OHIO STATE COACH URBAN MEYER
October 15, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
COACH MEYER: Quick comments. I think I did not give you our?? against Northwestern, Joey Bosa was defensive player of the game. Mike Bennett graded at champion. That's all we had on defense. On offense, Marcus Hall was a champion. Andrew Norwell grade out as champion; Jeff Heuerman at tight end, and three receivers again, Evan Spencer, Devin Smith and Philly Brown. Player of the Week was Carlos Hyde. Brad Robe was special teams player of week, and I think we had some all?conference awards with those guys. We had a bye week. I think we managed it well. Once again, I evaluate that every year on how we do after bye weeks and we gave them some rest, six tough games back?to?back night games, back?to?back primetime games against ranked opponents. I told them we would take care of them if they won, and they did a good job. So now the issue is, we went Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday last week. They were in at 7:00 AM this morning for meetings and we go Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday this week in pads. So that's our plan. And a very good Iowa defense. Just because I don't know a whole lot about Iowa other than I did coach against them in a Bowl game awhile back and they are the same as they have always been on defense, real stout, real firm against the run. I believe they have not given up a rushing touchdown, I read that somewhere, and I can see that they are very good. So just a big game.
Q. You've never had a running back go over a thousand yards but Carlos was real close last yearand what if he didn't miss three games ?? COACH MEYER: I'm tired of hearing that, man.
Q. I know you are. And it looks like he's on pace this year despite missing three games. COACH MEYER: Is he? I don't even know.
Q. Is that a change in philosophy? Especially if you play the Big10 Championship plus the Bowl game. Is it a change in philosophy from your earlier coaching days? COACH MEYER: No. I've always ?? you can tell, we had I think one 970 and then one 890 and then we had one 970 and Jeff Demps was going to be that guy down there and he gets hurt and?? it's nuts. If someone wants to question whether we run the ball effectively, I think we fairly, over, what was it, 12 years, you know, we run the ball really well. Just in recruiting and all that other nonsense, we can't anticipate guys missing games for whatever reason. Average per carry, would I like to think we are always in the top, certainly in the conference on average per carry. So thanks for bringing that up today (Laughter).
Q. You've had quarterbacks go over a thousand?? COACH MEYER: Some guys just like leave their press conferences. I might start doing that.
Q. You've had quarterbacks go over a thousand yards. Is it safe to say you adjust?? COACH MEYER: Quarterback. I don't think we've had more than one.
Q. So Braxton is the only one? COACH MEYER: Yeah.
Q. And so you adjust to your personnel is that the best way to classify? COACH MEYER: Absolutely. I think that's something that we have, with?? I love having?? two big backs, Florida?? '05, '06 we did, a kid named DeShawn Wynn, who, once again, missed five games, or else he would have been a thousand?yard rusher. I think there's no doubt, I love having big backs. It's finding them and making sure that they are powerful, fast guys and we got one with Carlos.
Q. Halfway through the regular season, just what's your sense of where this team is, as far as what your expectations are, what's left ahead of it? COACH MEYER: Well, I think we all learned, every week, this is the first chance I had to watch football this weekend. I watched film some volleyball but I did watch some football, as well. I mean, those are?? we've got to find a way to win this Saturday, and it's not easy. We've been in here for two weeks trying to figure out how to run the ball against this defense. They are Top?10 in scoring defense, or I think Top?10 in rushing defense and very good players and all that. I think watercooler talk and good conversation is, where are you, how is it going, what's the future look like?? wait a minute, we have a really good practice today and some people laugh when I say that stuff but the mind?set is that I like this team, I really do. They are good people and they are guys that play hard, I love the fact that the emotion that I see in the locker room; at times, very relatively minor, minor issues I'm dealing with. I really like this team. Where are we? I don't know. We are 6?0 and doing the best we can to get first downs and stop people. And I can feel sometimes pressure mounting on players when you streak; you start hearing about streaks, you start hearing about that. And it's my job as a coach and our coaching staff is it's all about today. There's some teams that do an incredible job of that. I think Oregon does an incredible job of this tight end got in trouble and left or something and next guy up, go play, he's gone. And I think that's every coach's focus is just get to the next day.
