Sept. 4, 2017
Urban Meyer: Make a couple quick comments on the game. We usually give out of championship awards which we did today. On defense these are the guys to play well. Champions, everybody gets graded. If you give champion effort, you get recognized in fronts of your peers.
Champions on defense were Jalyn Holmes, had a heck of a day, seven hurries and two QB knockdowns, two tackles, two assists, tackle-for-loss. He had a hell of day.
Nick Bosa had two sacks, four QB hurries and four knockdowns.
Dre’Mont Jones, six hurries and one knockdown, tackle-for-loss.
Sam Hubbard, three tackles, two tackles for loss, two sacks, seven hurries, and six knockdowns. Hell of a day, Sam.
Defensive player of the game was Tyquan Lewis with two tackles, assist, two tackles for loss, a sack, a hurry and three QB knockdowns.
On offense, J.T. Barrett. I won’t read you stats. He just played very well. You know his stats.
All offensive linemen did. That is pretty good for the first start for Branden Bowen.
We had co-players of the game, Parris Campbell, seven catches, 142 yards, played very. Played very well without the ball. And J.K. Dobbins making his first start as a Buckeye, 91% grade out, 181 yards rushing, three explosive runs.
On kicking, you had special efforts were Amir Riep, had a tackle on the 13 yard line. Austin Mack had a tackle on the 12 yard line. Drue Chrisman, our punter, punted down on the 8. Our Thursday race runner, which Elijaah Goins, who had a heck of a day, and Amir Riep was our player of the game. Nine plays, 13 production points.
A lot of work to be done as a great football team comes in here. We have a lot of respect obviously for their personnel, the way they do their business. This will be a great opportunity for us to showcase in front of a big crowd, come back home and play a game.
You evaluate the game, which I’m sure I’ll get a bunch of questions. Disappointed in certain areas, which is not uncommon for the first game when you have some new players out there. But overall I think we tightened up.
I want to say we gave up 55 yards passing the last 20 minutes of the game. Obviously on offense, 300 yards, 300 yards, nice balanced approach. Other than I think four three-and-outs which killed us in the first half. Kills your defense, too.
I’ll answer questions for you.
Q. Non-conference opponents going to neutral site as opposed to home and home. As a coach, do you have a preference?
Urban Meyer: Going to neutral site or playing home?
Urban Meyer: Play home. Once again, I don’t get involved in too much of the scheduling. I like to play them in Horseshoe, if that’s the question.
Q. Looking at Indiana, they have a very clear offensive identity, veteran quarterback, talented receiver. Is that a good team to play right before Oklahoma?
Urban Meyer: I mean, gives our corners some humbling and obviously get out and go. Players, you come here to be great. Our coaches coach here to be great. In some areas we did not play great.
To answer your question, I think to beat a team 70-0 right now is not what we need. A lot of guys played 90-plus plays. I’m glad we played them on a Thursday now because now they gave us a couple extra days to get healed up.
Q. Seems like you may have the perfect scout team guy for Baker Mayfield if you’re using Tate Martell in that role. Are you? Do you see similarities between Tate and Baker?
Urban Meyer: Interesting. We have not yet. I think tomorrow we probably will a little bit. But Baker, what I love about the kid, the young man, he’s a competitive guy. So, yeah, that’s an interesting comparison. I haven’t thought much about it. But I can see that in Tate, as well.
Q. You mentioned before about how you guys recruiting nationally might open up Ohio to other programs. Do you keep tabs on who is taking advantage of that? Do you take note especially when Oklahoma is in Ohio like they are this year?
Urban Meyer: Oh, yeah. We actually follow guys through their journey when they go somewhere else, too, because I want to know if we made a mistake. That’s tough. To be honest, I can’t stand it. Early recruiting has hurt us with that because everybody wants to know if they’re offered. So, yeah, we are very leery of it.
I’d like to take all our players from Ohio, but you also got to take the best players. We do our best to evaluate and project, as well, because we’ve had incredible players here that were projections.
So we monitor who comes in the state. We monitor how well the players do. We track their whole careers. For example, whatever happened to this guy? I need to know where and why if we did make mistakes. We have made some mistakes.
Q. What do you know about Lincoln Riley? Is it more difficult to game plan against a guy like that who doesn’t have a coaching footprint yet?
