Ohio State Football Notebook: Buckeyes Focused, Regrouping for Week 2

By Kyle Rowland on September 3, 2013 at 5:00p
Braxton Miller showed the improvement Urban Meyer has talked about since July.

A four-day workweek applies for most people in the country the first week of September. That is, unless your office is Ohio State’s football facility. The employees clocked in early Monday morning to game plan for San Diego State.

Part of that plan means welcoming back Bradley Roby, C.J. Barnett and Rod Smith. The Buckeyes also get full use of Corey Linsley. Don’t expect them to rest on their laurels, though. A 40-20 win over Buffalo that included being outscored 20-17 the final three quarters doesn’t register as no room to improve.

“I think complacency is certainly not a problem this week,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “I’m anxious to see a lot of improvement.”

Roby and Barnett’s presence alone will make the secondary better. One of them is due to start, and it’s not the All-American. Come Saturday, Roby may get the nod ahead of Armani Reeves, who started against Buffalo, but the decision won’t be made until the duo has practiced.

“He’s competing for a spot. He will not be named starter,” Meyer said of Roby. “It depends on how they practice.”

It’s been nine months since Roby last played. Since the season ended, he’s shunned the NFL and served a one-game suspension. Meyer believes there was a brief period of buyer’s remorse, where Roby may have regretted his decision to return to school.

Now, that is all well in the past. Roby chose to return for his redshirt junior season because he wanted to go out with the same recruiting class he entered Ohio State with. They have a chance to put the Buckeyes back on the top shelf of college football.

Roby’s coming off a season that included 63 tackles, two interceptions and a nation’s best 1.73 passes defended per game – 17 were broken up. Perhaps the lasting impressions from the last year, though, were his antics off the field.

“I think he learned a really strong lesson, and he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do,” Meyer said. “I’m anxious to get him back on the field.”

In the week leading up to the opener, Roby was already keying on San Diego State. The hurt from not being able to play last Saturday was masked by his constant preparation, a hallmark of Roby’s Ohio State career. It’s why young players come in and immediately gravitate to the Thorpe Award candidate. 

“The great ones love to play the game,” cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs said. “The great players don’t try to get out of practice, they don’t try to get out of working out, they try to find ways to get in. Last week, [Roby] was in the office watching San Diego State film to prepare himself for this week. He has treated this like a professional, and he has worked hard to stay in shape. He’s excited about Saturday. It’s time to go, and it’s been a long time since he’s been on the field. So I guarantee he’s excited about that and I know I am.”

Meyer’s also eager to see more points on the scoreboard. Forty didn’t quite leave him satisfied after 23 in the first 15 minutes. He admitted he has high standards, but that doesn’t change his opinion that it was an average offensive performance.

“We’re going to try to score as many points as we can against any team. We weren’t happy with 40. We want to try to get about a hundred,” he said, with a smile.

Running backs coach Stan Drayton said it was a matter of consistency, something Ohio State was lacking. And while Meyer is still searching for the ever-elusive perfect game, he’s not broken up about being able to teach the players a thing or two in the coming week.

“There’s been times where you smoke a team and then all of a sudden you’re going on Tuesday and you start trying to get after them and they are looking at you, because they have just been told how great they are,” Meyer said.

“So this is a great opportunity for us to coach them hard and get better Tuesday and Wednesday.”

Free rides!Ryan Shazier was one of three Buckeyes to cramp up on Saturday.

Cramping Their Style

An obvious take away from Ohio State’s season opener was the disappearing players. Braxton Miller, Ryan Shazier, Evan Spencer and Josh Perry all left the field because of cramps. The humidity chased those Buckeyes away. But in the coming weeks, pass-happy, hurry-up offenses could again hamper the on-field ability.

San Diego State called 67 pass plays, Cal employs Sonny Dykes’ fast-paced, throw often spread and Ohio State’s own offense could at times be a detriment to its own defense, because of how fast they go up and down the field. They had three scoring drives of five plays or less on Saturday.

“The issue of cramping, we can’t have guys leave the game,” Meyer said. “Perry didn’t play that many plays, and all of a sudden he’s out of the game. I’m still trying to figure that one out.”

It was evident Meyer wasn’t pleased with Perry on Saturday. The coach tore into the linebacker on the sideline.

“Our guys and I have to do a good job,” Meyer added. “We can’t have those issues, because that will be a major league problem this week.  I’m not worried about next week, we'll discuss that next week. If you look out there and some guys are cramping or they are not playing, then we’ve got a problem. No one has that much depth.”

Game day isn’t the most important factor in the equation. It starts at the beginning of the week and progresses every day. Players have to hydrate days ahead of Saturday to compensate for what they experience during a game. That hydration on Tuesday and Wednesday looks better on Saturday when a player doesn’t experience any cramps, like cornerback Doran Grant.

“I’m pretty sure the guys learned their lesson,” he said.

No Controversy 

The stats may indicate the need for a quarterback controversy at San Diego State, but that is not the case. Aztec starter Adam Dingwell was sacked four times and threw zero touchdown passes compared to four interceptions in a 40-19 loss to Eastern Illinois.

