COLUMBUS – Ohio State’s football goals are about mountain tops, not plateaus. So when Urban Meyer thought he saw his team’s performance – and in some cases its efforts – flattening out, he took action.
After losing at Penn State on Oct. 22, Meyer told the Buckeyes he thought some of them might need to examine whether they were giving maximum effort and attention to their responsibilities.
“I’ve done this a long time, I’ve coached young teams. We were climbing very well early in the season and we plateaued. You’ve got to somehow jump start it and get the climb started again in development of the players and development of the team,” Meyer said. “We had obviously plateaued.
“We do team meetings and power of the unit meetings and have those conversations. And if you’ve done everything you possibly can do to help your team win, carry on, move forward. If not, get it fixed.
“When your team struggles, it’s because there’s a unit, a player, a coach not upholding his responsibilities,” he said.
Ohio State defeated Northwestern 24-20 in its first game after Meyer’s exhortation, then exploded for a 62-3 win over Nebraska in a battle of Top Ten teams last Saturday night in Ohio Stadium. A trip to Maryland (5-4, 2-4 Big Ten) is the next game for the Buckeyes (8-1, 5-1 Big Ten).
Center Pat Elflein said OSU’s coaches and captains talked to the team about paying attention to detail after the Penn State loss.
“We talked about getting back on track in our practice habits and our preparation habits. I felt we were on track but there were just little things we weren’t hitting,” Elflein said.
“I feel like the way we responded after the Penn State loss and a close game against Northwestern with a big win against Nebraska really tells what kind of team we are and what kind of coaches we have.
“Coach Meyer was saying, ‘Are you doing everything you possibly can to help this team win a game?’ He was speaking to the whole team. I think that kind of hit home with a lot of guys. There are a lot of young guys who are new to the program and new to adversity or just to being a starter at Ohio State.
“It looks like it did hit home with some guys,” he said.
Quarterback J.T. Barrett said, “Our young guys really took a look at themselves, they really had to self-evaluate things and ask, ‘Did I do all I could do? Why or why not? Why did I do that? ’ Unless you’re doing the most you can to be successful, you’re hurting us. I think, as a team, we definitely took hold of that and got better.”
KICKOFF TIME: OSU’s game at Michigan State on Nov. 19 will kick off at noon. Television plans for the game have not been announced yet.
WEBER OK: Running back Mike Weber left last Saturday’s game against Nebraska in the second half after falling hard on his shoulder.
Email Jim Naveau at firstname.lastname@example.org