Dec. 17, 2015
COACH MEYER: I think probably the best thing, just open it up for questions.
Q. Talk about the transition from this year to next year being a “mass exodus,” I think is the word you used, do you have a number in your head the number of juniors that might make the jump?
COACH MEYER: I kind of do but we’re just avoiding all that conversation until — focus is on this Bowl game.
Q. How do you balance winning the game with getting those reps for replacements?
COACH MEYER: The way we break down practice, we always have done this for Bowl games. There’s guys that have played darn near a thousand reps this year, so you don’t bang too much on them and then there’s a group of young players, the Malik Hookers and Isaiah Princes of the world, Jerome Bakers that are going to be heavily counted upon next year.
We’ll keep them a little bit after. We’ll also extend — we have an inside drill, for example, I don’t mean to bore you, but you asked a question. We’ll go five, five with the ones and twos and then you go 15 reps with the threes. You just increase those reps during Bowl practice.
Q. With the success you’ve had offensively against your rivals with Coach Warner coaching from the press box, do you think that’s the way you’re going to go moving forward?
COACH MEYER: This game. This game we will.
Q. And do you anticipate any coaching changes on your offensive staff during the off-season?
COACH MEYER: I’m not sure. You know, I think right now, I don’t. I’m not in that evaluation phase yet. All focus is on recruiting and winning this game.
Q. You guys, when you got here, set out to keep all of the top talent in the state, and you guys have done a really good job of doing that so far but there’s been one program that’s been able to come in and take guys from Ohio that you want and that’s Notre Dame. Having been an assistant there, can you speak to the importance of the theology and some of the things they have in terms of a presence in some of the Catholic schools that you guys are recruiting?
COACH MEYER: I’ve recruited for Notre Dame for many years and there is a built-in, especially with a Catholic school, but they have done a good job.
The team up north, I mean, this is Michigan State. There’s been some schools and that’s been the history as long back as I can remember. You do the best job you can of locking down as many as you can. I think we’ve done a pretty good job but we can always do better.
Q. With Chris Ash, he’s still going to be coaching through the Bowl and he’s here preparing for the game and helping the team get ready. What’s it like to help prepare the team with him in the day and recruit against him at night?
COACH MEYER: That’s a great question. We are — our class is so, there’s only a few spots left. A lot of the recruiting we’re doing now is even for, what is it, 2017. I’ve had Tom Herman and then I have Chris, I remember I had Danny Mullen when he went to Mississippi State and many other ones, I can’t remember them all.
But the one thing I always ask, just be extremely professional about your job, do what you’ve got to do. Because he’s the most important person in all of this — people in all of this are the players. You look at Jerry giving me some of these stats, and we have a chance to win our 50th win in four years. So be very much a professional and he’s done that. Chris has been great.
Q. Can you detail your history with Greg Schiano a little bit and how important was it, his NFL background, what does that bring this program?
COACH MEYER: Coach Schiano and I go back many, many years. I first met him when I was at Notre Dame and he was at Chicago Bears. We kind of hit it off. And then our paths started going, I think we became head coaches the same time at a very young, very young age, too young. That was, what, 2001.
We’ve just always remained in touch and became very close. Always had great respect for — I’d go visit his programs all the time. He would visit ours. Actually have him say, give me a written-up evaluation on what he saw from when he watched us practice and I would do the same. So that’s how much trust I have in him.
Q. What about the NFL?
COACH MEYER: Oh, I think any time you have a guy — that’s the catch name, that’s a big part of recruiting, that’s a big part of just instantaneous respect. We’re reliant, leaning on him quite a bit.
Q. Following up on that, what is the dynamic you expect out of the defensive coaches meeting room over these several weeks with Greg in there I guess now and stuff, and will he actually coach in the Bowl game?
COACH MEYER: No, no, he’s not in there now. Luke is a defensive coordinator. Did a heck of a job for us this year, second in the nation in scoring defense. I see Greg, once Chris leaves, assuming a very similar role; that Chris was an impact hire. As you notice, I like to have two people kind of in that room. I don’t believe in dictatorships. I believe in teams, teams on staffs, too.
