Sept. 16, 2013
COACH MEYER: The champions of the game on defense, only had two, Christian Bryant graded out as champion and Joey Bosa, defensive player of the game, true freshman, played almost 80 plays. Christian Bryant played 92 plays, obviously a lot of football there, and those are the champions on defense.
On offense, I thought our guys played very well. Executed at a very, very high level. Offensive line, we had three champions, Jack Mewhort, Marcus Hall and Taylor Decker, which he’s come a long way from that first game and tight end, Jeff Heuerman, I don’t believe he had any catches, but a lot of the big runs on the edge were because of him, and Evan Spencer who I’ll get to here in a minute.
Jordan Hall graded a champion, three touchdowns, playing very well for us and we had four wide receivers, maybe the first time since we’ve been here. That’s the way it should be. Philly Brown graded out a champion, had seven catches.
Evan Spencer, called him up in front, we had a 6:00 team meeting this morning. I had Evan Spencer, I called him out, that’s one of the best efforts I’ve ever seen a wide receiver play, and I’m not talking about the ball in his hand.
Tried to get it to him a few times but his blocking of the safeties was as good as I’ve ever seen. Devin Smith, three big hits for 151 yards, he graded as champion, and Chris Fields, one touchdown, but he graded at champion as well. Offensive player of the game was our quarterback, Kenny Guiton, did very well. So very pleased with our team win. Special teams, Player of the Week was Pitt Brown, did very well. Jamal Marcus played very well.
And there are some things that we have to continue that we are just not real dynamic in the kicking game right now and that has to improve obviously as we get into this game and then obviously the Big Ten season. So very pleased with their effort.
And that was a tough trip. That was awful coming home and we got, rolled in our driveway at 6:00 in the morning, and old guys can’t sleep on planes very well. So it was a very tough trip, but much easier to make that trip home after a W. So I’ll answer any questions for you.
Q. Other people will look at this next game you’ve got, FCS, do you think it makes any difference to the players who you’re playing that you can get what you need out of them to be prepared for conference play next week?
COACH MEYER: It does make a difference. I could give you some coach-speak up here; it does make a difference.
So we are going to have to really coach them hard this week. I haven’t studied them well enough yet but I think there are some very good athletes we are going to face, but it does absolutely these players are smarter than coaches, so we need to do a very good job of coaching this week and not look past a team that has you see it all the time. There’s going to be one every year, maybe two every year, and it can’t be this one this week.
Q. The quarterback situation, certainly it’s early in the week, and you haven’t seen Braxton practice yet, but in your mind, you said last week, if he was healthy, he was going to play; obviously he wasn’t. If he is healthy this week, would you put him in there?
COACH MEYER: Absolutely.
Q. Or is he deferred for conference play?
COACH MEYER: Braxton, we’ve got a lot of work to do. So, no, if he’s ready, he’ll play this week.
Q. Carlos Hyde has been in at least three games; is he going to be back this week?
COACH MEYER: As of right now he’s back. We’re anxious, he’s done a really good job. He’s running the scout team the entire time. Has had a very good attitude, taken care of his business in the classroom and we are anxious to get Carlos back.
Q. With the way Jordan has been playing, does it allow you to move Jordan around?
COACH MEYER: I don’t know. Been thinking about that. It’s a good issue to have, because Carlos did a lot for us a year ago, a lot. He’s a very talented running back and that was hard.
That was hard on everybody. It was hard on Carlos most of all, but it was hard on all of us, too, because Carlos did a lot of good things, and that whole situation I don’t know. I’ll answer that later in the week.
But Jordan Hall certainly has earned the right to touch the ball in a big way, so I’m not sure yet.
Q. You were talking about watching the video of Cal’s offense against your defense and stuff. Does it make you kind of couch some tackling problems and things like that? Did you see problems there that you saw a year ago, or is it
COACH MEYER: I thought Ryan Shazier had, I think four or five missed tackles. And the thing that I always look at is effort. If there’s an effort issue, which I felt like at one time last year, there was, a bad one, and I don’t believe there’s an effort issue. Matter of fact, I thought our guys played very hard.
