Meyer, Buckeyes Stay on Task

By Kyle Rowland on October 28, 2013 at 5:00p
"I just want to avoid [losing] at all costs." -Urban Meyer

You won’t find anyone in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center with an inkling of overconfidence. Ohio State’s 63-14 win over Penn State served as an exclamation point for the nation, but it’s become old news in Columbus, at least inside the football offices.

The next challenge in a 14-game Chase is Purdue. Head coach Urban Meyer said the sole focus for the Buckeyes is on the present. The Boilermakers won’t face a complacent Ohio State team that’s rattled off 20 consecutive victories following a 6-7 debacle in 2011. Especially not after Purdue has played spoiler to the Buckeyes so often since the turn of the century.

“I try not to look back too often,” Meyer said. “I look back to the beginning of last year and that was very alarming. Now, we’re just trying to find a way to get to the next week. We compartmentalize. We’re just trying to get the win on the road at Purdue.

“You can bet the focus is very intense.”

Coaches will never admit to looking past an opponent. However, if there’s ever a week to do so, this is it for Ohio State. It opened as a 31-point road favorite – and should cover with ease.  The first year of the Darrell Hazell has not gone as planned on the field.

Years 1 and 2 for Meyer are just what fans called for – winning. That doesn’t mean everything is peachy, though. Perfection might be evident in the win-loss record, but improvement never stops for the Buckeyes. Meyer’s a perfectionist who demands untarnished performances.

In 2008, Florida fielded a team that Meyer believed to have few shortcomings. On Saturday night, he saw that type of effort from Ohio State. But overall, he still sees flaws in the linebacker corps.

“The linebacker position is still not solidified yet. We’re not Ohio State expectation level at the linebacker position,” Meyer said. “After this past week, I think most other positions played at a very high level. So linebacker is one area we’re keeping our finger on hard, because we need to improve the level of play and the number of linebackers we have in the program.”

One of those linebackers is Devan Bogard. His season has come to an end, though, for the second straight season. A torn ACL in the same knee as 2012 will sideline Bogard, who recently made the move from cornerback to Will linebacker. The sophomore, injured in Game No. 8 last season, has been a major contributor on special teams both years with the Buckeyes.

“Just crushing,” Meyer said. “Great kid. He’s actually very positive about it. He’s going to have surgery this week. Big blow.”

“It’s tough for all of us, but when you’re in this business for what you do it’s much tougher knowing what the kid’s going through,” said defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell.  “The real thing that hits hard is this kid is going to go through another situation like that, and how can he handle it and how tough and how strong mentally to go through another battle like this. So that’s what pulls at you.”

After garnering Big Ten player of the week honors for his career game against Penn State, Braxton Miller became a topic of conversation. How much has he improved from last season, and how much better can he still get? Meyer was quizzed on both subjects. 

“I anticipated he’d be better, but he's a little better than better. That’s my master’s degree from Ohio State,” Meyer said, chuckling. He said Miller’s fundamentals and knowledge have the offense have taken off this season.

“You’re talking about an incredible release, arm strength,” Meyer said. “There’s still some things, he cowboyed it a few times, which means when the play broke down he panicked in the pocket when he didn’t have to. We already had a meeting this morning about it.  He needs to know where his check down is. Those are just two things from this past game he needs to work on. He panicked in the pocket three or four times to the point where he didn’t know where his check down was. That’s a problem. That’s not good quarterback play.”

All said, though, it’s hard to complain about Miller’s past two games. And Meyer, a psychological major, pointed out it’s not a coincidence Miller returned to his 2012 roots after the emergence of Kenny Guiton and a sighting of the ol’ right-hander warming up during the Northwestern game.

“He knows the guy behind him know,” Meyer said. “The friggin' stadium is calling his name. He better be pretty good.”


[Photo: Kirk Irwin Photography]


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Hovenaut's picture

Hope there is continued progress against Purdue. Not worried so much about the outcome (should I be?), but the emphasis on staying focused and sharp down the stretch is key.

Admittedly know very little about Purdue this year, other than their record, and look forward to the previews later in the week.

If there's a game the defense (linebackers) can step up and control I think this would be it.

NitroBuck's picture

I can't argue with the results when Urban calls players and position groups out.  Look for the LB corps to have a stellar day in West Lafayette, and for Braxton to be a bit quicker going to his check downs.

Ferio.  Tego.

Ethos's picture

meyers motivational tactics have nothing to do with his degree. please stop making that degree out to be some kind of mInd control tactic 11w. not picking on you specifically but I've seen that on here a dozen times. 

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

81Alum's picture

"That’s my master’s degree from Ohio State,” Meyer said, chuckling!

This is a direct quote from UFM during at today's press conference. 11W and the community isn't making it up.

fear_the_nut70's picture

Except that his maters degree is in Sports Administration, and not psychology (he has a BA in psychology).

CALPOPPY's picture

81alum, I think the point ETHOS is making is in regards to him using psychology to get Miller to play better, not the comment about the Master's degree. I would agree ETHOS that anybody that has ever tried to motivate someone would employ the same tactics so the psych degree probably has little to do with it.

