Tuesday practices are brutal for Ohio State. Coach Urban Meyer has called the full-pads day "Bloody Tuesdays" because of their intensity. Last week was a silent Tuesday, however, and the Buckeyes might have paid the price with a lackluster performance Saturday in a 38-0 victory over Hawaii.
Tuesday practices are brutal for Ohio State.
Coach Urban Meyer has called the full-pads day "Bloody Tuesdays" because of their intensity. Last week was a silent Tuesday, however, and the Buckeyes might have paid the price with a lackluster performance Saturday in a 38-0 victory over Hawaii.
Players and coaches walked a fine line Monday in wanting to not make excuses for their play and paying due respect to Hawaii. But they were also candid in explaining why the short work week after a game the preceding Monday at Virginia Tech took a toll.
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The Buckeyes practiced only on Wednesday and Thursday for the Rainbow Warriors. The NCAA denied a request to waive the rule requiring a day off for players after a game.
Now the Buckeyes are back to their normal schedule for a game Saturday against Northern Illinois at Ohio Stadium.
"I will say this: It's good to be in a routine," Meyer said. "We're glad to be in our routine this week."
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While the defense played up to par - how can you complain about a shutout? - and the kicking game was mostly solid, the offense mostly sputtered. The team's foundation is the offensive line, and it had a disappointing game. None of the linemen graded out as "champions." Hawaii's 3-4 defense with ever-changing looks gave the Buckeyes problems.
"There's all the excuses you could use, but we're not going to use those," senior left tackle Taylor Decker said. "We expect a high level of expectation regardless of a short week or a quick turnaround from a Bear defense (that Virginia Tech played) to an odd (front) defense.
"We definitely were flat. I'm not going to name names, but some guys just weren't as ready to play as they should have been."
The Buckeyes easily overcame a sluggish performance against Hawaii. They could find themselves in a tussle with Northern Illinois if they play the same way. The Huskies (2-0) are defending Mid-American Conference champions and have won at least 11 games in each of the last five seasons.
"Our players will respect them," Meyer said. "I don't anticipate a problem with that, because they're good. They've beaten Northwestern, Purdue, Iowa and Minnesota, and I wouldn't call those upsets. I think these guys are very good."
Quarterback Drew Hare has completed 50 of 64 passes (78.1 percent) for 718 yards and six touchdowns without an interception in home victories over UNLV and Murray State.
Neither of Ohio State's quarterbacks played particularly well against Hawaii, but Meyer said that Cardale Jones would remain the starter over J.T. Barrett.
"He's the starting quarterback," Meyer said. "I met with him (on Sunday). J.T. has not beaten him out yet. He's going to continue to have opportunities to do that because J.T. is a very good player, and Cardale's got to perform."
That goes for everybody. The Buckeyes have too much talent to muddle along like they did against Hawaii. But they also acknowledge that the program has reached such a status that even a lopsided win was barely celebrated outside their locker room.
"The first thing (Meyer) said when we came in the locker room is, 'How cool is it that we're at a school and play for a team where we're winning 38-0 and we're upset with that?'" Decker said.
"We expect a better performance than we had. The fans deserve a better performance, especially in our home opener. It's just nice that we'll be able to get back into our routine this week, and hopefully, we'll see a better showing on Saturday."