COLUMBUS — Ohio State may be 8-0 on the season and ranked in the top 10, but ask head coach Urban Meyer about it and he'll tell you he is far from satisfied.
You see, Meyer isn't just a win-loss coach, he is a guy who demands supreme effort and passion. He isn't the type who is satisfied winning games, 20-17, by playing passive, punting the ball on 4th-and-1, and hoping to pull out a win with a field goal in the waning moments. No, he expects greatness, not mediocrity.
He absolutely despises average.
And yet, other than a handful of players on the roster, that's what Meyer sees right now on the Buckeyes' sideline — a whole lot of average. He sees players who are content, not inspired. Settling for being fans and cheerleaders, instead of contributors to victories.
"I think the biggest thing is some guys have got to step up, and you're just disappointed," Meyer said. "My gosh, what are you waiting for? Let's go, man. You come to Ohio State to go play. You don't come to watch your team in a game like that and sing the fight song afterwards. You go to be a part of it, and we still have far too much of that right now.
"That's the motivation of everyone involved. Let's go. Let's push. Let's grind."
Meyer admits that's the most difficult aspect of his job is getting young people motivated. Let's face it, they're not all self-guided individuals like Braxton Miller, Ryan Shazier or John Simon.
"Every day you have opportunities. You have every day to have something flash across you that maybe you'll get a little better," Meyer said. "I believe that's one of the great things about college football as opposed to the NFL. These kids aren't driven by paychecks. They're not trying to support their family. They're motivated by a multitude and we could get into that. That's a four-hour discussion — how to motivate a 19 year old, 20 year old.
"God bless the ones that are self-driven, self-motivated, but that's very rare."
The Buckeyes' coach is hoping more players see the example set by Kenny Guiton, a career backup at OSU who has made the most of his reps in practice, the film room and the offensive staff meetings. Guiton's diligence off the field was displayed on Saturday against Purdue, when he rallied the team to an improbable victory in the final seconds of regulation and overtime, after Miller exited with an injury.
"Our quarterback is probably the poster child for that," Meyer said of Guiton being self-motivated. "I'm so proud of that guy right now. We went to victory meal last night and I sat (with him). I wanted him to see that I wanted to sit with him and watch the television version of the drive, and I just kept yelling 'Kenny Guiton. Kenny G.,' or something like that, and the players are all laughing, and we're watching him. Just to see him. The television did a great job of showing him on the sideline when the defense is out there playing.
"Kenny Guiton! Just imagine being Kenny's mom and dad sitting there watching that. That's all good. All good."
Meyer wants others to sit next to at victory meal. New guys, who have put the work and effort in to helping the team win crucial games.
"I'm trying to put as much pressure as I can on the guys that are just eating that sandwich and eating a victory meal but had nothing to do with that," Meyer said. "The great teams, you don't have many of that.
"Obviously, we're not a great team yet."