Aug. 14, 2017
Q. What will it take to win the job if that makes sense?
Urban Meyer: Consistency, and we have a big scrimmage coming up this Saturday, and that’s going to be a huge part of it.
Q. Is Tate in the mix or just those two? How tight is that race?
Urban Meyer: Well, Tate is in the mix. Tate gives us a weapon. He’s done some really nice things for us. He’s still getting a grasp of the offense, but I’d say the true backup right now is between Joe and Dwayne.
Q. Who has emerged at right guard, or is it still too early to tell?
Urban Meyer: Too early to tell? No, it’s not too early to tell, but you still have Malcolm, you have Bowen we’re taking a look at right guard. He’s been playing pretty good. You still have Demetrius Knox and Matt Burrell.
Q. Of those guys, has one of those guys taken more first-team reps than others?
Urban Meyer: Yeah, but I’m not going to get into that now, but yeah, they have. We’re starting to get it solidified. I’ll probably give you something this weekend. See how it goes.
Q. You’ve said in the past how it’s the Ohio State offense no matter who the coordinator is, and Kevin is here to help enhance things, but I don’t know if he’s had many quarterbacks who have run the way that J.T. can. How does your philosophy with running the quarterback and his mesh?
Urban Meyer: It’s been great. Like you said, the one thing that makes Kevin — and really all coaches that are successful, when he had those two great running backs at IU, both of them are doing well in the NFL, Coleman and the other big guy. Howard, right? And he used them, and then when he had the drop-back guy and the skill guy, he’s very good at identifying personnel, and he’s done very good. I’m very pleased with where we’re at offensively right now.
Q. You don’t think just with whatever touch he’s able to put on it, it won’t affect the way you guys have always used the quarterback run in your offense?
Urban Meyer: Well, we’d rather not use him as much. That’s not an indication things are going well. Sometimes you need to do it. But that’s also a get-out-of-jail-free card when things aren’t going as well. So right now the receivers are playing at a fairly high level. At times when we use them too much, that’s when things aren’t clicking at other spots.
Q. You put a couple guys on scholarship this past weekend. Could you talk about that decision, what they potentially could bring to this team?
Urban Meyer: Yeah, that’s one of the great things you get to do as a coach and I see everybody around the country do kind of crazy things to give them scholarships, and I just think that’s one of the — I always tell our team, there’s things I have to do that I can’t stand, and that’s when a guy makes a stupid decision or just deal with nonsense. Then this is my favorite decision, when you see deserving people and the NCAA allows us to do it, and we put two, Elijaah Goins starts on special teams and so does Zach, and it was great, and our players loved it.
Q. As far as the quarterbacks go, are you comfortable with their progress?
Urban Meyer: Yeah, they’re playing — that unit is playing very strong right now.
Q. You’ve got seven fifth-year seniors, all starters, elite players. Is that an unusual situation for you, and how does it benefit the team having that kind of leadership?
Urban Meyer: Yeah, you can’t put a price tag on that, and I saw that developing throughout the off-season and in the spring practice. It’s unusual. I don’t know if we’ve ever had that. You’d have to go back some years because we just don’t — usually don’t redshirt guys with the intent that they’ll be here in five years nowadays. And the way — and sometimes the guys are here because they don’t play. These guys are — like you said, we have seven, and I don’t know off the top of my head, I can’t remember who they are, but the ones I’m thinking of, they’re our best players. So it’s very unusual.
Q. Do you have an update on Mike Hill’s status in terms of how long you anticipate him being —
Urban Meyer: No.
Q. Also, you guys have recruited every position very well, obviously, but at quarterback there’s only one and usually one in every class. How do you guys continue to get quarterbacks committed when there are three or four or four or five star prospects on the roster already? How do you keep doing it because at a certain point you would have to pay the price for having too many good ones? What is the sales pitch when you get into a situation when you’ve got three or four young guys already on the roster and you’re still recruiting. Do you see what I’m getting at?
