COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — What's brewing with the 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes ...
BUCKEYES BUZZ: Since Ohio State is favored by 32 points at Purdue on Saturday, it's important to once again fall back on the words of head coach Urban Meyer when it comes to the BCS and running up the score.
Meyer was asked on the Big Ten coaches teleconference this week about the balancing act that he faces, trying to impress voters and move up in the BCS with a lopsided win while retaining a sense of sportsmanship.
"I don't really look at winning with style points; I just want our guys to play," Meyer said. "The biggest issue I have is the injury component, that's why we pull them out in the third quarter. Then there's also great coaches on the other side. I've been on that other side at other times. You take those (factors) all into consideration."
Some Penn State backers were critical of Meyer for the margin in Saturday's 63-14 beat-down of the Nittany Lions.
Their basis was three things from the game: Meyer kicked onside with 3 seconds left in the half with a 42-7 lead, he had both quarterbacks on the field as late as the 4-minute mark of the third quarter on a TD play that made it 56-7, and he threw a challenge flag over where the ball was spotted with the game clearly out of hand in the second half.
Someone from Meyer's camp would argue that the onside kick was merely to avoid a long runback, that starting QB Braxton Miller really didn't play a major role on that third-period TD drive, and that Meyer won the challenge over the improperly spotted ball. So there.
Back on the conference call, it was pointed out to Meyer that, since other schools play the "win big and move up" game, it certainly would help Ohio State's cause. The Buckeyes are No. 4 in the BCS rankings for the second week in a row and badly need to get around two teams.
"I don't really listen to that. I've heard people say that we haven't won impressively," he said. "I don't read much, but I'll hear people like at a press conference say, 'Are you worried about people jumping you even when you win?' We spend very little team time even thinking about that. No, that's not even in our thought process."
SMITH STAYING: Ohio State AD Gene Smith on Thursday shot down rumors that he was among those interviewing for the vacant University of Texas athletic director position.
Smith, also an Ohio State VP, issued a statement via email and also on his Twitter account.
It read: "I have the greatest respect for the University of Texas and one of my mentors, DeLoss Dodds. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to be the athletics director at The Ohio State University. Reports of me interviewing at the University of Texas are inaccurate."
A seven-person advisory panel is searching for a replacement for Dodds, who built the Longhorns into the nation's richest athletic department with an annual budget of nearly $170 million. Dodds is retiring in 2014 after 32 years at Texas.
LOT OF GREEN IN THE GOLD AND BLACK: Purdue coach Darrell Hazell has an exceedingly young team. That's part of the reason the Boilermakers (1-6, 0-3 Big Ten) have struggled so far going into their game against Ohio State (8-0, 4-0) at noon on Saturday at Ross-Ade Stadium.
"They've got to learn fast," Hazell said of his first-year players. "There were 34 freshmen of the 70 on the travel roster for our game on Saturday. That's a lot of freshmen. And a lot of them are playing for us right now."
Developing that staggering number of young players requires patience and, at the same time, expedience. Purdue cannot afford to let them adjust to Big Ten football at their own pace. So the coaching staff must indoctrinate them quickly.
"We have to do a good job of getting those guys caught up as fast as we can and ready so they don't hurt the football team," he said.
THEY'VE HAD A LOT OF PRACTICE: Purdue is near the bottom of the Big Ten in nearly every major statistical category.
Yet the Boilermakers are No. 2 in the nation in net punting (punting average minus return average), thanks to P Cody Webster, at 42.7 yards per attempt.
That's almost as if Ohio State's top returner, Corey Brown, is being dared to do something big.
"We know our punt-block team, with the style of punt block that we do, either going after it or returning the ball, is dynamic," the wide-out said. "We know we bring something different to the table and they're going to have to adjust, just like we're going to have to adjust. And we're going to go at it."
Brown is averaging 14.4 yards per return, 10th best in the nation. The Buckeyes, behind P Cameron Johnston, are 14th in net punting (40.0).
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