- Associated Press - Friday, September 12, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Urban Meyer figures the mourning period better be over for his Ohio State Buckeyes.

After all, it’s not like he can shield the team from what’s being said about them.

“You’d love to just go move them off to a desert island somewhere and coach a team and not worry about social media” and other critics and doubters, Meyer said. “Yeah, those are concerns.”

Seven days after a devastating 35-21 loss at home to Virginia Tech, the 22nd-ranked Buckeyes take a step toward putting that defeat behind them when they host Kent State on Saturday.

Here are some things to watch as the Golden Flashes and Buckeyes square off:

NOT HAPPY: No. 22 Ohio State had won its first 25 regular-season games under Meyer and hadn’t lost at home since 2011. But that didn’t mean there weren’t a lot of callers to sports-talk radio and people on Ohio State-related websites grousing about the defeat.

Some said the Buckeyes (1-1), who have lost three of their last four including the Big Ten title game and Orange Bowl to end last season, are slipping.

“Absolutely not. We know what we’ve got here, we know the mindset of our players, we know how much they care about this program,” running backs coach Stan Drayton said. “We know the commitment that both the coaching staff and the players have to having success here. Absolutely not.”

LOST CONFIDENCE: The Buckeyes are hoping they can regain their swagger.

“I wouldn’t say we lost our luster. Stuff just happened,” safety Tyvis Powell said. “These couple of games that we lost, it’s only been a few plays. A couple mental errors here and there have cost us big. Do we still play with a chip on our shoulder? I would say yeah. We’re still the big (team) to beat in the Big Ten. We have to prove why we still are if not the best, one of the best teams in the Big Ten, if not in the country.”

BAD TIMING: The Golden Flashes (0-2) are trying to build a program under second-year coach Paul Haynes, a former Ohio State assistant.

The Buckeyes’ loss couldn’t come at a worse time for his team.

“They’ve got talent oozing out everywhere. And they play tough, hard-nosed, sound football,” Hayes said. “After a tough loss like that, they’re going to come back even more refocused.”

But Meyer expects the Golden Flashes to make the most of their big moment in the spotlight.

“Those kids are going to be a hungry group because this is their chance to play in front of 110,000,” he said.

BACKFIELD NOT IN MOTION: Virginia Tech’s “double-eagle” defense packed eight or nine defenders on the line, shutting down the run and forcing the Buckeyes to pass. When Ohio State couldn’t do that, the game belonged to the Hokies.

They limited the Buckeyes to just 108 yards on the ground.

TB Ezekiel Elliott expects other teams - possibly even Kent State - to try the same defense.

“After everyone saw Virginia Tech play us that way, it’s hard to say they’re not going to keep trying it,” he said.

SLOW STARTS: Ohio State has gotten off to slow starts in its past few games, dating back to the stretch run a year ago. So has Kent State.

Haynes knows his team can’t afford to show up 15 minutes late on Saturday.

“In games like this, when it’s 28-0 before the balloons are leaving the stadium it’s just tough to come back,” he said.

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Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/RustyMillerAP

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