensive line needs to find more depth, young players need to step up and contribute.
- Meyer said the OSU offensive coaching staff adapts well to the available personnel. Had to adapt to a new-look group this season.
- He said the offensive staff is in charge of the product on the field as long as the players have the talent, which is the case at OSU.
- Meyer said he would “always go defense first” if given the option in an overtime game.
- He said it makes no difference that he and his players haven’t gone up against Rutgers before and said its win against Michigan caught his eye.
- Meyer said he voted Mississippi No. 1 on his ballot this week.
- He said he wishes more true freshmen — like freshman linebacker Sam Hubbard — were playing this season, but added it’s not worth wasting a year of eligibility for a player to get into games for a handful of snaps.
- Meyer: “This is an extremely young team that got hit in the face in training camp with some injuries.”
- He said despite those injuries, “the cool thing is we had a redshirt-freshman quarterback grow up right in front of our eyes.”
- He said credit is due for a few guys — Barrett, redshirt-junior tight end Nick Vannett and redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Michael Thomas — who weren’t really factors in the past.
- With 13 of 24 starters being freshmen or sophomores, Meyer said it’s “a good sign for the future” at OSU.
- Meyer said injured senior quarterback Braxton Miller gave the Buckeyes the “wow factor,” which isn’t as prominent with Barrett under center.
- He said he feels better about the offensive skill this season than he has in the past.
- Meyer said redshirt-senior running back Rod Smith was a “non-factor” during the spring but is now a strong contributor.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to return to the field on Saturday to take on Rutgers at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.