Monday briefing: Positive reinforcement

September, 24, 2012
9/24/12
4:43
PM ET
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The players had apparently heard enough about Ohio State's early-season issues.

Rather than play that same broken record for the Buckeyes, Urban Meyer decided to bust out the greatest hits instead.

Mixed in with the ineffective drives that were difficult for the Ohio State coach to watch when he reviewed the film on Sunday were a handful that revealed the true potential of the offense when it's rolling. And instead of reliving both the good and the bad from the 29-15 win over UAB on Saturday, when the players arrived to the practice complex to start preparing for a trip to Michigan State, the former was all they saw.

"I just put together a reel of four drives, and it was about as well done as we’ve played all year," Meyer said during his Monday news conference. "I did that more for me, I think. I have to eat lunch, and I wasn’t about to eat lunch after what I saw.

"So just put together three or four good drives for me, and one thing about this team, when it’s time to go win a game, to date they’ve gone out and won a game. We are what we are right now, and it’s a workmanlike team that has to get better."

The Buckeyes have shown flashes of being much more than that offensively, though, which Meyer reminded them of as their attention turned to the toughest test they will have faced this season against Michigan State's stingy defense.

For starters, he highlighted the sharp passes and decision-making of quarterback Braxton Miller. He pointed out the progress right tackle Reid Fragel has made with a couple pancake blocks. And while that doesn't mean the Buckeyes won't have to watch a few mistakes on film throughout the week, Sunday was all about the positives.

"I think he told me one time he was a psych major," center Corey Linsley said. "That could play a factor in what he does. It was the best thing for us right now.

"Everybody left that game feeling like, ‘How did that just happen? How did we not just absolutely dominate every aspect of the game?’ After seeing that, it was like, ‘Well, we could have, and this is how you do it.' So, I felt that was the best thing for us."

Now all the Buckeyes have to do is give Meyer more drives to choose from when he puts together his clips next time.

Bumps and bruises: A little wiggle room was left just in case, but Meyer didn't stop all that shy of assuring that Carlos Hyde would return to the backfield against the Spartans.

The Buckeyes could be ready to welcome Michael Bennett back to the defensive line and get two starters in the secondary in the lineup again as well.

Meyer called Hyde "very probable," and Bennett, safety C.J. Barnett and cornerback Bradley Roby were all designated as probable to suit up as the Buckeyes open Big Ten play on Saturday at Michigan State.

All four guys would provide a lift for Meyer, though he might have a bit more of a need for those three defensive starters given some occasional tackling issues over the last couple weeks on that side of the ball.

"I think every indication is [Bennett] is going to play," Meyer said. "I’ll give you an update [this week on Roby and Barnett]. They ran around yesterday. I saw them both earlier, they were both bright-eyed and ready to go, getting treatment.

"I’d say probable at this point, and we need them obviously."

Champions club: Doran Grant's first start produced one of the highest grades on the team when the coaching staff evaluated the film. But the sophomore cornerback couldn't quite match safety Christian Bryant, who continued his two-week surge by earning defensive player of the week honors just ahead of Grant's impressive debut.

Bryant just missed an appearance in the Champions Club named by the coaches after every game last week thanks to a tackle that slipped away from him, but he more than made up for it by grading out at 93 percent against UAB to take the top honors on his side of the ball.

The other members from the latest victory: He said it: "I wasn’t aware of all the expectations, I know it’s Ohio State and there’s all kinds of expectations here. I’m not giving up. I think by the end of the year this might be a hell of a football team -- might be sooner than that." -- Meyer, on meeting the high expectations for the program

Austin Ward | email

Ohio State/Big Ten reporter

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