Urban Meyer: I think I know what you’re getting at, and I think that’s — just to single out the quarterback, why would a corner come here, because there’s a chance guys leave early, there’s a chance the template — one of the great templates in college football history was in 2014 when you get your number called, the Cardale Jones story, was the third-string quarterback, and he’s forever pictured all over the walls of the Woody Hayes.
So it would probably be a good question to ask them. The sales pitch is about the same for every position to come here and be part of a great program.
Q. You’ve obviously got another scrimmage coming Saturday, but you’re a little more than two weeks out from the opener. What’s the focus this week? When does it turn more towards Indiana game planning?
Urban Meyer: It started this week. It’s game-ready week and situation week. Last week was just play it because we had so many — not so many, but we just wanted to get in a routine of just getting the ball down and playing. Now it’s situation where we put in two-minute today. We started to install against Indiana’s base offense, base defense, so that’s about — and that’s normal. Our coach told me this is actually our fourth week of camp. Now, he cheats. He counts that one Thursday and Friday as camp, but still, we’ve been together for a long time, and it’s time to start getting ready to go play a game.
Q. Are the young guys, particularly the freshman class, they’ve had a few — had their stripes removed —
Urban Meyer: Yeah, there will be some tonight, get popped tonight. They’re doing good. This is a really good class. Really good class, and they’re going to contribute.
Q. Wondering how the search for playmakers goes.
Urban Meyer: It’s going well, yeah.
Q. Are you in a better place this year maybe?
Urban Meyer: The unit is the strongest it’s been since I think the ’14 time. Yeah, you pull out a talent like Curtis Samuel, but as far as just guys going, and very serious approach and the leadership in the room is the best we’ve had, and it’s back like the Evan Spencer times when he was here, and guys just shut their mouth and go really, really hard, and they’re making plays all over the field. They’re very good right now.
Q. Can you talk about your list of 10 playmakers or whatever you want to get the ball to. Do you have a number how many you have right now?
Urban Meyer: I have a number. I haven’t done it yet, but yeah, that’s coming up pretty soon.
Q. You said that Tate gives you a weapon, and he also gives you a bit of celebrity with his Twitter feeds. Can you talk about what the weapon part is and the personality of this kid? What brings it out?
Urban Meyer: Well, I think he’s a very confident guy. He’s a guy that’s had great success as a player in the bright lights of one of the top high school programs in America. I think I just love where he’s at right now. I love his mentality. I love the look in his eye. I love the fact that he understands he’s got work to do, and it’s not going to be easy. He’s a real competitive guy, real confident guy, and he wants to play so bad. Those are the people you want to be around.
Q. Is the weapon just that?
Urban Meyer: Well, the competitiveness and the fact he’s a good player. Obviously he’s under six feet tall so you’ve got to be smart in how you do things with him, but he’s a very good athlete, very quick-twitch guy, can throw the ball, so there’s a lot of — he’s a weapon.
Q. Just the personality is just so large, do you just let that —
Urban Meyer: Depends, yeah. You’re talking about social media or on the field?
Urban Meyer: We watch — I don’t watch it but Stamper does and some guys watch it, and no, I kind of like guys that let it eat on the field and have some fun with it.
Q. As you look at J.T. from where he started camp to now, where he left off last year, what has been in your mind the biggest advancement he’s made even though he’s going to be a fourth-year starter? What have you seen?
Urban Meyer: His accuracy and just his energy level right now is incredible. He’s feeding on every — he’s providing that energy for everybody. He’s always done that, but I can tell that this is — he’s got complete ownership and everything going on in that offense, his relationship with Ryan Day is incredible, and his skill set or the thing he’s most improved at right now is accuracy. Very accurate player right now.
Q. Does he look like a guy — it appeared last year that he and the receiver weren’t necessarily in sync. Is his rise part and parcel with a more experienced receiving corps? How does that work, I guess?
Urban Meyer: More experienced offensive line, more experienced second-year running back. Now, last year was a lot of firsts, but he just has a lot of confidence in the one offensive line and the group of receivers. We’re not quite two deep, but he’s got a lot of confidence in those guys.