There were some missed tackles. I want to say we had 16 single digit missed tackles and Shazier was a culprit. Remember last year, he was a big culprit, and he overruns it and they were cutting back on it. So the good thing is, that’s all he can learn to do that. It’s not effort or courage or anything like that.
So missed tackles are a problem and we caused triggering on a screen, so the screens that hurt us were you sit back and linemen release to block players, as long as they are sitting back, you’ll get blocked. The ones that trigger, like Bradley Roby I remember in the second quarter came in made a great play, that’s called triggering on a screen. That’s something we have to get better at.
Q. As you’re getting ready for Florida A&M, is there anybody that jumps out at you on their side of the ball?
COACH MEYER: Florida A&M? I have not had enough time (to look at them). We are still wrapping up this one. That’s what we do today.
Q. These games that are like kind of, look on paper at least to be mismatches, are those difficult? These are not the fans favorite games. I’m thinking maybe they are probably not the coaches favorite games, either, as far as coaching and getting their players ready.
COACH MEYER: I’ve coached in a few games where I was a 21 point underdog and those are not real fun to go coaching, either. Been a while since I had one of those.
No, I’m anxious right now I think there’s a good culture in this program of, to earn playing time, to earn touches, to earn catches, to earn throws; to earn anything, you have to perform very well in practice and that’s all I care about. I don’t want to say they are faceless opponents, because they are not. Of course they are not.
But right now, this time last year, we had a real problem, and the real problem was there was a culture offensively that I didn’t I couldn’t stomach. It was one that was just you saw it.
This time around, I’m seeing guys fighting for the football, and the way to do it is go out and practice really, really hard. So he is that all I’ve got my mind on now is I can’t wait to go out and practice again.
We’re going to take some of the older players I’m going to give them they had to work out and get their schedule a little bit. But that was tough, to get home at 6:00 AM. I gave them yesterday off. Today they had to get some workout in and some other stuff did done, and the young players who didn’t play are going out and practice a little bit today and then tomorrow we’ll go out full speed ahead.
Q. Is it easier, not a faceless opponent, but almost like you guys are competing against yourselves right now?
COACH MEYER: Suppositions are that’s every coach’s dream, you’re darned right. It is every coach’s dream is to have competition at a position.
Unfortunately there’s some units that there’s no competition. I wish our linebacker unit had a little more depth right now and they don’t. There’s not people competing trying to go take a spot. When you do, that’s when you see these incredible performances because people are working that hard.
Q. What about quarterback, is there more competition right now than you anticipated there would be?
COACH MEYER: Kenny Guiton has earned some time. He did a nice job.
Q. When did you know for sure that Braxton wouldn’t be able to play on Saturday and will that be a similar time line now moving forward this week?
COACH MEYER: I know the MCL injury very well, and he had a great one, grade two, which means those things heal. With lineman you could probably get in there quicker. Immobile quarterback, you can probably get them in there quicker.
For who Braxton is as a player, I kind of in my heart knew it was going to be hard but I kept in my hope up that he would be ready in an emergency situation. Quarterbacks are always thinking, a pair and a spare. If you’re down to your pair, the second one, who’s next.
With Braxton, I kept talking, thinking, all week, okay, he want to probably start Kenny, but at least I have 5 ready to go and five, you know, we kept I knew probably Thursday was going to be a long shot. And then Friday, it didn’t a look good and then Saturday we tried it one more time and if just wasn’t stable.
Q. I guess two weeks ago, we spent a lot of time saying, does the offense change dramatically when Kenny goes in. Are there actually things that Kenny does better than Braxton at this point?
COACH MEYER: Probably certain things. I think Kenny is a natural option quarterback, Braxton is not quite as natural pitching the ball. I would say that’s probably the one area that Kenny excels at. I mean, there’s a couple that were right now, in the last two games, we’ve ran more option than we’ve run in a long time.