But head coach Rocky Long and quarterbacks coach Brian Sipe put an end to any lingering questions.

“Adam had a tough day, but he’s still our starting quarterback,” Long said.

Dingwell is one of the top returning quarterbacks in the Mountain West. He started fives games in 2012, throwing for nearly 1,000 yards with eight touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 57.6 completion percentage.

In his past two games, Dingwell is 39-of-92 for 462 yards with zero touchdown and seven interceptions.

“If you were to look at the interceptions [against Eastern Illinois], the majority of them came at a time in the game when we were forced to throw and the secondary and the package on defense was to stop the passing game,” Sipe said.

Sipe expects a big week from his quarterback and doesn’t fear a possible mental lapse with all the criticism swirling around him.

“He has intangibles that are very important to this team,” Sipe said “There’s no considering benching him or getting another guy ready at this point.”


Comments Show All Comments

NW Buckeye's picture

I don't know if the cramping issue has been discussed in detail on here, but it should be a major concern for Meyer.  I know they said the players were hydrated before the game, but my question would be "with what?"  Call me old school, but in my many years of coaching I found that players who relied solely on things like gatorade and other commercially available "hydrating drinks" were the ones who often cramped up the most.  What we found through all of our summer workouts was that water, yes that's right - water, worked best in keeping players hydrated.  For those who insisted on drinking gatorade we compromised and had them drink equal amounts of water, alternating each (a bottle of gatorade, a bottle of water).  That seemed to work best.  Does anyone else have experience or expertise with this? 

theDuke's picture

PICKLE JUICE!!!! and yeah, i'm fairly sure water would be a good choice too.


NCBuckeye1's picture

I have had issues with cramping, and swore up and down that Gatorade was the greatest thing since sliced bread to fix it. However, because of the increase in salts and electrolytes, not to mention the sugar increase, I ended up cramping just as bad if not worse (I played soccer). I personally did find that combining equal amounts of water to Gatorade worked the best for me. Water replenished what I was losing...ie water, and Gatorade replenished the salts. 
Again, I am no expert, but found this to work exceptionally well in my case. 

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization." -- Woody

Him1stftballl8er's picture

I agree completely man! Water with lemon always worked well for me. I think a water Gatorade blend might be best but straight Gatorade IMO is setting yourself up for failure. It makes me wonder what the S&C staff is using to hydrate players. 

The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the promotion of fools. 

boojtastic's picture

Water is for closers.

kalabuckzoo's picture

Water sucks. It really, really sucks.

Brutus' Left Nut's picture

Pedialite is the best thing for hydration, but it tastes like crap.  I was a wrestler so couldn't afford to drink tons of fluids days before a tournament, so I really only drank pedialite.  I did that during football season too and never cramped.

stubbzzz's picture

yeah Pedialite.  I said on another thread how during the Cooper years, I think they used to give the players Pedialite popcicles on the sidelines to keep them from cramping up.  
also, I think Potassium is pretty key.  It's great for muscle function.  Our Cross Country/ Track Coach in high school made everyone eat Bananas before meets.  As a guitarist, I swear by it before demanding performances when you don't have time to warm up.  take a potassium supplement and in 10- 15 minutes, your hand muscles are all loosey goosey, and ready to go.

doodah_man's picture

As well as on hang overs, Pedialyte works well, can also be molded  in a popsicle.

Jim "DooDah" Day

"If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” --Wilbur Wright, 1910

Buckifan4Life's picture

I second the pedialyte. I think it has less sugar than sports drinks typically have. Coach will get to the bottom of this issue, I'm sure.

Seattle Linga's picture

H2O always works with an overdose of stretching.

Westonbuckeye's picture

A 50% Gatorade and 50% coconut water is the best hydrating formula you can make. Coconut water mix causes less nausea, fullness, and stomach upset and is easier to consume in large amounts during rehydration. Coconut water is low in carbohydrates and sodium and rich in potassium (reduces cramps) so you also need to mix it with an energy drink and eat something salty like pretzels 
Try it, you will be surprised....

BammBammRiley's picture

yes!!! A friend turned me on to coconut water last summer and it is my go to hydration drink and order boatloads from amazon, although it is really catching on quick and can even find it at some gas stations now.
combined with pedialite my previous fav could be the ultimate combo.
I work outside all summer 12 to 14 hour days up and down ladders and had a week of life-altering heat.coconut water saved me.

BammBamm is my dog, Riley is my 4 yr old daughter, and THE Ohio state Buckeyes complete the three most sacred loves I cherish

FitzBuck's picture

I would take a hard look at meals leading up to the game for high sodium content.  This on top of Gatorade would explain the cramping as it would take far longer to get excess sodium out of the body.  
Gatorade was formulated in 1965 by researchers at the University of Florida so it's possible they have developed a type of Gatorade to bring down their former coach.  I've said too much......

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

NH-IO's picture

Still better than the alternative developed at Florida State....Seminole Fluid

Oldschoolbuck's picture

Well done, NH-IO, well done!

FitzBuck's picture


Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Brian Sipe is their QB coach eh?  Wow, that brings back memories (posted the old guy).

