Meyer committed to leading nation in blocked punts

Associated Press Published: August 30, 2012
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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.

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