Monday, October 29, 2012

BUCKEYES MAY NOT BE GREAT YET, BUT COACH SAYS THEY ARE SPECIAL

Urban Meyer, left, Braxton Miller. (AP)
COLUMBUS — Ohio State is ranked sixth in the nation (AP), sits atop of the Big Ten Leaders Division, is currently undefeated and possesses a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate in quarterback Braxton Miller.

However, OSU head coach Urban Meyer has stated numerous times recently that this year's Buckeyes, albeit 9-0 (5-0 Big Ten), are not a great football team as of yet.

But special, maybe?

"Yeah, I think so, absolutely ... " Meyer said Monday. "This is a special team. They're fighting for each other. It's a refuse to lose type atmosphere, which some of us have seen teams that play really well, and they're blowing teams out all the time. We're not that type of team. I can give you 150 reasons why. 

"However, we're a bunch of guys that work really hard, blue collar approach, that show up every Tuesday and want to get better. You don't want anything else as a coach. 

"There is some discipline and leadership taking place, that's why it's pushed above the 7, 8 wins (mark)."

Although the Buckeyes can't play in this year's post-season due to NCAA reprimands, Meyer said that being undefeated is helping pick up the momentum of the program — a group that has been dragged through the mud over the past couple years.

"Momentum in recruiting, momentum in development of your players," Meyer said. "You're dealing with 18, 19, 20 year olds, so momentum is everything. You don't look past this week. You never look beyond, like let's play for next year. We're not playing for next year. We're trying to get as many wins as we can. This whole thing is about getting win No. 10.

"But making that phone call, we make a lot of our phone calls tonight to recruits. It's as much of the coach's tone, the energy in the phone call. You have to make those calls when something bad happens as well. I'm not really into it."

But being 9-0 helps matters, even if the Buckeyes aren't yet a great team.

"I can't wait to make those phone calls tonight," Meyer said. "I'm really anxious to make those phone calls tonight. And say, 'Hey, this is Urban Meyer from Ohio State, and we're 9-0." The best thing about 9-0 is you have a chance to go for 10-0, and the conversation usually picks up from there."

Meyer caught himself, though, stating that the most rewarding part of his job right now is seeing his team — which is not great — becoming so special.

"I try to live in the moment," Meyer said. "I love coming to work. I love walking in the team meeting room. I guess that's rewarding. You really enjoy what you're doing. I see development. Chase Farris right now is on fire. You don't know Chase Farris. Someday we're going to talk about him because his development has been great.

"So if you ask me a question and watch young people develop, there is nothing better. Other than winning a game, I'm putting that right there, and I'm seeing it happen every day here which is why we all love to do it."

MILLER NAMED MAXWELL SEMIFINALIST ... Ohio State sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller, already a Heisman candidate, was named as a semifinalist Monday for the 76th Maxwell Award — given to the collegiate player of the year.

Miller has compiled 2,620 total yards and 24 touchdowns this season, including a Big Ten-best 1,093 on the ground.

Three of the four Ohio State players who have won the Maxwell Award — Howard Cassady, Archie Griffin and Eddie George — have taken home the Heisman.

SHAZIER IS BIG TEN'S BEST ... Buckeyes sophomore linebacker Ryan Shazier was named the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week.

Shazier, wearing a No. 48 jersey in honor of a late friend, dominated in the Buckeyes' 35-23 win over Penn State on Saturday evening, recording eight tackles, two sacks and an interception return for a touchdown.