OHIO STATE COACH URBAN MEYER
October 1, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
COACH MEYER: Thanks for being here. A couple comments about the Wisconsin game. Great win. For the Buckeyes on offense, the champion efforts were once again, this was very big with our team on how we try to reward great efforts and Marcus Hall graded at champion. Two receivers, Evan Spencer and Devin Smith, arguably the most improved area on our team. It's a common thing now, we are getting several receivers grading out champions, and that's just not obviously catching the ball but they are very involved in the perimeter blocking of our run game. Then Co?Offensive Players of the Week, Philly Brown had eight catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns and captain Jack Mewhort played very well. So that was our champions and players of the week. On defense, Adolphus Washington came back from injury and played very well, graded champion effort. Mike Bennett, very consistent player, also came back from injury and, and CJ Barnett, who is arguably one or our most consistent players. And Shazier, Ryan Shazier defensive player of the game and has really come on the last couple weeks playing for us. Special teams Player of the Week was Devin Smith. Devin Smith, our punt team held him five of six times and one time on the 16?yard line. So our special teams, return game was very average, once again, which we have to at some point have something more than average. But our coverage unit were really good. Our kicker did a nice job and then our coverage units continued to be very impressive. Very pleased with the effort obviously after the game. We had a shot to our team where we lost Christian Bryant. We still feel that way, the sign of a good team is always someone that really moves on and has someone step up in his place. The issue is going to be not just as a player but who he is. That's one of the greatest things you get to do as a coach is watch and witness a young man turn into?? a young guy turn into a man and he has. I can't say enough good things about Christian Bryant and what he means. I'm hoping we can bring him with us to Northwestern, but he's an extremely valuable member of this team. Great win. Best thing about 5?0 is a chance to go 6?0. Really difficult game coming up, back?to?back games against ranked teams. Other than Christian, we should be healthy still a couple weeks away but everybody else from what I'm told looks like they will be ready to go play. Another night game. Game Day I hear is going to be there, and it will be a heck of an atmosphere so we look forward to this challenge.
Q. Is there any chance that Christian Bryant could return next year? COACH MEYER: Next year? I don't think so. I think it's a four?game?? you mean redshirt? There's been talk?? I've never heard about, this but a body of work redshirt, I've heard that thrown around that there's a possibility he could use that, similar to what Devin Gardner did at Michigan.
Q. Inaudible. COACH MEYER: I don't know, it's been going on so fast.
Q. Is Pitt Brown now the next guy up? COACH MEYER: Or Tyvis. Pitt and Tyvis are the next two, because Tyvis plays in this case he will, and so Pitt, the good thing; you get a veteran, a kid that really does a lot of things well, Pitt and then you have Tyvis who has got an incredible future. And then Vonn Bell is also in the mix somewhere, because once you replace that position, then you've got nickel, dime issues, so the three names we just mentioned are the ones that, as we speak we are having a conversation about.
Q. How difficult is this turnaround? You go night game tonight game, ranked team to ranked team and you're playing a team that's had two weeks to prepare for you guys. COACH MEYER: It could be harder. Some people say bye weeks don't matter; you'll never hear me say that. Bye weeks are very important. Matter of fact, if I was scheduling, I'd almost try to put it where, you know, against a team that?? you deal with injury and fatigue the middle of the season and then obviously back?to?back opponents, especially when you play against a team like Wisconsin, a physical game. So we had to be very cautious on how we operated yesterday. I'm going to be very smart how we do Tuesday and Wednesday, because that's usually very physical. Today I'm getting a feel for how our guys are when they are going through the training room and treatment. It is what it is. It's part of the season.
Q. Of the guys that you mentioned, Tyvis Powell, Pitt Brown and Vonn Bell, is it a hard thing to try to figure out how to mix?and?match them? Is there a clear frontrunner? What are you looking for for that? COACH MEYER: It's complicated and that's where I trust last year, I wobble pro have put my hands all over that, because I didn't really know Everett Withers very well; great reputation, but he's an excellent football coach. And we met this morning, 7:00 A.M. and I wanted Coach Fickell's opinion; I want Mike Vrabel and Kerry Coombs, and I'm going to give mine. And we are going to meet again at two o'clock and I want to hear what they are going to do but I give my opinions. But I have great confidence in ?? all of the above men are experienced. This is not an easy one. If this was a game that you out?man them, very easy offense?? this is a very complicated offense. One that's going to require, you know, one of the disappointing things we had last Saturday was not just a couple guys got beat but we had some errors in checks and communication, and we can't have that, and that position is open now, that's a big part of it. So that's where maybe a Pitt has more of an advantage over a Vonn Bell or a Tyvis Powell.
