SvoNotebook: Going Streaking, Draft And More

Our weekly notebook hits this morning with notes on Ohio State players and staff making sure it enjoys the ride as a school-record win streak looms, plus notes on the NFL draft, Camren Williams and more.

Much has been made about how at Florida, Urban Meyer became burnt out and ended up with severe health problems as a result.

Meyer listed a number of reasons why that happened, and at the end of the day, it seemed clear the coach found less joy than relief when it came to winning football games by the end of his career as coach of the Gators.

But a little known fact – at least until this week – is how Tom Herman felt the same thing earlier in his career.

Herman was the offensive coordinator at Rice in 2008 when the Owls won 10 games and went to a bowl game for the first time since 1954. Leading an offense that placed among the nation's best in passing, scoring and yardage, Herman should have been on top of the world.

It wasn't quite that way.

"We had a really good season at Rice a few years back," he said Monday. "It started to be at the end of the year where winning felt like a relief, and it wasn't exaltation, jubilation. It was like a relief – ‘Whew, okay, we won again.'

"I promised myself after that season that I'd never take a win for granted, whether you win 3-2 or 60-35 or you win 76-0. Wins are really, really hard, I mean, really hard."

Of course, the wins have come both easy and difficult for the Buckeyes the past two seasons – 22 of them in a row, in fact, tied for the most in a row at Ohio State with the teams that played from 1967 through the final game of 1969, a loss at Michigan.

So as the Buckeyes go through experiencing history, there is an effort inside of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center to appreciate what is happening. In the macro sense, that means knowing that with one win vs. Indiana on Saturday, the Buckeyes' accomplishments will likely be remembered forever.

"It really means a lot to us," linebacker Ryan Shazier said. "A lot of us were talking not too long ago and it's something special. Nobody wants to hear it (but) we all die, but history always stays with us. Everybody knows at the end of the day we can be in the history books forever."

In a micro sense, though, Meyer is focusing more on the reward for each victory in the present tense – the chance to have Victory Meal on Sunday after each win. Meyer's drive to win at Florida was so strong that Victory Meal ended up being neglected at times in his tenure, but that's not the case at OSU.

"We had Victory Meal last night," Meyer said Monday. "22nd time they got to go eat victory meal. I think there's an appreciation of where we're at."

Herman, of course, agreed.

"We don't ever want to take that for granted on how difficult it is, no matter who you play, no matter who you are, that winning a football game on Saturday and playing 60 minutes, at the end of the day looking up and having more points on the scoreboard than your opponent, is an incredibly hard thing to do, and should be enjoyed for the short amount of time that you can enjoy it, then start to prepare for the next week," Herman said.

Hoosier Hysteria
Ohio State won at Indiana last year, but in some ways, it didn't feel like it.

Not only did Indiana score a pair of touchdowns in the final minute to come within one more onside kick of a massive upset, the 49 points the Hoosiers scored in their three-point loss to the Buckeyes in Bloomington served as the most allowed by OSU since 1946.

The Buckeyes were 7-0 after the victory, but as Meyer sat on a folding chair outside the locker room in Memorial Stadium eating a Chick-fil-A sandwich, it was clear he was not a happy camper.

"That was one of the first times I've ever seen our guys have an effort problem here," he said this week. "That was not a comfortable Sunday when we all came back in here. People make mistakes in football all the time. As a matter of fact, you make probably more mistakes than you make great plays.

"But lack of effort is something that is just not tolerated. That is the only time I can remember, ‘Wait a minute, that guy's not trying. What's the problem here? Let's get that fixed.' Fortunately we got it fixed."

In that game, Ohio State's offense was nearly unstoppable, piling up 578 yards. Braxton Miller posted 360 yards of total offense, rushing for 149 yards including a 67-yard TD. Carlos Hyde added 156 yards and a touchdown and Devin Smith caught a pair of touchdown passes.

But the damage on the other side of the ball was impressive. Indiana threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns – two of which were tossed by Nate Sudfeld, IU's throwing QB this year as well – and also ran for a trio of scores.

"Yeah, that sticks with me a little bit because a lot of people overlooked them and they weren't really playing them as we should and weren't playing Silver Bullet defense," Shazier said. "We know we have to go in there and show everybody what we're all about. We can't sleep on anybody."

Feeling A Draft
Meyer was not in the mood to discuss topics not germane to his team's day-to-day improvement this week, but he did defer to a writer Monday who asked about the potential of the team to lose some of its high-profile juniors to the NFL draft this offseason.

The Buckeyes have already announced that fourth-year junior cornerback Bradley Roby will not return next season for his final year of eligibility, and he could be joined in the draft by players like Miller, Shazier, wideout Devin Smith and more.