Q. What made that, Chris Ash, Luke Fickell thing work in your mind?
COACH MEYER: Two incredible human beings. Larry Johnson and same with Coach Coombs, just incredible. That’s the No. 1 thing when I try to hire someone is I’m looking for chemistry, good people. A guy like Greg Schiano, you have an opportunity to hire him, you have to make it works.
Now what’s the dynamics: You have Luke Fickell, one of the best people I’ve ever come in contact with, a very loyal Ohio State Buckeye, excellent football coach, about as selfless as a guy as I’ve ever been around, and he does a great job.
I remember several years back, I mean, everywhere I would go, I would just get, why are you doing this with him and I’m thinking, because he’s a hell of a coach and a hell of a person. So that’s what makes staffs are good people.
Q. Bowling Green, you get your first shot being a head coach. Obviously Brian Kelly, his first job was Grand Valley State as a head coach and moved to Central Michigan. What is it about being in the MAC? Did it allow you to spread your wings and make mistakes and also go after it in your own way? What is it about being in that league?
COACH MEYER: I remember my first press conference, there was two people there. To this day, that’s why I thank you guys for coming (Laughter).
But it gave you a chance to — first of all, the MAC conference is pretty much every team that jogs out of the tunnel is even, because they recruit all — you look at them, they are all the same body types, the same size. Some guys have a quarterback and that’s usually the team that wins, and a good defense.
But I just think it’s — I think everybody, almost everybody should go coach in that conference. I remember helping pushing up our — you know, so you can take cameras of the practice — it’s much better now, the money is much better in that conference. We had no video coordinator. The video coordinator was a student and would come by the campus, and I’m not kidding you, and he would stand like this at video practice, not, you know, one of those big ones, but the (indicating small camera). So we obviously got some things changed there.
That’s why I appreciate guys like Kerry Coombs, too, that worked his way up from ground zero and did a great job at Colerain. I think everyone should go through that process.
Q. Did Brian catch your eye? Did he catch your eye as a coach?
COACH MEYER: Oh, sure, and Cincinnati, because I’m an alum and actually went down and watched him practice a couple times, and what he did at U.C. was phenomenal.
Q. You talk about alignment with the staff all the time. With Greg, do you think it’s going to be tougher for him to get on the same page because he comes in with his own book?
COACH MEYER: Well, our books are very similar. Those books — have many conversations over the years. Once again, the most important element of any hire to me is character and quality of human being, and there’s none better.
Q. Can you talk about Notre Dame and what you see in their team?
COACH MEYER: They are an excellent team. A couple first-rounders on defense, probably more than that, very good. You just don’t see chunks of yardage. Usually you find a formation, you find a situation, you find a team that had a lot of success, and a very good team.
Offensively, I know — I haven’t studied them a lot yet. Very good offensive line. That’s their strength. They have a dynamic receiver. Quarterback does a nice job. He runs as well as throws. You have a team that could be playing for the national title.
Q. Cardale has already suggested that he’ll be gone after this year. When you look at his four years, the highs and lows I guess, what do you think, how should he be remembered, if he does end up leaving?
COACH MEYER: Well, he’s a national champion. He’s undefeated as a starter. It will be a story that many people talk for many years. We do wish him well in his career endeavors. I love Cardale and very much appreciative of everything he’s done.
Once again, he’s been a national champion and there’s only been a few of those. He’s one of eight. And I don’t imagine there’s ever been a quarterback that’s undefeated as a starter. That would be a good Jerry Emig question — maybe Kenny Guiton.
Q. Well, ten or more starts. You have a couple 2-0 guys — (Laughter).
COACH MEYER: Smooth jazz made its way into our press conference today. (Laughter).
Q. You were asked earlier about changing things up for the last week of the season with your offensive staff and you’re going to stick with that for at least one more week. What was the motivation for that and how difficult had the communication been throughout the year as you tried to replace Tom?
