Sept. 26, 2016
Urban Meyer: Had a very productive bye week with our players and recruiting. And off on a plus one. We’ll practice today and get an extra head start and Rutgers so I’ll answer your questions for you.
Q. I’m sure you worked on a little bit of everything but what was the focal point offensively during the bye week?
Urban Meyer: It was a lot of just logistics — mechanics not logistics, mechanics of the offense. We had a couple fubars in that crowd that hurt us a little bit and getting the plays in a little quicker. Just continual development of players. KJ does have a high ankle sprain, he’ll be out four weeks. He had surgery. We’re going to move Terry McLaurin at H a little bit. And just getting some guys — we rested Noah Brown because of his foot, he’s still dealing with a little bit of sore foot. And then same with Dontre. So just getting guys rested and still growing. Development of the backup offensive line. Branden Bowen is taking great strides and still not where we need to be behind them, but typical stuff. Probably boring to most people.
Q. Dontre Wilson seemed a little frustrated after the Oklahoma game. He said some stuff on Twitter that he deleted. I don’t know if you saw that. Is that just, did you see that?
Urban Meyer: No.
Q. Or hear anything about that? Do you feel like he’s frustrated that he’s not getting the ball enough?
Urban Meyer: Well, I’m going to go find out what it was. I don’t really concern myself with that stuff. I am now that you said it. Make sure I find out what was said on Twitter.
Q. He must have deleted it fast enough. JT scrambling, he’s only done it a handful of times this year.
Urban Meyer: No, he scrambles, he’s the best we have ever had as far as it’s always — some of them might look like quarterback runs, I mean he goes back, if he sees a slice and it’s not — no, he’s terrific at getting us in the manageable situations and keeping us on schedule. So how many scrambles did you say.
Q. I said only a handful. In terms of design run I only counted seven.
Urban Meyer: Designed run?
Q. True scrambles.
Urban Meyer: Oh. I would probably say more than that. It might look like that he’s running or something but he’s just escaping and getting positive yardage.
Q. How much leeway you to give him to take off?
Urban Meyer: He’s got the keys. He’s real good at that. Real good at that.
Q. Have any of your players come to you to request that they be able to kneel during the National Anthem and if they had, how would you respond to that?
Urban Meyer: They have not. We have addressed it some of the issues going across this country in the summer with the players and a couple of our coaches spoke. We certainly respect their rights as a citizen in this great country, but that has not come up to me and if it does, we’ll have a chat about it.
Q. Earl Bruce is going to do the I on Saturday. Can you talk about, A, that’s quite a feat for somebody, but what that means to you and what he means to you.
Urban Meyer: Well I remember when that conversation was coming up and not that my vote matters, but obviously I love coach Bruce, he’s like a father to me and there’s bits and pieces, not bits, there’s a lot of things that he taught us, myself, this program, about right from wrong, no gray area and do things the right way. Toughness, premium placed on education, all the things that I learned from him. So, yeah, it’s great and it’s very happy for him and we had dinner the other night and it’s great for him.
Q. You do self scouting to avoid tendencies, you try to remain balanced to avoid being predictable. When you face an opponent with such institutional knowledge of your program as you have, do you double down on those efforts or throw up your hands and say we’re just going to focus on execution?
Urban Meyer: No, we do things like signals, I’m just making sure that just things that, especially defensively, with our defensive signals. But offensively, we go so fast and we do double down on not just because it’s Chris and somebody that knows our program very well, but that bye week that’s what you do, where is the back, where is the tight end, are we motioning off, what’s our tendencies. And that’s something I’m doing myself a lot better than we did a year ago. I think that Ed and Tim are doing a really good job with the other stuff so I’m allowed to focus on stuff like that.
Q. This is the eighth time you faced someone who was once a part of your staff, it’s not the first time, but has it ever been —
Urban Meyer: Eight time?
Q. The eighth time you’ve faced like Coach Mullin or —
Urban Meyer: Oh, previous coach.
Q. But has there ever been one where there was so much carryover on the staff, half of their coaching staff have ties to OSU?
Urban Meyer: Yeah, Dan went to Mississippi State, John Hennesey and our line coach and some other people. Good point. They got a strength coach, they got all kinds of peoples. Peoples. I think that, not to make light of it, that is very serious stuff and we have had that conversation this morning in great detail. We changed most of our defensive signals prior to this and offensively we’re being very cautious, also special teams, my guy that helped me, Vince, was there, he’s on their staff, so we got to just be sharp.