Meyer said the discussions about those players will take place at a later date, but the head coach – who has made it clear he's OK with players leaving early if they make the most of their OSU careers – is fully prepared to have them.

"At some point, it's after the season, between the bowl game and end of the season," he said. "I've sat in a lot of those meetings. We'll probably have a couple this year. But not yet."

For their parts, Miller and Shazier didn't seem too eager to discuss the situation Wednesday. The quarterback simply laughed and said, "Who, me? I'm not talking about that," while Shazier used a few more words to answer the hypothetical.

"Right now, to be honest, that hasn't even entered my mind," Shazier said. "I've just been talking to my coaches about the upcoming game and keeping that as my focus."

Where There's A Williams…
The Buckeyes were without starting linebackers Joshua Perry and Curtis Grant last week, leaving sophomore Camren Williams to see by far his most extensive playing time at linebacker.

The reviews were mixed. Williams finished third on the squad with 10 tackles and also broke up a pass, all good news. On the negative side, Illinois appeared to attack the Buckeyes with passes into Williams' area, and he also the spotlight on him when he whiffed on back-to-back tackle attempts in the hole.

So how did the Massachusetts native do? Shazier had an answer when asked Wednesday.

"I think Camren did a good job for us for how little he prepared for the position," Shazier said. "He did what he was asked to do. We all made a few mistakes – he missed a few tackles and I missed a few tackles. He did what we needed him to do and we got the win. That's all that matters."

Lost a bit in the fact that Williams was up and down in his first career start was the fact he was playing middle linebacker after having played on the strong side behind Perry so far this year.

Facts And Figures
Ohio State has won 18 games in a row against Indiana, dating back to a 27-27 tie in Bloomington in 1990. Ohio State hasn't lost to the Hoosiers since a 41-7 blowout in John Cooper's first season of 1988. Previously, Ohio State won 23 in a row vs. the Hoosiers between 1960-86 and 30 of 31 with a scoreless tie in 1959 serving as the only non-victory. The Hoosiers have beaten the Buckeyes just twice since 1952 – consecutive wins in 1987 and '88.

Both teams in this game have already set school records for touchdowns scored in a season. Ohio State's 67 have topped the previous mark of 64 scored by the 1995 team, while Indiana's 52 scores are two more than the record set by the 2007 squad.

Ohio State allowed its first rushes of at least 20 yards last week when Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase had two, and the Buckeyes will be tested again this week. Indiana running back Tevin Coleman (who is doubtful with an ankle injury) is tied for the league lead in rushes of at least 30 yards with nine, and he has 14 gains of 20 yards or more. He is just one of five players in the league to have at least a 70-yard run, joining Miller and Wisconsin's three-headed rushing monster of Melvin Gordon, James White and Corey Clement.

Indiana's pass game is also the most explosive in the league, as the Hoosiers 15 passes for 40 yards or more leads the Big Ten by five. That is third in the nation behind second-place Troy (16) and Baylor, which laps the field with 27 such throws.

On the flip side, Indiana has allowed 63 plays of at least 20 yards, which sits 114th in the FBS. The Hoosiers are 100th or worst in both rushes of at least 20 yards allowed and passes, so it's a true pick your poison situation vs. this weekend's visitors.

Indiana is the first team in Big Ten history, the only team in the FBS and the first team since 2011 (Houston) with five 1,000-yard pass-catchers playing together at one time. Cody Latimer (123 catches; 1,872 yards), Kofi Hughes (120; 1,782), Shane Wynn (118; 1,379) and Ted Bolser (112; 1,313) have reached 100 catches and 1,000 yards, while Duwyce Wilson (81 and 1,043) has surpassed 1,000 yards.

The game matches two of the best kickers in the Big Ten. Drew Basil had not missed a kick before banging a PAT off the left upright and missing a 49-yard field goal last week, while Indiana's Mitch Ewald is 9 of 9 on field goals and a perfect 46 for 46 in extra-point attempts. Only four kickers in the nation can boast of that.

Ohio State must watch out for return man Shane Wynn. The Cleveland Glenville product has returned both a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown in his career. Last week, fellow Tarblooder V'Angelo Bentley returned a punt for a score vs. Ohio State for Illinois.

Indiana has 16 Ohioans on its roster, including starters Ted Bolster (tight end, Cincinnati Indian Hill), Cody Latimer (wideout, Dayton Jefferson), Mark Murphy (safety, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary), Ryan Phillis (defensive end, Youngstown Boardman), Zach Shaw (defensive end, Coshocton) and Shane Wynn (wideout, Cleveland Glenville). In addition, offensive lineman David Kaminski of Strongsville was a starter before suffering a torn ACL.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories