Aug. 16, 2015
Head Coach Urban Meyer Press Conference Transcript:
Urban Meyer: Thanks for coming. Picture day, media day. Right in the middle of camp. We’ve got a lot of work to do, so obviously everyone’s minds are on getting better. We’re not where we need to be, which we don’t have to be yet. Today is a day where we kind of get our bodies and minds right. Next week is a two one two one two. If I count them all, that’s a lot of practices in one week. I understand we’re going to get some heat, and we’re relatively healthy. Dontre had where he had the broken foot, aggravation. We might get him back Monday, Tuesday this week. Marshon Lattimore is dealing with a little bit of a hamstring right now, again, the other one we’re hoping to get him back this week, as well. And I’m trying to think. That’s about it as far as the injury front, significant injuries. We’re practicing at Coffey Fields. They took Ackerman from us. That was my favorite field right over there, and this darned University keeps building stuff, I guess, so we lost our little practice field. We’ve got a great setup down there. It’s like a pro camp. If we’re not you guys are there, I think. It’s a great setup; we’re really appreciative of our intramural and just Gene Smith helping us get that all set up because I like to take them away the whole mantra or the whole thought behind that is you have to feel bad before you feel good, and we shouldn’t be feeling good. We’re in training camp. And then we move back here right prior to game week because it’s like a golf course out here what we practice on, so the legs start coming back, start feeling good about competition and playing. About right now we’re just in the it’s not survival mode yet, but by the time you hit Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, it’s going to be pure survival mode, which is what training camp is all about. So with that, I’ll answer your questions for you.
Q. Urban, there’s been some talk that Mike Weber and Torrance Gibson had their black stripes removed yesterday.
Urban Meyer: Mike Weber had his black stripe taken off. He’s a tough nut. He’s a guy that has been doing very well. I think he’s only the second one. Isiah Prince was the first one. Torrance is a guy that we still haven’t found our inside nine guy we call him. He’s the Devin Smith. He came to me. He realizes it’s going to take at least a year to play quarterback here, especially with what’s in front of him. He said, I want to play. I said, well, here’s your options, wildcat quarterback, we’ll see what your skill set is at receiver, catching the ball a little bit. He’s a very good athlete. We put him back there returning kicks. Obviously that wasn’t live, so I only think it’s been a day or two, so for us to say he’s the anointed one or he’s this or he’s that, he’s a kid that runs around pretty fast and is a really good guy. He’s a team first guy, which I really appreciate that. But has he moved to receiver, no. Now, is he going to play remains to be seen. That was kind of his he came to me and said I want to play, and he sees what’s in front of him with Cardale and J.T. and so forth.
Q. I know you said that you’re not going to talk about defending the title or anything like that, but you’ve seen what it takes. Knowing what it’s going to take, do you do anything in the off season program?
Urban Meyer: Well, sure. Not necessarily for defending but the health of your team, and that’s something that I rely very heavily on with Coach Beck. It’s interesting that my confidantes are Steve Addazio, Greg Schiano and some other guys I call frequently about, hey, tell me about this situation, tell me about this, guys that I know have no vested interest other than they’re very good friends and I respect them. And last year’s team was a team that had not much experience, so we practiced a lot different. Now how do you get chemistry? Execution, team building, you have to stay healthy, and that’s the that’s all I keep paying about even as I’m talking to you it’s all I’m thinking about because that’s a tough I mean, it’s a good thing to have. I just want to do right by these players.
Q. What do you envision his role being?
Urban Meyer: We lost Kyle Clinton, our kickoff guy, so I think we have him starting at kickoff right now. But he’s in a battle for the field goal spot, too, that scenario that we weren’t Sean Nuernberger is a fine kicker. He’s a freshman so we don’t want to panic too much. He’s got a strong leg, great guy, but the competition is good, and he’s been good, good worker.
Q. Urban, getting back to Torrance within the Braxton Miller, how is Braxton doing in your mind?
Urban Meyer: Typical guys that go play receiver that haven’t, it’s like a safety going to play corner. It doesn’t happen very often. Basically what our corner does in our defense, you line up, you tape your ankles, and you run for two hours of practice and play bump and run man coverage. As a receiver you line up and your run for two hours. As a quarterback you don’t run. You run for maybe four or five minutes at practice, and you’re doing other things. He went through some just muscle tightness. He’s fine. But we’re being cautious. This is a big week for him, so we introduced him, he did very good, and I’m anxious, as he is, to get going and get a starting spot.
Q. Ed Werner, are y’all going to be careful with him, though, also from a contact standpoint?
Urban Meyer: Yeah.
