Ohio State coach Urban Meyer took advantage of an open date Saturday to watch college football and caught himself comparing the Buckeyes to some of the top teams in the nation.
“You start wondering where you stack up, and then I try to click right back into, ‘Don’t worry about that, just take care of your own business,’ ” he said.
Still, Meyer couldn’t help himself. He said at his Monday media luncheon that he watched the entire Michigan-Penn State four-overtime thriller as well as highlights from other games, including No. 3 Clemson’s squeaker at home against Boston College.
Pressed for his thoughts on where his team stands nationally, Meyer said: “I think we’re right there. I think we’re a good team, I really do. I think we’re not an explosive as some of these teams that are real explosive. But I watched Clemson very closely. And every once in a while you play football against a very well-prepared team, and they take away some of the explosiveness, and that’s what happens.”
Clemson needed a fourth-quarter rally to get by BC, 24-14.
“It’s not necessarily what Clemson did wrong, it’s what Boston College did right. And we run into the same things,” Meyer said. “They have scholarships, too, and have very good players and are well-coached teams.
“But that’s something, if I had to grade us, we’re not explosive from the first to fourth quarter.”
The Buckeyes (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) should have a chance to work on some of their big-play ability leading up to the Michigan game. Their next five opponents before the season finale are a combined 15-14.
The school-record for consecutive victories is within range. The Buckeyes, who host Iowa (4-2, 1-1) Saturday, have the longest winning streak in the nation at 18 in a row, four short of the all-time OSU mark of 22 set from 1967-69.
“I can feel sometimes pressure mounting on players when you’re on a streak,” Meyer said. “You start hearing about it, and my job as a coach and our coaching staff is it’s all about today. And there’s some teams that do an incredible job of that.
“I think Oregon does an incredible job of that. This tight end got in trouble and left or something, and it’s next guy up, go play, he’s gone,” he added, referring to Colt Lyerla, an honorable-mention All-PAC-12 pick last season who announced he was transferring. “I think that’s every coach’s focus — just get to the next day.”
Despite the less-than-imposing competition, Meyer isn’t concerned his players will lose their edge. He often talks about wanting an angry team, and the Buckeyes are still chafing over having to sit out last year’s bowl season and feel they have something to prove.
“I like to use that a little bit, and they respond very well,” Meyer said. “I saw a little bit of a drop off at Northwestern in the preparation (compared to) going up to Wisconsin. The Wisconsin game, the entire week felt like a rivalry week, and I didn’t feel that. It might have been fatigue a little bit.
“But this team at times really plays like that, and they are easy to motivate.”
Injury update: Sophomore defensive tackle Tommy Schutt, who was contending for a starting spot in preseason camp, has been cleared to play after missing the first six games with a fractured foot.
Senior running back Jordan Hall, the team leader in rushing yards (427) and touchdowns (eight), was expected to practice this week after missing the Northwestern game with a knee injury.
Death in family: Linebacker Curtis Grant was home in Richmond, Va., on Monday to attend the funeral of his father, Curtis Grant Sr., who died Oct. 8 at age 54.
“I talked to him. He’s actually doing pretty good right now,” linebacker Ryan Shazier said of his teammate. “I told him we’re all here for him, and if he needs anything, I’ve got him.”
ABC again: The OSU-Penn State game at 8 p.m. on Oct. 26 will be televised nationally on ABC. It’s the third straight night game on the network for the Buckeyes.
Celebrity game: Former Ohio State football players will face Dayton area all-stars in a flag football game at 7 p.m. Sunday at Northridge High School. Proceeds from the game will go to the Dayton Sluggers baseball team and Northridge H.S. football team. Tickets cost $10 and are available at the gate.
Ohio State (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) vs. Iowa (4-2, 1-1), 3:30 p.m. Saturday, ABC, 1410