Oct. 20, 2014

Urban Meyer Press Conference Transcript

COACH MEYER: I just read somewhere we’re leading the nation in attendance. I never want that to go unappreciated. Drizzly rain out there, everybody was having a great time. We appreciate our Ohio State fans. Once again was the quick start. I thought our coaches did a good job getting that going, and most importantly the players did. Champion efforts were wide receivers. Offensive champions, Evan Spencer. Hard for me to say he’s not one of our MVPs the way he’s playing for us. I know statistically sometimes it might not show up because we spread the ball so well right now, but he starts on kickoff now. He was one of our main guys on punt against Maryland when we had the tackle, that punt return, I just trust him with everything. It’s to the point we’re trying to find ways to reward him. That was the one time we threw to him three times, that was all me trying to reward a person that is selfless. Just love who he is right now. Jalin Marshall is much improved, graded a champion. Tight ends, Jeff Heuerman, graded a champion. Nick Vannett, he must have had some missed assignments. Offensive line, Taylor Decker, Pat Elflein, and Jacoby played well. Player of the game was our tailback Ezekiel Elliott. J.T. Barrett, was he conference player of the week? He could have played a lot better. So I love when our coaches do that. There’s nothing quite like a guy that thinks he played great, then a position coach jumps right in the middle and says, This is what we could have done better. Offensively you evaluate it against a team we have a lot of respect for. We consider them a 6 0 team coming into our home stadium. But offense we could have played a lot better. That was not one of our great days. But we expect more. Defensively created three turnovers. Again scored a touchdown. Our third down defense was excellent. The negative is we gave up some hits on a zone play. There was no excuse for that. I think they ran the same play and we didn’t adjust well, made some mistakes. The champion efforts were Mike Bennett. Played very well. Joey Bosa. Tyvis Powell. Josh Perry. The guy that played his best game was Doran Grant. 98%. 12 opportunities, made 11 of them. His best game as an Ohio State Buckeye. Special teams, one punt, went for a 53 net. Kickoff we didn’t do as well. We have some injuries we’re dealing with. Devan Bogard, still don’t know the final analysis on him. Dante Booker was pulled out of the game. I’m thinking someone else on kickoff I lost. So we’re going to have that conversation today about how we’re going to fill that most important unit, that very important unit. I’ll answer your questions for you.

Q. You’re halfway through the regular season. Given the injury to Braxton, all that you’ve had to deal with, how happy are you with the team is right now?
COACH MEYER: I love coaching this team. When I look at our champions, I see Nick Vannett, J.T. Barrett, I want that mentality. If our expectations are higher than the players themselves, that’s a problem. That happens a lot. When you see a great player, we think you should be that, the player doesn’t think he should be that. The player disappears or doesn’t become a great player. The good thing about J.T. Barrett, they had the conversation yesterday, but I wasn’t a part of that. But I like the way when coaches say, Okay, you’re Big Ten player of the league, but you didn’t play very well. Here is what you can do better. As opposed to, Great, job, great job, when it really wasn’t. I love the players the way they’re being coached, I love the responses. Enjoy coming to work every day when you have a team like that.

Q. Scouting report on Penn State?
COACH MEYER: Number one rush defense in the country, rush defense. Very well coached up front. Good personnel up front. Tough guy Borland, tight middle linebacker. Real active. I think he leads the team on tackles. They do a very nice job. Number one in America against the run. On offense, obviously we got a lot of respect for that big quarterback, Hackenberg. Tremendous player. Statistically came out of the chute high, high completion percentage. Struggled a little bit. But he’s playing very well. Then they got just a boatload of tight ends. They try to play them all. It is a lot of 12, one back, two tight ends; 13, three tight ends, which in the past has given us a problem as far as run fits. They don’t run the ball particularly well right now, but they are a very good throw team.

Q. Could you elaborate on J.T., what is it that y’all saw Saturday that he wasn’t doing well?
COACH MEYER: Whenever you see illegal procedure, that’s the quarterback. That’s the leadership of the quarterback. It happened one time earlier in the year. I like the way he started. Someone told me he went nine for nine or something to start the game. We like that. That’s obviously very good. But he misfired on a couple balls. Threw a ball behind Evan Spencer, missed on Dontre Wilson on a touchdown. A couple plays. But that happens. When you see ‘graded down’, you don’t grade a guy down, you coach him up to throw the ball better. ‘Graded down’ is just the quarterback position. I think Tom will give you some insight more when you visit with him.

