Sept. 23, 2017
COACH MEYER: Couple quick comments. Number one is 12 noon, 90-plus degree heat and I saw every seat filled. And I just speak on behalf of our team and our coaches, that’s a wow.
Most schools across the country, you play a game like this and it’s not like that. So I just want to be real clear and, man, oh, man, it’s awesome to look up there. And I do, I counted them. And our team talked about that for a few minutes afterwards. So I speak on behalf of our players saying thank you for support.
Q. Dwayne had a pretty good chunk of playing time today. Was wondering, seemed like he had some zip on his ball, looked pretty good, then he had that pick six. Can you give an evaluation of how he played overall?
COACH MEYER: I hate to do that because I’m usually wrong until I watch the videotape. And it was good to get Joe in there, too. I think Dwayne played pretty good. That’s inexcusable. Throw it right to the guy.
Obviously it’s a young player, a freshman. And they’ve gotta go through that.
Q. Joe didn’t come into the game until at the very end and —
COACH MEYER: He’s still about 90 percent. So, like, he couldn’t even take a snap at the end. He’s such a warrior.
Q. Did he hurt himself in there?
COACH MEYER: No, it’s the same injury, broken hand.
Q. Is anything — aggravation or anything, because it looked like he came off —
COACH MEYER: No, he’s one of those guys, he won’t tell you he’s hurt. He has a broken bone in there. I’m saying don’t throw. And I’m looking over there and he’s throwing, like, the week after he hurt it because he’s so tough. So just being cautious.
Q. I don’t know if you concern yourself with this kind of stuff but now that Dwayne has proven he’s pretty good but he’s not immortal, do you think the fan base would be more accepting or less critical of J.T. and does that matter?
COACH MEYER: Well, I started the press conference thanking our fan base for being there, but I’m not going to take a poll and ask them. That’s out of that, not being disrespectful to our fans, but quarterback’s a tough position and he’s continuing to work on it.
I pray he doesn’t throw that darned ball into coverage like that, very pleased. He’s got work to do but you can see the talent.
Q. You wanted to see improvement out of your offense. With J.T. in there, five touchdown tosses, just overall your thoughts of how the offense improved —
COACH MEYER: Probably the same thoughts as everybody else. Let’s go do it against a team that’s equally matched. And that’s my challenge every day for myself, for our coaches, more importantly. And obviously our players.
So that’s our challenge is Big Ten Conference officially starts and — but we also understand you’re seeing a bunch of receivers, six of them — seven different people caught touchdown passes — and that’s pretty neat to see that happen. And I want to say the ones that caught really had few to begin with as we started the season.
Parris didn’t have any, right? And Terry McLaurin made a couple. Bin Victor maybe had one. So you’re seeing growth right now.
Q. Urban, following up on that, is it hard to get like a strategic breakthrough when you have a game — when you can do whatever you want that first half? Or is this just more confidence builder for everybody?
COACH MEYER: All the above. I think I’m very pleased with coming out with — this is when coaching — and we’ve got to get them ready to go. Imagine looking up there at the scoreboard, and it’s 17-14 in the second quarter, something like that. They still have to go out there and play and play very hard. And I thought they did.
I was very pleased with the first team. Just no nonsense, went out and played as hard as they possibly could.
Q. C.J. Saunders getting that touchdown pass, that catch, too. He’s coming on and on in the wide receiver rotation. What’s your thoughts on him —
COACH MEYER: He’s actually a good player. His body, wish we could do something to get him a little stronger and more strength, because he’s a really good player, just not very big. Coach Mick is working hard at that.
Rashod Berry, a very talented guy, that is coming and coming and coming. I wish it happened yesterday, but you see the talent. He runs through people, but then he laid it on the ground one time going in. So, a very talented guy. I love his attitude right now.
Q. I have a football question, but first before the game seemed like you had a really special moment with your grandson and your daughter. Just wondered what that meant for you to have him out here today?
COACH MEYER: I already said I think I know my Christmas present. It’s going to be a nice canvas picture of me and my grandson in the Horseshoe. That was awesome.
Q. These guys that Tim mentioned, with Saunders and Berry, and J.T. wasn’t throwing to them in the second half of the game. Do you envision those two can take what they did and be a bigger factor in that location for you?
COACH MEYER: I think for sure Rashod Berry can. Just once again, C.J., you can’t be a hood ornament. That means you’ve got to be able to block and be able to do all the things. We’ve had trouble before with the smaller guys. They can’t play.
And so his issue is can he get strong enough to play at this level because he’s got the shake. He’s got the hands. He’s got the courage. He’s got the go-to, will-to. But gotta get stronger.
Q. You attacked the perimeter so much with the bubble screens last week. And now this week J.T. was hitting some throws in the middle of the field, the heart of the defense. Is that a reaction, did you see UNLV react to what you guys did last week, maybe try to take that outside away and it opens things up?
COACH MEYER: A lot of those were still bubbles, the middle, if you can see that, that’s actually concept where the bubble screen, and then you can see number two coming in. So, if we start jumping the bubble we have complements out there.
I like what we’re starting to do, and I think Kevin and Ryan are doing things that complement the things we’re doing well.
Q. How concerned are you about the defensive pass interference calls?
COACH MEYER: Very concerned, terrible. It’s awful.
Q. A game like this, what’s the greater significance of this? What do you take from this, good or bad from this game?
COACH MEYER: Our fast start. Got some young players, the necessity to play in front of 110,000 people. And I take a lot of positives out of it as you get ready for conference play.