Sept. 1, 2012

POSTGAME: Recap | Notes | Quotes | Box Score (html) | Box Score (pdf) | Postgame Transcript
VIDEO: Pregame | Devin Smith’s Catch | Highlights | Postgame Press Conference
PHOTO GALLERY : Urban Meyer Pregame Walk vs. Miami | Game Photos
LINKS: Game Day Magazine

An Interview With: COACH URBAN MEYER

THE MODERATOR: We’ll open up with coach and an opening statement. Raise your hands. We’ll get the microphones to you and I’ll call on you for questions.

COACH MEYER: Obviously pleased with the win, very pleased with the win. Obviously the first quarter was very poor football on our end. But you also want to give credit where credit’s due, and that’s Miami Ohio did a really good job defending a certain formation that we ran out, which is a base formation. Concerning down the road we need to make sure we make quicker adjustments, which we made some halftime adjustments.

But they have some good players. At quarterback, we were concerned going into the game that a future NFL football player will be hard to contain because he’s going to throw the ball. Gets it out real fast. Can’t really get it to him. That’s exactly what happened.

But I think one of the things about Braxton Miller that I really had to see, and I did see today, is that the objective with Braxton is to make him from an athlete playing quarterback to a quarterback that manages.

And a quarterback position is a unique position in all sports, where he’s got to manage so much. He’s got to manage basically the entire offense. He’s got to stay positive, his leadership. He has to be a leader.

And he showed that today. I told him in the middle of the second quarter, because he started he kept positive even when it was we all saw what it was.

So I’ll certainly answer any questions for you.

Q. How big a play was the Chris Carter like catch by Devin Smith, just to ignite you; and if you would, a second one, how did the reality of this day measure up to what you thought it would be, not the Xs and Os, but the total experience?
COACH MEYER: Well, not fortunately or unfortunately, whatever it is, that darned first quarter, I don’t want to say I was embarrassed with the way we were playing. We worked so hard and we didn’t play very well, in all phases. Defense let a couple of passes go that we shouldn’t have.

To answer your question about that catch, I don’t know if Devin has been saving that, but I’ve not seen him do that. Now that I know he can, I expect he’s actually been playing pretty good for us.

But that was a wild moment. And that was a moment that ignited the stadium. The stadium got quiet. Our sideline got quiet and we were waiting for a play to happen and he went out and made a play. That’s football.

Q. The day overall?
COACH MEYER: The day overall, it was a great day. Hang on Sloopy kicked it off in the fourth quarter.

And I stared at that for a while, watched it. Told a couple of people that I’ve never seen that before. Checked that out.

And it goes back, just a little disappointed in the first quarter. But after that, what a great day. We enjoy a win. We all know it’s difficult to win in major college football. Now we’ve got one and now we get ready for next week.

Q. I was curious, you mentioned the defense a second ago, the fact I think they netted one rush yard. But big plays, maybe they were able to break those a little bit. Their scheme’s to throw it a lot, obviously. Is that just sort of one of those they’re going to get to you eventually or anything that broke down?
COACH MEYER: The big ones no. The short ones, absolutely you have to rally up and make the receiver pay a price, and have to make the quarterback pay a price.

That’s how you defend passes. What we did that as we developed a little bit. But, no, there’s no excuse for a play, one was a blown coverage, the long one down the far sideline, Miami’s sideline, and there was one that went right through the middle of our defense.

So there’s no excuse for that whatsoever. However, you’re going to give up yards, if they decide to throw every down, he’ll throw for a lot of yards and be an NFL player, that quarterback.

Q. The way that it started, obviously in the first not the way you wanted. Do you think there was just maybe too much emotion for your guys. Everybody obviously bouncing around. I know you were excited before the game. Was it possible that’s what happened out of the gates that kind of derailed a little bit, can you be a little too emotional to start a game?
COACH MEYER: I think you can, but I never really talked to them about it. I think emotion is one of the great things about college football. If you get too emotional in baseball and go attack it, you have to keep your mindset in baseball. In football you can go, let it go, hit the guy harder and play a little harder and go.

