Sept. 29, 2013
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Q. Seemed you used your time away to Ohio State’s benefit. Did you feel you looked sharp running and throwing. How did you feel out there?
Braxton Miller: Before I answer that, I am proud of Kenny and the way he led the team while I was out. I look at him as a big brother. So no controversy with that.
Q. So talk about your play tonight, stepping in there after being out for almost three weeks.
Braxton Miller: I’ve been working really hard these last couple of weeks because I’ve been hurt. Fundamental wise, and Coach Herman and Coach Meyer, they always talk about fundamentals. That’s what I’ve been working on. That’s how I get things going. And I can’t give all the glory to myself, I’ve got to give it to the team.
Q. You got off to a really hot start. Can you talk about how [indiscernible] and how did you feel out there?
Braxton Miller: I felt good. It was a good crowd. Always a great crowd with the Buckeyes. I felt good. My legs felt good energy wise. I wasn’t out of shape. Felt good.
Q. Fourth quarter, what kind of went on there? You guys first down needed a couple of times. What was going on there?
Braxton Miller: We backed up just a little bit because they was running this type of blitz coverage and we just wanted to run the ball and run the clock out. So we got off the field.
Q. Did you feel like you had something to prove tonight there? It seemed like it became popular for the last couple of weeks to stir up this controversy. Did you want to send any message with your own play?
Braxton Miller: Not at all. I was just going out there to have fun and lead my team how it’s supposed to be led and just have fun and big plays come along with that, and I don’t really look into how the media deals with that. So it don’t bother me at all.
Q. Do you feel like this was a good game, a good icebreaker for the Big Ten? Was this a game that kind of you needed to see, kind of where you were, where the team was?
Braxton Miller: I love playing in big games. Brings excitement to myself and the team. That’s what we talk about all the time. We love night games, just like last year. We stepped up a little bit, different game plan, and defense was good; Wisconsin, they was good defense. And we just had a good game plan. So it came out well. And everybody fought hard today.
Q. Can you talk about right at the end of the first half, almost an interception and the next play, 40 yard touchdown pass?
Braxton Miller: It slipped out of my hands. I can’t make excuses. It’s on me. I told coach: Let’s throw it again. I made up for it the next throw.
Q. Same question but follow up on that. Did you tell him let’s do it again? Tell us how it went down.
Braxton Miller: Coach know how I don’t really gotta say too much. I looked at the sideline. He already knows what’s going on. Good game plan.
Q. Because of the way you normally play the game, was there any hesitation or any concern going in about tucking it, running the football, because of what you were coming off of?
Braxton Miller: Not at all. I worked pretty hard I was in there all day. I felt like I had a job without getting paid. I was getting in there before the coaches. Taking care of my body. Conditioned all the time. Underwater treadmill. And just felt really good.
Q. You talked about that last drive before the half. Can you talk about the drive before they scored and get back in the momentum and that seemed to be the first time you cut it loose running was on that drive. Was there any hesitation early in the game to test the knee?
Braxton Miller: Just a little bit in the beginning of the game. I loosened up and you know how things get tight, you loosen up after a while. But the drive before the half, they opened up a lot, plus they came out with the ball again and had to set the tone before we went into the locker room.
Q. Is the knee 100 percent at this point, or how close to 100 percent?
Braxton Miller: It’s good. It’s 100 percent. I just wear a knee brace for caution and keep it real tight.
Q. What was the process like for you the past couple of weeks of trying to decide are you going to play, are you not going to play? Did you think maybe you were going to play last week? What was that like for you personally?
Braxton Miller: No, we held off on that, because it was a different type of game and we wanted to get prepared for the Big Ten conference. I wanted to rest my knee for another week so it would be absolutely 100 percent, so I could give all my all on the field.
Q. Heading into tonight, did you expect to take all the snaps?
Braxton Miller: It’s the coach’s decision. I worked pretty hard in practice. Me and Kenny, we just have a different relationship. And so it’s all in coach’s hands.
Q. Did they give you the decision before the game in that regard?
Braxton Miller: Yeah, yeah, yeah, they did.
Q. It looked like Kenny was one of the first guys out to celebrate with you after your touchdown passes, the first two I remember specifically. Did you expect anything different from Kenny in those moments? And how did it feel to have his support in that moment?
Braxton Miller: Like I said, he’s been my big brother ever since I got here. We’ve had a connection. We roommate every game. We talk about things outside of football, things outside of football. So we hang out all the time and just happy to see him happy for me to be back on the field with the team.
Q. How did you think the offense looked overall? It’s kind of hard to look at it in the moment. But if you can step outside of the moment and just look at it overall, as crisp as you would like it to be?
