AS THE Ohio State Buckeyes prepare to face the Miami RedHawks Saturday at the 'Shoe, it's encouraging that OSU head football coach Urban Meyer thinks he has a team "that's chomping at the bit to go play."
It's little wonder that the team as well as the fans are ready for the team to get back on the field after the problems that have created turmoil and penalties for Ohio State.
The team's attitude combined with Meyer's previously announced goal for the coaches, players and the program to "make the great state of Ohio proud" bodes well for the upcoming season.
As to what's different for him this week, the coach said, "First one, it's just the fact it's been a year away from coaching ... and brand new staff. And it's my home. That's probably the three things that are different. But the good thing, it's not the first time that I've had to take a new team on the field."
He thinks the Buckeyes have the potential to be a good team talent-wise.
Youth is evident in the depth chart with 10 true freshmen and four redshirt freshmen, but that doesn't faze the veteran coach.
Although Meyer said he hadn't done a study, he went on to say that starting the season with a two deep with that much youth probably is pretty normal now. "I kind of think certainly the last six years a place like Ohio State and Florida, you go out and recruit guys that go play. You're not recruiting them to redshirt."
After noting that nothing's caught him off guard in regard to freshman, Meyer added, "I know I'll start three on kickoff. Three true freshmen starting on kickoff. But we've done that before. But the good thing is the three are really good players."
When talking about how Miami plays, Meyer noted the RedHawks' quarterback is a tremendous player and the receiver is really good. "Those two kids can play anywhere in America."
As the season begins, Miami's senior quarterback Zac Dysert ranks third behind only Oklahoma's Landry Jones and Southern California's Matt Barkley in career passing yardage among active college quarterbacks (8,530 yards). He had 292.8 yards passing per game and threw for 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions last season.
The RedHawks' Nick Harwell, a Biletnifoff nominee, was college football's second-leading receiver in 2011 with 129.6 yards per game.
Saturday's season-opener isn't the debut for Don Treadwell as Miami coach, but it's his debut against the Buckeyes. A 1982 graduate of Miami, he is in his second year as head football coach at his alma mater.
Treadwell has worked with former Buckeye coaches. While working with wide receivers, running backs and quarterbacks at Youngstown State from 1986-91 he spent all those seasons with Jim Tressel, who concluded his coaching at OSU earlier this year. Also at YSU during most of those years was Mark Dantonio who was defensive coordinator and later became an assistant coach at Ohio State.
Treadwell also was associated with Dantonio at Michigan State where he was offensive coordinator and receivers coach for four years. Not only did he engineer one of the most explosive offenses in the Big Ten while there, but he was a nominee for the Broyles Award, given to the nation's top assistant coach, in part for leading the day-to-day team activities during Dantonio's absence after the head coach suffered a heart attack Sept. 19, 2010.
Miami finished 4-8 last season and 3-5 in the MAC East Division, tying for fourth. It was predicted to finish third in the MAC East Division in 2012 at the conference's media day in July.
Complimentary about quarterback Braxton Miller, Meyer said that he "has come a million miles. ... At some point, maybe not this first game, but he'll actually game plan for us."
THE HORSESHOE, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, reaches a milestone this season as it will be host to its 90th football season. Costing more than $1 million donated by OSU football fans, it was christened in 1922 when the Buckeyes defeated Ohio Wesleyan 5-0 in front of a crowd of 25,000. It was dedicated prior to the Oct. 21 game that year against Michigan. For that game, temporary stands were in the south end of the stadium, and attendance was 72,500...
SATURDAY'S game will be Meyer's debut as head coach at OSU. Ohio State coaches are 21-1-1 in their home debuts. Only one coach lost his debut, and that was Jack Ryder in 1892. That was 120 years ago, and OSU was in its third season...
OHIO State, which is ranked 18th, is one of five Big Ten teams ranked in the AP preseason Top 25 poll. Others are Michigan, eighth; Wisconsin, twelfth; Michigan State, 13th; and Nebraska, 17th...
Saturday's game, which begins at noon, will be aired over the Big Ten Network.