Q. Kenny, he has a feel for that, is that what you’re talking about?
COACH MEYER: When you say the word distributor, he’s a distributor. He does a nice job; when something comes to me, I get rid of the ball. Very good at that. That’s not easy. There’s a quarterbacks I’ve had, that’s not natural to them, to option.
Q. How close is this offense, both in terms of weapons and in terms of pace, to being what you envision being this offense being?
COACH MEYER: That was the first time. Good question, that was the first time that I saw what you guys probably saw. We are going very good tempo. I think Tom Herman feels better now. Last year we didn’t feel that way.
It’s very complicated to put in a no huddle. That’s why I gave so much credit to Cal. To think that they got that in, and we weren’t able to do that. It takes a while to get the tempo the way you want it, and that’s not just quarterback, everyone position, to get the signal, get lined up and go at a good tempo. The tempo and production from the skilled athletes are getting close.
Q. Did Braxton try to fight you as far as playing Saturday?
COACH MEYER: Oh, I can’t he, he wanted to be in there. But he knew. He didn’t fight me, but he knew that it wasn’t it wasn’t the right thing to do.
Q. Is it possible Braxton would sit again?
COACH MEYER: I don’t think so. I’ll know more. He’s actually working out here pretty soon, and I’d say there’s a pretty good chance I don’t want to give a percentage. He’s probable to play this week.
Q. Is it unusual, seems unusual, you have two quarterbacks as captains. Does that strengthen that or does it confuse players on who is our leader kind of thing?
COACH MEYER: I think it would if there was personality conflicts, if there was agendas. There’s certainly none here. And so I don’t think there’s any confusion whatsoever.
Q. With what you do know, when Braxton does get back on the field, do you expect the Braxton of old or is there anything is that the kind of thing that can linger?
COACH MEYER: It can linger. It can linger and that’s something that we have to be smart, and I’ll have to evaluate that as we go. The lateral movement is not the straight ahead. I think straight ahead, he can go right now. It’s the lateral. Month. The MCL is the medial collateral ligament on the inside of your leg, so you just have to watch it.
Q. What you’ve been talking about with the idea that you would still try to get Kenny in somehow, on some level, that’s remarkable to think about that you have a quarterback that people thought was the Heisman Trophy favorite coming into the season, and yet you may have a backup quarterback that you feel deserves to be on the field in some way. Can they be on the field together?
COACH MEYER: We didn’t have that dilemma a year ago; or not dilemma, but luxury. So I have not really done that, but we’re in conversation about that right now. If he’s one of the best 11, you have an obligation to get him on the field a little bit. And if I haven’t said he’s one of the best 11 yet, but that’s something we are in the process of as coaches to ID that.
The good thing is, once again, there are some choices now. You have some I just fast forward or push rewind one year and think about the development of Evan Spencer. Breaks my heart, the way he played in that game, if someone could give him a touchdown, he deserved for the way he played in that game, just didn’t happen.
But then you had Devin Smith, Evan Spencer, Philly Brown and Chris Fields, and Jeff Heuerman is another guy who deserves a ball in his hand. It’s a great issue to have, is good players that need to get on the field.
Q. Is there any lesson for any backup on this team or any backup out there anywhere?
COACH MEYER: Same as he proved last year and when he did the thing against Purdue, that’s a lesson, these kids probably heard it six or seven thousand times, because it is.
I did an interview one time; it’s arguably one of the most interesting case studies I’ve ever had as a coach is the story of Kenny Guiton. And if you knew where he was January a year and a half ago I’m a parent, so you go right to thinking can you imagine being his parent right now, how cool that would be, to see his development. If you buy stock, buy stock in Kenny Guiton, because what’s he going to do after football some day; it’s going to be really neat.
Q. People talk about depth a lot of time and players, but you have a deep coaching staff. I’m wondering if you had to go without one of your coaches like Florida A&M expects to, their offensive coordinator has been hospitalized, I wonder what you would have to do to make adjustments?
