COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — What's brewing with the 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes ...
BUCKEYES BUZZ: Urban Meyer is paying a lot of attention to the punting and kicking units at Ohio State. In other words, expect some fireworks.
He's already spreading the word that he wants the Buckeyes to block punts — lots and lots of punts — this season.
"One year (at Florida) we blocked I think an NCAA record seven or eight," Meyer said this week. "We want to come after it. We want to be a punt-block team. That kind of tells you what the mentality that we have — our best players are on (that unit)."
The punt-block team already has a catchy nickname: The Freak Show.
Expect to see T-shirts any day now.
"It's going to be a freak show," said K Drew Basil, who works closely with all the special teams. "If we don't set the NCAA record for blocked punts this season, then once again it's going to be hard to believe."
Meyer does more with the kicking and punting teams that any other coach.
"He basically runs all the special teams meetings," WR Corey Brown said. "We're trying to lead the country in all sides of special teams this year."
LB Ryan Shazier feels left out because he had a slight concussion, which made him a backup on special teams. Usually, front-line players think it's almost demeaning to be on a kick team, that it takes away from what they offer at their position.
But Meyer has built it up to be an honor.
"He's really intense about it because if something happens in the kicking game it can change the whole outcome of a game," Shazier said. "Like you saw with us blocking the punt versus Wisconsin last year, that changed the whole outcome of that game. Purdue blocking our field goal, that changed the whole outcome of our game. Special teams is a really big part of the game, so we work on it a lot, focus on it a lot."
Brown said the entire culture of special teams has changed.
"Everybody has gotten to like them, because all of the schemes we do are fun," Brown said. "He puts something fun on every special team. Everybody wants to be part of it now."
Meyer said it's an often overlooked part of football.
"We want to change the game," he said. "We play the game of field position, which means that any opportunity we can to go force a punt or go after a bad punt we will. But I know Ohio State's always been very good on special teams. I don't know how much drastic change you'll see, other than we will go after a bunch of punts."
STAT OF THE DAY: Everyone makes a big fuss — as they should — over Miami's passing game. But the RedHawks were 120th and dead last in rushing in the nation last year, averaging just 74 yards a game.
HOME FROM IRELAND: Former Notre Dame running back and Fighting Irish radio analyst Allen Pinkett has been pulled off the broadcast of Saturday's season opener against Navy in Dublin, Ireland, following his comments that teams need bad guys to give them an edge.
Andrew Giangola, a spokesman for the IMG Notre Dame Radio Network, said Thursday that the game deserves to be distraction free and Pinkett's comments made to Chicago's WSCR-AM were unacceptable. He said further decisions on Pinkett are pending.
Pinkett, who led Notre Dame in rushing from 1983-85, said: "I've always felt like, to have a successful team, you have to have a few bad citizens on the team." He pointed to the past success of Ohio State as an example.
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick called Pinkett's comments "nonsense."
GIANT-KILLER: Miami takes a lot of pride in its many upsets over bigger, better known football programs.
Since 1986, for example, the RedHawks have upended LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Virginia Tech at home and North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., — all of whom were ranked in the top 12 teams in the nation.
It's something that many smaller schools are rightly proud of, getting the best of the bullies in the sport.
Coach Don Treadwell hopes to conjure up some of those upsetting memories on Saturday.
"Certainly you can draw from past experiences. Like any program that has a proud history such as we do at Miami, you typically embrace those traditions and that in itself helps you focus in a little bit more on what has been done in the past, what can be done in the future," Treadwell said. "It's always kind of neat. We have some assistants on our staff here who have been suited up before as Miami football players and been a part of many of the big games in the past."
In recent years, the pace of upsets has slowed. The RedHawks have not beaten a ranked team since the Tar Heels in 1998, when the late Randy Walker was coach. Still, Miami has won at Vanderbilt, at North Carolina and at Northwestern since 2000.
WEATHER UPDATE: There had been a forecast that 3 to 4 inches of rain might fall on Saturday, the remnants of Hurricane Isaac. But the prediction now is that the heavy stuff won't be coming until later.
There's a slight chance of rain on Friday night, then a 50 percent shot on Saturday with temperatures around the mid-80s.
PROUD PAPA: When Meyer took the Ohio State job, much was made of the fact that his family made him sign a contract that he would not obsess on football at the exclusion of his wife and kids and his own health.
He says that nine months into the job, he's living up to his promise.
"The contract part, I've been doing great," he said. "I got to see (daughter Nicki) play volleyball on Saturday night. That's one of the things — I keep checking off things on the contract. She did well, by the way. She got elected captain. I have a daughter that got elected captain as a senior at Georgia Tech."
The Ramblin' Wreck are 3-0 on the season. Nicki is a 5-foot-6 defensive specialist — unlike her father.
The team plays at Indiana this Friday and Saturday with three matches, including one against Bowling Green, which gave her father his first head coaching position in 2001.
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