October 6, 2018

Urban Meyer Postgame Press Conference: Ohio State Tops Indiana on Homecoming


The Buckeyes move to 6-0 on the season with the win.

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Urban Meyer | Dwayne Haskins | Terry McLaurin

Urban Meyer

COACH MEYER: Thanks for coming. As always, I’d like to thank our fans, packed house again. And the alumni. We had our pep rally on Friday and then a captain’s dinner. It was an awesome experience.

And then the pep rally or the skull sessions, just full house, it was a great day. So thanks to the alums for coming back. Thanks to our student body and Buckeye Nation. Dwayne obviously a great night. Incredible night, 455 yards, six touchdowns.

Still not offensively had a lot of yards, still not doing what we need to do in the run game. And that’s something that’s alarming. So we’ve just got to continue to work on that. Defensively not what we expected in the first half. Guys are making plays on us.

A combination of poor pass rush and not blocking on your guys. We’ve been fine against the run, but the pass has been killing us and that’s going to bite us, something we’ve got to get fixed.

Q. What happened to you on the sideline there where you had to go down for a while like you were in the 15-yard line or so out of the coach’s box, but I’m not laughing but you know what I’m saying, I understood —
COACH MEYER: Sure you are. (Laughter).

Q. But you ran into someone. What happened there?
COACH MEYER: I dealt with headaches in the past, I deal —

Q. It was a headache. It wasn’t a collision. Did you feel like you might have to leave the game at that point?

Q. When did it come right for you, just a few minutes later?
COACH MEYER: Two minutes ago. No. (Laughter).

Q. The passing game, obviously like you just pointed out, I’m not saying bails you out again, the guy threw for 455. Parris Campbell and McLaurin and those guys, what did you see come alive as the game went on?
COACH MEYER: Dwayne would be the first one to tell you. And it’s no different than when the run game’s cooking, the offensive line is the reason why.

When the passing game is cooking, there’s guys making phenomenal catches and runs and the offensive line is doing for the most part. I believe we gave up one sack tonight. We did have the one — we had two turnovers, awful. But he’s an accurate passer now. You give him time and you give him a good group of receivers, he’s a dangerous guy.

Q. You’re 6-0 halfway through the season now. You mentioned the running game and defense. How close are you or how far away are you from being a championship caliber team?
COACH MEYER: We’re not worried about that. We’ve just got to get ready for Minnesota and you guys saw what I saw. At times we played outstanding. But the big hits and we’re a man coverage team. So we’ve got to keep evaluating. But some of those weren’t even on man coverage. So we just have to keep working at it. I trust our staff. I trust our players. We’re banged up a little bit. And we’ve got to fight through it. But gotta play better.

Q. I know cautious you are about what I’m about to say sometimes, but through six games what Dwayne Haskins is doing, are you ready to give him your Heisman endorsement? Do you think that it’s fair to include him in that conversation right now?
COACH MEYER: I never want to hold our players back. I don’t know what else is out there. I’m worried about Minnesota and I’m worried about our defense and I’m worried about our run game. And worried about getting guys healthy.

But I certainly never want to take away elite — 455 yards now. And high, high end percentage completion. It was 33 of 44. I mean, I’m not going to hold him back. But our focus is on Minnesota.

Q. You said you’re a press man team. We know you guys have been that since you switched to that. Is there any possibility of a consideration that in some situations backing off of that?
COACH MEYER: We do. If you notice we do bail sometimes. We hate to give free access throws to people. I think this was — it didn’t really snap at us like it did today. Penn State, guys made some plays on us. But today we really felt it. I felt it. That first half was awful.

Q. Do you feel like the teams maybe are thinking we’ll take some deep shots on these guys, maybe we’ll get a flag, maybe we’ll grab —
COACH MEYER: That’s what you’re seeing.

Q. Maybe they don’t fear you guys like maybe sometimes they have in the past that your guys are going to make a play?
COACH MEYER: We have very good personnel. Something we’ll keep working at. But your comment about are we going to take a look at other things, we already have.

Q. You mentioned the run game wasn’t what you wanted, the defense wasn’t what you wanted but you were able to take care of business. Last year against Iowa after the Penn State game you guys weren’t able to do that. Do you see that as a sign of growth wherever the team is this year?
COACH MEYER: I do. And we practiced very hard this week after getting in at 3:30 in the morning. We were worried about that a little bit. The heat was there again all week.

But you get out of those things and you go work on, fix some issues that’s what the game’s all about.

