Buckeyes get extra week to prepare for Bearcats, Kiel
COLUMBUS (AP) — If any naive Ohio State football players had a notion that they were getting this week off, coach Urban Meyer dispelled that possibility almost immediately.
Yeah, they’ll get a couple of days off. But then it’s back to work.
“Time to move on, a bye week, and then get ready,” Meyer said soon after Saturday’s 66-0 stroll past overmatched Kent State. “I watched Cincinnati and they’re a very talented team, so we’re going to put everything we can into it the next two weeks to win that game.”
The 23rd-ranked Buckeyes (2-1) don’t play this Saturday and then take on the Bearcats (1-0) on Sept. 27.
Meyer gave his charges Sunday and Monday off. They resume practice on Tuesday and, along with cleaning up some ongoing problems, will begin preparing for that next big game on the schedule.
They were still thinking about a 35-21 home loss to Virginia Tech in week two while looking ahead to the Bearcats in the moments after beating another in-state opponent.
“It still hurts from last week,” quarterback J.T. Barrett said. “We’re still going to come out aggressive. (Cincinnati is) a good team. I don’t think we’re going to sit on this.”
The Bearcats play Miami (Ohio) this Saturday. It’s a rivalry that has moved to the back burner as the RedHawks have fallen on hard times in recent years.
Coach Tommy Tuberville declined to address Ohio State just yet. He said his team’s got enough on its plate already.
“We’ve got another week at the salt rock,” Tuberville told The Cincinnati Enquirer on Sunday when asked about the impending game with the Buckeyes. “Miami has struggled, but they’ve had a coaching change. You can tell by looking at film that they’re much better than last year.”
In their most recent games, Barrett and Cincinnati QB Gunner Kiel each threw for six touchdowns, Kiel in Friday night’s wild 58-34 win over Toledo that got Meyer’s attention.
Kiel completed 25 of 37 passes for 418 yards to match Tony Pike’s school record.
Kiel had a bad case of nerves. Still, he established that he’s UC’s quarterback after taking over for the injured Munchie Legaux.
“For me, I think it silenced the critics,” he said.
“People were kind of bashing me, a lot of people. I shook that off and played my game and had fun.”
In the rout of Kent State, Barrett hit on 23 of 30 passes for 312 yards with an interception, his six touchdown throws matching Kenny Guiton’s year-old school record.
“I can hear Kenny calling me now talking about, ‘You tied me, you tied me but you didn’t beat me though,”’ Barrett said with a laugh. “It’s all good.”
The Ohio State program is 17-9 in games the week after a regular-season bye. They’ve won their last six such games, including all three since Meyer took over in 2012.
He believes that the current Buckeyes need a hard week of work to iron out areas still open to question despite the landslide win.
“Our guys need repetitions,” said Meyer. “Football is a game of organized chaos out there and the more often you get players in those situations (the better).”
AP Sports Writer Joe Kay contributed from Cincinnati.
Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RustyMillerAP