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

Oldschoolbuck's picture

I respectfully disagree, ETHOS.
Don't know why you got a dv for your view, it certainly doesn't rise to the dv-parameters IMO.
However, UFM would be foolish not to use his psych degree to inspire/push/motivate his team. There are plenty of things psychology can teach us about human behavior and how people "work". That doesn't mean he's some kind of Svengali putting people into a hypnotic trance & turning them into mind-numbed robots. What it does mean is that he's learned how to "read" different players & understands that some respond to a kick in the ass, while others need more affirmation, and some may require a combination of these approaches (and perhaps others).
I'd like to hear some of the 11W family with a psychology background offer their expertise (I took several psych classes in my undergrad days at tOSU because I was fascinated by the subject; and a smattering of other psych courses pursuing my Masters & doctorate, but am no expert by any means).

OneOfOver475000's picture

In reading "Buckeye Rebirth" it mentions Meyer's philosophy he picked up when working on a group project.  They came up with 4 pieces of motivation that we all share as human beings.  He stated he uses fear, hate, and love with his teams.  The fourth being survival, which he may or may not have used on Black Tuesday at Bowling Green.  Anyway, point is he tries to motivate through love or fear.  He believes if a player truly loves someone, they will go to great lengths to work hard for that person.  As a former coach, I believe fear is a great motivator in short bursts as well.  Finally, if all else fails, that's when you see guys getting called out and making them want to show the coaches that they are wrong... or hate.  Either way, its been proven he is a master motivator by the results on the field.  These young men are buying in and when you have talent + buy-in, you get something special. 

THE_JUICE's picture

I've taken a few psych courses (didn't major or minor in it, just fulfilled a few General Ed requirements) and from what I can tell, tactical motivational research might be covered for a lecture or two in a Social Psych class or something, but it's not likely to really be examined in depth until the graduate level.
Since Urban Meyer's undergrad degree was in Psych, he probably covered a range of Psych topics a mile wide and an inch deep.  He might know more about motivation than most of us, but most of it probably would be from his years of coaching experience more than his undergrad degree.

Seattle Linga's picture

This will be a nice "dress rehearsal" for the last three-four games before the break.
 Purdue is having a hard time scoring and it will not be easy for them on Saturday.

rider1's picture

Feel terrible for Bogard. Keep your head up young man!

MN Buckeye's picture

The key is staying focused, as Meyer said. We have had a lot of trouble with PU lately, and we have been huge favorites every time. Let's keep the momentum going and have every position group grade out as champions.

BuckeyeB9B82501's picture

You can't argue how he challenges this team (by person or position group) he get results. He knows how to physiologically motivate this team. I am not too worried either about Purdue this year as they are just flat out terrible. I don't think they will have a hangover either (come out flat) as I am sure UFM has his teams attention about what happened last year. He and the coaches will have this team pissed off again and ready to go. Perdue is the next speed bump in the road for this team. I am going to the game with my family this week and really hope (don't really think so) that we don't have the kind of game we had last time I was at Ross Ade (2002, Holy Buckeye!). We have not played well at all at Ross Ade and the players know and remember that they haven't. I look for that to change this year. This team is so focused about the next team every week. They really do and buy into the "1 game at a time" philosophy. Can't wait to see them blow this Perdue team out. It's damn near a personal game as TOSU has been bit by PU (for some reason) many times. I don't see a close game this year. Lets go kick some boilermaker ass!!!!  GO BUCKS!!!!

Buckeye Dynasty starts in 2014 baby !!!!!! GO BUCKS !!!!!!!! O - H - I - O

bigbill992001's picture

Brax is MUCH better passer this season.   That QB school he attended has definately helped.   He commented that he's more confident, and you can see that in his body language.   He's hitting more check-downs, but still has a ways to go to get to KG's level.   Hey, maybe we should send Cardale to that QB school.
GO BUCKS!!!!!!

HYDEYOKIDS's picture

QB School? My friend Cardale didn't come here to play school, he came here to play football.

MassiveAttack's picture

Cardale is going to have this on his tombstone one day.   ^^^

The Ohio State University - "Haters love us!"

CALPOPPY's picture

No, you got it all wrong. Cardale didn't come here to play SCHOOL. The capitalization is very important...maybe it's an acronym?

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

d5k's picture

We all know SCHOOL is one of the perils of the fire swamp.
You don't want to play around with those...

buckskin's picture

Grant played better and will continue to grow, but our LB depth is weak right now.  McMillan would help for sure. 

shortbus20's picture

Kenny Guiton is turning into a cult figure in the stadium.  I love this quote from Coach Meyer as if he himself can't believe it.  Speaking of Braxton Miller.
“He knows the guy behind him now,” Meyer said. “The friggin' stadium is calling his name. He better be pretty good.”

  • shortbus20
Oyster's picture

Matt McCoy was talking about that this morning on 610.  I love it.

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

UFest57's picture

IMO Urban is talking down on the LBs to show how important McMillian will be when/if he signs. If the kid thinks he will be the missing link and Urban is leading him to believe it to be so, he signs. Smart head game by the staff.

JohntheBuckeye36's picture

I am sorry but I can't buy into the Purdue game being a "dress rehearsal".  Folks, need I remind you that we look at this team the same way every year and they continue to be the biggest pain in our ass every year.  For some reason we just don't get to the level of expectations for OSU football when it comes to Purdue and we need to put an end to it NOW.  I hate 31 point spreads and I realize that the Boilers suck this year, but they get geared up for us EVERY YEAR and we better go into that stadium with nothing but a killer instinct in mind or we may end up white-knuckling it again.