OHIO STATE COACH URBAN MEYER
September 2, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
COACH MEYER: Thank you for coming. Very pleased with our win. Very pleased with our fast start. That was something that was real important that we made a big emphasis in our program. Not very pleased when we had the lull in the second quarter when we had those four bad drives, but I'll give you a quick rundown of our personnel and how they played. First of all, offensive champions were Jordan Hall, great to see him, 159 yards and graded out 81 percent. I guess those are career highs for him and I thought he played very well. Chris Fields had two touchdowns, three out of three opportunities, made all three. Philly Brown, grade out champion. Offensive Player of the Week was Jordan Hall, obviously not near what we expect on offense; we have to get a lot better but those kids did play well. On defense, you had Noah Spence, I believe that was his first start. Graded out 80 percent and had a sack, graded champion. Doran Grant, graded out 96 percent, out of 21 opportunities, made the play 18, which was high, and a lot of opportunities, made his plays. And Christian Bryant was Defensive Player of the Game and graded out at 94 percent. So we have got to do a little better. The good thing is we have a chance to get better. A lot of new players on defense, when Shazier cramped up, we were down there, Christian Bryant was basically our only veteran player out there. I'm anxious to see a lot of improvement. Looks very positive for C.J. Barnett to be back. Bradley Roby will be back. We are going to get more play out of Corey Linsley on offense, and so that's a positive, we are starting to get our roster back intact. As of now, Rod Smith will be back if he has a good week of practice and does it all right. So that helps us; where I really notice that is special teams.
Positive in our kicking game was our kickoff, it was fantastic. I want to say that they were held inside the 20 every time, I believe they were, except for once on the 20 or 22, and special teams Player of the Week was Ron Tanner and honorable mention went to Vonn Bell. He had three tackles on kickoff and Ron Tanner just really played well, kickoff and a variety of other spots on special teams. It was good to see our Australian get in there and punt the ball a little bit, kind of negotiated not a snap and I expect him to get a lot better when he's moving forward. So I'll answer any questions for you.
Q. Four guysgot carries ?? if Doran has that, how does he fit into that mix, how many touches would you like to see him get? COACH MEYER: I don't know, that's a good question. Last spring I had the intention of making Jordan Hall more of an H, but an H that can come in and motion in and that's when he can cause issues for defenses. So I don't know, we'll see how he practices, I hope he does earn the right to carry the ball, because that will free up Jordan Hall to maybe help us in some other areas, as well.
Q. Is there a chance Roby could be one of the game captains? He's obviously one of the leaders?? COACH MEYER: No. Q. He won't be at all this year? COACH MEYER: This year? I don't know. I don't know. That's a good question. I haven't thought about it. I stuck Norwell out there?? Mike Vrabel will said something to me really intrigues about how he was not elected; he became captain of the team?? but what are we talking about, he is a captain. So Norwell, the way he has been, I wanted to put him out there, and we did that.
Q. In light of what San Diego State did, first of all, have you seen anything on them, and secondly, what didn't go right for them if you did get to see it? COACH MEYER: They are arguably the best tailback we'll face all year was injured, I believe in the first quarter. This Eastern Illinois team played outstanding and scored some big plays against man coverage. Other than that, I see a defense, it's an odd?stacked 3?3?5 defense that they blitz, high percentage of pressures, their movement, they are a chaos defense that play really hard with some good players and offense, I think that they kind of stepped out of their comfort zone a little bit. They threw, I want to say 63 times or something like that. I coached against Rocky Long before, excellent football coach, tough, guys play real hard. And they won, I believe nine games last year, which is not surprising for his coached teams.
Q. Following Roby, does he step right in as a starter? COACH MEYER: He's competing for a spot. He will not be named starter. Will be, probably I don't know when we do the starter thing?? when do we do that? We'll probably see Armani or Roby will start, depends on how they practice.
Q. What is Chris Fields doing now this year that allows him to contribute more than maybe this time a year ago? COACH MEYER: One of the most improved players on our team. He's involved in special teams. But we kind of have a rule around here that you can't play unless you're involved in special teams and he's really done a nice job. I admire Chris Fields. Chris Fields wasn't in the Top?50 for playing a game last year, and he's really the same talent. He's just playing his tail off and doing a lot of things for us, and he's doing it all right, too.
Q. Kenny said after the game that with the two?point conversions that he has?? I don't know how much freedom he has, but he's looking at numbers, is that something that can happen at any time throughout the game? Is that the plan to let him decide that? COACH MEYER: I went to the Fiesta Bowl and I watched Oregon do that early in the game and I just know it drives defensive coaches?? you have to work on it, and it's also a chance to get some cheap points. We have been working on that since last February. It worked pretty good. So I don't know how often we'll do that, I don't know that. We usually decide that on Wednesday. But it's in the package.
