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Urban Meyer has higher expectations

September 9, 2012
By JIM NAVEAU - Special to the Herald-Star , The Herald-Star

COLUMBUS - Urban Meyer expected a little more, too.

Starting the season with back-to-back wins by 46 points against Miami of Ohio and by 15 points against Central Florida, a team headed to the Big East next season, is nothing to complain about.

And Meyer wasn't complaining after Ohio State's 31-16 win over Central Florida on Saturday.

But he expected a little more dominance. A few more fireworks. Maybe a few more points on the scoreboard.

As Meyer has demonstrated by going for a first down instead of a field goal or a punt on fourth down three times in the last two weeks, you will never hear him talk about letting the game come to him. He wants to take it to the other team again and again and again.

Like a lot of the Ohio State fans energized by his arrival, he expected just a little bit more by this point in the season.

Asked if OSU has met his expectations two games into the season, Meyer said his team is "not where I thought we'd be."

"I thought we'd be a little more explosive on offense and get a little more pressure on the quarterback," he said.

Injuries, along with a starter leaving the team, have probably contributed to OSU coming up a little short of Meyer's expectations for his running backs and defensive linemen.

No. 1 running back Jordan Hall has not played yet after foot surgery to repair a torn tendon and freshman Warren Ball is out indefinitely, also because of foot surgery. Then, on Saturday, starter Carlos Hyde left the field on a golf cart with a sprained knee.

Defensive linemen Nathan Williams and Michael Bennett did not dress for Saturday's game. Williams was too sore to play after making a comeback in last week's opener from a year off after knee surgery and Bennett has a strained groin.

"He was sore all week. He didn't practice," Meyer said about Williams. "It's frustrating for him, it's frustrating for us."

Add in the fact that Adam Bellamy, a starter in 10 games last season, left the team in August and the ability to apply pressure in waves Ohio State expected is not there.

The 27 carries by quarterback Braxton Miller against Central Florida after he ran the ball 17 times against Miami makes finding a replacement for Hyde next week against California a priority.

Freshman Bri'onte Dunn, fumble-prone Rod Smith and even fullback Zach Boren are the three options Meyer mentioned first.

"I'm open for any suggestions. No, not really. I'm not open for suggestions. But I know we'll get some," Meyer said. "But we've got to develop a running back," he said.

Whatever develops, Meyer has a plan and believes he can get OSU where he expects it to be.

Take going for a first down (and not making it) at Ohio State's 47-yard line on Saturday, then doing the same thing (and making it) at OSU's 49-yard line the next time the Buckeyes had the ball.

"I'm just trying to push the button to make us a good team," Meyer said. "Midfield, you should be able to get a first down. At some point you have to do that when you're a very good team, which right now we're not. But we're working our tails off to become that very good team."

 
 

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