Two things, I think without watching the film yet, I don’t know how well we played; but once again, give them credit, they were doing a certain thing without getting too complicated with the linebackers and moving right to where we were running some plays.

So you have ten months to prepare for a game and a lot of film to watch. They prepared very well. So that’s what happened in the first quarter.

Q. Can you sort of give a quick assessment of Braxton throwing the ball, and related to that, the receivers coming into the season, there was some question about them. Looked like Braxton had a couple of jump balls that guys went up, obviously Devin, but other guys as well went up and made some nice catches on jump balls?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, he didn’t throw as well as he’s been throwing in practice. So I anticipate he will. He’s 14 out of 24, that’s not good enough for what we expect out of him.

I saw a couple of the curveballs he threw down the field, because he had a couple times, having hard time gripping it. But he’ll get better.

I think you saw a couple of glimpses of how accurate a passer he could be once we give him time and he settles in a little bit.

Q. Talk about Carlos Hyde. He seemed to come on and help you guys get going there when you needed to in the second quarter; and since I won’t get the mic back, talk about Travis Howard and Bradley Roby delivered some plays to the quarterback to help the game along.
COACH MEYER: Carlos Hyde, he was a guy I’m disappointed that he didn’t get 100 yards. I thought he would. We were going to feature him a little bit today.

They were forcing some of those big runs that Braxton Miller had were tailback runs, reading a certain player on defense. If they overreact, sometimes it’s them and sometimes it’s the linebacker.

So a few carries got taken away because Miami made a decision to force the quarterback to run and then have extra defensive players where they were. And that’s what happened early in the game.

We got a couple of formations later, the big one, where we kind of outformationed them a little bit. It was a great sideline adjustment, halftime, we put all the players in a boundary. That was the 80 or 90 yard run, whatever he had.

The two other guys, so Carlos Hyde he’s going to be our feature back. Did a nice job. Roby and Travis Howard, Coach Fickell just called out Travis Howard as one of our players of the game on defense. This is obviously prior to watching film.

But Travis, really got a lot of respect for him. But he was not a great player here last year. Did not play great. He’s got great abilities. So a kid with great ability that doesn’t play great, there’s a problem. Something’s out of alignment there. And I can see it happening right now, that kid’s turning into a very good player.

Q. Did you get that big play off the punt game, Brandon Roby, do you think you guys are punting more?
COACH MEYER: That’s our punt block unit and we’re trying to create a lot of anxst in the long snapper and also the punter and knowing they’re coming, and there’s a lot coming. The guys that are coming are good players.

We didn’t get one. And that’s disappointing. Because they changed their whole punt protection, because they knew we were going to come after it. It was just a lot of momentum. That kind of flipped the game when that occurred.

Q. You said that you were glad that Braxton was able to stay positive through stuff. How were you in the first quarter? Were you confident that you guys would find it or were you getting frustrated with the offense for the first four drives?
COACH MEYER: I just wanted to know what was because I knew they were doing something on defense. We’ll meet as a staff. We have to do better, say what exactly was happening.

But, no, I’m not as positive as Braxton was. But it’s nice to have your quarterback stand right with you and say, here, we’ll be fine. And I liked his demeanor.

No, that was very disappointing. That first quarter was, I’m not sure we got five yards or probably something. Lost yardage plays and lack of production. Overthrown ball here and just that was not a good first quarter obviously.

Q. You talked a lot about the attitude that Nate Williams has had this month in trying to come back from that injury. How gratifying was that for you to see and evaluate what he can do physically today?
COACH MEYER: I love Nate. I love the fact that he is a warrior, that he loves Ohio State. That he’s doing the best he can. And I like the fact that Coach Fickell and Coach Vrabel had enough confidence to get him in the game.

Played more snaps than I thought he would. Must have made him feel good, big smile on his face, knocked the rust off of him. Hasn’t practiced a whole lot. I’ll let you know how he played on next week’s press conference.

Q. Urban, first quarter aside, was there a moment where you allowed yourself today to take off the headset, so to speak, and just kind of soak in your return to all of this?
COACH MEYER: Yeah. I think the end of the third quarter when we were playing fairly well, and then just for years and years I’ve always remembered the change in the third and fourth quarter, what happens in that stadium. And that’s about it, though.

