As Ohio State prepares to host Miami (Fla.) this afternoon, the Buckeyes are not preparing for the Hurricanes to do a lot of different things. Throughout interviews leading up to the game, the OSU coaches and players have said that the Hurricanes look to be a balanced team in nearly every facet of the game.
In his final press conference of the week, Buckeye head coach Jim Tressel said he has not been surprised by anything he has discovered in his preparation for the game.
“You turn the film on and it’s exactly what you expect,” he said. “There is excellent discipline in their play. They play fast and have fun playing. They love to compete. Our guys are glued in and focused in. (The week) has been everything you hoped for.”
Looking at the Miami defense, offensive coordinator Jim Bollman said the Hurricanes do one thing differently than most teams the Buckeyes face.
“They have very good size up front,” he said. “They’re very quick at the second level. The linebackers and secondary are very quick. They’re very tough. They’re very physical. They’ll play a lot of pretty basic things but on the other hand they’ll blitz some people and do some things. They probably play more man coverage than we’re used to seeing from some people.”
Tressel said the Hurricanes are a balanced team offensively.
“They don't do a million different things,” he said. “The good teams usually don't. They play good, hard, fundamental football. On offense they're very balanced. They're a 50/50 run/pass team, which I think is the most difficult to defend.”
On the other side of the ball, safeties coach Paul Haynes echoed Bollman’s comments about the Hurricanes being a tough squad.
“When you look at them, they’re a very physical football team,” Haynes said. “They want to run the football, set you up and then hit you with play action. Give it to their playmakers out in space and try to make something happen. To me, the thing they bring to the table is how balanced they are.”
Having a feel for what the Hurricanes might do does not diminish what kind of team they are, Tressel said.
“Miami is going to challenge you,” he said. “You’d better be good.”
Return Challenge – Tressel said that he was impressed with what Jordan Hall has brought to the table as a punt returner so far.
This week, though, should be a bigger challenge. For his career, Miami kicker/punter Matt Bosher has averaged 40.9 yards per punt. As a junior, he had at least one punt of 50-plus yards in eight of 13 games and had 23 of his 51 punts downed inside the 20-yard line.
In other words, it should be a new challenge for sophomore returner Jordan Hall in his second game filling that role.
“Their kicker/punter is special,” Tressel said. “He’s a senior. He has the best hang time of a punter we’ve faced that I can remember. Jordan is going to have some opportunities to have to be glued in there and have to do a good job.”
Rocking The Game – A number of celebrities and pundits have weighed in on the game, but one that seemed to draw the most interest was a video posted online by former WWF superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. A former Hurricane, Johnson said Miami will “stomp on” the Buckeyes en route to victory.
OSU senior defensive lineman Dexter Larimore said his team got a good laugh out of the video.
“He’s an actor,” he said. “Maybe he doesn’t know what really is going on in the real world or something. When guys do all that crazy macho stuff, I think it’s more trying to get their team motivated but obviously we never want to see stuff like that.”
During his high school years at Merrillville, Ind., Larimore established himself as a top-flight wrestler. As a senior, he earned a state title and was ranked the No. 1 heavyweight in the nation.
Asked if he could defeat Johnson in a wrestling match, Larimore said, “A real wrestling match? Yeah, probably.”