COACH MEYER: It was not easy. I think Ed Warner, you can’t coach all five guys, and to be able to have significant input in the play calling. You need a stable — and Tim Beck and him, those were a pretty good setup in the final game.
Q. I think you mentioned how in the playoff era now, there’s just such focus on those four teams. Now you guys aren’t in the playoff. It’s always been an issue when you go into a Bowl and maybe not a National Championship. Will your team be where they need be to be ready to play in this game? Is that a concern at all?
COACH MEYER: Well, there’s indicators. I mentioned that through the course of the year, what are indicators of a team that’s entitled and what’s the indicators of a team when you’re a defending national champion, when you’re this, this, this. Well, academics and effort and those type of things.
We had a great indicator, and that was we got on buses for three hours, we went up to a team that doesn’t necessarily have a lot of affection for Ohio State, and played as hard as we possibly played and won a game against a very good team.
So that’s a very good indication of what kind of human beings we have on this team. So I would anticipate that we would play our tails off.
Q. When you look at the season that J.T. had, is still having, did he get better, do you think, this year? He was so good last year and the first time he ever played. Is he a better quarterback now? Did he back up in any way? Is he pretty much the same?
COACH MEYER: I think the way he’s finishing, I haven’t evaluated that yet. You know, I think his injury did — sitting him out of spring practice was not J.T. of himself and during the summer. And then obviously the dual situation we were playing with.
I think any time that you are the starting quarterback, like next year he is the starting quarterback, I would anticipate a nice, gradual incline during the season.
Q. How is the health of the team right now? I know that some guys like Parris Campbell were down —
COACH MEYER: Parris is fine. I think we’re good.
Q. What does that do for your depth at the defensive line position?
COACH MEYER: Tommy Schutt, also, hurt his foot. I don’t know how bad yet. But we’ve got depth issues inside right now on defense. Mike Hill has been playing pretty good. You have Joel Hale, Donovan Munger. There’s another guy in there — Sprinkle. Sprinkle has actually been playing much better. It will be a rotation. And then Joey Bosa goes in there quite a bit.
Q. What did you say about Tommy Schutt, hit foot?
COACH MEYER: Not quite sure what it is.
Q. I know that on the teleconference, you talked about your experience at Notre Dame. I was asked to ask you this question: Notre Dame spiritually, football-wise, career-wise, what did that whole experience mean to you?
COACH MEYER: Game changer. When Lou Holtz made the call, I was in Fort Collins, Colorado, asked me to join the staff at Notre Dame and that was a game changer. I remember walking through that campus, and probably one of the greatest things that I remember is my son was baptized in the Log Chapel, original building there. Father Reilly (ph) who passed away, was one of my dear, dear friends.
And then also my mom was diagnosed, it was the second or third time that it came back, and I remember going to the Grotto every night for, it had to be four years, on the way home from work. So special place and a special place in my heart.
Q. What do you remember about the recruitment of DeShone Kizer? Were you close to pulling the trigger there?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, real close. I can’t remember exactly. I remember Tom was more involved in that. We liked him.
Q. What have you seen from him?
COACH MEYER: A big dude that runs well and throws well. He’s done a very nice job for them.
COACH SCHIANO: It’s great to be here, great to be a part of the Ohio State family, to be on Coach Meyer’s staff. Look forward to eventually getting actively part of the coaching staff after the bowl game. And really excited about the opportunity. Have a history with Coach Meyer that goes back pretty far and really closely aligned in our beliefs. So I think it’s going to be a great situation, so.
Q. Welcome to central Ohio. What enticed you, what, what was the deciding factor for you that — and was work with the NFL more of a priority for you or did it matter?
COACH SCHIANO: Well it was a process. I had been a head coach for 13 years. And then after the NFL, had done some TV work with ESPN and with NFL Network. So, going through different scenarios, different situations, I wanted to get back on the field. And I wanted to do it in college. So to do it in college, I wanted to do it with someone that I really aligned closely with.
