Asked about title games, Meyer talks tackling


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — What's brewing with the 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes ...

Ohio-St-Illinois-Foot Sidd

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer talks to his team during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Illinois on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Jeff Haynes)

BUCKEYES BUZZ: After his Ohio State team beat Illinois 60-35 on Saturday, coach Urban Meyer said he and his players need to just be quiet and get better and let things like the rankings and BCS and bowl games take care of themselves. Period.

"We have to make sure that our focus is on getting better each week instead of all of the national stuff," he said. "I think I'm learning a lesson to just shut my mouth and quit worrying about this and that."

He got an opportunity to do just that — shut his mouth and quit worrying — on Monday at his weekly news conference.

Meyer had already spoken at length about teaching special-teams players Ezekiel Elliott and Warren Ball, both RBs, how to properly tackle on kick coverage.

A reporter asked him if there is an attitude today that if you don't play for the national championship, it's like a failure of the season. He also asked if he thought a segment of Ohio State fans really didn't want the Buckeyes to play in a national title game so they wouldn't get embarrassed, as they were in the 2006 and 2007 season's BCS games.

Meyer smiled slightly and then began.

"Ezekiel on our punt team, I have to teach him how to tackle. Warren Ball is running down on kickoffs," Meyer said, grinning while completely avoiding the questions. "He hasn't done that in his high school career. We're going to work hard on that in practice.

"Any other questions about Warren Ball's coverage?"

Then he laughed out loud.

HE SAID IT: Offensive coordinator Tom Herman was asked how his 2 1/2-week-old son, Maverick, is doing: "Awesome. Awesome. Glad he's not blond haired and blue eyed because I haven't been home very much."

NO D AT IU: The Hoosiers (4-6, 2-4 Big Ten) are one of the worst defensive teams in the country — and the stats support that statement.

They are ranked No. 122 of the 123 teams in NCAA Division I in yards allowed per game at 535 (only 1-9 New Mexico State is worse at 555).

Coach Kevin Wilson, who is 9-25 in his third season in Bloomington, Ind., was asked about the coaching and defense.

"I evaluate everything. First of all, I'm going to start with me. If there's a problem with the defense, there is a problem with me. If there's a problem with recruiting, there is a problem with me. If there is a problem with the social behavior on the team, there is a problem with me, so I set the standard for it," he said. "My deal is we have not created the standard we need there. So I'll start with myself. Then we'll look at staff, we'll keep looking at recruiting and player development. But the real deal is we're going through this week, get one day better, have a good week, go after Ohio State Saturday. Do the same thing the following week, and we'll build from there and see."

It should be noted that Ohio State is the most lethal offensive team the Hoosiers have faced this year, ranking in the top 10 in the nation in rushing (fourth at 315 yards per game), total offense (sixth at 537 yards a game) and scoring (49.4 points per game).

No wonder the Buckeyes are favored by 32 points.

INJURY FRONT: Meyer said LB Joshua Perry (surgery on broken finger) is probable and LB Curtis Grant (back spasms) is "50-50" or "questionable" for Saturday's 3:30 p.m. game against Indiana at the Horseshoe.

FINAL HOME GAME: Eighteen seniors will be coming out of the tunnel for the final time at Ohio Stadium against the Hoosiers.

Backup QB Kenny Guiton said he's going to relish every minute.

"I have thought about it a lot. I've been talking to a lot of guys about it," he said. "My closest, closest guys, like (WR) Chris Fields and (RB) Jordan Hall, we're just, like, 'Man, we can't talk about that.' We kind of get sentimental about it. It's going to be a touchy day. Some tears may come out. I'm hoping not. But it's going to be a lot of fun."