Q. You said you wanted to be a real aggressive defense this year, wondering with the new guys out there if you had to peel it back a little bit and not put so much pressure in press coverage? COACH MEYER: I think that's a correct statement, especially anybody that gets their first start?? we were down four special teams players, too. The three names I just mentioned, Rod Smith, Roby and C.J. Barnett, I thought there was a fourth name?? but for sure those three guys are valued special teams members, as well. And then Roby coming back now frees up Armani, who is a tremendous special teams player for us a year ago, and we had to be very cautious. He played a lot of football for us in that heat. That helps with our depth.
Q. We can expect maybe more press coverage? COACH MEYER: I think. I think so. I think we all want to be a little more aggressive. We didn't play as much bump?and?run coverage, however, we did pressure quite a bit.
Q. You were in Ohio at the time but do you have any memories of the Kardiac Kids? COACH MEYER: Absolutely.
Q. And he was very accurate?? is that the most important thing, for a quarterback? COACH MEYER: Oh, I think the most important thing for a quarterback is the competitive spirit as being a guy that?? I just love those guys. The best ones I've ever been around are the ones that refuse to lose in checkers or ping?pong table or anything. I say this quite often, unlike, really, unlike most any position in all of sport, the quarterback has more of a pulse; they are who your team is, usually and that's why I like the energetic quarterbacks and really working on with Braxton, he came out pretty energetic and we had a lot of enthusiasm going. We just need to sustain that. So I think competitive spirit is No.1 and then toughness No.1 and then ability to get over a bad play is No. 3. So I'm not sure if I'm asking your question, but that's what I'm looking for.
Q. Specific memory of the Kardiac Kids? COACH MEYER: I was young. I remember going to watching them play in the old stadium, loved it.
Q. Your former broadcast partner is going to call the game this week. Are you interested in his take or what he thinks of your team? COACH MEYER: Is that Chris?
Q. Correct. COACH MEYER: I talked to Chris last year. I talked to him and we talked about tackling. He's one of those guys that has a very firm belief in tackling and he came in and we talked about it. I'm sure we'll talk this week, and I absolutely have interest in what he has to say. He knows football.
Q. You've got a chance to see Braxton's personality this year, it just seems such a humble nice kid. How difficult is it with Manziel gone?? the pitfalls of fame and success for young guys? COACH MEYER: I think in today's day and age, everything gets exploded. You have to remember these are 19? and 20?year?old young men. I just remember when I was 19 or 20, I did some things I wouldn't be very proud of right now, and I'm 49. But the difference was camera phones and blogs and Twitter and all that stuff didn't gift, because if it did, I probably wouldn't be standing here behind this microphone. And imagine a few of you wouldn't be working where you are working, not to mention any names, Tim May (Laughter). So I don't know the whole story. I have a lot of respect for their coach and my heart always goes to the player, like, my gosh, if you want to leave them alone?? leave them alone and let them go play the game. But I get it.
Q. When you've watched film Bradley work over the last month, what have you seen about him? Have you seen what you wanted to see? Do you understand what I'm asking there? What will he bring, do you think? COACH MEYER: Here I'm giving my take on Bradley Roby who I have a lot of respect for, and his mother, as well, is he made a decision to come back, and his decision to come back, I don't know if he even announced why; it's because he came in with a group of players and he wanted to finish, which I think is very admirable. He catches a lot of people in his ear, people that, you know, you could have done this, you could have done this, and then after you've been told that for so long. So I believe that he went through a little bit of a funk of buyer's remorse or whatever, and I'm not?? I think he would be a good one to talk to, because for a mature guy, at the right time, you can. And I've seen ever since the incident that occurred, which was everything, once the videotape came out there, was no assault, there was no battery, there was no, whatever. But I think he learned a really strong lesson and he's done everything we've asked him to do, and I'm anxious to get him back on the field.
Q. Second thing, special teams, have you seen somebody with Kerry Coombs as the coordinator? Have you seen, I don't know, a more coordinated approach? It seemed to?? y'all seemed to have a pretty good day with those on Saturday. COACH MEYER: He's a little more organized than the previous coordinator we had here (Laughter).
Q. You know what I'm talking about. COACH MEYER: With Kerry, the No.1, I think I see out of Kerry's organization?? No.1 thing is energy, passion and motivation. He's a tremendous motivator, very good in front of the team. And I have so much stuff going on, I want to be fair and to be able to devote?? because I devote a lot of time to our offense, too. I wanted to be fair, and I thought, you know what, he earned that right and I think he's doing a very good job of it.
Q. Looking at the tape, some of the breakdowns of the offensive line, what are some of the things that you guys saw that were happening? COACH MEYER: Well, we get beat a couple times and it gets exposed. For the most part we played okay. You just can't get exposed. The player they had, his stock in the draft just went up a little bit after playing against us. He did a very good job. He manhandled some guys and did a good job. So whenever that happens, what do you do, you go back to your fundamentals and keep working and keep grinding. I have the utmost confident in our offensive line and their position coach, what he did with them a year ago and what he is doing with them now; that they will play much better, and they have to. But give credit where credit is due. There was issues, and the biggest issue is a fantastic football player that?? I mean, he could play anywhere at any school in America, that kid for Buffalo.