And to me, when you’re coaching college football, it’s a great opportunity to influence young men. And you have to be around young men of character and a program that insists on that character and Ohio State and coach Meyer certainly represent that. So it was a natural fit.
Q. What is coach Meyer — what is it that coach Meyer’s told you he wants you to bring to the table?
COACH SCHIANO: Well, it’s really just be a member of the staff and a member of the team. So, hopefully my experiences as a coach over the years — coach and I have, I don’t know, we met back when I was at Chicago, I believe, when I was with the Bears and he was at Notre Dame. And we stayed in touch. And then as we both game head coaches at a young age, we visited each other and became very close.
So I know to a great deal what this program is about and I think he knows what my programs were about. And I’m going to come in and be a part of something bigger than myself, part of the staff that certainly has great tradition and history and has won a lot of games and a lot of games under coach Meyer as well. So just try to in any way, come in an and enhance what they have already done.
Q. And he left no doubt he says, Luke Fickell is the defensive coordinator. What you’ve been around Luke so far and stuff, how have y’all sort of meshed, in your mind?
COACH SCHIANO: I had a chance to meet with Luke before I took the opportunity. So he and I talked through a lot of different scenarios, and I’m very comfortable with what I’m here to do and it’s going to be a great situation. Again, playing great defense. So just anyway that I can enhance and help, that’s what I’m here for.
Q. It just seems like it’s a really fascinating scenario with Chris Ash going to Rutgers, you coming here. Does it seem odd to you, at all, as you get here and that dynamic is playing out for a couple weeks?
COACH SCHIANO: Oh, I guess it’s odd in that Rutgers being involved and Chris at Ohio State. But nothing in this business is really surprises you. It’s about relationships. It’s about being in the place that you feel you can make the biggest impact. And at this stage of my career, I’ve done a lot of different things.
At this stage of my career, this is what’s best for me and my family and I’m glad it’s been a fit with coach Meyer and Ohio State. So that’s really how I look at it.
I’ve the gotten to know Coach Ash because I’ve come here to visit in the last couple years, and he’s an excellent football coach. And I’ll try to help him anyway I can with him going to Rutgers, because he’ll do a great job.
Q. Are you guys like sharing an office back there or anything?
COACH SCHIANO: No, no, I’m in a different office. But we have seen a lot of each other in the past six days. And again, anyway I can help him, I’ve tried to. And he’s done the same. I’m going to be coaching guys that he coached and he’s helped me try to get up to speed with them. So it’s been really, really a good thing.
Q. You mentioned visiting here. You’ve been here a couple times in spring of 2014, I think. Did getting to see Ohio State and what Urban did and just this whole environment play into your decision at all? Did it make it more comfortable knowing what you were getting into, what practice is, what the facilities are like, that type of thing?
COACH SCHIANO: Maybe subconsciously. At least when I’m talking to Urban about the opportunity, I can picture where I’ll be doing it and who I’ll be doing it with. I got to know the staff.
So there maybe was some of the uncertainty that in other situations you would have. But, really, it boils down to what I feel about Coach Meyer and I feel about what he’s done here at Ohio State and how I can contribute that led me to make the decision.
Q. There’s been a lot of talk around here about rugby-style tackling the last two years, something Chris Ash really believes in. Is that something you guys will continue to adopt, the rugby-style tackling?
COACH SCHIANO: Again, everything is up to the head football coach, so whatever Coach Meyer feels is best is what we’re going to do.
But I was here the day that those rugby coaches were here. I think it was the first time they were here. So I got to sit in on that whole thing just by chance. And there’s a lot of good points. There’s a lot of things that they talk about that we have employed other places I’ve coached and coached defense.
So, tackling is the heart of playing defense. There’s no doubt about it. Your job as a defender is to get the guy down before he gets into the end zone. So, it’s a critical part and one that I think, really as you watch college and pro football, it’s an art and it’s maybe a lost art in a lot of ways.
So, critical that you look at — every year you evaluate your tackling and if there’s little tweaks you can make here and there, you do. But I think this rugby-style tackling, there’s several teams that are using it, it’s been very effective.