Q. And the timing of it, playing a team like Northwestern? COACH MEYER: It's tough.
Q. How did you finally judge Braxton Miller's comeback? What did you see there that pleased you? COACH MEYER: I thought his preparation for the game was one of the best he's had. His practice was one of the best he's had as far as Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and I thought his accuracy on the deep ball was outstanding. We were a couple shot?? that defense we played forces you to do that. They are going to negate the run and we kind of went into win the game mode in the second half and it's hard to do that against that style of defense. You know, hindsight, maybe take a couple more shots, but I'm not sure that would be the right thing to do either. I thought he did well.
Q. Bradley Roby seemed to have a little bit of a challenge out there at times on Saturday. Is he a guy that you need to get his confidence back this week or how did he play in your opinion? COACH MEYER: He didn't play up to Roby standards. You know, we kind of put him on an island the entire game. We stopped and held him to a 100 yards rushing, to a team that as averaging over 300. That decision was made on Sunday right after the?? and that's to win this game. Our defense, I didn't think we could do that. I thought we could be a 200?yard rushing day because I think that number 20 and number that on the offensive line are very good players. But you have to at least?? he did give up some yards, but we won the game and we couldn't stop the run game unless you have a guy that you can hold off out there.
Q. He also got banged up early. Did you think that affected him? COACH MEYER: You'd have to ask. I don't think so.
Q. Do you recall your 2001 win over Northwestern as BC head coach? COACH MEYER: Oh, yeah. Coaches are weird ducks, man. I could tell you?? I don't know my address but I can tell you every play in that game, yeah, absolutely. 29 yard in the fourth quarter against my friends, a great football coach, Randy Walker. We made the decision in the fourth quarter not to kick deep because we couldn't stop them. Zak Kustok was the quarterback, and they beat the team up north like two weeks earlier. I think they were ranked at the time and we had a kitchen making his second start, Josh Harris?? you want me to keep going? (Laughter) and he had a post corner route??
Q. How significant was that for you as a young head coach? COACH MEYER: Oh, we had a six?hour bus ride and we refused to leave the locker room for about two and a half hours. Those kids wouldn't leave and I wouldn't leave with them. We were just crying and enjoying it. It was an incredible comeback by a team?? we scored the last two touchdowns, I mean, with a minute and a half. We were down and the game is over?? great memories of the kid, the running back gets a first down, we come in, strip the ball and go down and score and go for two. We are down by one and there's no way we are going to stop them to go for overtime and we decide to go for two with 20 seconds to the left and we pitch it to a kid from Alaska, and he goes in to score and we win.
Q. Inaudible ?? as a head coach?? COACH MEYER: No, not at all. (Laughter)
Q. How does having Carlos change your running attack? COACH MEYER: Yeah, it does. Jordan Hall has got to be involved. That was a decision we kind of made. We thought and we knew it was going to be very hard to run in there the way they play their defensive line. They play them in those four I's and they are very good against the rush. Those are our top two backs, and we are working on that now. So I want to make sure we get Jordan Hall involved.
Q. Talking about Carlos, better than a year ago? Has he changed at all? COACH MEYER: I don't know, we haven't seen them do much. Even Saturday, we didn't?? they were packed in there pretty good. So we didn't have an opportunity to let him do what he does.
Q. Just wondering with the number of weapons that you have offensively, how difficult is it?? you're talking about Jordan getting involved, do you go into a game and think, we've got to give this guy this many touches; we've got Dontre, you have receivers; how difficult?? COACH MEYER: Great question. That is ?? is it difficult? No. It's actually awesome. It's great. It's as difficult as the other one where you don't have the puzzle pieces of the checkerboard that you like, and we have several. The kid, the young man that goes to class that lives right, practices hard, that does it right, that's real hard for me because I get really close with these players, all our coaches do and you just want to do right by him. That's why we made a concerted effort with Spencer the week before where we had to throw him the ball. There was a couple times where I said, throw him the ball, because he earned that right. The kid that doesn't go to class, the guy that's a pain, no, it's not hard at all. Stand back and watch these guys play. And we have a good majority of our guys do everything right. So that is difficult, especially when you're talking about a kid like Jordan Hall.