Urban Meyer: No, because they have the same coordinator on both sides of the ball. I know Coach Bob Stoops very well. I know why he did that, because he thought he would carry on the same culture that he created. Yeah, it’s going to be the same Oklahoma team.
Q. Do you know anything about him?
Urban Meyer: Just coaching against him last year. What they did throughout the season. Had a great season last year.
Q. With Bob Stoops, you talked about your friendship with him a lot. Were you surprised he stepped down? Had you had any conversations that might have seen this coming, or since then?
Urban Meyer: We’ve had a couple conversations since he’s moved on. I did not see it coming. However, I just know how important family is. I know he’s a real guy, he’s a guy that is a friend, much respect for him over the years. I’m really happy for him.
Q. Any chance he could return, do you think?
Urban Meyer: I don’t know.
Q. With Lincoln Riley, had he ever been on your radar as a guy to work with in the past?
Urban Meyer: I remember, I believe it was East Carolina, he was one of those hot names that you researched a little bit. I did research him a little bit. Obviously he’s got a great coach.
Q. You mentioned Sam and Tyquan, the job they did. What has impressed you that defensive line’s ability to help stop the run?
Urban Meyer: They negated the run, at one point minus yardage in the fourth quarter.
We played an inordinate amount of plays. I’m not sure we would have been able, I don’t want to say to not win the game, but if you don’t have a rotation going in one of those kind of ballgames where you’re playing 90 plays, pass-rush is so much more exhausting than run defense. Rushing a quarterback is one of the hardest things to do. To do that, I think they threw it 65 times. You’re blown out. Coach Johnson got a lot of players in there, kept them rotating.
Being able to be fresh, being able to stop the run, they’re very good players, they’re going to be very good all year. I think the biggest thing we have as an advantage is there’s a rotation going. That makes us good against the run and the pass.
Q. Now that you’ve had a few days to digest the IU game, how ready do you think you are for Oklahoma?
Urban Meyer: Yeah, one day practice. We got to get better in certain areas, there’s no doubt about it.
Q. Which areas?
Urban Meyer: I’ve already talked about that. The obvious is we have to knock some balls down. The one thing about IU, that quarterback is extremely accurate. I said after the game, that’s one of the most accurate games I’ve ever seen a quarterback play. The receivers made a bunch of great catches. We got to knock some more balls away. That’s one area.
Coming out, the offensive line, we played well for a good majority of the game, but we gave up one sack, I believe. That was nonsense right at the end of the first half. But we didn’t get the movement early in the game that we got later in the game.
Q. How do you envision the rotation will be at runningback?
Urban Meyer: I haven’t figured that out yet. They will both play. We haven’t figured the exact rotation. Mike had a good practice today. He went full speed today.
Q. Last year you made an emphasis on recruiting the state of Texas. You landed three of the top six players in the state, which is pretty impressive. Texas has always been an important state for you. Did you see at the time there was a transition going on at Texas, there was a time where you might attack the most? You have some Twitter campaigns about how important Texas is to you. How important is it moving forward? How often do you encounter Oklahoma in that state, too?
Urban Meyer: Oh, sure. Texas is a big state for Oklahoma. I love Texas players, always have. I don’t know if we’ve had many misses in my entire career from Texas. I mean, they’re usually so well-coached, tough guys.
Texas last year is one of those things where we throw out the net early in recruiting, like in spring recruiting. You’re going to gauge people’s interest. There might be a great player, but he just has zero interest of leaving home. We just happened to throw the net out, Whoa! Like Davis, we didn’t pinpoint him. We threw the net out on the best players in America. If you get the response back, Hey.
I always ask the question, What’s your interest in Ohio State? I can usually tell in 16 seconds. Wyatt Davis, that’s my dream school, interested. There you go. Same with Okudah, Baron Browning, J.K., they were interested right from the jump.
Q. Did you go into that last year knowing this is the time to strike, there’s some turnover going on at Texas in coaching?
Urban Meyer: You kind of monitor that. But it’s more the kid, the player. We’ve had great success in Georgia sometimes or Florida sometimes, where programs aren’t struggling. That young man might have an Ohio background. J.K. loved our offense right out of the get-go. He was committed right when we said hello to him. Who is this? Turned out all right. Good recruiting there (smiling).
Q. Question about Denzel Ward. Obviously he has been a pretty big part of your defense. If you look at a lot of the pre NFL Draft boards, a lot of scouts like what he’s doing. For as good of a game he did play, there were times where he’s matched up with players that are half a foot taller than him. How can a great player overcome his height disadvantage at times?