Q. We ask you every time you go on the road. How comfortable are you taking him into the white shirts, all that kind of stuff on Saturday night?
COACH MEYER: More comfortable now than several weeks ago. We did go on the road once, but obviously 110 is different than 50 some. We were there. I remember Shelley and I are both like, That’s one of the top five atmospheres we ever played in. We can expect that same type of reception. We’ll be ready. I’m more comfortable than I’ve been. We have a new center who is not a new center anymore. He’s playing pretty good. By the way, I know he rolled his ankle a little bit, but he should be fine. More comfortable than we’ve been, but still glad we have Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday to get ready for it.

Q. Particularly on that 33 yard run, a screen call, they jumped it. He makes all these decisions and goes 33. What does that tell you about the way he’s come along as a decision maker, keeping his cool?
COACH MEYER: That might be as good an example. A lot of times quarterbacks on a drop back pass, when it’s not there, a lot of times you will scramble. That’s kind of instinctive. When a screen is not there, that’s when you see guys twitch, panic. If you throw it down the field, it’s a legal man downfield. There’s all kinds of issues. I credit Tom Herman. That’s not by accident. Those are well coached players that understand the game. That was an impressive play. They dropped eight guys into coverage right to the screen. He put his foot in the ground and went north/south. That’s good stuff.

Q. Different strokes from Mike to Larry. Two ends of the spectrum personality wise, maybe the way they coach. How has that worked out? Does that mean maybe you’ve changed a little bit as well?
COACH MEYER: The only thing I’d say is on the surface, that might seem so. I think they’re very similar guys. High end character people, family oriented guys that you want leading your players. Mike is a former NFL guy. Those two guys are very similar. Larry is a very intense individual. His practices are very meticulous, like Mike was. I’d say they’re more similar than different. Mike might let some colorful, I don’t want to use ‘language’, phrases or whatever, but other than that they’re very similar guys.

Q. Larry more fatherly?
COACH MEYER: I would say that. I don’t know, though. Mike did a heck of a job now. They’re very similar guys. They’re good coaches. I love who they are. I love what they stand for. My job is to make sure I have someone standing in front of them that are high, high end people that take care of them. Both those guys do.

Q. You talked a lot last year about wanting to have young guys ready to play because of injury. You talked after the game about a second team not being where you want it to be. The most important position on the field, when you lost your guy, Braxton, you had a young guy ready. The other positions, is it not where you want it to be?
COACH MEYER: It’s getting closer. The one area of concern is the defensive line. Larry, if you saw, we played 10 defensive linemen. All 10 didn’t play great. But we’re pushing it as hard as we can. We had a team meeting and addressed that. I had a couple guys stand up that weren’t doing their deal. As you get deeper into the year, we know it’s week seven, our goal is to compete for a championship in November. If you keep playing, you might have a chance to do that. That’s why everybody has to have value. Certain positions, right now you have Curtis Samuel and Rod Smith. We don’t mind playing them at all. Wide receivers, your backups are darn near as good as your ones. Who is our starting receiver? Right now, I couldn’t tell you. I like to see rotation. Our two tight ends, very minimal difference. So there are some positions. I pushed that as hard as I can. We actually played some guys in the game Saturday. Mike Hill did show something. Larry Johnson feels better about him right now. That’s the essence. When you see teams win championships, that’s why. You lose your quarterback, J.T. Barrett, he’s been here for a while, he takes it very serious, Tom Herman does a very good job with it. The ones that fail are the ones where the kids are not ready. That’s the coach’s fault. The kid has to be put in those situations. It’s also got to be an honest, hard conversation if he’s not ready.

Q. You’ve talked about your offensive line, how it’s coming along. Maybe the level of competition of defensive lines you faced wasn’t as good as what you saw with Virginia Tech. Rutgers you thought would be a step up. What did you learn about the offensive line? Is Penn State a step up?
COACH MEYER: Rutgers was a step up. I think Maryland, Rutgers, you’re getting better and better. Once again, I don’t want to say they didn’t have a good defensive line because they certainly did. The last two weeks, we haven’t played as good offensively up front as we expect. That will really surface this week. We have to play better on the offensive line than we did Saturday.

Q. You’ve been praising your staff for their preparation and game planning for your quick starts. As a team, are you also recognizing an improvement in mid game adjustments? Is that something that’s been consistent?
COACH MEYER: That’s pretty consistent. I think that’s easy for a coach to do. I don’t want to use the word ‘fun’ because that sounds kind of silly. A coach that coached for 30 years, you see something on the field, you make adjustments, you’re expected to do that. It’s uncomfortable sometimes to make sure your players are jump started from the get go. That’s cheerleading stuff, the heart to heart talks, the weekly motivation during the week getting ready for the game. Anytime a team and a unit comes out and plays well early, because I’ve challenged them, that’s really, really challenged them, talking about our coaches, and they’ve responded.