COACH MEYER: That’s something I hope does not happen. When I put the staff together, I try to hire two coordinators on each side, that’s important to me, because we’ve had a history of guys moving on to be head coaches, and I want to promote from within. I don’t want to go out and restart. Restarting’s hard. And so that was built when I hired Everett Withers, it was for a reason and when I hired Ed Warinner, it was for a reason, both co coordinator title. So I don’t want to be stuck without a guy that can call plays or call defenses.
Q. How much harder do you think it will make it to anticipate what Florida A&M might do?
COACH MEYER: I’m sorry, I didn’t even know. You lose you said coordinator?
Q. Their offensive coordinator has missed the last two games after being hospitalized and the latest
COACH MEYER: I didn’t know, that’s a tough situation. You know, one time, we lost the game against Auburn, my offensive coordinator had appendicitis like the night before. He came back for the game but it wasn’t so that’s a problem.
Q. I wanted to ask you specifically about the offensive line, you mentioned Bosa, the game he had, getting his first start, and also Chris Carter, if I remember correctly, came in the first play and made the tackle. Can you take me through the depth of your development there, some of the younger guys and the luxuries it’s giving you now?
COACH MEYER: Adolphus Washington went down, who we think is one of our better players and a true freshman, jumps in there, plays 78 plays and gets a defensive Player of the Week. That’s good recruiting and good development by Mike Vrabel and he does have some depth there.
Q. Will either of them be back?
COACH MEYER: Adolphus is questionable for this week and shut is out. Schutt is a mid year guy because of the surgery on his foot.
Q. Talked a lot about development today. Devin Smith’s from a year ago, is his development more physical or mental?
COACH MEYER: Oh, boy, pretty talented guy and remember he had a good game against Cal a year ago and then disappeared for a while. With Devin, it’s consistency. Certainly not talent; very talented guy, wonderful young guy to be around, just every week showing up with that eye of the Tiger, and when he does, he’s a really good player.
Q. Has he bought in?
COACH MEYER: Oh, yeah, he’s bought in. I don’t want to say he’s young. He’s a junior now. He’s bought in. He’s a wonderful guy to coach, great kid, great family. He just needs to be consistent.
Q.I just saw, it looks like the top two tight ends, their usefulness to the offense now and how they have been utilized, is this what you envisioned for them at this point in the season or maybe something more?
COACH HINTON: They have both had excellent football games on Saturday night. That’s the one thing that I will tell you. They were very efficient in their blocking. They were very fundamental. They did a great job of attacking their defense.
And you know, really, what’s so interesting, I was in a discussion with a recruit this week and one of the things, he said something about the same comment about catches. I said, the doggone defenses are not cooperating. They are really taking us to other progressions and the quarterback is giving the ball to the right guy.
And the bottom line is this now, we’re really doing a great job with hitting every one in our offense, exploiting the offense, and you know, we are running the ball well inside. We are running the ball well outside. We are hitting running backs in the pass game, hitting tight ends in the pass game and that’s what offense is all about; take what the defense will give you and continue to excel about it.
Q. Recruiting follow up. Interesting that you say the recruit brought that to your attention. When the catches are not there when you’re trying to entice a recruit, can you tell us more about that conversation?
COACH HINTON: Obviously it wasn’t in a negative sense. I don’t want to have any explanation of that. And obviously recruiting we’re going to be very careful. The whole idea is just to go ahead listen, we will play our offense, things equal out. It’s a 12 game season. Those guys are playing great, and when the ball gets to them, they will execute what they have to do. And the calls were there. The defense didn’t cooperate. They made some good calls, too.
Q. Could you compare how different the offense is right now in terms of how close it is to its potential to a year ago at this time?
COACH HINTON: Well, I think it’s one thing maybe, I don’t know, factually what it is, but the explosive play factor seems to be greater. You take the first three games, there’s a tremendous amount of explosive plays and when you look at in the one anything in offense, we want to have no turnovers and explosive plays. That formula, it’s like 85, 90, 95 percent win formula, when you take college football across the board.
If you’re winning the turnover battle and winning explosive plays, normally you’re going to win games. That’s what I kind of sense right now is we are doing a great job in the explosive play category.