Q. You spoke so glowingly about last year's seniors and their leadership. How is this team's leadership? COACH MEYER: I was panicky going into the season because I thought it was poor. 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. But, you know, I'm not saying it's great yet because they are still only halfway home, but through the first half the season, they have done a very nice job. There's good chemistry, good alignment and good leadership right now.
Q. Coming off byes, you've been very successful, is there anything you can pinpoint as to why that success has happened? COACH MEYER: I've been very blessed to have really good assistant coaches, and I think we manage it well. I think that's where my strength coach is very involved, or where I always seek guidance on how our team is doing. There's not some rigid program we have. I always go back and I take our?? I always go back and I take our, I go, '08 and then the most recent schedules and I go right off of those two and I pick and I meet with our strength coach. I think we are just very careful how we manage everything.
Q. Inaudible. COACH MEYER: Bye weeks? Not really.
Q. You've said you've watched film some games on Saturday, how much football did you see? Who did you see, and as a coach, do you start at this point when you do have a bye, thinking about where you stack up nationally as you sit there on Saturdays? COACH MEYER: Well, I try not to, but the human element gets involved when you start like watching some of these teams. I watched film Penn State's game, I watched film?? that was really where I really?? because I wanted to see my daughter play volleyball but got on my iPad and I started watching it and watched it really close. That's really the only one I watched film start to finish. But I saw the highlights. You start wondering where you stack up, and then I try to click right back into, don't worry about that, just take care of your own business. So that's where we are that.
Q. When Ryan Shazier came up with the idea to switch a couple weeks ago, did he come up to? How does that work? COACH MEYER: Ryan's got ?? he's one of the most incredible young men I've ever been around. He's got a heart of gold. Curtis Grant lost his father and that was an issue we were dealing with over the weekend and prayers are out to Curtis and his family, and just a tough situation. Ryan wants to go drive down there and fly down there and be with him and all that. Ryan, he's one of the most incredible young men I've always been around and he's been raised that way, too, he's got a really wonderful family. When Ryan comes to me like that, I'm like, settle down, what's the best thing to do and how does it affect our numbers and all those things. Ryan, that's one of about 50 ideas he always comes up with, but it's all pure?? you know, pure ideas and caring in its pure form, which is kind of cool.
Q. What's your situation with Jordan Hall in particular? COACH MEYER: Tommy Schutt is a good. We are going to get him into some reps today and he is a very welcome back player, which is kind of cool.
Q. What's the situation with Jordan Hall? COACH MEYER: Tommy Schutt is a go. We are going to get him into some reps today and he is a very welcome back player. He was a guy that might not have had the title at the start but was a starter for us and went down to training camp and worked his tail off. Coach Marotti says he's one of the best at taking care of his business and getting ready, so he should be a go Saturday. And then Jordan Hall is going to practice some today, is what I've heard.
Q. You mentioned last week, almost like you're trying to get Dontre Wilson to push through, I don't know if it's a freshman hump but you want more from him. Where are you at with that in the bye week; did you come up with anything? And how much of that relates to the whole team sort of pushing through this middle of the season and pushing on? COACH MEYER: Dontre is a valuable guy. Problem is he's?? what am I looking for. He's a novelty right now as opposed to a full?time player. Full?time players have to go block Sam linebackers and those kind of things and we are not quite ready, but we are working at it. There's other ways that we can be creative in getting him involved and not necessarily say, by the way, when he's in, we're handing the ball on a stretch play or running a wheel route. That's kind of what he's been doing. So we are working hard, because he deserves to play, works hard. You know, this time next year, he's going to be a rocked?up, 350?pound benching guy, we hope. So that's what he's not, yet. So there's a blocking ?? and Kenny running inside zone, sure. Is he great at it? Probably not because he's not big and strong at yet so those are the areas ?? everybody uses that Percy Harvin term, that Percy was a 400?pound benching guy that when he blocked you, he blocked you. So that's where we have to get with him. And the answer to your question, we did work really hard on that last week and it's still in progress.