Q. There’s been some talk that Coach Meyer asks for a two-year commitment from his assistant coaches. Is that something you guys broached?
COACH SCHIANO: Coach and I really just talked about coming up here and doing the best I can. I don’t know what the future holds, I really don’t. I know that I’m all about Ohio State right now and trying to coach — or when I get to coach, but trying to help recruit right now. And then when I get into the coaching staff, trying to coach and doing everything that I can to help Ohio State and help Coach Meyer.
Q. You spent a lot of time in the NFL, where there’s no recruiting. What is it like now to maybe get back into that and what is your view on recruiting? Was it nice to not have to do it in the NFL, do you enjoy it? What is that to you?
COACH SCHIANO: Well, I did spend time in the NFL, you’re right. But I’ve spent probably like four times as much in college football. So, recruiting to me, is the great part about college football.
Number one, the relationships you bond with your players before you ever coach them. You get to meet their families, you get to meet everybody that’s important to them. The decision makers that helped them make that decision are people that are going to influence their lives down the road. So you get to actually know them, where in the NFL you don’t. Very rarely do you get to know them.
So that, to me, is important because I think it helps you understand your players better, what makes them tick. And the other part of it, you get to accumulate more, better players, right? So the better you recruit, the better players you have, the better, effectively, a better team, as long as you develop them the right way, the better team you can have. Where the National Football League limits you to the number of people you can select.
Q. What you did at Rutgers has been well documented in the New Jersey area and stuff. Have you discussed with Urban your recruiting territories at this point, like where you’re going to focus?
COACH SCHIANO: Really haven’t. I’ve been here six days and I just dove in and helped wherever I can. And that’s really going to be — whatever coach asks me to do, I’m here to serve and do that. Help wherever I can help. And that will work out fine.
They have a really good recruiting strategy. One thing that I’ve been able to witness is how they do it, their philosophy in recruiting and I think it’s really, really good.
Q. What do you think your players’ experience will be with you? What would you describe as your personality?
COACH SCHIANO: Oh, very passionate about coaching football, about young people. Have four kids of my own, that are now getting older. And I have a son who is a freshman in college. So I think that I even better understand college-age students now than I did when I was last in college.
But passionate about what we do. Care about the players. And I’m going to demand of them probably a little more than they demand of themselves and that’s what a coach is for.
Q. How tough, too, is it to be the guy who had to the final say at a very successful program to being a coordinator now?
COACH SCHIANO: Well, when you make that decision, you know exactly — I think I’ll be able to be a better assistant coach. I haven’t been an assistant coach in a long time. 1999 or 2000 was the last time.
Having been a head coach for so long, I think I can better serve our head coach now. Knowing what he needs, knowing what I needed as a head coach, and maybe keep some things off his plate that can slow him down. So my job is to serve the staff and serve Coach Meyer and that’s what I’m here to do.
Q. Your name was mentioned for some head coaching vacancies this off season. When you approached the idea of getting back on the field, how open were you, initially, to the idea of being an assistant somewhere? Were you very open to that or would it have only maybe been a circumstance where you had a relationship like this with a head coach?
COACH SCHIANO: Truthfully as an assistant, it would have really been with only very few people. And Coach Meyer being at the head of the list. So, it ended up working out that way, so I’m very excited about it. And looking forward to, like I said, just said, serving the staff, serving Coach Meyer, most importantly, serving our players.
Q. With the experience you have as a head coach, what do you think it’s like for someone like Urban Meyer to be able to hire somebody that he’s known for this long, with the kind of experience you have. When Urban was at Florida I think some things maybe got difficult for him because he lost some assistants and he had to hire new guys. Being able to bring in someone like you, what’s that going to do for him given that you’ve been friends for so long?