Q. And Malik had — Bradley both left the game early. What happened there?
COACH MEYER: They’re still being evaluated. I don’t know for sure yet.

Q. You put up a million yards, won by a lot, but there were a lot of things you said in terms of the defense being bad in the first half and things looking a little bit out of whack. I know at the end it looks great and everything you guys did was probably what you wanted to do is that what an Ohio State let-down is looking like this year; are you guys that good?
COACH MEYER: I’m sure the question. I guess the question is if that’s a bad game, do we still win like that, that’s a pretty good football team out there. We don’t look at it like that out there. We’re going to enjoy the win like we just did. We’re going to go back and start giving up close to 300 yards passing in that first half. We did make some adjustments in the second and played much better.

Q. How would you rate it?
COACH MEYER: How would I rate it? If I’m Parris Campbell, it’s a hell of game. Nine catches, 142 yards. Pass defense pass pressure, rush, no it’s not very good. Knocking people off the ball and running the ball I don’t think it’s great. I’ve got to watch the videotape. We’re just not consistent in those areas. Those two areas are the problem child right now.

Q. Good to see McLaurin can do more than block.
COACH MEYER: He’s a hell of a player. And like I told you — you start using the word Evan Spencer, see the way this kid plays he’s fantastic.

Q. Can you go as far as you want to go with an offense like this, as dynamic as it is, but a defense that gives up big plays, is there a tradeoff?
COACH MEYER: No, you can’t. At the end of the day you have to play great defense to get where you gotta get. And I’m confident that we will — because at times we’ve played great defense and we have to get everybody healthy and get back to that.

Dwayne Haskins

Q. Just talk about the offensive firepower.
DWAYNE HASKINS: I feel like we have a really dynamic group. Have a great group of guys, great talent across the board, a lot of depth and today was making plays when they mattered the most, whether it was passing or throwing. Everybody did a good job executing when we needed it.

Q. Dwayne, it might sound weird given the touchdowns you threw for, the yardage and all that, how many points you wound up scoring, but was there something off about the offense early? Didn’t seem like you were quite clicking on all cylinders, if that’s fair.
DWAYNE HASKINS: I’m not going to lie, we probably are still tired from last week. Definitely was a little low in energy during the practice during the week. But best thing about today, we found a way to win. Even though it wasn’t pretty at all times throughout the game, football is about overcoming adversity.

Q. I know touchdowns passes are probably like kids; you wouldn’t name a favorite. But the throw back to Johnnie Dixon, what was your favorite touchdown pass today and why?
DWAYNE HASKINS: Probably the one to Terry, no, actually the one to Bin was pretty good too. All of them were my favorite.

Q. You had some of the long ones, but most were quick passes, let your receivers do the work. How much of that is what this offense is going to and already has evolved into — get the ball in playmakers’ hands and let them make plays?
DWAYNE HASKINS: Definitely what we do on offense. People are in blitzes, they blitzed a lot today, a lot of coverage. So we’ve gotta be able to find plays where we can get rid of the ball fast.

That’s what we learned from Penn State a couple weeks ago. Just being able to dump it off to Parris and let him get 80 yards makes it way easier for me.

Q. To have 455 yards and six touchdown passes, does that feel like, hey, that was a great game? Or does it sort of feel like that’s what you expect from yourself and this offense?
DWAYNE HASKINS: Yeah, we definitely — every game you want to light it up, but definitely it was a good statistical game. I’m glad we got the win most importantly.

Q. It’s very business-like Dwayne. You have been all season, and your teammates — can you just talk about the focus this team has? And you just threw for 455 yards, six touchdowns, but you’re very business-like. Why is that?
DWAYNE HASKINS: It’s because what the (indiscernible) goal is. We want to get to that championship (inaudible). And it’s just one game at a time. (Indiscernible) matters, so every game we’re going in there with our business (inaudible).

Q. You mentioned that you guys are a little tired from last week, the energy wasn’t quite there. But you were still able to win. Last year at Iowa you guys weren’t able to do. Do you see it as a sign of growth for this team that you’re able to overcome and take care of business this time around?
DWAYNE HASKINS: You never want to lose a game, but last year we referenced a lot how we lost to Iowa after beating Penn State and how everyone had their heads down going into the ring. This week we made it focus by not letting the game go away from us. Definitely showed a lot of growth, a lot of maturity on our side of the ball. And defense did a good job too. And keep the ball rolling.

Q. Six touchdowns, all the yardage, 23 points, is that what an Ohio State let-down looks like?
DWAYNE HASKINS: (Laughing) you know, even though we won, it didn’t feel like one of the best games we played. Gotta keep getting better. But let-down, no, but room for improvement.