You know, one of the things we did Saturday, I thought a lot better than game one and game two, is we had some more consistent drives when we didn’t have the explosive play. And we really played well in the second half. That’s the part that obviously we were lacking a little bit in the first two games, also, and we came out and we just were able to execute our offense all through the game.
Really, I thought was really kind of cool late in the game, we kind of slowed it down and all of a sudden we are just getting first downs, first downs and pounding it out and so we really had the offense working on all phases.
Q. In your second year as a staff, how much more in sync are you as a staff?
COACH HINTON: That’s come really naturally. You get an opportunity to do what we do, and you sit in those rooms every day and you ask questions to each other, and you look at game plans. There’s certainly more continuity about what’s the next move; they do this, so let’s do that kind of discussions. It isn’t, we are all on the same page I sit beside Tom every day in the press box or every game in the press box and the one thing, I kind of know what he wants to hear and why he wants to hear it.
So those suggestions are kind of geared one direction, and I know from Coach Meyer, he’s throwing things out there and Coach Warinner and Coach Drayton and Coach Smith. So there is a lot more continuity to that and it comes with maturity of a staff.
Q. Usually a lot of coaches will say when you’re playing Michigan or USC or Texas, you have to worry about a whole lot of motivation. Do you have to work a little harder this week playing an FCS team?
COACH HINTON: The one thing I told my guys today, that’s an interesting question. I said, listen, this week and really, every week is like this, and I don’t want to down play any opponent you ever play.
This week is about us, where is our improvement level at our position and that’s what I told my position guys. This is a challenge of us, how do we get better, the things that we can still do better. How do we improve our fundamentals, how do we improve our techniques and how do we get faster on game day, how do we play at a faster tempo. How do we execute the little minute things that you really don’t know what we are trying to do unless you understand the play call and the defense behind it, and how do we do that better.
Because every week, if we do that really, really well, we don’t have turnovers, our odds of winning are pretty good. It really is, it comes down to, they can run a 3 4 scheme, an odd stack scheme, a 4 down scheme; they can run whatever they want.
But the bottom line is how well do we do what we need to do and normally the odds are in our favor that we do a pretty good job and win the game.
Q. With some of the plays you ran to get Wilson to the edge; how important is it for your tight ends to block on the edge on plays like that?
COACH HINTON: I tell you, that’s where I said, the catches weren’t there but I don’t know if Jeff Heuerman could have been happier. He was unbelievably happy after the game, because he blocked the perimeter like a champion.
And we did a great job, if you look at the game, if you go back and watch it again, there’s a lot of inside runs that our tight ends were able to get inside and dig out an inside linebacker or an outside linebacker trying to fit inside and then all of a sudden we are running an outside play and we are pinning him inside; then they try to run him outside and we got him pinned outside.
They really were frustrated at the end of the day. Just couldn’t figure out how to get around those tight ends and really not only that, our wide receivers did a great job. I know coach talked about Evan Spencer, and things we were able to do, it really was a great perimeter blocking day. Without it, those plays don’t get outside. You can’t run outside plays without great perimeter blocking, and that’s one thing we did very, very well.
Q. People like to talk about the explosive potential of this offense, but it does seem like it may not always be there with throwing the ball if you guys are running with Jordan Hall, with Dontre, the tight ends and receivers, have to be ready to block a lot of the game?
COACH HINTON: Absolutely. One thing about offense, anywhere you go, the bottom line is, you want to be able to attack a defense on a broad front. If you lineup and start running one play consistently they have answers. Those guys are sitting in a room all day, too, and those players are on scholarship, also. We threw some intermediate throws, ran outside, ran inside, ran option. All those things, it’s really, really hard on a defense when you’re guessing what will be the next call and the players just are not sure how to manage that next play.
That was one of the things you saw done very, very well. I thought Tom Herman did an excellent job and play calling and keeping it mixed up between inside, outside, deep ball, short ball, bubble screen and those things. I thought we did a great job in the game plan and it was well executed by our players.