COACH SCHIANO: Probably a better question for him. Because I don’t know exactly how he sees it but I’m going to just again try to do everything I can to serve him. I think as an assistant coach that’s your job is to do everything you can to meet the expectations of the head coach. And if you can do that, that’s why the head coach is the visionary of the program and if you can fulfill his expectations, then the whole program’s going to be moving forward and certainly Urban’s proved that he knows how to run a program, that he’s very successful at it, so I’m looking forward to serving him and learning some things as we go.
Q. You said you want to get back on the field and you want it to be college. I guess the question is why. Not that it’s rare for NFL guys to come back but it’s not common. Did you get enough taste of the NFL that maybe that’s not what you wanted or just if you can flesh that out as to why college.
COACH SCHIANO: Sure. I enjoy the relationships with the young people. And again I mentioned it, when you start off recruiting them, you know, and the reality is if you’re doing a good job recruiting you know them when they’re 14 and 15, forget when they’re 17 and 18. So you track them through their high school experience, you know people that are close to them and their coaches and then as you eventually are allowed to contact them, you get to know their families. So it really is more of a seven or eight year relationship when you’re done coaching these guys and then for life. Whereas the NFL’s it’s a little different. And I enjoy that part. Some guys don’t enjoy that part. Somebody asked the question about not liking recruiting, I’ve always enjoyed recruiting, I’ve enjoyed the competitiveness of recruiting and like I said I’ve enjoyed being able to acquire really good people and really good players to make your team whole. So, that part of it, you know, some people that scares them off, I actually enjoy that part.
Q. I asked Urban this, so I’ll ask you, what, what does being in the NFL, what does that bring to this program, it’s a little cache I guess a little you were at the next level and guys here kids here want to get to that level. Would that be a perk or a positive or what do you see as the positive with that NFL experience here?
COACH SCHIANO: Hopefully I can help the players, right? Because there’s this vision of what it is, and then there’s reality. And hopefully along the way, because, look, if you’re recruiting the right players, they want to play in the NFL, right? That’s the talent level that we recruit here at Ohio State. So I can hopefully give them the true picture of what it is. And again, as they’re preparing, the guys that are leaving now to go out after the bowl game, right, what it’s going to be like at the combine, what it’s going to be like in their draft visits, all those things. I’ve sat in the draft room, in those combine interviews, so hopefully I can help them a little bit with that. And if there’s questions, I’ll be there to answer them. But this is college football and that’s exciting to me. All right. Thank you guys.
Q. Congratulations on your new job.
COACH ASH: Thank you.
Q. One of your predecessors there is now in this building, I asked him if it’s odd, how is it, how has that dynamic worked for you for these next couple weeks?
COACH ASH: It’s been fine. It’s been great, to be honest with you. I was fortunate enough to be able to build a relationship with Greg during my two years here, he’s had a great relationship with Coach Meyer, he’s been around here several times, I picked up the phone and called him on a lot of things and he’s been a great resource for me. I think it will work out great here having him on staff. And from an outsider looking in, having Greg and I standing here together and me going out to go to Rutgers and him coming in to take my job here at Ohio State looks odd and looks a little challenging, but it’s been fine.
Q. How much right now as you prepare for a bowl game here and to hire a staff and everything that goes along with Rutgers, how do you divide up your time and manage that and are you spending any time asking coach for some of that advice now?
COACH ASH: All of the above I’m doing, yes. I get here early in the morning, I return phone calls, e-mails, take notes on some things that I need to try to get done in the next day or two. When we take a break from game planning over the noon hour, I again make calls, return e-mails, I do things that I need to get done. And then when we’re done during the, at the end of the day, I’m here late and I go home and I just continue to do work. So the balance of time management of getting stuff done here for game planning and the preparation for the bowl game and doing the things I need to do, both talking to coaches that I’m trying to hire, talking to recruits that we’re trying to recruit, commits that we’re trying to keep committed, all of that stuff is managed throughout the day. And it’s a challenge, but it’s fun. I’ve really enjoyed it. And then, like you mentioned, I’ve had a chance to sit down with Greg a couple times and just talk about Rutgers and his experience there and he’s been very helpful.