Q. You admitted being stingy with praise for your assistants. I think I’m using your words. What is it that they have done so exceptionally that you recognize them even after the game Saturday?
COACH MEYER: If a coach makes an adjustment during a game, you’re supposed to do that. You’re getting paid a lot of money. You’re at Ohio State University. For me to pat a guy on the back, say that was really cool. No, you’re supposed to do that. As a matter of fact, we have an issue if you don’t. It’s the other thing. To me, what’s not easy is the motivation of 18, 19, 20 year olds with all this chaos going on in the world to get them to put their foot in the ground and get them to go as hard as they can right from the get go. That’s what I’m seeing our coaches do.

Q. The offensive line, skill players, inexperienced first few weeks, did you all as a staff feel limited offensively? How does that compare to what you can do now?
COACH MEYER: You just look at the play sheet against Navy compared to now. That’s 70% greater than what it was. Number one, quarterback. Number two, offensive line. Number three, skill players. Two new tailbacks. One that never played college football. He got hurt for a while. The other one, Rod Smith, didn’t know he would be here. That position has really grown. I think the quarterback, offensive line, receiver has opened up the playbook because they’re much more mature. They’ve grown up fast.

Q. Seems like there were things you put into the bye week. How much room is there to go as you get more experience?
COACH MEYER: The better your checkers, it’s endless. Dontre Wilson, we went to a zero one grouping where there’s no tailback, a tight end and four wide outs. That was a result of having good four wide outs that we emptied and started doing some things. You want to be able to keep them when you do that. I shouldn’t tell you too much. You keep them in a nickel or dime situation, now go run the ball real fast. That’s the reason we do that. As long as you have good checkers, you can keep going and going. That’s where you have to keep going.

Q. How is Wilson?
COACH MEYER: He’s fine. He’s clear.

Q. You dealt with your bye weeks. You mentioned how unusual that was. Penn State had a bye, a game, another bye. Preparing for them, does that change anything?
COACH MEYER: Prepare for something unusual. I don’t think they’re holding anything because they’ve had a couple big games. But we spend four or five minutes talking about that, move on. Rutgers had a couple things they never showed. That bye week gives you a chance to work on some things. They have a base, but there will be something new we have already had that conversation about.

Q. You talked two years ago when you played there, the environment. I remember two years ago you talking about you guys couldn’t play a whole game, they couldn’t, yet the environment was what it was. Two years later, with the NCAA making their decision that they made, are you happy about that, Penn State is allowed to play in a bowl game?
COACH MEYER: I’m into it for the players, like I’m sure Coach Franklin is, like Coach O’Brien was. I thought that was an incredible atmosphere, which is a credit to Penn State’s fans. I thought it was even credit to the players on their sideline than ours. I’ve been in some national championship games, and you can’t say they played any less on that day at Penn State two years ago. I have a lot of respect for it. I knew a lot of those Penn State players that did nothing wrong, nothing wrong. A lot of those kids did nothing wrong, yet they’re paying the price. I’m not saying that’s wrong. That’s part of the deal. I think it needs to be a shout out to our kids. That was unbelievable, the effort you gave. At the end of the day you have to pay a price for someone else’s mistakes. I think that’s a credit to both teams.

Q. Last time you played these guys you averaged eight yards a carry, 400 yards on the ground. Changes they made, more personnel?
COACH MEYER: Good question. I have a hard time remembering last year. I think we played very well that day, started rolling downhill on them. It’s a much different defense right now. That’s really good rush defense we’re facing.

Q. You touched on this after the game. Michigan State won by the exact same score you did. There’s no consideration that some of your players might (indiscernible)?
COACH MEYER: I think if you play a really bad team, that happens. You try not to let that happen. Going on the road in front of 110,000 people, knowing we didn’t play great on Saturday, we expect to play great. When I read this, I didn’t really think about this, when I see Nick Vannett and J.T. Barrett not grade champions, that’s tough coaching, and I like that. Thanks, guys.

Larry Johnson Press Conferent Transcript

Q. Larry, talk about the development of Jalyn Holmes. He’s been playing a decent amount. Talk about his development.
COACH JOHNSON: Really, he’s been playing pretty well. He’s just a young guy trying to learn how to play in the system. 10 or 15 plays here or there to get his feet wet. As we move through the season, hopefully he can give us 20, 25 plays.

Q. Rashad Frazier went down. Is he okay?
COACH JOHNSON: Not sure what is going to happen for the game. Had an ankle injury. Going to wait to see what happens.

Q. Noah Spence, what can you sell us about Noah right now?
COACH JOHNSON: He’s seeking service, getting help. Just trying to get healthy. That’s the biggest thing. Going to class, still doing the same thing. But also some counseling, those kinds of things.

