There was a lot of reaction among Buckeye fans last night when the new BCS standings – which moved Ohio State up into third place in the standings but saw Stanford and Baylor make up large amounts of ground on the Scarlet and Gray – were released last night, but OSU head coach Urban Meyer doesn’t seem totally worried as of yet.
Meyer – who admitted he has the Buckeyes ranked second in his vote in the coaches’ poll, one spot behind Alabama and one ahead of Florida State – watched a lot of the games this weekend, including Stanford’s upset of Oregon, Baylor’s blowout of Oklahoma and Alabama’s win vs. LSU that shaped this week’s BCS standings.
“I did watch a lot of football,” the head coach said. “I think there’s some very good teams out there. I really enjoyed watching the Oregon-Stanford game, two very good teams. I saw Alabama-LSU, two excellent teams. I watched some of Baylor-Oklahoma. I watched as much football as I could get my hands on. My impression, Alabama-LSU, that was high-level football, so was Oregon-Stanford. So we have a lot of respect for those teams.”
And Meyer, someone who has been around football a long time – remember, his team jumped from fourth to second in the final BCS standings in 2006 – knows that a fun November awaits college football’s best teams. As such, all his team can do is win and see what happens in what is typically the sport’s most topsy-turvy month.
“I’ve been in this situation before,” Meyer said. “You have nothing to do with nothing other than getting ready to go play because there is so much football to be played.”
Meyer said he has Ohio State at second in his poll because he has placed Buckeyes there all year – remember, OSU started second in both the AP and coaches’ polls this season – and because he likes the progress his team is currently making.
“I feel like we're playing as one of the top teams in the country right now,” Meyer said after OSU’s back-to-back blowout wins vs. Penn State and Purdue.
Speaking after a Veterans’ Day practice that came after the team’s second open week of the season, Meyer liked the way his team hit the fields at the Harmon Family Football Practice Park this afternoon heading into this Saturday’s game at Illinois (3-6, 0-5).
That is a good sign as the Buckeyes are in the thick of the national title race, and Meyer said the message for his team is that it needs to keep playing as an elite team to be perceived as such.
“It’s win the game, but the message is you have to play great,” he said. “You are held, to be even mentioned with those other teams, be careful what you wish for. That means you have to practice and play at a certain level. We practiced at a very high level today and we all expect them to play and they expect to play at a very high level because you’re in the same breath with some very, very good teams. To maintain that status you have to play very well.”
Meyer was also asked about a meeting he had with Florida Atlantic athletics director Pat Chun over the open week. Chun has reportedly expressed interest in interviewing OSU defensive coordinator Luke Fickell for his vacant head coaching job, and Meyer said he did meet with Chun – a longtime OSU staffer before taking the FAU job – this weekend and discussed coaching fits.
“We talked about names, and Pat is a great friend,” Meyer said. “There’s nothing more I’d like to see than Pat Chun be successful. He’s also very respectful of this time of year for us. The No. 1 thing is we talked about a profile (for a new coach) because that’s a unique place.”
When it comes to injuries, the news was largely good. Sophomore linebacker Joshua Perry, who had surgery on a finger injury last week, practice full-speed today and has not missed significant time. OSU also got a full-go practice out of sophomore right tackle Taylor Decker, who sprained an MCL in his knee late in the Purdue win, and expects starting middle linebacker Curtis Grant – who is fighting an ankle sprain and a lower back injury – back at practice tomorrow after he missed today’s workout.