Sep 7, 2013

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An Interview With: Coach Urban Meyer

COACH MEYER: Thank you for coming. Really appreciate, I don’t know if you guys heard about the skull session but it looked about packed to me. I know it was alumni band weekend. That’s always been one of my favorite weekends to come back and hear about all the alumni band members coming back.

So just I tell our players just appreciate what you do, where you do it and who you do it with. And I know our guys do.

But as young people, even old people, have to be reminded of that. So I always like to give a little piece of gratitude for our fans and for the band and just the environment. It was a fantastic environment.

Our defense played outstanding. To keep that group under wraps. The second quarter I want to say it was like ten yards or something like that.

And then obviously on offense, I think, the old right hander steps in again and does a nice job. He’s too slow not a strong enough arm but all he does is lead manage and distribute and has an incredible knowledge of the game.

And then also incredible leadership skills where players respond. So I think plus our Australian did a nice job, too punting the ball. So I’m not sure what his net was there.

Q. 42.2?
COACH MEYER: Is that right? You’re probably wrong there, Jerry. (Laughter) Okay. Jerry’s right. What do you know? So I’ll answer any questions for you.

Q. Number one, how is Braxton? Could he have gone back in if you needed him? What’s the update?
COACH MEYER: We had a long discussion on the sideline. I think he could have. But things that make him dangerous are his wheels. And I don’t think it would have been so we all decided it was best not to. I think there’s a chance he’ll be ready next week.

Q. Philly brown you wanted more out of him you talked about it last week. Two touchdown catches, six or seven catches what was your take on his day?
COACH MEYER: The thing we’re not good at is the little nails and screens where we’ve all had players that turn those little things into big things. And we’re not doing a very good job of that right now. So our challenge will be to work on that. There’s too much dancing around with him and Devin Smith. And gotta break a tackle once in a while. It took him about six games to figure it out last year and now all of a sudden he started doing it on punt returns and remember against Illinois when he broke, him and Devin broke one against Indiana.

So that’s an area we’re not strong at yet right now.

Q. You referenced Kenny being slow and weak arm there, I think you’re kidding, but is there any part of the offense that you don’t feel comfortable with Kenny running compared to Braxton and is there even a small part of you that wondered how he would handle a full game if the situation arose?
COACH MEYER: He played a full game today. You saw it. Yeah, there’s oftentimes I think about that, because once again some of the balls, I am joking, he does have a strong enough arm. He is fast enough. But he’s got to come in with more confidence, because when he does it’s fun to watch. He does a nice job. His management of the game and the reads and those type of things and getting us in play which a lot of times you don’t see because I don’t know if you notice a lot of times you look back we’re checking and those kind of things, that’s the quarterback’s responsibility to get us in the right play. And did he that very well. And he always does that.

He’s a coach. He really I told him that. He needs to coach some day because he’s got a really good mind and got incredible leadership skills.

Q. The defense played, looked like they played much more aggressive and much more cohesion. What was your take on it and was there something said during the week about playing that way?
COACH MEYER: I think our middle linebacker has a second game under his belt. I think he played better. I’m not sure. I think Ryan Shazier if you remember last year started slow. I felt training camp he wasn’t like he was at the end of last year.

And then obviously when you get your leader back, C.J. Barnett, and I think Roby obviously helped as well. I don’t know how much he was challenged out there. But I think you start getting your people back, when you get your people back you’ve got a chance because they’re aligned and cohesive all the things you said and I think the coaches get more comfortable calling pressures when everybody’s back.

Q. A bit was made at the beginning of the week of players returning from injury and suspension. So for the Robeys and Rod Smiths and C.J. Barnetts of the world how would you evaluate their play today?
COACH MEYER: I’ll know better after film but I think pretty good. Rod Smith he was on punt team which you can’t play unless you’re involved and that tells you how much I trust him because he works really hard at it.

I think he ran the ball see, I don’t even know. I don’t have it down there. And I think Roby we’ll know more next week but I think they played pretty good.

Q. How important was it for Kenny to score right after, at least get a touchdown right after Braxton’s injury. The stadium’s quiet instead of settling for three there, how important was it to set the tone there; and can you give us an update on Adolphus Washington as well?
COACH MEYER: Adolphus has a groin injury. It will be day to day. And how important I think the momentum in those kind of games is worth about 14 points, especially our young team.

The stadium was not only quiet but our sideline was very quiet; but it’s amazing how much confidence they have in him. Especially with the trick play when we have the quads out there. That’s the one he ran for 60 yards or how long was that? 44.

I guess it took him a while. (Laughter) I gotta quit giving Kenny a hard time. But I’ll tell you what, it’s incredible to see. I’ve never had a guy like that. I guess I did when we had Chris Leak and Tim. But the confidence that they have in the backup quarterback is incredible.

Q. What did it do for you to see the backup going out there and your main guy is in the locker room at that point?
COACH MEYER: I never expected what happened today. That team won nine games. Their head coach is a guy I have a lot of respect for. Before the game we sat and talked and they’re not playing very well. And that’s what he’s told me. He said but we have really good players. And I think they’re going to end up being a good team.

I didn’t expect that at all. I thought they were very good receivers. I think their tailback’s a dynamic player and I thought their defense was very disruptive. But I really believe Kenny can do it.

It doesn’t surprise me, but as far as it gives me energy burst like the entire stadium did when he moves us right down the field.

Q. Specifically on the defensive line, losing the four starters you talk about Michael Bennett this week what a good practice player he was. He showed it?
COACH MEYER: He’s a difference maker right now. Not to interrupt you. But I can’t think of a guy playing better and leading better count out before the entire team. He’s a perfect example of hard work because this time last year nonexistent. When he went in he was a liability. Now he goes in and he’s one of the leaders on our defense.

Q. Seemed like beyond the starters, when Adolphus went out, you got contribution from Steve Miller and Joey Bosa, guys like that, do you think you have some depth on the “D” line?
COACH MEYER: In a strange way, the injuries to Corey Linsley and Norwell created some depth on the offensive line. And then Joey Bosa and Steve Miller, obviously our coaches have a lot of confidence in. You need rotation there.

When they get back, it’s more and more playing time they got. And you saw Mike Hill and Chris Carter get a lengthy period of working in there.

Q. Can you explain the rationale behind giving Armani Reeves the start, having him play for two plays then switching over to Bradley?
COACH MEYER: You’ll have to talk to Coach Coombs about that and it’s just a decision that our staff made.

Q. You said that your Florida team had great confidence in Tim when he was the backup quarterback. But it seems like Leak was more of a game manager. Would I be wrong with that? Who would you compare Kenny to? You had a real dynamic guy when you won with Tebow anyway, when you won it all?
COACH MEYER: I’ll probably stay away from that because I don’t need headlines. I just think Kenny Guiton is a great distributor of the ball.

I would say if you have an efficiency as far as making the right decisions, which this style of offense the quarterback does a lot more than hand off and has to get us in the right play, Kenny is a very, very high percentage of getting us in the right stuff at the right time.

The entire game today, the majority of the team was getting us in the right play against the certain defenses, whether it be a speed option, drop back pass or inside run, a lot of that was dictated by the quarterback, which is a lot of times what happens.