Just Getting Bye

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is quick to point out what his team needs to work on between now and the second half of the Buckeyes' schedule. But for now, Meyer remains intent on getting Ohio State as much rest as it can throughout its week off from action.

Even for a coach with a go-hard mentality like Urban Meyer, it's okay to take a break every once in a while. And during Ohio State's off week, that's exactly what the priority of the Buckeyes' head coach is.

Despite OSU entering its bye week undefeated and as the only 6-0 team in the country, the Buckeyes have plenty to work on, and Meyer will be the first to tell you. But as Ohio State gears up for the second half of its regular season schedule, what's most important to the second-year Buckeyes headman is getting his team rested and healthy for the stretch run.

"Some people see a bye week and go act like a jerk on the weekend, and that's not what bye weeks are for," Meyer said. "Football's a tough, violent, contact sport. Your joints and your shoulders and everything that needs a break -- that's what it's for. If they come back eight pounds underweight or eight pounds overweight and they're not at least watching football, that'd be a disgrace. And I'd have a real problem with that."

But before the Buckeyes can head home for the weekend, they will have first endured three days of practice, including self-scouting and preparation for OSU's next opponent, Iowa. Among the areas that Meyer would like to see his team improve before the Buckeyes take on the Hawkeyes is Ohio State's pass defense, which struggled significantly during last weekend's 40-30 win over Northwestern.

"We've made a conscious decision to stop the run and as a result sometimes you leave people on islands and you don't have the same focus on the backend," Meyer said. "That's who we are. We've won a lot of games doing it. Now we have to improve the other end of it. And we're working very hard as a staff at it."

Without an immediate opponent in front of them, Meyer admitted that it can be tough sometimes for players to focus on improvement in what can be viewed by some as a week off from football. The 12th-year head coach doesn't have those worries about this year's team, however, as a certain maturity about it has made itself evident over the first half of the season.

"Fortunately, I haven't felt that. Sometimes, I've had to do all kinds of stuff," Meyer said. "I like this group. They're kind of professional in the way they handle their business."

In terms of injuries, Meyer admitted that the Buckeyes are still feeling the sting of the season-ending injury that Christian Bryant suffered two weeks ago against Wisconsin, and is being cautious with running back Jordan Hall, who didn't play against the Wildcats due to a "tweaked knee." Ohio State is expected to be with nicked up defensive end Adolphus Washington against Iowa, as well as sophomore defensive tackle Tommy Schutt, who missed the Buckeyes' first six games of the season with a broken foot.

Couple Schutt's return with a refreshed group from the off week, and Ohio State could be in good shape heading into the backend of its schedule. But as Meyer warned, the Buckeyes would be best served enjoying their bye week while it lasts, because its end will be here before they know it.

"Their back on Monday morning, early at 6 a.m.," Meyer said. "Get ready to go."


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