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

cajunbuckeye's picture

Red Right 88! Ouch!

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

Corey Carpenter's picture

I was thinking the same thing, his Browns jersey was my first NFL jersey when I was 9 or 10. 

Young_Turk's picture

We got Cody Risen!  Risen, Risen!


JohnBoy's picture

Good and bad memories. He was my fave QB back in the day along with the Pruitt brothers running the ball.....how bout some Ozzy at TE? 
That AFC championship loss to Qakland almost ruined my life!
Old guy #2

Thank you sir! May I have another?

NolanFickas01's picture

There are multiple reasons why an athlete might experience cramping
1. Dehydration- This one is obvious. If an athlete does not properly hydrate themselves before competition then he or she can experience muscle cramping. An athlete needs to be hydrated throughout the week.
2. Over-hydration- It is actually possible to over-hydrate. A lot of athletes think if they just drink a massive amount of water the night before game day and on game day that they will be fine. You can actually flood the muscles with too much water and dilute your electrolytes.
3. Heat- this ties into to hydration. The more you sweat, the more essential nutrients you lose. Things like sodium/potassium/magnesium. (Electrolytes)
4. Anxiety/Nervousness- Anyone who plays sports or has a pulse has felt butterflies and has been nervous before competing. It is natural but it does cause your body to react in a certain way. Your heart rate might raise, you start to sweat, become restless, and breathing can change. This is because of adrenaline and the fight or flight response. Some athletes can deal with their emotions better and stay calm.
5. Excited/Amped up- Related to adrenaline and fight or flight. Your body responds by giving you that energy boost you need but this comes at a cost.
All of these things occur before a player even sees live game action. Depending on how the athlete prepared themselves and how they deal with stress can impact whether or not they cramp up.
Now think about static stretching before games and warming up. A player gets loosened up and breaks a sweat an hour before the game starts. Goes back into the locker room where their bodies cool down and now the coach has them turn the lights off and sit still for a 10 minute pregame speech intended to pump the kids up. Everyone is up - hooting and hollering now they run onto the field with the crowd screaming. It's time for kick-off. No time to get warmed back up.

MotownBuck's picture

Over hydrating!!! Yes!! Middle school football our last scrimmage, our starting QB caught cramps. So coach gave us a speech on hydrating and laying off the salt. So being over reactive 12 year olds, that week leading up to our first game we were all on each other "NO SALT!!! DRINK YOUR GATORADE". I mean we were hard core about it. Cut to game day and before the first quarter was even over the field was littered with cramping Tweens twitching and flopping around on the field between the hashes like a bunch of fish that just got pulled up from the net and dropped on deck. 
Luckily there was a Dr from Miami Valley hospital that was also doing work with the Colts medical team in the stands. After laughing his azz off at us he gave us the scoop on over hydrating.
Freaking no0bs
im sure the smart people in the training and nutrition staff in Columbus will get it corrected

Trotwood-Madison. Once a Ram, Always a Ram.

pjtobin's picture

No tds, and 7 int!! And he is the starting qb?? We better roll sd st. I can't wait to see our silver bullets hit where they are aiming. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

Maestro's picture

Alternate water and electrolyte drinks.  Works best for me on my long runs.

vacuuming sucks

DefendYoungstown's picture

Coach Klein: Gatorade not only quenches your thirst better, it tastes better too.
Bobby Boucher: No, you people are drinkin the wrong water.
Coach Klein: Gatorade.
Bobby Boucher: H2O.
Coach Klein: Gatorade.
Bobby Boucher: H2O.
Coach Klein: [singing] Water sucks. It really, really sucks. Water sucks.

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

What did you say???

Say it again!  I dare you!

I like cookies.

vitaminB's picture

Why is coach talking like this is the first he's ever seen of his guys cramping?  I seem to recall almost every time Brax had a big run last year he would cramp up.

Seabass1974's picture

“We’re going to try to score as many points as we can against any team. We weren’t happy with 40. We want to try to get about a hundred,” he said, with a smile.
I'm so glad I'm not SDSU.

The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender. - Woody Hayes

vitaminB's picture

See folks, it's okay to not be happy about only scoring 40 points against Buffalo.

doodah_man's picture

One of the things we address with the athletes is heat and cramping but, there may be a solution that would help both the athletes and the spectators (since we had multiple heat related issues with the fans).
The Shoe has been transformed into a humongous bowl with limited openings. Park 105,000 warm bodies in it, add a reflective surface (the field) that has about a 40 - 50% reflectivity coefficient, and effectively block the prevailing winds (usually from the west, and you have a recipe for heat stroke. I am sure that the overall thermal effect was the last thing on anyone's mind when the stadium was designed. Also, in late October/early to mid November, the heating actually works to your advantage.
We rent lights for night games (and a few more night games in September would help), why can't we just rent large, portable industrial fans that are set to blow out of the Shoe and strategically placed at a few of the portals. Get some air flowing through. This could be done at a low enough flow to not affect pass/kick aerodynamics.

Jim "DooDah" Day

"If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” --Wilbur Wright, 1910