Q. You have outscored opponents 66-14 in the first quarter wondering if it’s always a case of what you said happened against Cal where you are intentionally trying to slow down the tempo or whether there’s something else at play?
COACH HINTON: That’s a great stat. I knew it was high. I didn’t know the exact figure on it.
You know, it’s not intentional. I know a couple of the other games, it was a little bit of probably lack of focus sometimes on a player and not finishing their technique and fundamental. I don’t think the play calling really changed. There was a couple series in the game, we even huddled. How many times you seen Ohio State huddle this year? In the fourth quarter of that game, we started huddling a little bit and coming together. We had that lead; let’s end the game and we’re great.
And so the idea was, yes, there’s times that we want to do that but the whole thing is, we’ve got to be good four quarters, because as you know, every game, your opponent is going to continue to get better and every week it’s going to get tougher and people will get to know who you are as an offense, and so we want to score consistently in all four quarters. And the nice thing is I thought our kids did a nice job of playing great four quarters last week.
Q. The progression of Jeff Heuerman has been well documented, when you look at his growth from last year, what do you see in terms of how he’s progressed?
COACH HINTON: The one thing at Ohio State is we have a phenomenal strength staff. When you look at Jeff’s numbers in the weight room, they are off the charts. I mean, he is really, really a phenomenal athlete. I think he leads the team in vertical jump and bench press. I mean, that’s not very often that a tight end does that. If not, he’s like second or third in vertical jump, and I think he is No. 1 in bench press. When you look at those numbers, it’s amazing to have a kid that’s 6 5 and 255 pounds that can do that.
The other thing is he really started taking the game more seriously in the classroom. He focuses in on what needs to get done, on the if I will many what he needs to look at. He understands last year, he watched film almost like a TV spectator; oh, I like the ball; oh, that was a nice play.
Now he’s looking at it, a backer gap exchange, how does the safety come down and rotate; how does the end line to me when I’m in those different alignments. Those are the things, when they get really good, they can look at film, understand it better and be better in the classroom.
There’s no one in our football team and a lot of guys do a great job, but there’s no one on our football team that does a better job at taking care of their body than Jeff Heuerman. I saw that, he’s in working his legs and eating and contrasting and eating right and drinking the right things.
He’s working really hard, because college football is a grind and it’s a really hard season and he’s going to play a lot of plays and he does a phenomenal job of making sure his body is right on Saturdays.
Q. When he gets those outside blocks you said he did a very good job on those how much pride does he take?
COACH HINTON: I hope a lot because really the ultimate thing is win and one thing I’ll say a ton of times in our room is listen, you’ll get yours if you win. No one gets anything if you lose. So let’s go win. Let’s do what we have got to do to win the games, and it will all sort itself out.
They take a lot pride in it. We spend a lot of time blocking and doing a lot of things on the perimeter, and we really made some huge jumps in perimeter blocking this week.
Q. Can you give an update on Marcus Baugh? How he is coming along?
COACH HINTON: Marcus is coming along really well. The honest truth is, he has not caught the ball as well as we want him to at this point in the year. He’s a very athletic kid. He does really well on the field that way.
But he just has not caught the ball as cleanly as he needs to and as consistently and as he learns that skill, he’ll be okay. I mean, he’ll do well here.
We knew coming in, he was more of a wide receiver tight end than a tight end. So his blocking skills obviously need to improve yet, but he has not caught the ball as cleanly as you need to, and I’ll guarantee you, it’s been emphasized in a certain room.
Q. Is there a potential to redshirt him?
COACH HINTON: You know, Coach Meyer has that philosophy, we don’t redshirt anyone. We’ll play anyone who is needed to play that week and we’ll see how that goes. Obviously we have had no discussion with him about that.
Q. You probably wouldn’t do this in the heat of the battle, but at some point will you nudge Herman in the ribs and say, “Throw my guys a bone”?
COACH HINTON: I never would, really, if you look at it in the game plan, there were calls that were designated to do that. That’s why I said, the doggone defense didn’t cooperate.
