The goal in any sport is to win. That’s what Ohio State did on Saturday, improving to 3-0. Golfers are famous for the saying, “They don’t ask how, they ask how many.”
After an ugly loss, college football coaches often take that same attitude. A win is a win, they say.
“The best thing about 3-0 is a chance to go 4-0, and that’s about it,” Buckeye head coach Urban Meyer said following his team’s unexpectedly close 35-28 win over California on Saturday.
A win goes into the same “W” column on every team's overall record. But in a subjective sport like college football – similar to gymnastics – beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For the 60 sportswriters who vote in the Associated Press Top 25, the Buckeyes were the black sheep of the family this past weekend.
With an unblemished record and win over a Pac-12 school, Ohio State fell four spots to No. 16. In a roundabout way, you can make a case that the Buckeyes really only fell one step, because Stanford, Florida and Notre Dame had to leapfrog them after three of the young season’s most impressive victories.
Regardless, Ohio State won. The Redeem Team is still on track for its undefeated season, and with the current state of the Big Ten, 12-0 becomes more realistic each passing week.
That is still the last thing on Meyer’s mind. His thinking about Alabama-Birmingham and trying to correct the countless mistakes that plagued Ohio State against Cal.
- Champions on defense: Johnathan Hankins (defensive player of the game) graded out 88 percent. Bradley Roby graded out 95 percent.
- Christian Bryant would have been a champion had he not missed a tackle on Brendan Bigelow’s second touchdown.
- Champions on offense: Jordan Hall, Zach Boren, Jeff Heuerman and Devin Smith (offensive and special teams player of the game).
- Smith is the only OSU player to be a champion in each of the first three games.
- Corey “Philly” Brown and Devin Smith have given Meyer confidence in the wide receivers. He said they've proven they're capable of making plays.
- 40 percent of Cal's total yardage came on six plays. Meyer said missed tackles have to stop or it will cost Ohio State a game.
- The offense’s lack of big plays from the running back position has upset Meyer. He said he hopes Hall’s return will change that.
- After watching film, Meyer said Hall could have had 70 more yards, but went down too quickly. He said Carlos Hyde is the body type that can bounce off tacklers.
- "It's rather obvious he's going to have to carry the ball for us." -Meyer on Braxton Miller
- Meyer said he wants highlight-reel plays from players other than Braxton Miller and Smith.
- Meyer said John Simon could not give more to OSU than he's already given.
- When a reporter said Ohio State should have won by a bigger margin on Saturday, Meyer was less than pleased and got defensive.
- The pop pass/jump pass play originated at Utah with Alex Smith, Meyer said. Co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tom Herman said he also ran it at Rice, so he had no problem with running it Saturday.
- Herman said the pop pass is very effective when you have a quarterback with the dual-threat skills of Braxton Miller.
- Jack Mewhort is currently the best offensive lineman on the team, according to Meyer. He added that Mewhort has been a model student and model citizen. He made a stupid mistake and paid for it, Meyer said.
- Meyer says he would like non-adversity games, but he doesn't know if that's going to happen at this point.
- Because of the defenses Ohio State has faced and is going to face, Meyer said Miller has to take more shots down the field. Herman said he's seen defenses this year that he never dreamt of. Said it's all due to Braxton's skill set.
- Herman said he is most satisfied with the emergence of the receiving corps. He said the offense just needs to be more consistent.
- The third-quarter difficulties came from adjusting to Cal not running their usual D and then Cal making halftime adjustments, according to Herman.
- Meyer said Cal completely changed their defense for OSU game. Nothing they did was similar to last two years of game film.
- Carlos Hyde is not expected to play this weekend. Meyer said, "He's getting much better, though."
- Meyer has no update on Michael Bennett. He added that he has to play some time.
- On Ohio State’s 3rd-and-7 (game-winning play), Meyer said he had a lot of confidence in Miller.
- Practice is the area Miller has progressed the most, according to Meyer.
- Three weeks into the season, Meyer still isn’t endorsing Braxton for the Heisman. He said it will come if he continues to produce.
- Co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Luke Fickell said he lay awake in bed Saturday night thinking about all the missed tackles.
- Fickell said the defense has to make guys run east and west more. Fundamentals and leverage is where it starts.
- Storm Klein will continue to play more, Fickell said. He only played eight plays on defense Saturday.
- Fickell said blitzing early in the game led to the more defensive success later in the game because the offense had more to think about.