Dec. 8, 2013
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An interview with: COACH URBAN MEYER, BRAXTON MILLER and RYAN SHAZIER
THE MODERATOR: We’ll ask Coach Meyer to make an opening statement.
COACH MEYER: Well, just went around the room and told the players I love them. I don’t like to use the word ‘proud’, but I am proud of them.
They fought against a very good team. Dug ourselves a hole. Went 17 0, came back, tried to seize momentum in the third quarter after halftime, then let it get away from us.
We got to do things a little bit better. I don’t want to take anything away from our opponent. That’s a heck of a team, man. Good players, good scheme.
But love my guys. I love these players. You got any Ryan Shaziers and (Braxton) Millers, I’ll take them. Send them to me.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll take questions.
Q. Talk about the devastating nature of this loss, Urban. How do you put it in perspective?
COACH MEYER: I just feel we’re all very blessed and fortunate to have these kids on our team. I love that locker room.
I don’t know. You know, it’s going to haunt all of us I imagine for a little while, but that’s part of the game.
Q. Can you take us through I think it was fourth and two, you called a timeout, some of the options you talked about, and why you went with the play call you did.
COACH MEYER: Yeah, it was my call. I wanted to put the ball in the hands of our best player, Braxton (Miller). We usually run that play a lot. We ran it to the boundary. I knew they’d pressure us. Thought he might be able to come out the other end of it.
That’s why. It was a chance to go try to win the game.
Q. Coach, your team finished one of 10 on third down today. Talk about what Michigan State was able to do to cause that inefficiency today.
COACH MEYER: I can’t off the top of my head. I know they pressured us a little bit. The guys cover fairly well. I think we ran the ball a few times.
Off the top of my head, I can’t. We just didn’t play very well on third downs.
Q. After your start there, what adjustments did you make to be able to get back into a groove and take the lead?
COACH MEYER: We opened it up a little bit, let Braxton (Miller) throw the ball. Did a nice job at the end of the half to get down there, kick a field goal.
We also did a nice job making some adjustments by alignments with receivers to give us advantages in the run game. That was coming out the other end pretty good.
The best thing was our defense really played well for about three or four series there. We were able to take the lead. Then we lost it.
Q. The pass defense kind of came up again. How much did it hurt having (Bradley) Roby out for eight or 10 plays there?
COACH MEYER: Any time you take a great player out… I don’t know. Armani (Reeves) goes in there and plays. He didn’t screw it up or anything.
Obviously, take a great player off the field, that’s an issue.
Q. You took the lead. But the pass defense kind of came to the fore. What are your thoughts right now?
COACH MEYER: Disappointed with our pass defense. We have to get this fixed. We’re going to get back to work.
Q. You said probably two or three times how much you love these guys. Could you explain why that is.
COACH MEYER: You know, last year I didn’t really know a lot of these guys. I knew them, but not like I know them now.
It’s an uncommon commitment to a common goal is the best way to explain the feelings this team have for each other, the coaches have for these players. Once again, it’s an uncommon commitment these guys made starting a year and a half ago with new coaching staff coming in here. They didn’t know us from Adam when we came in. They jumped right in.
These two guys are perfect examples of guys jumping right in, bought everything we sold. They know we care about them, care about our staff, care about each other. That’s what I mean by that.
Q. I know you wanted to get the ball in Braxton’s hands as much as you could. In a perfect world, would you like to have had more touches for Carlos (Hyde)?
COACH MEYER: Yeah.
Q. Braxton, what started opening up in the running game after the cool start?
Braxton Miller: It’s a good defense. Some of the things they did outside, we took care of that. I got a few good runs. Kept going towards it.
Q. Coach, after you got 24 17 up, they pretty much shut you down. Any change to the way you approached offense at that point with the lead as opposed to what you did to rally to get ahead?
COACH MEYER: I can’t remember the exact script. But I don’t believe so. I look back, I think back, things we might have done a little differently.
Off the top of my head, no.
Q. Ryan, you got in there, got that partial block off the punt. Did you feel the momentum shift there?
Ryan Shazier: I was just doing my job. Coach told us to go and hit the gunners I mean the bears. I thought it was pretty weak. I tried to block and get us as much momentum as possible.
Q. Urban, when you’ve gone two years, go undefeated, looking at the chance to play for a national championship, you have a chance if you win a game, you don’t get it, does it make the loss that much harder to know you worked for something, had that opportunity, now it doesn’t materialize?
COACH MEYER: I don’t know. I mean, does it make the loss harder? No. What makes the loss harder is I really wanted these guys to experience something special. And we are.
I imagine there’s a chance we’ll get invited to a great bowl game. If we do, they’re going to get a very good Buckeye football team that’s going to stick together and try to win a game.
If you’re asking me to measure the levels of hurt, I’m not sure I can do that.
Q. Coach, would you elaborate on the decision not to play Marcus Hall in the game?
COACH MEYER: He’s fine. Disappointed with his actions. The good thing is, that’s not who he is at all. Repeat offender, done some stupid things in the past, he hasn’t. He’s great.
I just feel it wasn’t right to play him.
Q. You said yesterday that you wouldn’t start Hall. When did you make the decision he wouldn’t play?
COACH MEYER: When did I make that decision? I made it a while back.
Q. You were on this incredible streak this 24 game run. Now to have sort of lost the game, what does it do for you guys? Where do you go from here as players?
Braxton Miller: You know, just grow together as a team. Things happen in games, really don’t go your way. You got to come back and fix the mistakes. Keep your head high, come back stronger.
Ryan Shazier: Just like Braxton said. We went through some adversity. We got to stick together as a team, try to win this next game.
We got to come out, start working for this next one.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.