Braxton Miller: No, we’ve got a lot of little corrections to make, especially in the film room tomorrow. It’s just the little things we’ve got to fix from the game and little D balls I missed a couple times. We got it back. Fought really hard. And guys played really well. So you can’t really tell when you mess up.
COACH MEYER: Thanks for being here and a great team win and an incredible atmosphere, very appreciative to our fans and the Buckeye walk the skull session and just the atmosphere I can’t imagine much better, especially national television audience to watch it. Our team came out hard and fast. We just got news we lost our captain. Christian Bryant has a broken ankle. And just tough news. That’s the hardest part of this whole job is to see I’m not sure everybody understands what goes into playing a football game, the training and work ethic and all that. My goodness. Just love that kid. I just want to ask you to keep Christian’s family in your prayers and that darn kid has done so much for our program, come so far. Incredible leadership skills. And he’s going to be even more valuable outside of football. I love that guy. Doggone it. Hard part of the game, boy.
Q. On the other side of the football, just Braxton’s play tonight. He clearly looked sharp. He threw it with velocity. Can you rate how he played tonight?
COACH MEYER: I think he played very well. I think looks he threw 200 yards, four touchdowns, two sacks. Played very good defense. Didn’t realize how many seniors on the defense, well coached, hard playing outfit. I don’t think I said that in the beginning of my statement, but I think the team we played is very good. Should be undefeated except for some ridiculous call. Two Big Ten teams going at each other. Incredible environment. Braxton did have a heck of a day. We sit much better if our captain doesn’t get hurt and we close the game better but it’s part of the game.
Q. Seems like it’s been kind of popular for the last couple of weeks to stir up controversy with your quarterbacks. Was there ever a doubt if Braxton was healthy
COACH MEYER: Oh, no not if he’s healthy. If he was healthy, I’d like to get Kenny in the game. Just in the moment it didn’t happen. The same with Jordan Hall. So those are two guys that I’ve got to make sure we handle the right way, because they deserve to play. So those are no, but when Braxton when I saw on Thursday what I saw, then there was no doubt who was going to be our starter. And we gotta keep moving forward and keep everybody locked in on the target. And it’s going to be a tough target again next week.
Q. Can you just talk a bit about limiting them running the football? I mean they were the third best in the country, just 104 yards rushing.
COACH MEYER: The game plan shifted early on them in the game. I think our guys, we held that No. 25 to 74 total yards. We started hitting them in the backfield a little bit. Tremendous player. We contained them. One of the things, the longest run from scrimmage looked like it was 17 yards. And that’s not like them. I mean, I think doggone they’re averaging I want to say 12, 14 yards a carry. So the thing that hurt us a little bit was we only got two sacks they threw the ball 34 times. That’s not acceptable. No. 4 for them he’s got my vote for all Big Ten. He did an incredible job.
Q. So was it just the coach’s decision that Jordan didn’t play very much and Carlos got the bulk of the carries?
COACH MEYER: No issue. Just a coach’s decision. We’re going to keep evaluating it, because No. 2 or 7, whatever he is now, he deserves to be more involved in that game. So I’m going to evaluate that tomorrow.
Q. Having LeBron James involved with the team like that today, what’s that like and does that do anything for the team?
COACH MEYER: I don’t know. I just know I love athletes that handle their business. I love athletes that live right off the field and show incredible leadership. And I’ve always been a LeBron fan. I met him back when he was at Akron Saint Vincent, Saint Mary. To have him come and be gracious with our team visit our team, speak to our team, actually spoke to our team today, plus he’s a Buckeye. He loves Ohio State. And he’s made that clear several times to me throughout the year.
Q. Two things, I wanted to ask you real quick about: Were you surprised the way they were able to move the football through the air sustaining it that way? And the other question I had for you was about your punter, Cameron Johnson, the way he was able to trap them deep in their own end numerous times tonight.
COACH MEYER: Where is the return yardage? Shoot we gave up three yards. First of the year. We work real hard on that, by the way. And I think I called up Devin Smith at the end of the game we finally got a good hang time of our punter 4.4 hang time which we’re always pushing for four and a half seconds. But that was play of the day to go punt that thing like he did, got it off in good time. And great coverage and put them back on the minus 10 yard line. Our punt team is solid that’s probably the star of our special teams. That’s an area that we have to continue to work to get better.
Q. You talked about being a tough target again next week. What are some sort of preliminary things that concern you about next Saturday’s game?
COACH MEYER: My leader, our leader is in an ambulance right now going to the hospital to have surgery on his leg. So that’s the concerning part. He’s our leader. There’s no doubt about who is one of our if not the defense leader, one of them. And he’s just devastated. So that’s concern number one. Concern probably one, two and three is who is going to fill his spot. Who is going to assume the leadership obligation, responsibility that he has, that he has shown. Incredible young man. Incredible. His parents should be very, very proud of that guy. I love that guy.