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Meyer says bye week will be intense for Buckeyes

The SportsXchange

The uniforms had not yet been washed following the 56-0 blowout of Purdue, and Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was already prepping for the next game, two weeks away.

Meyer, he with the psychology degree and the two national championship rings, does not want a bye week to mean his team allows its collective mind to wander.

"We are taking a positive approach to it," Meyer said about Ohio State's second off week in the past month. "It will be a very intense bye week, and we have to come back faster and stronger. That has to happen."

That does not sound like a guy whose team had just laid a 56-0 whipping on a conference opponent. That doesn't sound like a guy who has won 22 straight games, or a guy who has not had to deliver a conciliatory post-game locker room speech in nearly three years.

Besides being concerned with Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, the three games left on the regular season schedule, Meyer is also worried about all of the chatter involving the National Championship Game, which it two months away and might or might not involve the Buckeyes.

The BCS ratings at this juncture have Ohio State trailing defending national champion Alabama, Oregon and Florida State for the two berths in that title game, but Meyer thinks any discussion of the potential scenarios revolving around the BCS championship game is detrimental.

"We have to make sure we're not worried about anything like that," Meyer said after his team had completely dominated Purdue. "That's the unfortunate thing about bye weeks. You let guys go home for weekends and they start hearing stuff like that."

Before the Buckeyes can worry about any BCS title game, or the Big Ten Championship Game that would be a necessary step to get to the big one, Meyer sees areas where they will need to improve. Sure they are 9-0 and 5-0 in the Big Ten, but he wants more.

"We just have to come back stronger and faster," Meyer said about the bye week.


BYE WEEK MISSION: Like every other team in America, the Buckeyes will use this bye week to rest and recover from the grind of the first nine games, but don't look for anyone to be relaxing too much around the Wood Hayes Center, the heart of the Ohio State football operation. There are depth issues to address in the injury-riddled secondary, and the need to incorporate some new wrinkles into the offense, especially to utilize the talents of freshman speedster RB/KR Dontre Wilson.


--TE Jeff Heuerman had 116 yards in receptions in the win at Purdue, recording the best receiving day by an Ohio State tight end since the 1983 season. With more attention being paid to the Buckeyes' wideouts, Heuerman has found room to range shallow in the secondary.

--QB Braxton Miller enters the bye week ranked fourth nationally in completion percentage and seventh nationally in passing efficiency. Miller, who is 19-0 as a starter over the past two seasons, has the Buckeyes running the eighth-most productive offense in the nation with an average of 530.9 yards per game.

--DB Doran Grant took an interception back 33 yards for a touchdown less than a minute into the game at Purdue. It was the first pick six of the season for the Buckeyes, and a big confidence builder for a secondary that had been the target of some sharp criticism earlier in the season.

--RB Carlos Hyde, who saw limited duty in the blowout win over Purdue, still piled up 111 rushing yards for his fourth 100-yard game of the season, and the 10th in his career.

--QB Kenny Guiton had 98 rushing yards in backup duty in the rout of Purdue, and scored a pair of touchdowns for the second straight game.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "That's the unfortunate thing about bye weeks -- we let guys go and they start hearing, with all due respect, things like national title talk. We just need them to come back strong and faster." -- Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer on one of the dangers of a bye week.

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