Captains help Meyer keep team focused

Tim May
Ohio State wide receiver Johnnie Dixon eludes Northwestern defensive back Alonzo Mayo during the Big Ten title game Dec. 1 in Indianapolis. [Michael Conroy/Associated Press file photo]

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Between riding rides at Disneyland on Wednesday, taking part in the Lawry’s Beef Bowl on Thursday and enjoying other fun activities, the Ohio State Buckeyes also have to get ready to play Washington on Tuesday in the Rose Bowl.

Urban Meyer said he has no doubt that his players’ minds will be focused when the whistle blows. Meyer, who announced his retirement earlier this month, is 11-3 over his 17 seasons in bowls and College Football Playoff games, and he has every intention of adding to the win total in the Rose.

What’s his secret for keeping players focused?

“That’s a great question — I rely on those guys to my right,” Meyer said at a media appearance at Disneyland, nodding toward captains Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon, Jordan Fuller and Terry McLaurin. “If I see something that doesn’t look right, we’ll address it.

>>Video: Buckeyes try to have fun and concentrate for Rose

“To this point, we’ve only been here one day, and so far, so good.”

Meyer indicated that the key isn’t about coaches screaming to keep their players in check.

“It’s what kind of brotherhood you have on the team,” he said. “And I think I’d be shocked if our guys didn’t play well. We’re playing a very good team.

“But I’ve been a part of some teams where you worried about that. I think our guys really, truly care about each other, and they want to win this game.”

Dixon, Campbell and McLaurin are among the handful of seniors on the team, and Dixon said that prepping for the Rose Bowl is about handling business as usual.

“For us, it’s going in and doing your work like you always do,” Dixon said. “And I think it’s important for us because we want to come out and try to give our best. We’re not going to try, we’re going to give our best for coach Meyer and the seniors.

“It’s not hard for us to come in and lock in. … We could be in a meeting and somebody makes a joke, and everybody laughs. But then you’ve got to lock back in. That’s the same with this. You can come and have fun, but then you have to lock it in.”

All accounted for

Meyer said that every player made the trip, and none was subject to suspension from the game for any violation of team rules.

Martell primed for his shot

If quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. declares for the 2019 NFL draft, as many people think he will, and if Georgia backup quarterback Justin Fields, who is considering a transfer, winds up picking OSU, as many believe he will, he won’t be walking into a “here’s the job” situation. At least that’s what Buckeyes backup quarterback Tate Martell, a former five-star prospect himself, indicated in a recent tweet.

“Word of advice,” wrote Martell, who will be a third-year sophomore next season, “don’t swing and miss … especially not your second time.”