They played a lot of quarters and not to talk real football stuff, they played a lot of quarter and they really played man quarters on the tight end most of the day where he came down and played in man, locked up on him a little bit, and kind of a little surprising how they played that a few times to me. And that’s okay. The ball went elsewhere.
Matter of fact two of the log scores were balls I thought would end up to the tight end. They didn’t, which is listen, I don’t know if you noticed it, one time Jeff run down the field, getting real excited. Well, touchdowns are fun. Especially on the road and when three quarters of the stadium is still Ohio State fans, how cool is that.
Q. Take me inside the meeting room last week and this week as you prepare, yet you don’t know whether 5 is going to be available or not, Braxton Miller and again this week, how do you deal with that?
COACH HINTON: You know, the truth of it is, and it’s so funny, it’s a great question, in fact, I came up to coach Herman prior to the game. I said something to him in the hotel. I said, I’ve been coaching a long time, well over 30 years, and I’ve never went into a game, ever, where you weren’t nervous about your backup quarterback having to start.
Everybody’s coached has known at times, there’s injuries and your No. 2 has got to go in. And there was more calm and confidence than ever I’ve been around. The beauty of it is that we know that he’s very capable. Kenny is going to do come in and do a phenomenal job and our team respects him. And if Braxton Miller is in there, we are going to go play really hard and do really well. And if Kenny Guiton is in there, we are going to go play really hard and do really well.
And you know, you just the game is made, the next man in mentality. Hey, who is the next man in. You know, it’s called competitive excellence around here and power of the unit, which if somebody is down, if it’s Jeff Heuerman down, Nick Vannett has to go in and play better than Jeff Heuerman; and that’s our rules and that’s how we do it around here and that’s something that’s really driven home with Coach Meyer.
Doesn’t matter who it is, the competitive excellence, the next guy goes in the game, you’d better be ready to play at a higher level than the guy that just came out.
Q. Are you amazed that he sees the field as well as he does?
COACH HINTON: It’s funny, because if you really are here the length of time Kenny has been here and you do a good job in the classroom, the game slows down for you and that’s the great thing about experience.
That’s the one thing that some times left out, no offense to Kenny, he’s not a freshman or a young sophomore that’s been thrown into this battle. He’s been here a while and he’s been to a lot of meetings and he’s been to a lot of spring practices and seen a lot of coverages and been around a lot of those situations.
The beauty of that is, that’s what you hope experience does for you. And that’s one of the things he does bring home and that’s one of the things he’s done a phenomenal job of and he does see it very well.
But he has a lot of experience behind the scenes, maybe not the actual game reps other people have. But most of the time, you start bringing that young guy in, he’s a freshman or a sophomore and it’s a whole different game.
Q. Urban mentioned that you guys are in conversation about possibly using Kenny and Braxton on the field at the same time this week. When you look at what you guys are doing offensively, do you guys have a fine line between maybe not fixing what’s not you don’t fix what’s broken, and getting over creative in terms of keeping what you guys got going on?
COACH HINTON: That’s a great question and it is a consistent battle between not trying to fix what’s not broken, and trying to make, you know and then looking at it, well, what didn’t work, and ask yourself, why didn’t it work, and not like panicking about why that, whatever that play was, whatever that series was or formation, why didn’t it work.
Because most of the time when you look at it, you know, there’s a certain play in the game on Saturday that, you know, if we could have just got an offensive lineman to get up more on the back side backer, we ran the play only one time in the play and it looked like it was a little cloudy and the play only went for two.
But you look at it, now you turn on the video, which is the luxury of running it back and forth, dang, we could have run that play five or six times and had great results. It is a fine line not to panic and just keep running the same things.
The one thing, even though the offense looks like it’s more adverse, the idea is we are running plays we started in summer camp all the way to now over and over and over again. Boy, football is a game of repetition. You get really good at what you do all the time, because defenses can make a lot of adjustments. But our kids understand their adjustments better, and that’s what offense is all about is being able to make those adjustments on the run, because there’s a lot of chaos on game day. There’s a lot of things going on. When you’re a spread offense, you can never really walk into a game and say, this is exactly how they are going to line up to us, because they are going to have to attack us in different ways.
