COLUMBUS, Ohio — Whether Ohio State executes against Wisconsin remains to be seen, but the Buckeyes will enter prepared.
Every time the Buckeyes enter and leave the indoor practice field, they can’t avoid the reminder of what awaits them on Saturday. Pasted onto the locker room door at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center indoor facility is a sign that says “THE MOST PREPARED TEAM WILL WIN THIS GAME.”
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, whose degree is in psychology, breaks it out for the Buckeyes’ biggest games as a reminder to his players of what they need to do to prepare. It made an appearance during the week before the Oklahoma game and it’s back as the Buckeyes prepare to face No. 8 Wisconsin on the road.
So what determines when and why the sign comes out of hiding?
“It’s ESPN GameDay, it’s a night game, we’re getting asked questions about the crowd and stuff,” Meyer said. “Just to, that’s as much for the coaches as it is for the players. Asking questions about Tim Tebow, asking about 2014, what about the most prepared team is going to win this game. That’s the laser-like focus to win a game against a very good team, on the road, it better be laser-like focus on the task at hand. That’s just constant reminders about focus on your job description. That’s for the players as well as the coaches. As well as the head coach.”
Like a Pavlovian bell, the players know what it means when they see that sign back on the door.
“It’s an important game and we have to come out and be prepared,” left tackle Jamarco Jones said. “We’re all about preparation and watching film, and taking every rep of practice seriously is important. You have to be prepared because this is a really good team.”
Instead of being viewed as a warning or threat from the coaches, the players get excited to see that sign knowing that a big task awaits them and that they have the talent to win any game in which they outwork the opposition.
“We feel strongly about that,” safety Malik Hooker said. “The Oklahoma game, I feel like we out-prepared them. That’s what we have to do this week to win.”