Q. You talked about you went into sort of win the game mode in the second half with Wisconsin. What's that balance of, I don't know, trying to have a killer instinct or whatever and keep your foot on the pedal versus not taking too many risks, how does a coach balance all that? COACH MEYER: Well, I think that's a good question. Here is what is going through our mind is that ?? and Tom is obviously not the Lone Ranger there, but we felt for them to consistently throw the ball down the length of the field, we were playing ?? plan to win which is field?position football. Every time we had the ball was near the midfield area, and we have a very good punter, very good punt team. I trust our guys we are going to down that ball and we are going to make them drive it 90 yards. They run the style of defense, now that I look back that they don't allow you to just run the clock. There's so many people packed in there that you can tell the way we scored our points were shots. That's not the kind of?? you'll see all year they are not the kind of defense that's going to give methodical, running the ball, they force you to take the shots. That's why we try to run Braxton a couple times and spread them out and they work very, very well. That's what goes into the process. The end of the day, you're up three scorers against a team that supposedly can't throw the ball as well as they did and we made a decision that the way we lose that game is turn the ball over, and maybe style points, I heard something style points, we're not really concerned about that but we won the game.
Q. Cameron, the backspin he gets on, he seems like he really is able to place it there inside the ten. COACH MEYER: He's actually better at that than driving it. The ball right now. We have been working on, he's kind of?? stabs at it. His last punt was a four, five, six hang time and that's what we expect all the time: 53 yards, four, five, six and that's what we expect. And Devin Smith was magical. They doubled him and he went down and stopped them. A good player, that's what?? they decided to double our gunners. So he's a very valuable weapon for us. He's a freshman, too, so we've got him for a long time.
Q. Northwestern, the two quarterbacks, and a guy that obviously has had success over the years, what kind of input does he give the defense and what makes him so effective? COACH MEYER: Well, they are good players. I think they use them?? inaudible ?? 70 percent of his passes but the other one is a very good runner and he can also throw it. Very myriad offenses. There's a lot of similarities to the two offenses. Their offensive coordinator was at Bowling Green right after I left, McCall. So I watched them play and I see they are very good, and schematically they are very good.
Q. Philly Brown is a guy who I know was not on your most favorite nation's status at the start of your tenure. Can you describe his development on and off the field? COACH MEYER: I just?? biggest turnaround as I can remember. He's the leader. He runs the show right now. There's a reason why Evan Spencer and Devin Smith are grading out champions. There's a reason that we go down individual, everyone is going plus?two effort, we call it, because the guy first in the line is No.10 and he demands it. Man, I mean, it's just?? he's got a nice life ahead of him. He's got to continue doing what he's doing, but in the classroom, doing the same thing. Yeah, this time last year, I was hoping he would move on somewhere else. We had enough. And he's really done a nice job?? not a nice job. A great job.
Q. As you look at your passing offense, you guys are on track to obliterate the school record for touchdown passes. What do you see that's really clicking there, or is that just the way things have happened the first five games? COACH MEYER: I'd like to do this stat, I haven't done it but it would be good to do for your story would be how many deep balls?? our kids with get open and they can catch and we can throw a deep ball. That?? we couldn't do that last year. There were games I refused to call it because they were going to be covered and we couldn't throw it. Now, this Saturday, we are going to try the same thing. That's a big part of who we are. So we would have more explosive pass plays?? I don't know if I remember this many early in the season, ever.
Q. No. 2, as you look?? I would think you've looked at north western a little bit, defensively, what sticks out about them? They have given up a lot of yards but they seem to make plays. COACH MEYER: They are very?? Mike Hankwitz is the defensive coordinator and an old?time friend of mine, he's an excellent coach. Obviously the head coach is very involved in the defense. They are very sound, so 4?3 defense, they are not a radar, bizarre?looking defense. So it's very sound. Sound defenses at times give up yards because not doing all the chaos that we see nowadays in college football, but it's hard to score on very sound defenses because at some point, they are going to force you to make up a mistake. They are not going to give up the big one are going to force you to make a mistake.
Q. Johnson, that last punt, from a confidence standpoint, obviously it was huge for you guys, just what does that do for a kid to maybe deliver in the clutch? COACH MEYER: Because he hasn't. I've graded him about a C?minus. His average hang time was just under four seconds which is completely unacceptable up to this point so I'm just seeing a little more pep in his step. The players love him, and so I'm hoping we see what you said, a great deal of confidence that he can get the job done.
Q. Braxton ran the ball 22 times the other night. Obviously they were not all designed, but did you want him running the ball that often especially given what he's coming off of? COACH MEYER: No, it's a 14, 15 time of game we like to run. But like you said a lot of them were scrambles and we like to keep it over that.
Q. Are what they are doing, too, what's out there for you to take? COACH MEYER: Every game changes. A lot of it has to do with him, too. If he sees something open, he certainly has the right to go take it. A lot of factors involved in that.
Q. Did you like him as a blocker? COACH MEYER: Oh, yeah, it was great. Chirping about that all day. He did a good job. That was a great block. Have a great day guys.