COLUMBUS, Ohio – One of the first things Urban Meyer did in the aftermath of his first loss as Ohio State’s coach on Saturday night was open the floor to his players and assistant coaches.
The Buckeyes had plenty to talk about, and Meyer wanted to make sure his players got the message that Ohio State’s national championship dreams being over didn’t mean the season was over.
Meyer said “a couple players, a couple coaches (said) a few words about finishing the right way.”
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On Sunday night came the formal announcement that 12-1 Ohio State will finish the season in the Orange Bowl against 10-2 Clemson. Ohio State dropped to No. 7 in the final BCS standings; Clemson was 12th.
Meyer said he believes the Buckeyes are a “mature” team that won’t let Saturday night’s 34-24 loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game linger for too long.
“Guys are heartbroken, but they’re good competitors,” Meyer said. “Playing in a BCS bowl against a great team like Clemson, that should wake you up real fast.”
Of a possible hangover from Ohio State’s failure in Indianapolis — Michigan State scored the game’s first 17 points, then the last 17 — Meyer said he’s “worried about it because I worry about everything (but) this group wants to go win a BCS bowl game and win a 13th game.”
The Buckeyes did not meet as a team on Sunday, Meyer said, because they didn’t arrive back in Columbus until 4 a.m. Sunday. Many of the coaches are on the road recruiting, but Meyer said he would meet with his players on Monday as all involved formally begin the process of turning the page.
The Orange Bowl will be played on Jan. 3.
In Ohio State’s formal bowl announcement, senior left tackle Jack Mewhort was quoted as saying, ‘Too get a win in a big-time bowl and at the same time show some resiliency would be a great way to go out. I couldn’t ask at this point for anything more than to play in a BCS bowl game.”
In the Orange Bowl’s conference call on Sunday night, Meyer said that “everybody is down in the dumps, including the head coach. But Jack Mewhort is a grown man and he’s very resilient He’s going to be very important in these next two weeks to help get us organized, focused and back to work real fast.”
In the final year of the BCS, Ohio State will play in its tenth BCS bowl game. Meyer is the only coach to have guided three different programs (Utah, Florida, Ohio State) to a BCS game.