Q. Mike, any concern with Washington?
COACH VRABEL: No, I don’t think so. I think we trust our training staff. We trust our doctors and we are just going to put him out there and see when he can do. We are not going to push him, but when he is ready to play we’ll have him back in there.
Q. What is the line that you have to walk with being tough guys and not rushing themselves back?
COACH VRABEL: I think it’s a combination of the player, the injury. There’s a lot of things that go involved, and when you can play and when you can’t play and when you shouldn’t play.
Every time we go out, whether it’s practice or the games, we have to understand what we can do and what we can’t. I think that we have to be careful, you know, with guys you talk about groins and going out there and practicing a little too soon, or whatever we may have as injuries as players, I think that you have to be careful and make sure that you worry about what you can’t do as opposed to what you can’t do.
I think as a player, you get caught up in, I can’t do this, I can’t do that; but if you can worry and focus on what you can do, so I can do this, so I can do these individual drills, so I can do this team period, but concentrate on what you can do as opposed to what you can’t.
Q. You plugged Joey Bosa in and he had a tremendous game. Can you talk about Joey a little bit?
COACH VRABEL: His development was much faster than I think a lot of people thought it would be. Certainly he’s a much smarter football player as a freshman than I had ever envisioned. I think physically, we thought he could come in here and play, play at this level, play at Ohio State, play against the type of opponents that we are going to play against. But it was his mental approach and how quick he picked it up mentally that surprised me.
Q. Does it make your job more difficult this week because you’re not playing Wisconsin or Michigan; you’re playing an FCS team and the players know it?
COACH VRABEL: Everybody knows, the players know it, but our job is to go out and play 60 minutes of tough, Ohio State football. We got run around a little bit last week with the amount of plays we played, and who we played against and the offense we played against. It doesn’t matter. Every week is a new opponent and new challenge.
Regardless, you want to go out there, we only have guys, Michael Bennett started four football games at Ohio State. Noah Spence started three football games at Ohio State. From our standpoint, it’s going to be real easy. There’s a lot to fix. There’s a lot to work on and that’s going to continue on Saturday.
Q. You had to replace four starters. How far along in that progression of the development are you? Are you happy with the growth of the line?
COACH VRABEL: We are all happy. Started in the spring, we had most of those guys here in the spring. Joey was not here in the spring and Michael Hill wasn’t here, but we had most of those plays that are playing for us in the spring. And it really started then focusing in on what we would need to do, have to do and treating every weekend like a game, every Saturday scrimmage like a game, wasn’t a game, but that’s how we approached it in our mind set and it’s helped us. Now, I think we have gotten off to a good start.
Q. You said there’s a lot of work to do. What’s the one or two things that you want to see next?
COACH VRABEL: Well, I think technique is always important. I think you look at pass rush technique as things that we are always going to continue to work on; run game fundamentals, where our hands are, are our hands inside, are we hitting on the rise, all those little things. We talk effort, toughness, the ability to strain and also the ability to play with some technique. So those are the things we work on every day. Doesn’t change.
Q. Is there concern coming out of this game about the tackling that went on Saturday night or do you couch it with the attack you were facing with the wide stuff?
COACH VRABEL: Well, everybody is going to force you to tackle in space. I think that’s what happens in the National Football League. It happens in college. Teams are going to force you to tackle in space. Nobody it’s easy to tackle a guy in the B gap. But when you get players that are displaced and you get, you know, receivers that are split out, the defenders, the space between defenders gets further and further.
So we all have to tackle in space. There’s times where defensive ends have to tackle in space or cornerbacks or slots or safeties that we all have to tackle in space.
So we talk about, you know, trying to close the gap, trying to be aggressive, trying to get other guys running the ball and a lot of times, we did that, and the times that we didn’t do that and get a lot of guys running the ball, you give up yards after those missed tackles. We talk about trying to keep teams under having less than ten missed tackles a game and if he can do that, we are probably going to win the game. But the yards after those missed tackles is kind of what kills you.