Q. What’s sort of that plan in a nutshell?
Urban Meyer: Yeah, we’re just being cautious. Once again, Braxton taking contact isn’t an issue. He’s taken a lot of contact over his career, and we want to make sure that shoulder is healed. We were going to run a double pass the other day and I want to make sure he’s ready to go throw it, too, so we’re going to keep throwing him this week, too, because that’s going to be that weapon that can do that as well as what he can do. God forbid all of a sudden he throws that darned thing and something happens. I just want to make sure he’s ready. Big week for him.
Q. What have you seen from Ed Werner and how he’s handled the increased role?
Urban Meyer: It’s really not it’s not a dictatorship. It’s never been that way. We have an offense. He’s a very good manager. One of his strengths obviously he’s a heck of a coach, but he’s an organizer, but it’s not this guy does this and all those other guys below, it’s a team concept and he’s done very good. His focus, he’s got to be what I can’t do is let him take away from that offensive line. Offensive line is the most critical, that has to be the best coached position on your team, and we’re fortunate what’s happened the last few years here, so we can’t lose that. We can’t dilute that with calling a play, because calling a play, believe it or not, is not that I hear people say, I’m going to be the play caller this year. Great. Wonderful. I’d rather make sure those five guys are ready to rock and roll, and those plays usually work better.
Q. You mentioned in the spring that he might stay on the sideline?
Urban Meyer: Yeah, he’s going to stay on the field. That’s the line coach part of it.
Q. I know you’re not going to tell us if you’ve made a decision or when you make a decision, one week of practice with the quarterbacks, how much closer would you be in your mind to settling on one of those guys?
Urban Meyer: We’re going to meet today. I have not had the data. I wanted everybody out of here last night, including myself, to get out of Dodge and go see your families, and then we have picture day so I’m going to meet with Tim Beck today and Ed, and I want a complete printout of every piece of statistical information we have. The gut feeling part and what I’ve watched, it is what it is. I think they’re both right there, and you probably wouldn’t expect me to say anything different, but that’s what it is. They’re both working their tails off, and it’s one of the most refreshing competitions I’ve ever witnessed, and that’s also from a family the families are great. That’ll fuel the first of all, we don’t put up with that here, but there’s zero, hey, what are you thinking, what are you thinking. We’re thinking about Monday’s practice is what we’re thinking about, and those two guys get along. When I say best friends, they’re unbelievable how well they get along.
Q. When you get that data, is it the first time you’ve looked at it or do you have it every day?
Urban Meyer: I peek at it, but not too much going on that I’m going to take it, and we have a day that we have some time today later on.
Q. What can you tell us about the competition at corner?
Urban Meyer: Corner it’s Gareon and Eli are the starting corners, Damon Webb is doing very good, Marshon we want him to battle. He’s missed the last two days. We’re hoping to get him back in that mix. Did you say corner?
Q. (No microphone)
Urban Meyer: Well, I think you were at practice. If you see how hard our practices are and how fast things are moving, believe me, there’s no we don’t have the gold trophy out there, trying to say championship and all that. We’re in survival now, so it’s good. There’s zero conversation about that.
Q. You have a very diverse staff, and I imagine that that’s been a plus for you in recruiting. Can you speak maybe to the advantage of that?
Urban Meyer: Great question, yeah. That’s something that when friends who get head coaching positions and will have conversations about putting together a staff, you’ve got to be very diverse. You have to be recognize your areas of recruiting, and then you’ve got to have some youth in there, and that’s I’ve known Zach since he played for me at Bowling Green, and he’s taken over the recruiting coordinator spot for us because of his social networking stuff that goes on, and I love it. I’m an old guy that doesn’t quite understand it, but I kind of do now and watching him, like wow, this stuff is really good, and our recruits are telling us it’s the best out there. Our video guy, our video staff, Sammy Silverman, who is critical in our recruiting process just because of all the graphics, and then Dave Trichel, our video guy, and then Zach, it’s amazing how it’s changed just in the last three years.
Q. (Inaudible.) Has that taken you by surprise?
Urban Meyer: Yeah, one day I was with Jalyn Holmes and he was recruiting Jalyn Holmes and I’m in the house with him, and all of a sudden I see Jalyn Holmes walking around with an iPad in front of him and he’s FaceTiming Zach’s kids. I go, what the hey are you doing? I look over and I see these kids in this video, or whatever that iPad is, so that’s a first.
Q. So you don’t FaceTime?
Urban Meyer: No.
Q. (Inaudible.) What do you hope a week from now that you get out of this line?
Urban Meyer: I hope number one, and our prayer every morning is safety of our players, health of our players because you see it across the country right now. Man, I hit ESPN.com and FOX Sports and CBS, I pull down these internet sites and I hit them real fast to see what’s going on across the world and you see a young guy get hurt, I don’t think the world realizes how much time goes into that, and that’s the number one thing is health of your players. Number two is you want to make it real hard and all the walls are broken down so they bleed we call it bleed on each other, and that means just it’s just that whole Chesterton quote we live by, the soldier doesn’t fight because of the hatred that’s in front of him, he or she fights because of the love of those behind him, and that’s what we’re trying to create right now. It’s a survival mentality. This week is a tough one, real tough.
