Coach Urban Meyer has provided numerous psychological motivators throughout this college football season for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Inheriting a team that went 6-7 during the 2011 season, Coach Meyer has been able to effectively push the right buttons to lead the Buckeyes to a 6-0 record this season.
Perhaps Coach Meyer can draw upon a painful lesson from the 1987 season to keep the Buckeyes properly focused for this upcoming contest versus Indiana on October 13th at 8pm EST. If Coach Meyer does not feel he is the best person to deliver the message, perhaps he can ask his mentor, former Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce, to deliver the message.
Yes, I know it happened back in 1987. Yes, I know it happened many years before members of this team were even born. Yes, I know it happened in Ohio Stadium, and not in Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana, where this coming Saturday’s game will be played.
(Go on ahead and say it – “Minnich, how old are you?!? Referencing a game from 1987?!?”)
All valid questions and worthwhile points.
If the first example seems too ancient to contemplate, maybe Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell and Ohio State defensive line coach Mike Vrabel can draw on their personal experiences, when they were both seniors on the Ohio State defensive line. Anyone remember how close the 1996 game versus Indiana was?
Yes, I know Ohio State won that game. Yes, I know that 1996 was sixteen years ago, so again, most of these players will not be able to reflect on how difficult it was for Ohio State to put Indiana away, even though the Buckeyes were prohibitive favorites.
Perhaps Coach Meyer will simply turn on the film of this past week’s game for his team.
No, not Ohio State versus Nebraska. Indiana versus Michigan State.
Yes, that Michigan State team that Ohio State had to rally to defeat by one point a couple weeks ago, 17-16. The same Michigan State team that was losing to Indiana by seventeen points, needing to rally to victory over the Hoosiers, 31-27.
Even last season, Ohio State was tied up with Indiana late in the game, until Ohio State pulled away to a 34-20 victory. And that was a home game, not on the road.
Yes, I will concede that this year’s Ohio State team versus last year’s team is like making a comparison between night and day. The offensive game plans of new offensive coordinator Tom Herman, continuing development of quarterback Braxton Miller, and immensely improved play of the offensive line are just three of the areas that jump out at most Ohio State fans.
What I will suggest to any and all Ohio State fans is that it is imperative for Coach Meyer and the Ohio State coaching staff to impress upon the football team one of the oldest maxims in every sport ~ Never underestimate your opponent.
Otherwise, the alternative can be referred to as the “darkest day”.