Andrew Holleran / Photo editor
Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer said there’s nothing worse than a team thinking they’re something they’re not.
That’s why, even at 7-0, Meyer said the No. 7-ranked Buckeyes are a team that can’t afford to take any weeks off.
“There’s nothing worse than false confidence,” Meyer said Wednesday evening at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. “We are what we are and that’s a team that has to fight for everything it can get right now.”
And after escaping Indiana, 52-49, in a Saturday night tilt in Bloomington, Ind., that notion might be clearer than ever.
Facing their second opponent in as many weeks from the Crossroads of America, OSU might need to put that mentality into practice when unranked Purdue (3-3, Big Ten 0-2) rolls into the confines of Ohio Stadium Saturday at noon.
Meyer issued out an all-points-bulletin for “tough guys” during his weekly press conference on Monday and said his players answered the bell.
“I think our whole team did,” he said. “I really do.”
Meyer said the Buckeyes had a “little heart-to-heart talk recently.”
“We had a hard meeting,” he said. “We had a real hard meeting.”
“I think there’s nothing worse than players believing something that they’re not and the team believing they’re something that they’re not. And so we had a very hard, honest meeting. It’s over … Let’s move on.”
Can OSU turn its defense around in one week?
Meyer said “absolutely.”
“There’s three things: the four to six seconds … that will be fixed,” he said. “Leverage on the football will be fixed and then the tackling.”
The Buckeyes’ defense will try to have a better outing against Purdue after surrendering 87 points in back-to-back weeks against Indiana and Nebraska.
Jordan Hall, Etienne Sabino out for Purdue
Meyer confirmed that senior running back Jordan Hall and redshirt senior linebacker Etienne Sabino will not play against the Boilermakers.
Redshirt senior defensive lineman Nathan Williams, however, will be back in action for the Buckeyes this Saturday after missing last week’s contest against the Hoosiers with a concussion.
Meyer said that sophomore linebacker Ryan Shazier is “sore, but OK” and will play against Purdue. So will fellow linebacker freshman Josh Perry.
Boren still with the defense
Speaking of banged up linebackers, senior fullback and captain Zach Boren will continue his not-so-temporary stint at linebacker. While Meyer couldn’t say for sure, he indicated that Boren will likely start at linebacker for OSU against the Boilermakers.
Meyer lauded Boren’s sacrifice as a move for the good of the team.
“He’s as unselfish a player as we have,” he said.
But the switch, Meyer said, could be beneficial to Boren concerning his prospect of playing at the next level.
“I’ve met with every (NFL) scout that comes through (OSU),” he said. “Everybody’s looking for that all-purpose guy and Zach gives you that.”
Dreaming of the Leaders Division title?
Meyer said talk of playing for a Big Ten Leaders Division championship depends on the moment.
“I usually do, but we were such in disarray last week that we really didn’t have time … we’re just trying to win a game,” Meyer said. “Everybody saw, we all saw. It’s appropriate at times to talk about it, and I didn’t think it was at that time.”