Q. You mentioned the relationship between J.T. and Cardale. How unique is that to have a battle like that and yet they have that relationship?
Urban Meyer: Well, I think in your world it’s not unique because people say those things and sometimes it’s not genuine. This one is very genuine, because sometimes I’ll I’ve even witnessed it where guys are battling for a spot and I hear that but I don’t see it. I mean, they really they encourage each other, they push each other. It’s unique. I think it’s very unique.
Q. In past years, you and your staff studied leadership, rugby style tackling, recovery periods for athletes. What was the focus of what you’re trying to study this year?
Urban Meyer: What you just mentioned. That’s very observant, and we’ve just enhanced it over and over again. It’s very fluid in our world, and the more experienced I get, the more I realize that we’re covering our factor, brotherhood of trust. We just it’s a whole new Josh Alabi and Mike Weber have never heard of that before, so we have to reteach and we go and enhance what we taught before, and rugby tackling, we completely recommitted. Other than that, it’s pretty much a culture is set, we just have to maintain and enhance it.
Q. Is there anyone you study in particular, what they do for next year?
Urban Meyer: No, I thought I would go do that, but every team is different, and I don’t think there’s a cookie cutter way of going about your world. The one guy I do talk to is Lou Holtz, and not that he’s repeated a championship, but he’s a guy that I have great confidence in, and we can talk. Ours is more because we’re different. There’s zero we don’t have team goals per se. We want to compete for a championship in November, but okay, we want to be nine strong, and that’s pounded in all through this facility is nine strong, nine strong, and we don’t want to focus on anything other than their unit.
Q. Not talking about repeating, but obviously the expectations for this team are high going into the season. What have you told them or what will you tell them?
Urban Meyer: We briefly talked about it, but we created a monster, you’ve got to feed it, but then I don’t want to disappoint you, but really zero conversation about that. These team meetings, I’d be disappointed to hear our players talk about anything other than Adolphos Washington worrying about the defensive line, and Vonn Bell and Tyvis worrying about that we have the best safeties in America, Eli and Gareon taking care of their world. For Gareon and Eli to worry about something other than that, that’s not fair, and more importantly for Coach Coombs, Coach Johnson, Coach Ash, myself, to worry about something, it doesn’t exist. It probably exists when they are out and about. The good thing is they’re locked down at the hotel with us, and so up until we play the first game, we’re locked down.
Q. (No microphone)
Urban Meyer: I imagine it was probably an advantage at the time, but right now I don’t I was worried about J.T. when we first got him. He had a hard time getting it 50, 60 yards on a rope. Now he’s fine. He’s got great arm strength. His efficiency behind center is outstanding, and what that means is there’s not a lot of wasted motion, wasted movement. So he’s worked very hard. He actually went to an arm strengthening specialist at one point. I think it was two years ago, him and Tom Herman had something hooked up. But his arm strength is no issue.
Q. What have you seen from those suspended players?
Urban Meyer: Yeah, I don’t want to go individually, but everyone handles it differently, and the guys that have taken care of their business in the classroom, off the field and on the football field and they have a blip, it’s called a blip. The guys that are struggling in the classroom and then this is just another one, those are the ones you worry about. I’m not going to give names, but
Q. Every case is different?
Urban Meyer: Every case is different.
Q. (No microphone)
Urban Meyer: Well, good question. I didn’t know how that works, and so he wanted I think it’s 47, right? That’s Chic Harley if I remember right, and everyone knows the respect that we all have, myself and Luke Fickell, so I asked Gene, because his dad brought it up to me. It’s a great family, and I get how important when I was that age, numbers were important. At this age I don’t care. But their ages are important, and so if he’s a good guy, takes care of his work in the classroom and he handles his business, which he does, I brought it up and they said, shouldn’t be a problem, and we talked to the Harley family, I personally did. I talked to Archie Griffin. He’s kind of the guy you run all kinds of stuff through, for obvious reasons, and I didn’t see any issue at all.
Q. In the spring you talked about you personally (inaudible) personal experience like you had that season? Have you found the balance that was lacking at Florida?
Urban Meyer: It’s tough. It’s a frigging grind right now, man, and whether it’s repeating or not, it’s the same as our first year here. At this point in time, there’s not much balance, no (laughing). But I was going through some health with my chest pains and all that, so I’m fine health wise and taking care of myself. But it is what it is. These next few weeks, man, there’s not a whole lot of…