Meyer Worried About Overconfidence Before IU

All the elements are there for a classic case of overconfidence as Ohio State heads into a game vs. Indiana on Saturday night. Even Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is concerned, but the Buckeye staff has tried to drill home the fact the Buckeyes have to be ready to play come Saturday night and even beyond.

In a recent poll here on, more than 90 percent of Ohio State fans responding said they think the football team will be 10-0 this season.

Urban Meyer hasn't seen those numbers, but it's fair to say the coach might not want to. After spending the entire offseason molding the Buckeyes into an "angry" team poised to wear its underdog tag proudly, Meyer now oversees a team that is in many ways back in an old role – that of the favorite.

The Buckeyes are ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press writers' poll, placing them 17 spots above the only other team in the top 25 – No. 25 Michigan. At 2-0 in the league with wins against preseason Big Ten favorites Michigan State and Nebraska and 6-0 overall, the Buckeyes are the lone undefeated squad left in the league.

And of course, Ohio State is coming off of a huge win, a 63-38 lambasting of Nebraska in front of a stadium-record crowd that to many signaled the official arrival of a new era of Buckeye football. In the past week, multiple national outlets have written pieces about how the Buckeyes are set to dominate the Big Ten for years to come.

No coach in the world would change what's happened so far for the Buckeyes during the 2012 season. But every coach in the world knows what might come next – heads swelling to the point they might not fit in OSU's iconic helmets.

"It's very alarming," Meyer said. "We're not at the point that we can start overlooking everybody because we certainly don't have the answers. But it is a concern."

Meyer's reaction isn't to ignore the fact the Buckeyes have shot up the rankings, though. The coach's goal is to create a program that not only embraces but expects high expectations, so when Meyer was asked if he would take a page from other coaches across the country and not look at the rankings, he said simply, "Not this coach."

"They have a right to know where they stand on a national level," Meyer said. "You come to Ohio State, and that's why we're all here. You should have those discussions in the middle of October."

Of course, Ohio State is ineligible for the Big Ten title game or a bowl game this year, but Meyer still wants his players to reap the reward of their good work.

On the flip side, the Buckeyes are so young – as Meyer has repeatedly pointed out – that the coach is still worried about how they'll respond to the upcoming run against unranked Indiana, Purdue, Penn State and Illinois. He's glad that Saturday night's Indiana clash is a night game because he thinks that might help focus his squad a little more than the usual noon start.

The good news is that some of the Buckeyes aren't even 100 percent sure of what lies ahead after the trip to Bloomington.

"In general, human nature is to look ahead and think about the future and the possibilities and things like that, but I couldn't even tell you who we're playing after Indiana, honestly," safety and special teamer Zach Domicone said. "It's one focus in mind to get to 7-0 and just focus on them. We need to go to Bloomington and take care of business."

Meyer also thinks the film speaks well of the Hoosiers. Despite a 2-3 record and an 0-2 Big Ten start, the Hoosiers have started to impress thanks to a high-octane offense that might be as good as any in the league.

"I think we'll find out on defense that Indiana is very good on offense," Meyer said. "We have not done well against that style of offense this year. I'm concerned about execution and stopping them, not that we're overlooking them. On defense they're not as strong against the run as these last two teams we played were, so I am a little bit concerned. However when we're watching the film they have very good players."

That's a message already heard by Meyer's veterans.

"I don't think it's entering into anybody's minds that these are easy teams because they're unranked," center Corey Linsley said. "You saw Indiana almost beat a very good Michigan State team last week, and were it not for a couple of mishaps, they would have done it. Indiana can play up to that level and that ability, and so can the rest of these teams because they're all Big Ten players."

Getting a team focused at the start of a game is easier said than done, though. Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said he drilled his team about starting fast last week at IU coming off of the close home loss to Ohio State, and the Spartans promptly fell into a deep first-half hole.

Ohio State will hope a yearlong focus on, well, focus will pay off then against the Hoosiers.

"Coach Meyer and our coaching staff do a good job of keeping us focused on the next game," Domicone said. "I don't think that's anything that needs to be brought up. I think everyone knows that we need to take it one game at a time. We talk a lot around here about grinding, and I think we're going to grind every day, every practice and every game."

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