Q. You talked after the game, to score 40 points and you're a little disappointed, that's a good thing, but what did you think of the offense as a whole, and I know there's probably not a point total that you're shooting for each week, but do you have high expectations? COACH MEYER: Very high expectations. I want to score every time we touch the ball. I'm disappointed if we don't score. That's, once again, high expectations. However, we have some talented guys. Our coaching staff has been together and we should have been better. We came out of the gate the way I kind of envisioned, and we finished the game kind of like I imagined we would, too. We had two long drives, one 10?play drive and one 14?play drive, and not one time did we call quarterback run in any of the times other than the one quarterback draw, and then one coming out of sweep. So that's two for the entire course of the game. Now we scramble?? when you play man coverage teams or man under teams like he did on a 3rd and 10, that's whether you're John Elway or Braxton Miller, that's how you defeat man under coverage. And same thing with drop eight, they did a lot of three?man, drop eight into coverage, and he kind of got out of there and scrambled. So that's part of quarterback play. That was not designed runs for him. So I have high expectations for our offense, very high, and I think we grade it very average for this game without taking any disrespect on our opponent, because they did a good job.
Q. Seems like both San Diego State and Cal the next two weeks are going to be offenses that are going to try to run a lot of plays; with some young guys on defense, and guys having cramping issues, do you think your defense is ready to face an offense that's going to play that way? COACH MEYER: I think we are more suited now that we get our two players back in the secondary. And I think our defensive line, that was the first time most of those kids have ever played. Curtis Grant first time he played a whole ?? but the issue of cramping, we can't have guys leave the game. Perry didn't play that many plays, and all of a sudden he's out of the game. I'm still trying to figure that one out. We have to make sure our guys and I have to do a good job, the training staff and the players take care of yourself, because we can't have those issues, because that will be a major league problem this week. I'm not worried about next week; we'll discuss that next week. But that will be a problem, if you look out there and some guys are cramping or they are not playing, then we've got a problem. No one has that much depth. C.J. Barnett and Roby being back is certainly going to help us, though.
Q. How ideal is it for you as a coach to, first of all, you won the game, there were a lot of good things early, but a lot of things that you can point to the last three quarters and say, you're not anywhere close to where we want you to be; in that sense was it almost a perfect world for you as a coach? COACH MEYER: I think complacency is certainly not a problem this week. There's been times where you smoke a team and then all of a sudden, you're going on Tuesday and you start trying to get after them and they are looking at you?? because they have just been told how great they are. So I think that's a very valid and is much cleaner than all of us would have liked to have seen it, and it's a great opportunity for us to coach him hard and get better Tuesday and Wednesday.
Q. Question about Linsley. Offense played great with him in the game, can you give any definition to the injury and just how close he is to being 100 percent? COACH MEYER: Yeah, he had surgery, in our last game, I believe, against a team up north. It wasn't at Liz Franks; it was close. There was some issues with the bone separating and we thought it would be healed up. He went through off?season and started bothering him, and we made a decision in spring practice, early in spring, because the doctor said the best thing was make sure, even on the MRIs or whatever, the X?rays, that it showed that it looked okay. But it was bothering him, and he's a tough kid, so they put a screw in it, and those are long injuries. So he's a little bit ahead of schedule even. So we played him I think 17 plays, and I wanted to put him back in and we had the decision on the sideline, let's just keep going as is. He'll play more and so he'll just keep gradually getting better and better.
Q. Just interested in your view of the freshman debuts, is it kind of what you expected, the good and the bat? COACH MEYER: Dontre was good, other than I think he laid on the ground, that was terrible, and he won't play much if that happens again. I did think he showed some of the explosiveness that he has. We would like to get No. 15 a couple more carries. On offense, had I think that might have been it the. James Clark just got in there for a few place. On defense, Joey Bosa has played very well. He's earning a lot of time in the rotation. I'm really impressed with him. Mike Hill continues to get better and tray Johnson played extensively. We didn't really expect that to happen but Ryan went down with cramps early and hard time getting back. I believe that was it. Oh, Vonn Bell did very well and Cam Burrows did very well. That's a great place to start to make a name here.
Q. Curtis Grant on the penalty, what do you tell?? COACH MEYER: You tell him to stop. It's silly. Actually we were watching video the other day and a kid?? you have to stop, and he was right there and I mean, he fell on the pile and he got a 15?yard penalty on a sack, but that's the rule.
Q. Can you evaluate Cam?? COACH MEYER: Okay, Armani, one or two, it was about a three?play series where he had a penalty. They kind of?? the ball got deflected one time and they completed and they threw a fade on him in the end zone, so he got exposed there for a minute. But I think he's a tough kid, he's talented and I expect him to continue to get better and better and he certainly deserved to be in the rotation for playing corner.