Considering Ohio State gained almost 500 yards in a victory over Iowa followed by almost 700 in a victory over Penn State, coach Urban Meyer said yesterday there are indications the offense has turned the corner.
And past the dominant play of the offensive line and running back Carlos Hyde, Meyer said the primary reason has been quarterback Braxton Miller distributing the ball better.
“The quarterback position, with Kenny (Guiton playing almost three full games in place of an injured Miller earlier), has played well all year — it’s playing exceptional right now,” Meyer said after practice heading into a game on Saturday at Purdue. “That means getting us in the right plays, making the right reads, even in the run game.
“Because most of our runs, he doesn’t just turn around and hand the ball off. There’s something going on (in pre- and post-snap reads). And those quick screens off of it, he’s playing a very efficient game right now. I mean like real efficient.”
The evidence was there in a 63-14 victory over the Nittany Lions.
“That was an explosive atmosphere, and our players jumped all over it early in the game,” Meyer said. “I don’t want to say I was surprised but I was kind of waiting for that, too.”
In the atmosphere
Meyer said senior left tackle and co-captain Jack Mewhort addressed the team on potholes from the past two trips to Purdue, with the Buckeyes losing in 2009 and 2011. He paid special attention to that last one to forewarn those who haven’t made the trip to Ross-Ade Stadium.
“He just talked about what it was like in that locker room after the game, and the locker room itself, that it’s not the nicest locker room, and just be prepared for what’s going to happen, it’s a tough trip,” Meyer said.
Tight end Jeff Heuerman vouched for that earlier in the week, referring to the visitors’ locker room as “awful,” and to West Lafayette, Ind., as “a gray city.”
Punt return challenge
Although Purdue has been struggling on offense and defense, the Boilermakers are No. 2 nationally in net punting (42.7 yards an attempt) with punter Cody Webster.
Ohio State’s primary punt returner, Corey Brown, said he was looking forward to the challenge.
“We know our punt-block team, with the style of punt block that we do, either going after it or returning the ball, is dynamic,” said Brown, 10th nationally with a 14.4-yard average. “We know we bring something different to the table and they’re going to have to adjust, just like we’re going to have to adjust. And we’re going to go at it.”
Ohio State is 14th in net punting (40.0 yards).