Sept. 10, 2016
COACH MEYER: I want to start off with how I spoke at the pep rally today. And tomorrow is the 15-year anniversary of the unthinkable happened.
I had a very good conversation with a dear friend this morning. And the message to our team was: Nothing is guaranteed. A whole bunch of people went to work that day, 15 years ago, in those beautiful buildings, and life changed for everybody.
So I want to tell — first start off saying thank you to this day prayers and thoughts for the families that were impacted that day. Prayers and thoughts for the men and women that serve this incredible country and protect us to be able to do what we did today, and the policemen and fire people and the service people that protect us. And it just made you think today, and I shared that message with our team, and I thought it inspired them somewhat.
With that said, I also thank the Buckeye Nation for hanging around through a downpour. And I thought Coach Mick made a good point that we came out and played our best football, at least offense. And defense played well, too.
But to sit in a locker room for an hour and a half, that’s a good sign of some maturity. Saw some maturity in the locker room. I saw some disappointment with the way we played offensively in the first half.
But good teams pick up each other. I thought the two pick sixes obviously — we’ve got a pretty good secondary. You put that with a decent pass rush, that’s a pretty good defense.
I’ll answer questions for you.
Q. You just talked about the secondary and the pick six. I know there’s probably plenty of credit to go around. But is this Greg Schiano having an impact here, or what do you attribute to this start in the second half?
COACH MEYER: Of course he has an impact. And Kerry Coombs has an impact as well. But it’s also very good personnel.
I think those young guys have really took to coaching, but they’re also very talented guys — a lot of those guys have been paying their dues.
Denzel Ward and Marshon Lattimore, third year, and then obviously Gareon is a heck of a player. But Malik Hooker, that was a great play. That was right in front of me. I saw him reach out, great ball skills. Greg Schiano certainly does have an impact on this. But it’s obviously very talented players.
Q. What do you account for the offensive sluggishness in the first half?
COACH MEYER: The offensive line gets a lot of praise around. Also when things aren’t going well, it’s probably because we’re not playing up to our expectation level.
I’ll have more for you tomorrow or Monday when I meet with you again, because I don’t know. I knew they were blitzing a lot, one out of three or more were pressures, and we just weren’t getting anything going.
And obviously the second half I thought we did — even in inclement weather, we did a nice job even making some balls — plays in the air.
Q. Did you take that extra time at halftime to make any particular —
COACH MEYER: There was a lot of time spent came — we came out in unbalance and we came out in some other formations trying to create space opportunities for us and obviously it worked.
Q. Along those same lines, you guys had to settle for a couple of short field goals there in the red zone; just didn’t get the touchdowns. Was J.T. — was he maybe not, in that first 20 minutes, as sharp as you’ve seen him play?
COACH MEYER: I hate to say that in any — you just can’t see anything from downstairs. So I’ll know more after we watch a video.
Q. Just want to also ask: Have you ascertained who knocked down the official, because that cost you good field position and probably some points there?
COACH MEYER: I do not know yet but I’ll find out. You’ll see him running the stadium steps. It wasn’t me.
Q. Mike Weber got his first touchdown in a Buckeye uniform today. Thoughts and comments on that?
COACH MEYER: I thought he played well. He’s a guy that used to be the guy that holds the ball down here. Now he’s Chin Chinchin, he claws the ball nice.
And those kind of days, that ball can come out of there. And you saw the other team had a couple of issues where interceptions and turnovers. I thought the best thing he did is he hit the hole hard, he ran hard, but he also hung on that ball. It’s night and day compared to who he was a year ago.
Q. There was some drama in the first half, too, the goal line stand, fourth and one down there, Nick Bosa and Joe Burger some of those other guys were involved. How key was that on a day like this?
COACH MEYER: Obviously trying to keep them out of the end zone. Our defense is playing so well right now. Obviously the challenges come next week against a very good team and we’re going to jump on that one early and get ready to go.
Q. I know we’ve talked about Curtis Samuel a lot last week, but do you just see defenses having trouble trying to figure out how to cover him, especially the way you guys line him up in different steps?
COACH MEYER: Yeah. And Dontre had a hell of a day today. I don’t see his stats here. I guess he only had three carries, but 10 yards a pop. Curtis had 10 yards a pop. Those two are playing at a high, high level. Whenever you have the ability to run inside with guys like that, on the perimeter and catch the ball, we’re going to try to recruit as many of those as we can.
Q. And how is Noah Brown, is he 100 percent healthy?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, he’s still — is he at the same exact tempo he was last year? I think he’s pretty close. Had a couple of nice — had a nice play today.
There’s guys we’ve got — just like Corey Smith, we’ve got to try to get him get the ball a little bit. But we have some depth there right now. Today wasn’t the easiest day to go out and throw it around.
Q. Curtis had kind of a quiet first half, wasn’t real involved. In that long break did you specifically talk about ways getting him going, because in the second half he had all kinds of space?
COACH MEYER: That’s kind of my baby. I try to spend a lot of time on that and be creative in how to get him involved. We threw a couple of wheel routes to him, he made a play. We gave him a push sweep. That’s one neat thing about this offense: You can dictate where the ball goes sometimes. And at halftime we did have those conversations.
Q. He talked about Samuel, — probably looks like you on the dance floor. Could you talk about his change of pace and what he gives you after you pound Weber?
COACH MEYER: I think that’s exactly what I’ve been looking really since we got here. We did it with (indiscernible) Brown, but Brown wasn’t the inside threat that he was. Dontre Wilson certainly wasn’t.
With Dontre, he’s actually a threat inside. Like I said earlier, that is — that’s a magical position. A little bit like one of those tight ends that can also run like the wind but also block. Those are those hybrid positions that defenses have a hard time matching up with.