COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Whether it's typical coach-speak or genuine concern, Urban Meyer is extremely wary of Ohio State's next opponent, Central Florida.
"A whole different animal coming in here this week," said Meyer, whose 18th-ranked Buckeyes pounded Miami (Ohio) 56-10 in their opener on Saturday. "I know this (UCF) team, I know this coach, I know this coaching staff, and we have great respect for everything they've done."
Just like the Buckeyes, coach George O'Leary's team also spanked a Mid-American Conference school from Ohio while scoring 56 points last week. The Knights beat up on Akron, 56-14.
They were impressive on both sides of the ball, showing size, speed and power. But don't be misled: Meyer's primary worries still revolve around his own team.
He was extremely disappointed with the Buckeyes' slow start. Yet he was curiously almost giddy about it.
"I'm pleased we got thrown around a little bit and were actually losing in our home stadium in the first quarter," he said. "I didn't like it at the time, but I think everybody got kind of hit in the face a little bit and responded well."
Rest assured that Meyer is making sure the Buckeyes are well aware of what they did wrong — and of what Central Florida is capable of.
The Buckeyes led just 3-0 late in the first quarter and had done nothing offensively before one play lit a fuse under them.
Quarterback Braxton Miller zipped a rocket of a pass into the end zone that could easily have sailed out of bounds. Instead, sophomore receiver Devin Smith leaped high in front of a defender, reached up with his right arm, snagged the ball and then tucked it in while contorting his body as he fell to the field.
From that point on, everything seemed to go Ohio State's way.
"What creates momentum sometimes is a big hit or a big run or a great effort — or, jeez, Devin Smith's one-handed grab," said Ohio State tight ends and fullbacks coach Tim Hinton. "You could write books on how that things change. Obviously, the first touchdown with an electrifying play, as good as you could see."
After punting the ball away on their first four possessions, the spark was lit. The Buckeyes scored on eight of the last 12 times they touched the ball.
All spring and summer, to almost anyone who broached the subject of his receivers, Meyer would insult them. He said none of them looked like playmakers, no one appeared to be able to run away from a defender or even make a good catch.
Then, perhaps by design, Smith silenced his coach. Almost.
"He has a big smile on his face and he just keeps walking by me, waiting for me to say, 'Great catch!'" Meyer said with a laugh. "And I just won't do it. I'm not going to do that."