Sept. 3, 2016
COACH MEYER: Thanks for coming, and never want to take our great stadium of fans for granted for supporting us like they did, all the way from the Buckeye walk skull session and then obviously even when we went down 7-0 early in the first quarter.
So, we also, I think Jerry said 30 guys played their first college football game. So that means next week we won’t have to say that, right? So we’ve got that out of the way. And I thought they played well. We have a lot of depth on the offensive skill. I think we pulled our guys in the middle of the third quarter with the intent. But there’s guys like Demario and other guys fighting like a dog to get playing time — Joe Burrow and it was good to see them compete and make some plays.
One down and now we’ve got another team coming in next week that we have to be ready for. They kind of spread the field like Bowling Green did. Defensively we tackled. That was our biggest concern. They get the ball out so quick you can’t get to the quarterback, but I feel we tackled pretty good and Malik Hooker made some beautiful interceptions. I’ll answer any questions.
Q. With all the new players you had, how much concern, anxiety was there that they wouldn’t have a performance like this?
COACH MEYER: A lot. You just don’t know until you know. All the way from kicking game — you look at our kickoff team, there’s all new guys on there. And just trying to think of all the skill guys that touched the ball on offense.
There’s guys that just have not been integral parts of our offense, from Mike Weber to Parris Campbell to Dontre, who should be, hasn’t played much since his freshman year. He performed well and Curtis Samuel obviously. And Marcus Baugh, I thought had a good day today. There’s a lot of good players getting reps today.
Q. Update on Sprinkle and Dante Booker?
COACH MEYER: Patella tendon injury is what they’re telling me, which is not good. It’s a surgery and a season-ending is what I’ve been told. We’ll update further as we know more. And that’s the worst part of this darned game is when a guy gets hurt, especially a guy like that who has committed so much to this team and program. Our prayers are with Tracy.
Q. There are so many superlatives. I think a school record for total offense. Can you mention Hooker, just his play on D, what he can do, ball skill?
COACH MEYER: Greg Schiano, who’s coached at the highest level in football in the pros, and his comment to me about the things Malik can do, he can do whatever he trains to do. He’s talented. He’s fast. He has great ball skills, was a great high school basketball player, too, and his commitment to our program now is over the top.
His first year he tried to quit about seven times. And I credit his mother with not allowing him to quit, because obviously it would have been a bad ending, but he’s a wonderful guy, a great teammate, a great kid, good student. He’s going to have a nice career here.
Q. Couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel?
COACH MEYER: No, typical freshman. You see yourself third, fourth, fifth on the depth chart, you don’t like it and it’s hard, and I’m going to quit. Thank God for moms like that, because some moms they, ah, come on home. That doesn’t work out usually very well. This mom said: You shut up and go back to work. And it worked out for him. Thanks, mom.
Q. You said since spring that it’s a young but talented team. So it’s different than young and not having that talent. Did you have any, last night, this morning, nerves, uneasiness that they would not be able to do what they did out there today?
COACH MEYER: Sure. I had that after we threw that first pick for a touchdown. And I like our players. I’ve done this long enough, I can see a talented player when we have one, and we have a bunch of them.
But I just wanted to see them perform in the arena. The good thing is one of the advantages we have over most, for a lot of them, those 30 players, it’s actually the second time they played, because they played in front of 100,000 players in the spring game. At least they’re getting — I don’t want to devalue that opportunity to do that.
Q. Did you use Curtis Samuel the way you envisioned using him today? What was sort of your plan going in and just what really took off with him from your vantage point?
COACH MEYER: He had nine catches and 13 carries, 22 touches. I had 15 in my mind. And some of those were from quarterback. Some of them were from obviously receiver and tailback.
So he’s the first true hybrid I’ve had in a while where he’s big enough. Dontre is close, too, he’s up to 197, 198 pounds. Both those guys give us a little bit of a 1-2 punch back there.
Dontre had three receptions. Two of them for touchdowns. And also had five carries. So averaged over seven yards per carry. That’s pretty good.
Q. Mike Weber seemed to like look the part and stuff. Did you get out of him what you wanted today? Get his feet wet.
COACH MEYER: I think so. We’ll find the film. A couple of runs I’d like to see him pull through. The kid that played for us last year, I can’t remember his name, probably would have pulled through a couple more. (Laughter) but he’s still young. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and continue to improve.
Q. You don’t know what some of these guys can do because it’s their first time, but you know what J.T. can do. Two-part. One, what’s your thought when he throws the pick six right out of the gate, and if you could speak to the rest of his performance.
COACH MEYER: He’s a cagey veteran. There’s a lot of things happening in his football career already. Throwing an interception for touchdown we don’t like that. But rebound, let’s go, and he went right back and said that’s on me. And it was. So let’s go back and attack them. So I thought J.T. played great.
Q. What does it say to the level of talent that you have on this team considering that you just set a single game record for total yards of offense and doing it with at least 30 guys who —
COACH MEYER: I think two. If you go back, and sometimes I hate when I see that score, where that’s not what our intent was.
We do like to score a lot of points, but we wanted, I think in the middle of the third quarter, took the offensive line out and everybody out, and then there’s guys in there — what’s encouraging to me is our backup offensive line concerns the heck out of me.
And the first punt of the game is when they’re in there. And that seemed like after that you chew on them a little bit and they got going. And I just like to see guys compete for spots on the team. If you do that, you can survive here. If not, it’s time to move on.
Q. I know you’ve talked a lot about sort of the 250-250 run passes, sort of the ideal offensive game. I don’t know if you have the numbers in front of you what the breakdown was.
COACH MEYER: Breakdown is this: It’s 350 rushing, right? And four — it’s over 250-250. But it’s a nice balance. (Laughter) I don’t know, but it says 417 we threw for.
Q. But that idea, was this it? Was this — other than maybe the first pick, was this like the perfect offensive day?
COACH MEYER: It was good. It was good. And I thought Ed Warinner did a nice job. Tim Beck did a nice job. The communication was like it should be, even when it didn’t start the right way.
A nice healthy balance of first down play-action passing, which, if you remember in ’14, that’s about what we were. So we need to continue that.
Q. You have great talent. You’ve coached great talent. But obviously it’s more than that. It’s more than just talent to make it work like that. Because it didn’t necessarily work exactly like this early last year and you had great talent. So what is it maybe with this group when you see that, why did it work like that?
COACH MEYER: Well, it’s one game. Let’s chat in about four weeks now see how we’re doing. It’s one game we have very good personnel. They played well. Let’s go back. Let’s not put the cart before the horse and start anointing anyone. They played pretty good. Other than that, we’ll watch film. I’ll get to you on Monday and tell you really how they played.
I feel good like most Buckeyes do right now, because a lot of these kids touching the ball, I could see people going through their programs saying: Who was that again?
The one thing about it — careers are made here and legends are born. I tell the players that all the time. Ohio State is different, man. You start making plays and all of a sudden people know who you are at the national level. Fight to make plays, because there’s a guy behind you who is going to try to take your spot.
Q. Were you aware Houston beat Oklahoma?
COACH MEYER: I did. I saw that. I think Tom’s a great football coach. Very proud of him.