COLUMBUS – Urban Meyer’s vote and Evan Spencer’s voice took center stage on Monday when Meyer took questions in his weekly press conference and a handful of Ohio State football players were made available for interviews.
Meyer, who has a vote in the USA Today coaches poll, said he is voting Ohio State No. 2 behind Alabama, which is one spot higher than the Buckeyes currently sit in that poll, The Associated Press poll and the BCS standings.
“I have Ohio State in the top five. I believe we have Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, and I’m trying to think of who else we have. I’ve had us two (No. 2) all year. I just think we’re playing like one of the top teams in the country right now,” Meyer said.
Spencer, a junior wide receiver, suggested that the Buckeyes should out-rank everybody in the polls.’’
“I’m a little biased, but I think we’d wipe the field with both of them,” Spencer said about No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Florida State.
It probably won’t go down in the history of Ohio State bulletin board material, like Terry Glenn saying, “Michigan is nothing,” the week before the 1995 Michigan game, or David Boston saying he’d faced better defensive backs than Charles Woodson in practice before the 1997 Michigan game.
But it did add a little spice to Ohio State’s pursuit of a second consecutive perfect season, and possibly a trip to the national championship game, if it gets some help.
Spencer’s comment certainly will find its way onto bulletin boards at Alabama and Florida State.
And the probability that Spencer got a phone call from his dad, former Ohio State running back and assistant coach Tim Spencer, is also a near-certainty.
The next step in the direction of a perfect season for No. 3 Ohio State (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten) comes on Saturday when it goes to Illinois (3-6, 0-5 Big Ten).
OSU will take a 21-game winning streak into that game. Illinois has lost 19 straight Big Ten games.
Meyer says he is on guard for any signs of a letdown by the Buckeyes.
“No issue whatsoever,” he said. “This is a very invested team. I’m just telling you as of Monday, it is no issue whatsoever. There will be a bomb go off if I start to see that,” he said.
INJURY UPDATE: Offensive tackle Taylor Decker and linebackers Curtis Grant and Joshua Perry, who were injured against Purdue, are expected to be ready to play on Saturday.
Decker suffered a strained medial collateral ligament in his knee, Perry had a dislocated finger and Grant had a sprained ankle and a lower back issue.
“He’s good, he should be ready to go,” Meyer said about Decker. “Josh Perry had surgery on a dislocated finger. He practiced full speed today (Monday) and practiced all last week. He’s fine.”
Grant did not practice Monday but was expected to return today.
MAKING A LIST: Meyer said he and Florida Atlantic University Pat Chun discussed some of Ohio State’s assistant coaches as possible candidates to become FAU’s head coach next season.
A Florida newspaper reported last week that Chun had interviewed OSU defensive coordinator Luke Fickell for the job, which became open when coach Carl Pelini was fired for alleged drug use. Meyer said that interview never happened but that he and Chun did talk about more than one name.
“We talked about names. We went through some names. He’s also very respectful of this time of year for us,” Meyer said.
PRAISE FOR MEWHORT: Senior offensive tackle Jack Mewhort should be a high draft pick in next spring’s NFL draft, Meyer said.
“Jack Mewhort has turned himself into a definite high level pro prospect,” Meyer said. “He’s a tough guy and I like to think that people would say Ohio State is a tough program.