Almost every time you heard Urban Meyer speak publically about his team and the 2013 season, he was constantly talking about developing leadership.
The leadership that folks like John Simon, Zach Boren and Etienne Sabino provided last year was some of the best Meyer has seen during his coaching career. It all led to a 12-0 season.
However, all three of those guys are gone and Meyer was left wondering who would take over the roles as leaders.
As the Buckeyes prepare for the second half of their season at a perfect 6-0, Meyer has been pleased with what he's seen thus far.
"I was panicky going into the season," Meyer said. "It was certainly poor in the spring and obviously when you have issues like we had in the summer, then that questions the leadership of the team."
However, those incidents have been put behind them and the players who were in the middle of those are back on the field and playing at a high level.
And maybe above all, the Buckeyes have continued to win.
"You know, I am not saying it's great yet because they are still only halfway home," Meyer said. "But, through the first half of the season, they've done a very nice job. There's good chemistry, good allignment and good leadership right now."
PLAYING WITH HEAVY HEART
Ohio State linebacker Curtis Grant is expected to play on Saturday less than a week after his father passed away in Virginia.
Grant was home over the weekend during the team's bye week and his father's funeral was held on Monday, so he was granted a leave from the team.
"We're behind him 100 percent like we would be any player," Meyer said. "I don't want to give too much information because it might be wrong. But, we expect him to play."
PARENTS IN A BIND
It'll be interesting to see who two former Buckeye players are rooting for on Saturday. LeShun Daniels Jr. and Johnny Lowdermilk are both sons of former Buckeyes' greats. LeShun Daniels was an offensive lineman for the Buckeyes as was Carrollton High product Kirk Lowdermilk.
All told, Daniels and Lowdermilk are two of 10 Buckeye State natives are on the Hawkeyes' roster.
Ohio State and Iowa haven't played since 2010. The two met in 2009 at Ohio Stadium and the Buckeyes prevailed, 27-24 to wrap up a trip to the Rose Bowl.
All told, this will be the 64th meeting between the two schools. The first meeting was won, 12-9, by the Hawkeyes, but since the Buckeyes have won 46 of 62 meetings. Iowa hasn't beaten OSU since 2004. Taking that a step further, Ohio State hasn't lost to Iowa in Columbus since 1991.
WHAT'S GOING TO GIVE?
The Ohio State special teams have been outstanding all season. Meyer has been most pleased with how well the punt coverage team has done at limiting return yards. Actually, the Buckeyes are allowing next to nothing on returns as frosh Cameron Johnston has been lofting fair catch after fair catch.
However, Iowa has a punt return in Kevonte Martin-Manley who is averaging 25.8 yards a return.
"They had two big hits against Western Michigan and a lot of fair catches," Meyer said. "I think he's a very good player. They're a hold up team. They drop people back and they get some double teams on your guys running down the field. It's a good scheme. It's a return scheme."
ON THE DIAL
The Buckeyes and Hawkeyes are slated to kick off at 3:30 on Saturday. The game will be broadcast to much of the nation on ABC. The action will be called by Bob Wischusen and Rod Gilmore.