Urban Meyer: Sure, that’s one of the dilemmas. Everyone wants a 6’1″ corner. There’s not many out of them out there. We had Eli, Marshon and Gareon were all the long corners. Denzel, he’s not that small, but you have to be exception in technique. It’s no different than a receiver. Everybody wants a 6’4″ receiver. Well, K.J. is not 6’4″. He has to overcome it with incredible technique. Obviously the vertical jump, to be able to knock a ball out. We practice the heck out of that. That’s much more difficult. Can be done, though.
Q. Lincoln Riley and a young coach from the offensive side of the ball. When you were a young head coach, what is the difference then and now, how much you’re involved in the nitty-gritty X and O game planning stuff as opposed to when you get more established, create culture? How big of a difference is it? If there is a difference, do you miss that at all?
Urban Meyer: Great question. I take a little offense to that ‘young coach’ thing, but we’ll discuss that later (smiling).
That’s a great question. As you were talking, I was starting to think back. I was a nut job when I first started. I was involved in defense, offense, kicking, calling everything, doing everything. I probably screwed up people more than helped them.
I think I’ve learned, matured with age. I even hired experience. The more quality coaches you can hire and get your hands on, you hire guys to coach. It will be interesting to watch a young coach like that, to see his development, if he’ll remain the play-caller down the road. I’ve seen it work both ways. I’ve seen where that starts to take away. You don’t get to know the defensive players.
My way of doing that, as I continued to grow in my career, was coach special teams, because that way I get offense and defense. I can get to know our players. If I’m coaching the quarterbacks, I’m coaching offense, which I kind of did at times, I failed other areas.
It will be interesting.
Q. We talk with you about so much stuff. I don’t know how much we talk with you about offensive game planning. We’re talking about culture, winning, A to B, all that. How much do you like that part of football?
Urban Meyer: I hear people say, I have colleagues that have been head coaches, they don’t like the other part. I actually like that more, as much or better. The culture, the strain, four to six, A to B, the mantra of the week, those type of things. I think I’m probably better at that. Not better, but that’s something why Coach Mick and I are so knee deep in our team. Every team is different, every day is different. Great question, but I’m still very involved, obviously. I like that other part as much as anything.
Q. J.T. after the game said they dropped a lot of people, covered with eight a lot because when you have a quarterback that’s not an accurate quarterback, that’s what you do. What does J.T. have to do to overcome that if teams are going to do that? They’re worried about your speed. You showed that. If they think J.T. is not that accurate, what does he have to do?
Urban Meyer: Improve his accuracy.
Q. Can he?
Urban Meyer: Oh, yeah. He had a very good day Saturday. If we catch a couple more of those balls, which they were right on target, I don’t know how many drops we had, I know one big one. I want to say there were one or two others we could have come down with.
Yeah, he’s a very accurate passer. I made this comment. The accuracy of a quarterback has to do with the timing and relationship he has with the receivers. If he’s expecting a receiver to come back and the receiver goes there, it may look like the quarterback’s fault. That’s what happened the last couple weeks. We had some accuracy issues with J.T. but also the receivers. Much better now.
Q. When you said you wish you hit more deep balls. It’s not always on the quarterback. I remember the ball pass, overshot the end zone. How much does J.T. have to shoulder it?
Urban Meyer: He shoulders it all. If you know J.T. probably not like I do, but J.T. shoulders it all. You shoot for 60% efficiency by the quarterback on accuracy on deep balls. Ryan Day brought that us. I researched it. That’s what we try to accomplish. He was higher than that on Saturday. He’s been higher than that.
Receiver’s got to make plays for him, as well. You’re the quarterback. You’re going to shoulder everything.
Q. Conduct issue. Back to what you were talking about, J.T. As you watched the video of what y’all did Thursday night, what did you see that enthused you? I saw a lot of crossing routes, balls trying to be thrown to guys on the run. What was your take of what you saw that enthused you heading forward that’s a little bit different?
Urban Meyer: I think crossing routes you can see. We had a major emphasis on that. Coach Day brought a lot of those concepts to us. They’ve been working very well for us.
I think receivers like to catch those things on the move. Any time you have two 70-yard catches or close to 70-yard catches, they’re short, they run with it, that’s exciting as catching a deep ball. We have some speed out there.