Q. Is it possible that you have a good situation with Jerome Baker coming in to take over that spot at linebacker?
Urban Meyer: We’re going to need them all. Jerome is probable now for this game and we’re going to need — this is a long season. So I see Dontre getting involved immediately when he comes back.
Q. I don’t know if the situation would be the same, but in general, do you have a way you like to approach it if a starter gets hurt, is it his job as soon as he comes back does he need to earn it?
Urban Meyer: You get the benefit of the doubt, but you got to — at Ohio State there’s a bunch of good players around here so, but you certainly get the benefit of the doubt. But there’s no rule. I’ve not heard people say, well you can’t lose your — I’m not sure what that means. As long as there’s good healthy competition at positions, that’s what happens.
Q. You referenced KJ, any other injuries that popped up on the bye week as you guys move forward?
Urban Meyer: Not that — oh, Justin Hilliard tore his bicep, his other one, which is, that’s one you shake your head like how the heck did that happen. So he had surgery and he’s out for several months.
Q. Brooklyn is kind of a place that’s not really regarded as the traditional football hot bed. So when you were recruiting Curtis Samuel how did you find him and how do you evaluate a guy who maybe plays against competition that’s not as good as some other places?
Urban Meyer: I think years ago that would have been correct. I think it’s much better than it’s been. I put Brooklyn very, in some areas, very good football. I know their coach very well. He was one that it wasn’t hard to find, he was one of the Top-10 or 20 players in the country. We’re glad we have him. We recruited his teammate Jossen Wendt and we’re looking at some other guys this year. So I think that I never recruited Brooklyn before in my life until that and I think the football there is very much improved.
Q. Again, you had so many assistants who have gone on to head coaching jobs, these days whether it’s somebody like Chris who has done it or someone or on your current staff, like Luke or somebody who might want to do it down the line. For any good assistant — and you were in the spot — is there any balance between being the best assistant you can be while also trying to position yourself to be a head coach down the line? Do those two things exactly match up?
Urban Meyer: I want our guys to give us two good years and we’ll help you. I also had people on our staff that maybe spent too much time and I’ll have to tap them on the shoulder and say quit worrying about it. Bear Bryant had a great quote, I can’t remember it verbatim, but it’s actually in our coaches manual and that’s, if we do well, you’ll receive your reward. If we do poorly, you will not.
So the best way to get a head coaching job is do the best job you possible can and when someone calls then we’ll recommend you. Don’t — it’s not because of agents, it’s not because of you’re on the phone, it’s not because you’re looking for it. I’ve had that a couple chats, because it does, people start getting their phones blown up and like players in the NFL, you just got to manage it.
Q. With the dismissal of Les Miles at LSU, who you coached against, any coach, it’s always interesting to me when a coach who has a National Championship on his resume ends up getting fired at a place, is anybody really, really safe any more? Can you ever, I mean you think hey, man we won, I’m good to go?
Urban Meyer: You just got to beat Rutgers, man. I’m just worried about this place right here. It’s crazy and it’s getting crazier and to much is given, much is expected. Television contracts and the College Football Playoff and the intense fan and support that we have now, I mean it’s always been good, and when I was at ESPN is when I really learned how good college football is. And it’s pushing everything to be the best. So, it’s just part of the business, part of the game, with all this great support and great rewards, it also comes a lot of pressure.
Q. You had obviously very successful non-conference schedule I’m assuming you’re happy with the bye week. Where is this team heading into what will be nine weeks of Big-Ten play? How do you feel and what are your concerns?
Urban Meyer: I like our team. I like the fact that I haven’t seen a lot of them yet, because we really gave them three good days off. I’m hoping we have a high energy, up tempo practice and guys ready to go to work. We did very well last week. It was hard, the last one I made real hard. So it’s so early right now and you better worry about the next game, the next practice, the next game, and not worry about anything else. That’s my concern is with all the added publicity, press conferences and everybody being told how good they are, that’s, I really worry about that. So just get ready to practice and we’ll be fine.
Q. What are your thoughts about Rutgers. Obviously they lost probably their best player last week.
Urban Meyer: Two really good players. The defensive end 22 and the punt returner I was already working on him last week because he’s dynamic. Any time a young guy gets hurt you just wish them the best and they’re both really good players.
Q. You’ve recruited Cleveland and you probably noted Ted Ginn, Senior very well. I was just wondering from your advantage point have you seen another high school program in the country where a message of paying it forward for the kids behind you and the players that were connected to that program have a connection in the way that they do to Blountville and what’s it like to see Chris and Marshawn playing on the same field?