Q. If you could take us through the last play, the first half there, had a chance to be kind of a defeating play but came out the second half real strong?
COACH MEYER: Ohio State should be able to knock it in from the 1. I almost forgot about that. Thanks for ruining my day. (Laughter). That’s bad. That’s absolutely nonnegotiable. Nonsense.

And we’ll hit that with a sledge hammer on Sunday. Because that can’t happen. And I just flat looked at the linemen. I don’t know what happened. I couldn’t see.

But The Ohio State University, with a 220, 230 pound tailback can smash it in from the one yard line. And that didn’t happen, without taking anything away from our opponent. The whole world knew we were doing, but it was part of the deal, at that moment I wanted to see if our line would do it.

Q. I want to ask about Braxton, the style of play, running the football that many times he’s going to get smacked around a little bit. He left the game, what was it, third quarter, I think he had a couple of plays he came off the field. Was it cramps or what is his situation, I guess?
COACH MEYER: We ran Braxton too many times. 17. We like to do in the 10 to 12 range is where you like to very few of those were direct runs.

Those were some scrambles. And some were part of the run/read game where you have to read defensive players. So 17 is a lot. He just cramped up. That’s a lot of running in that humidity that we experienced today. He’ll be fine.

Q. When Braxton was encouraging you, I guess, in the first quarter, it’s going to be fine, was it hard for you to maintain that optimism? You’ve waited a long time to coach here and get this thing going and start us out that way, what are you thinking?
COACH MEYER: I was just trying to fix the problem instead of whining or complaining or screaming, we don’t do that; what exactly is happening. If I thought it was because they weren’t playing hard, then there’s a lot of screaming and throwing things and everything else.

They were playing hard, but it was I think I’ll come back next week I just think they were doing some pretty good things defensively and we were having some miscues. Some guys were missing a block here or doing something wrong. So we’ll get it fixed.

Q. Just wondering: Were you anxious, nervous, anything last night? Anything you could let on about just the upcoming day?
COACH MEYER: Yes, yes, yes. Yes.

Q. Did you sleep at all?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, I slept pretty good. I like this team. I like these guys. When you like that, you sleep pretty good. I was anxious for the day. I was glad the fans enjoyed a decent day.

I was worried about the weather and how we would adjust to weather issues. And I just wanted it to be a good day for Ohio State football. And I believe it was.

Q. You were just thinking about them and not about you?
COACH MEYER: I don’t think about me.

Q. Braxton left some completions out there and had some jump ball catches. And yet he put up fantasy league numbers. Can you project off this, what he can do?
COACH MEYER: The biggest thing we had to see was Evan Spencer go up and make a play. And we saw Jake Stoneburner make a few. And Philly Brown. Seven catches, 87 yards, that’s good.

And Devin Smith, that’s the one I was most excited about, Devin Smith. You talk about getting it in the last six months, he’s been getting it in the worst. Tom Herman called him up. He played well. I haven’t seen the highlight of it, but that’s ESPN, right?

Is that right? He needed that. We needed that. But I’m happy for him. Every great athlete at some point has that moment where he becomes average to good, good to much better than that. Now, I don’t know where he’s at in his progression, it’s certainly not good to great yet. But maybe that got him to being a really good player for us, because he has to be. He’s got the God given skills to be a very good player.

Q. I wanted to ask you about Zack Boren getting into the end zone. Did you take some personal gratification?
COACH MEYER: Absolutely. I love Zack Boren. We had to do that. I’m not sure how many carries, how did he do today? We don’t even have him on there.

We had a bunch of runs. I think we had four or five runs early in the game called to him and the defense gave us where the quarterback pulled it. But Zach Boren will carry the ball for you. He’s a good runner. He’s a Buckeye, and he deserves to get it. Was that the first one ever?

Q. His touchdown? His second carry.
COACH MEYER: Second carry? No. (Laughter) second carry of his career?

Q. Third. But carried early in the game.
COACH MEYER: Wow, that’s good for him. I thought I heard someone say first rushing touchdown. If you watch him play, he’s a nifty guy. That wasn’t a gimme, we’ll do a gift once in a while. That was not a gift. He’s a good player.

