November 18, 2017

Urban Meyer Postgame Press Conference

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Nov. 18, 2017

COACH MEYER: Thanks to our fans for sticking around in that weather when it started to come around, and our student body was electric, staying out, and very much appreciate them. Appreciate the Buckeye Walk and them once again hanging in there when they saw the weather coming in.

Also a tribute to our senior class. It’s not a goodbye because we have a lot of ball in front of us, but it was an opportunity for our seniors to tip their hat to the class, best fans in the land and as important an opportunity — I thought our crowd was really classy — to say thank you to our group of players that if you just look at their performance, you looked at the way they live their lives, look at the way they represent this great university and represent their families with great honor and character and integrity, and that’s the Ohio State I’ve known since I’ve been a young person.

Q. Can you describe two things, one, the transformation, the evolution of J.T. Barrett since he arrived, and what it was like him coming out, your emotions coming out for the last time in this stadium?
COACH MEYER: First of all, I love J.T. Everybody knows that. Transformation, he’s leading — he’s the record-setting quarterback. Once again, my emotions were more for him to say goodbye to the crowd. We’ve got a lot of stuff going on here.

So it’s certainly not a goodbye. When we say goodbye, it’s going to be a tough one. But that was not a goodbye. That was a chance for him to tip his hat. That’s why I made it clear to our players: Thank the crowd.

And in return, I’ve been a lot of places where the crowd doesn’t tip their hat back at you. And today was awesome. They did that. And it’s well-deserved.

Q. How close were you and your staff following the weather forecast, in terms of the importance of having the start you did; and, secondly, could you describe your defensive performance?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, it was the first time we were going to take the ball. They won the toss and deferred. But we were going to take the ball because we followed it really closely.

And I think 5:00, 5:30 was when it was going to hit. We wanted to have a dry ball and also select the wind in the third quarter, second half. But it worked out fine anyways.

So we watched it very closely. And defense was dominant. They did what they had to do.

Q. What’s it been like with Mike Weber the last couple of weeks; and as you watch your offensive line play now, what are you seeing from them? Obviously for a second straight week for sure they dominated.
COACH MEYER: Most improved unit on our team, the leadership, the cohesiveness of that group led by their unit leader, Coach Stud, has been very noticeable. It was not the strength of our team a year ago. It’s the strength of our team right now. We all know that teams that go to compete with what’s coming up down the road, you have to have a powerful offensive line. We’re proud of them.

Q. Weber?
COACH MEYER: Weber is just 100 percent healthy. He’s running like a guy that — we were bragging about him all summer and then had the tough injury. But he’s doing very well.

Q. Last few years you guys have had to play Michigan State in that slot before going on to Michigan, and then ultimately — it’s a tough run. How important is it to have a game like this when you’re trying to get back up into the eyes of the committee and confidence-wise and everything going into — I mean, just to have a game where you could rest starters and do the things you guys did tonight two weeks before, is it ideal?
COACH MEYER: How important (indiscernible) — we’ve had pretty good performances against them in the last couple of years when we played Michigan State. So I don’t know. Our focus is on celebrate this win with your family and friends and let’s get back to business. It’s rivalry week. Say that ten times. It’s officially started.

Q. If you could take me into the decision-making to put the starters back in in the third quarter after the turnover touchdown.
COACH MEYER: (Inaudible) I just didn’t want it to turn into a clown show, which it looked like it for a minute. And I gotta give Dwayne a lot of credit, he bounced back like that.

Q. You seemed so intent all week about not letting any distractions, playoff talk, Big Ten race, next week into what your team — but it is the goal for you getting back to Indianapolis, does the team get a chance to celebrate that; how important is a division title to you today?
COACH MEYER: Very important. However, we did celebrate it for a quick minute. And then it’s over. Now it’s time to put our laser lights on our rival.

Q. We know you always talk about wanting to play your best ball at the end of the season. Here you are going into Michigan week. How do you feel where your team is going into this game?
COACH MEYER: I love our focus. I love the fact the way that we’re practicing and the focus — intent focus is the mantra right now. And I like where we’re at.

Q. Parris Campbell missed a couple of games in the middle of the year there. Got him back involved in the offense. Just when you have that, what does that bring to you?
COACH MEYER: He’s dynamic. And he hasn’t played like that. But that just tells that you have to practice. Why is Mike Weber playing so well? He’s practicing so well.

Why is Demetrius Knox — who is Demetrius Knox? All of a sudden he’s grading champion because he’s practiced so well.

Parris a perfect example. When people make comments, he’ll be okay for game day, what does that mean? That’s not the way this works. He’s got to practice to get where he’s, at and he’s practiced really well this week.

Q. Are you aware that your rival lost today, and just how quickly did you make that pivot in the locker room?
COACH MEYER: Pretty quick. We celebrated the chance that we’re going to go to Indianapolis, which is a goal every year. And, yes, I was aware. And we dived right into getting ready to go.

Q. On a similar note, every year when you prepare a team for this week that’s coming up here, the hype grows and grows, how do you want your team to manage the week because you know what it’s like; it’s an insane exciting week, how do you want your players to, maybe even the ones that haven’t been through this before, to manage the hype and what all goes into it?
COACH MEYER: There’s not a template. It’s because every team is different. We know what we’re doing. I’m going to evaluate that on Sunday, talk to our staff. I have some coaches that have never coached in this game either. So we have to coach the coaches through it. And the facility changes tomorrow, everything changes, and — but I’m going to monitor that. I can’t answer that question now because I want to see how they respond.

Q. I know Parris Campbell is one of your favorite guys and it seemed like in the first quarter you guys came right out to get him the ball and get him involved. He helped you set up I think the first two touchdowns, I think he helped you set those up. Just seems like is he back healthy now, and was there a concerted effort on your part to get him the football?
COACH MEYER: There sure was. Once again it’s because he’s one of our best players. And second he practiced so well this week. Last week he did not practice that well. And so it wasn’t that concerted effort. But it’s what you see on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when you decide the game plan, and he was outstanding.

Q. Is he a guy that can help you do some big things here in the next two weeks (indiscernible)?
COACH MEYER: I think he’s one of our best players, yeah. He has that — that reverse was ridiculous effort. And, yeah, he’s a dynamic player.