Urban Meyer: I was actually with Coach Ginn on Friday and they had an assembly where all the players, all the entire school were in blazers and ties and looked like a million bucks. And I’m just so proud of what Ted’s — I first met him 20 some years ago when he was a security guy at the Glenville High School. So he’s got one of the greatest hearts, he’s personally been involved with many of our players, he’s helped them through some hard times and kept focused. So if you say have I — that doesn’t mean there’s not other great coaches. This is — can I list some other ones? Off the top of my head, I probably could, I’m not going to, because I’ll leave someone out. But one thing about the state of Ohio, the culture in this great state is always about paying forward, is always about doing the right thing. Not saying everyone does it, but that’s the culture of the state.
Q. One other things, have you ever offered a kid an early — and you’ve gone over and over about how recruiting has kind of sped up the calendar, you have to do it earlier, but have you ever offered a scholarship to a kid that you wouldn’t accept a commitment from in the beginning just to get further into the game early?
Urban Meyer: Our coaches might have. Just to get in the dance, to get in the game. I think this might be a good opportunity, I’m going to send out a letter, so people, hopefully I keep hearing about this early signing period, early access, and let’s move everything up and it’s, I still can’t believe we’re having this conversation. So, we’re absolutely oppose today that. I hear the reasoning is because there’s so many decommitments. What the hell does that mean? So because 18 year olds, excuse me 17 year olds are decommitting, let’s give them a legal document so they can’t decommit. That’s not very smart. Young people have a right to choose where they want to go to school. Period. Let them decommit a hundred times. That’s, they’re 17 year old’s, that’s why they’re called 17 year olds. So I don’t understand whether it’s lazy, whether it’s, you know, I don’t understand why this big push. Now they want to move junior, like have official visits in their junior year. There’s some kids that don’t even have ACT scores. They’re bodies are gaining 18 pounds. Why not move it back to their sophomore year. It’s bizarre. You’re going to see more transfers and more mistakes made in recruiting than ever if they keep pushing this thing up.
Q. It causes programs to do certain things that maybe they wouldn’t?
Urban Meyer: You make too many mistakes in recruiting, someone else is probably standing up here. You’re right. Same thing with — kid makes a mistake, they just transfer. That’s why the transfer — there’s some Ivy League study that transfers have never been as high. Some study was done. It might have been other sports, but the further you move up recruiting — kids, my son’s gained 20 pounds in the last six months. Bodies change and the game of football, I want as much time, I want to watch them play their senior year. I wish we would move it back. Everybody is talking about moving it forward and having an early signing period — and I heard July, early signing date. That means they’re going to be visiting here, some of them, 16 years old. Most 17 years old. Without some of them SAT or ACT score. Doesn’t make sense. And if I’m a high school coach, I’m not in favor of that at all either.
Q. Couple years ago after the National Championship game you talked openly about the physical toll that took on all the teams that participated in the playoffs. Coming off your bye week now already and now you have to go into a long stretch, how concerned are you about not just physical, but mental grind and how do you combat that, not only for your players but also for your staff make sure you stay fresh when the game’s —
Urban Meyer: That’s a good question and I wish it was a little later. But once again you can’t — I say that then people say, well he wants a bye week, it doesn’t really matter when the bye week is. But that is true what you just said. I’m not worried so much about the staff, but the grind on a player — and that’s why you hope you develop enough depth, to keep a nice rotation going and I have to be smart about practice because it is, we got nine straight weeks coming up against Big-Ten opponents and a bunch of tough road games, so yeah I’m kind of looking out in the future as well and it’s we’re going ready to hit the grind.
Q. Is there also a mental freshness that you have to be aware of too?
Urban Meyer: Sure. Absolutely.
Q. How do you deal with that?
Urban Meyer: Well, that’s where a guy, I have enough support staff. Coach Marotti his team and Ryan Stamper, I’m always asking how the players are doing and get a feel. I’m not worried about the ones that complain about everything, I’m worried about the real guys on our team, because now throwing a class, a course load and at a high end academic school, it is a wear and tear. So we have to be very careful of that. Great question.
Q. Has there been any update or any clarification on what went on with Coach Schiano last week in the traffic accident?
Urban Meyer: Oh, he did have an accident. We are all aware. Gino was aware immediately, I think it hit the media, too. I’m not sure I’m allowed to, obviously just wish the young person well.
Q. When you watch video now, what do you see about Rutgers specifically defensively? Do you see Chris’s influence there as you watch?
Urban Meyer: Yes it’s our defense.
Q. How does it show up?
Urban Meyer: It’s our defense. I mean like exactly. They do a very good job and their defensive line is much improved and the guys are bigger and stronger and they also stole one of our strength coaches, Kenny Parker, and it looks like it. They’re very strong.