Sept. 21, 2013
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COACH MEYER: Thank you for being here. With a heavy heart as a team, the Tiberi family is on my mind and I know I speak on behalf of myself and my staff. I knew the family meant a lot to myself and some people, I didn’t realize how many people. Once again with heavy heart and sympathy and prayers for that family. We gave them a helmet, and you wish you could do more for that family. A good effort by our guys, they came out and played well, came out and played fast, got a lot of people in the game. I think we will be pretty close to full strength next week. You come to Ohio State to complete for the Big 10 Championship and that starts tomorrow, actually it started in a meeting just a minute ago, so respect for the upcoming opponent and we gotta get the Buckeyes ready to go.
Q. Not playing Braxton today
COACH MEYER: I wanted to play him. Braxton felt like he couldn’t go and we were checking, and he tried really hard, had a good week of pushing himself through it but with good athletes those are tough injuries.
Q. Kenny has played extremely well the last three weeks, 75, 95, 13 touchdown passes. Is he just playing well or is that a result of competition as well?
COACH MEYER: I think it’s a result I’ll say this in front of Kenny, Kenny obviously I don’t know how many snaps he played before our staff got here, but he probably didn’t play any, and it’s not because the staff was screwing him over; he wasn’t very good in a lot of areas. He pushed himself academically, and he’s an exceptional guy, and he didn’t do things exceptionally, and he’s an underachiever, and to an underachiever, that’s fighting words. He’s an efficient player right now, he’s an incredible manager, coach on the field so, you know, his time came. He was prepared, and his coach and him did a very good job. I think Tom Herman it’s not by accident that this thing happened, now. It’s not because he had the buckeye in his pocket or his lucky tee shirt; it’s because he worked hard with the position coach to get ready for his opportunity and boy did he.
Q. Urban, an overmatched opponent. What do you take from a game like that and how did you try to be respectful and get what you could?
COACH MEYER: If you noticed we threw the ball a lot in the first two series because I wanted to see how things were shaking out. Jeff Heuerman had to get his hands on the ball, some other guys had to get some. It’s not that we haven’t tried, just those situations came up. I wanted to throw the ball, I wanted to get the ball in the hands of some guys and you want to play your players because this is their payday. Jordan Hall deserved more carries than he got, but you just can’t do that. I’ve been on the other end of those so I try to do the best we could, just run the ball every snap and let guys earn an opportunity to get on the field. Thing is if you get depth on your field, you tell Ezekiel Elliot not to run hard, he’ll look at you like, I’m runnin’ hard, because I have to get more carries. What do we take out of it? We get to play in one of the biggest stadiums on college football, 103,000 people came out to watch us play. They have a right to see our kids play hard, and they did.
Q. Do you leave here today is Braxton Miller still your number one quarterback without a doubt in your mind?
COACH MEYER: Yes.
Q. Talk about how you deal with that next week.
COACH MEYER: Great question, Tim, and he is our starting quarterback. Our back up quarterback has earned some time. I can’t begin to tell you I’ve been going through some scenarios in my mind and I don’t know what it is. I’m going to see how we practice this week, but, you know, Braxton is our starting quarterback.
Q. Did the nonconference part of the schedule prepare you for the Big 10 season?
COACH MEYER: You guys those are good questions today. (Chuckles.) That’s a great question. Obviously at 10:00 next week we’ll know. What time is the kick off? Yeah, so midnight next week we will know. I love my team, I like our coaches and the seriousness that our guys are approaching everything with, and I like the fact that we’re relatively healthy. Are we prepared? I like to think we are. The defense had a lot of new players in there. So that question shall be answered for sure next week, but as a coach I believe we are ready.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH MEYER: Michael Bennett had a stinger in last week’s game, we didn’t bang him much during practice. I made the comment he’s one of our best practice players and one of our best players, so as it got closer and closer, our strength coach is very helpful, and he was on call ready to go. If that would have been a game we needed him, he was ready to go but in pregame. We just wanted him to go a few more days without contact on his shoulders. He will be ready next week.
Q. You mentioned earlier this week, it’s a good problem to have but in terms of running backs now, Carlos comes back, Ezekiel runs for 162 yards today, that seems like another area you will have to address as you go on. Any idea how you handle that?
COACH MEYER: I think you have three that are above the others right now, you have Jordan Hall, Rod Smith, and Carlos Hyde are the top three backs. I think Warren Ball ran hard and I think Ezekiel Elliott’s got an incredible future here. I wanted to reward him a little bit; he’s involved in special teams now. And Jordan Hall gives you flexibility, too, I’m evaluating what to do with him, because I know he’s a heck of a tailback as well.
Q. This might sound crazy after you score 76 points, but as you wrap up nonconference play, barely had Braxton at all, Carlos Hyde was out for three weeks, how much more are you expecting from this offense as you start to get those pieces back?
COACH MEYER: You know who you’re facing, Big 10 defense next week, so I expect a lot. Expectation level on offense is real high. We have some weapons, you know, I kinda like where we’re at, you know, the best way to think about it is checkers, some pieces on the board, and I like the checkers we have right now, so it’s just a matter of our staff putting them together at the same time and getting them healthy and making sure they’re in great shape. We added some stuff tomorrow; they’re coming in tomorrow and we’re going to have a full day tomorrow and get ready for next one coming up.
Q. I’m curious if by the folks that you didn’t play, maybe this is for down the road, Jalin Marshall, Brionte Dunn, are those the guys that–
COACH MEYER: I think both Brionte and Jalin, Michael Thomas, Corey Smith, a junior college player, are just names off the top of my head; they’re on call. They’re ready to go but they won’t be used in mop up time. We lose a couple of players like we did on the defensive line, like Michael Hill, you’re ready to go. We don’t really red shirt but there are some guys that could be fine players down the road that I just didn’t want to burn a year to get ’em 5 or 10 plays so that’s the decision we made. Thank you, guys.