Q. Kind of going off the bat, a lot of people may think that this was a lackluster performance and a lot of people say, hey, you avoided the loss and you got through the past week. Do you guys feel like this is a good performance for you especially coming off of a physical game against Penn State?
DWAYNE HASKINS: I thought it was pretty solid, things to work on. That’s just the game we play, not everything is going to perfect. Just gotta be able to deal with that, and even though we know that we won the game, things we gotta work on, of course. But be satisfied with the W, and looking forward to playing Minnesota.

Q. Specifically what were they getting done up front? I’m talking about Indiana, to kind of confound you guys running the ball today, especially between the tackles. What was going on there?
DWAYNE HASKINS: A lot of five-man, six-man pressure, some (indiscernible) from the fields, some pressure from the boundary. And pass protection was isolated one way, the linebacker wrapped around (indiscernible) protection.

There was a lot of (indiscernible) you’ve got to be able to watch the film and be able to see in the game. Indiana has a lot of exotic looks, some variety up front and (indiscernible) the back end. Once we figured out what we were going to do against them, we came out with that.

Terry McLaurin

Q. Terry, having a game like this, a game against your home state school, what does it mean to you and what just kind of came right about the passing game as the game continued?
TERRY MCLAURIN: I don’t really know a whole lot of guys there anymore because I’m like a fifth-year, 22 years old a lot of the guys left. I knew the punt returner J-Shun Harris, and it was good to see him, perseverance, three torn ACLs.

The offense is continually getting better. Our defense stepped up when we needed to get stops. Obviously they didn’t play their best. We didn’t play our best as well. But at the end of the day we got the W. And that’s all we care about. And Dwayne was just putting the ball on the money. As receivers we want to make plays.

Q. (Inaudible) the game went on, obviously a lot more crossing routes, things like that, what changed as the game evolved?
TERRY MCLAURIN: They were sending in some different types of blitzes. We wanted to get the ball out of Dwayne’s hands a little quicker. That means as receivers we had to speed up our routes.

We had a good game plan coming in. We hit a lot of the routes we practiced all week against the coverages we wanted to see. We did a good job adjusting on the fly even after two tough picks.

Q. Could you walk us through the touchdown catch, especially the second one, the diving one? And also what’s it like to play with a quarterback — did you have to feel pretty confident, hit you right in stride, right where it’s supposed to be?
TERRY MCLAURIN: That makes my job harder, but it also makes it easier in the sense that I’ve got to be on time to be with a really rhythmic quarterback. But if I run a good route, run out of it the ball is going to be right where it needs to be.

So they were running a box set. And we knew they were going to do that in our bunch. And we knew the corner was trying to keep us from running the post because we’ve been running, post, post, post and that play we had a corner route.

So the safety picked me up, already had leverage and Dwayne put it right on the money. He did the tough part. The “O” line had great pass pro and we made it happen at a big time of the game.

Q. Felt like almost everybody on the team was tweeting about Dwayne Haskins for Heisman this week. Why is it that you guys might be a little bit biased but what is the candidacy there for him why do you guys endorse him so strongly there?
TERRY MCLAURIN: First of all, we’re biased because he’s our guy. But I feel like a guy who is a first year starter. I’m not going to take any credit from the guys doing what they’re doing at other schools, but he’s beat two top 15 teams on the road in tough environments and through a lot of adversity. For a first-time quarterback to come in do that with our offense, the numbers he’s putting up, I think coach said he was one time away from some type of record. Helping him out as receivers. The more plays we make for him the more confidence it gives him and his ability takes over the rest.

Q. Two weeks ago you might have tweeted a highlight of you blocking two guys. I think Penn State game you blocked three guys on the play. Any plays today where you blocked four guys?
TERRY MCLAURIN: No, I didn’t have any of those, but Coach Wilson had a couple of plays where we’re blocking D end and it may not show up on the TV. Know I probably got it. But two knock downs on D end too. I’m willing to do whatever it takes for the team.

I know Coach Wilson, it was a big play for him this week especially against his former team. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to the air, ground, special teams to gets the win.

Q. Did you feel you had to get two touchdowns so you don’t get type cast as a blocker?
TERRY MCLAURIN: Not really. I don’t really care a whole lot about a touchdown. To be honest, I was more happy for Bin, when he scored. He’s growing up before our eyes. I want to make the plays when they come to me. Whatever opportunities I get, I want to make the plays. And I feel like I’m doing a better job of doing that than I did last year.