Q. I know punt return coverage is something you've been very proud of this year. This week you go up against the player statistically best in the nation in punt return. Wondering what has made Martin?Manley successful there? COACH MEYER: We had two big hits against Western Michigan, a lot of fair catches. I just think he's a very good player, and I think?? was he hurt? I want to say that we might be dealing with an injury there, too. We are just trying to get some feedback, because I do believe he's an excellent punt returner. But they are a hold?up team, and not to get too much detail, but you asked, they drop people back and they get some double teams on your guys running down the field. So there's two ways of returning punts, we don't do it ?? we come after people, we give the appearance we are coming after people and then lock on; they don't do that. They drop back and try to get double?teamed. It's a very good scheme but it's a return scheme, does that make sense? And a very good player.
Q. Don't be afraid of too much detail. I'm wondering, too, you've talked about how your best teams play like they have had something taken from them. Does this team have that chip on their shoulder? COACH MEYER: I think so, yeah. I like to use that a little bit and they respond very well, and that's a great question, and to this point, I saw a little bit of a drop?off at north western in the preparation going up to Wisconsin. The Wisconsin game, the entire week felt like a rivalry week and I didn't feel that, and it might have been fatigue a little bit. But this team at times really plays like that, and they are easy to motivate.
Q. Before you clicked back on Saturday, how did you feel like your team stacked up with the teams you were seeing? COACH MEYER: I think we are right there. I think we are a good team, I do. I think we are not an explosive?? some of these teams are real explosive teams, but I saw Clemson, everybody watched film Clemson very closely. And every once in awhile you play football against a very well prepared team and they take away from of the explosiveness and that's what happens. It's not necessarily what they did, what Clemson did wrong; it's what Boston College did right and we run into the same things, scholarships, too, very good players and well coached teams. That's something I want to be?? if I had to grade us, we are not explosive from first to fourth quarter.
Q. Braxton Miller, what did y'all address with him from the standpoint of hanging onto the ball last week, do you think you got the message across?? obviously it was only a couple times but they can be huge. COACH MEYER: Huge, and it wasn't a couple times; it was a couple times it showed up that we saw before that, too. Just like anything with any player, you just work on it and make it clear, this is what we expect. He's a smart guy.
Q. Pass defense was alarming going into last week because you said coming out, what have you all addressed specifically with those guys, because clearly the pass rush seems to be getting better and I don't know if it is or not, but what did y'all address? COACH MEYER: I think it's the underneath coverage?? there's a couple glaring ones and that was?? I watched film some of those, the Wisconsin game. And I told our staff this morning, I said, know what, our defensive staff did a wonderful job stopping that run game. I don't know, I watched them play, Northwestern has a fine team and they ran all over them. We really spend a lot of energy and focus on the run game, and stopping the run game; and my challenge to them is without sacrificing that, how do we get that same focus into stopping the pass game and last week we did several things that we are going to continue this week.
Q. Playing Kenny in games ?? how much do you still?? is that still on the table? COACH MEYER: Sure, it is, because of who Kenny is, and we have a starter and we have a backup. The backup is very productive here, and could start at a lot of places. Two years ago, he could not. I keep bringing it up; Kenny has worked himself into that situation. Quarterback is a very complicated position, especially how and when do you pull them out and when do you put them back in, those type of things. So he's on?call, ready to go. The wonderful thing is that I don't have Uncle Kenny coming into to see me all the time asking me why he's not playing. So a lot of respect for Kenny and his family, the way he's handling our situation. Are we handling it right? I don't know. I mean, I'm sure we'll be judged on that every week.
Q. When you mentioned complicated, is any part of it?? like Braxton is not used to getting taken out?? he's never?? COACH MEYER: Any quarterback is not. Name a quarterback that is. And I had to deal with that at Florida with Tim and Chris, but they were so different. One was a short yardage and one was a unique curveball; if you have two guys, when you put them back in the game, and I don't know if I've ever seen it in college football.
Q. Another Braxton?related question. How did you manage him during the off?week, maybe less reps in practice, anything like that? Just if further moving along the healing process? COACH MEYER: Braxton? Healing, like the knee? No, he's good. No, he's 100 percent. I mean, there was ?? took as many reps and 100 percent ready to go.
Q. I apologize for interrupting, I just wanted to clarify on Curtis Grant, obviously you've said very difficult situation, is there any inclination as you sit here today, will he be back this week, is he hoping to play? COACH MEYER: Yeah, he'll play. I don't want to give you too much information because I might be wrong.
Q. It's early. COACH MEYER: Might be wrong but I know Curtis lost his father and we're behind him 100 percent like any player.