Q. You look like you were really enjoying the alma mater. And I’m just wondering if that was the one point when you finally got to a point where you could enjoy being the Ohio State coach and just being in the stadium and the whole thing?
COACH MEYER: I’ve been enjoying being Ohio State coach for about seven months now. So that was a I don’t want to deflate that moment. It’s a great moment.

I’m with a bunch of guys I care about. Love our players. Two guys next to me and Goebel’s to my left, and I love that guy. There’s a lot of guys on this team I have a lot of respect. And saying the alma mater, I’m a graduate and the fight song, that was a special moment. And we got to sing the fight song in the locker room as well.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

An Interview With: BRAXTON MILLER

Q.Typically a very good game. In your mind how well do you think you each played; (indiscernible).
BRAXTON MILLER: I’ll just say the first quarter just threw us off a lot. We came out there not attacking the things that we really wanted to attack, and I think the second quarter we got it under control.

Q. What happened in that first quarter for you guys as you were living it? You’re not a guy who panics much. But there was some time when you said, all right, let’s get this going a little bit?
BRAXTON MILLER: Just trying to figure out what they were going to do, what the defensive guys were going to do on Miami. So we just changed it up a little bit. We got going in the second quarter.

Q. What clicked? What started clicking there in the second quarter from your vantage point?
BRAXTON MILLER: Just the plays I like and I’m confident in. And these guys all on offense, so this made us click.

Q. Ran it 17 times. Are you comfortable with that?
BRAXTON MILLER: I ran 17? I didn’t realize that. But I’m fine with it.

Q. 65 yard little stunt.
BRAXTON MILLER: Yeah, just trying to get away from a guy.

Q. Urban mentioned you stay pretty positive just by way the things are going. Maybe that’s indicative of your quarterback leadership. I’m curious why you felt like that?
BRAXTON MILLER: It’s not a game of anger. Go out there, have fun, enjoy the time with your teammates and make sure you’re doing all the right things positive ways; if you’re doing anything in the negative way there’s nothing that’s going to get done at that point.

Q. Is it something that you feel you’ve involved in in terms of leadership, positivity, the way things are going, like you’re a different player in that regard?
BRAXTON MILLER: Oh, absolutely. I told the guys, man, first quarter, it’s the time for us to look at the second quarter, and that’s what we did.

Q. Describe Devin Smith’s catch from your vantage point?
BRAXTON MILLER: Man, I just seen a guy like it was man coverage, and I’m seeing this guy little jerk and he got passed me. I threw it inside and he jumped. You know he’s a hurdler. Throw it as high as you want, he can get it.

Q. You were part of the team last year that obviously knows what it’s like to struggle offensively. I think you had 297 yards in the second quarter.

Q. There were games you didn’t have 115 a year ago. This had to be so much fun for you today?
BRAXTON MILLER: Had a lot of fun with the guys. First time coming out in the Shoe. This is a different type of offense. You expect big yards in this type of offense. That’s the expectation.

Q. Did you feel comfortable, really comfortable with the offense today, or are there still moments where, because it’s new this year, new coaching staff, there’s times you’re actually not sure?
BRAXTON MILLER: I was absolutely comfortable. First quarter they threw a little trick at us and we fixed it. And after that we got rolling.

Q. Talk about the touchdown run, looked like the guy had an angle, high step there and another gear and tell us what it was like going down the sideline?
BRAXTON MILLER: Like in practice, some guys they do it and they say, oh, he’s down. But I just had I did a little jerk and I scored a touchdown.

Q. How do you think Coach Meyer would have been had you continuing to struggle in the second quarter the way you did in the first? He gets a little
BRAXTON MILLER: No, he’s calm. He’s a calm coach. He’s like: What do you want? What do you want us to throw, what do you need to make your comfortable. And that’s what I tell him. He works with you.

Q. Braxton, your relationship, you two guys, you and Coach Meyer working together, how would you assess that relationship?
BRAXTON MILLER: It’s good. He comes to me, asks me what did I see, what did I like, and I just tell him like this is what happened right here, right here, and I like us to run this because everybody feel comfortable.