Q. You talked about this before, but we Urban reiterated begin today that Luke is the defensive coordinator and how did that work out with you guys and stuff? Were you surprised by the way it worked out and how do you think you will mesh with Greg?
COACH ASH: I’m not surprised by the way it worked out. When I came here there was a really crystal clear directive from how the head coach wanted it to look and what he wanted us to do and Luke and I were both professionals and understood that if we were going to have success here and be able to reach our professional goals and have success with these players here at Ohio State, that we had a job to do and we had no hidden agendas, except to come together and work for a common goal and that’s what we were able to do. I don’t anticipate that being any different with Greg and Luke working together.
Q. What do you think Greg will bring to the table? You’ve known him for awhile and stuff. He kind of has your same mentality, attack, etcetera, what do you think he will bring to the table.
COACH ASH: Well, Luke, or, Greg’s a very intelligent football coach and very intelligent person. He’s going to come in and he’s going to look at what we have been doing and fit in and try to find ways that he can potentially enhance it and make it better. Whether it be some fundamentals, some techniques, maybe a change up call or two, he’s had various different experiences both in the NFL and at the college level. He has a maybe a different way of looking at things or calling things differently, but what he’s going to do, we played very well on defense here, he’s going to come in and try to fit in and just find ways he can make it better.
Q. One other thing, is it — getting a head coaching job, obviously Tom Harmon got the Houston job, but that’s way down there in another league. You’re not only in the Big-Ten, but you’re in the Big-Ten East.
COACH ASH: Thanks for reminding me.
(Laughter.) No, it’s, it’s, honestly, it’s been a very seamless transition right now. It’s been great, Coach Meyer has been great, even though that we are going to be competitors on the field down the road, right now we’re still a staff together trying to make sure we finish this thing out the right way. Again, it doesn’t feel really any different right now because this week I’ve been here when I leave here it might feel different, but right now it’s been pretty easy to manage.
Q. A few phones in your pocket at all times?
COACH ASH: No, just one. Right now.
Q. You mentioned that you guys are all one staff together preparing to win a game. But when you go home at night you make those recruiting calls, there are times where you’re recruiting guys that Ohio State wants, so you’re a opponent. What’s about than like? Is it interesting to just be on the other side of the equation right now while also working at the other place?
COACH ASH: Yeah, I got to take one hat off and put another one on. That’s really what you have to do. But for me I’m not going to try to recruit kids that are committed to Ohio State. That is just not professional and I’m not going to do that. Are there some kids out there that maybe have had some interest from Ohio State and interest from Rutgers that I would actively call? Yeah, I would. But it’s professional courtesy for me not to try to contact anybody that would be committed to Ohio State. I’m just not going to do that.
Q. The first time we talked to you when you got here you sort of talked about that you had a desire to be ahead coach. How did the plan work?
COACH ASH: So far so good. I’ve been here for two years. If I sat back and reflected on the time that I came to Ohio State and I listed the things that I would hope to accomplish during my time here, I can tell you I’ve hit every one of them. I came here, I learned a lot under Coach Meyer, on how he does business, how he runs his program, how to develop players, how to develop leadership, build chemistry. We were able to win a Big-Ten championship. We won a National Championship. And at the end of the day I’ve been fortunate enough to be rewarded with getting a head coaching job. So all of the things that I hoped to accomplish by coming here I’ve been able to do it. I’ve been surrounded by some really good people and some really good players that have allowed that to happen.
Q. The question about the team, before we have you head off, how do you think this defense played this year? Obviously there’s one more game yet to be played, the team as a whole didn’t quite reach the same level of making the playoff, but I think the defensive numbers are even better than last year.
COACH ASH: Very happy with the way we played this year. Could we have played even better at times? Yeah, absolutely. As a coach I don’t think you’re ever really, truly satisfied. You probably never want to say that you’ve reached your full potential, I think we have played extremely well at times and there’s some times especially earlier in the season we probably would have liked to have played a little bit better. But when you look at the stats, they tell a pretty good story and I think we have played pretty well this year.