Q. You’re almost a year into this here at Ohio State. You’ll be playing Penn State this week. What has it been like for you trying to chart out Ohio State’s territory in the recruiting areas you spent so many years at Penn State?
COACH JOHNSON: It’s going pretty good. Actually, Maryland, same area, Maryland, Virginia, D.C. The guys that know me know me. I’m just walking in with a different color on. I think they know the value I bring to the table and what I’m looking for recruiting wise. Ohio State speaks for itself education wise and the program. I’m not selling anything different, just selling something I really believe in. I believe this is a great institution.

Q. Any roadblocks or people that you’ve known? Were there any challenges besides putting on a different color shirt?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, it’s kind of exciting. Ohio State has gone into Maryland a lot. Not a lot of Virginia, Maryland players on the roster. Now going in with Ohio State, it really helped because there’s a lot of interest in us right now.

Q. How unusual is it going to be to be on the visiting sideline, visiting locker room at that stadium this week?
COACH JOHNSON: It will be different. First time. You spend 18 years at one place for a long time, then you walk back in there, different sideline, place you’ve been for 18 years. But I’m looking forward to going back. I’m looking forward to going back with Ohio State University. I’m looking forward to going back and be excited to play in the stadium.

Q. How has Steve Miller played the last few weeks? Seemed like he got off to a slow start and has come on.
COACH JOHNSON: Steve Miller, first time starter for us when I came in. We talked about him this morning. Really has done a great job. He’s a great worker. That’s what he brings to the table. He’ll play hard every snap. He’s smart. He listens. He does exactly what you tell him to do. I think he played really well last week also.

Q. You were there for 18 years. Did you ever feel for teams that came in there? What was it like, that atmosphere, from that sideline?
COACH JOHNSON: It’s pretty exciting. It was a great student body, great fan base. It will be loud. We count on it being loud. Our players, they went to another notch when they got to play in front of 108,000, white out, those kind of things. It’s going to be a great environment. There’s 108,000 here. So that’s fun to play in front of also. I think our players will be jacked to go back in there again and play at Penn State.

Q. What will you tell your guys about that environment? How do you prepare for something like that?
COACH JOHNSON: The best way to block the noise out is score points and play great defense. If you do that, it will be pretty quiet. Hopefully the selling point is going and playing well. That’s the key.

Q. Is there a little bit of melancholy, too? People thought you might be the head coach. You were the interim head coach. Did you leave there on good terms? How do you feel you left the place?
COACH JOHNSON: I left on my terms. That’s the good thing about it. I thought it was time to move on. Coach Franklin brought his staff in. I didn’t want to be the guy to be held over again. I felt the best thing for me was to move on. I found a great home. I’m very happy here at Ohio State University. Really look forward to the future here for many years.

Q. Are you going to go see your old house?
COACH JOHNSON: No, I’m not. We sold it. Got very lucky and sold it, about three weeks into the process. I won’t stop by. I’m going to be in the hotel planning for the game. I won’t see anything, to be honest with you.

Q. Have you been able to rotate on the defensive line like you had hoped coming into the season? Has it been what you wanted or maybe not quite?
COACH JOHNSON: We’re close. We’re playing six, seven guys. I am used to eight, nine. It depends on the game, too. We have some young players that have to get ready. When you have good players, it’s tough to take those guys out. Right now I’m just trying to rest them. You think about last week, Joey Bosa played 51 plays, opposed to playing 67 plays. That’s going to help us down the road. Mike Bennett played 42 plays. That’s going to help us down the road. We’d like to continue the rotation. We just have to see, but we’re going to rotate.

Q. Asked Coach Meyer about the differences between Mike and yourself. He thought you were very similar. What is your approach to coaching young kids and what do you think the common denominator is there?
COACH JOHNSON: I think we both do it different. I think we’re both technicians. I think we’re fundamentally sound in our coaching philosophy, what we believe in. There’s different ways to deliver a message to a player. Mine might be a little different. I am a developer. I like to be closer to a player, develop a relationship. I tell the guys all the time, I don’t want to coach you, I want to invest in in you. If I invest in you, at the end of the day when you get married and have your first kid, you’ll call me and say, Coach Johnson, I just had my first kid. That is an investment. When you invest in them, they’ll do anything in the world for them. That’s my march, try to make sure the players understand I trust them, believe in them, but I am also going to invest in them.

Q. You coach a rugged brand of football, but in the pre season it would be like arranging the flowers. A little bit different than maybe you might expect.
COACH JOHNSON: That’s kind of my style. We just built a new home here. I had a chance to get out in the yard, plant some flowers. A way to get peace, think to myself.

Q. Have you ever been in the opposing locker room at Penn State?
COACH JOHNSON: I have not.

Q. What do you expect? Have you heard about it?
COACH JOHNSON: I have heard about it.

Q. What have you heard about it?
COACH JOHNSON: It’s very small (laughter). Thanks, guys.


Q. Zach, Tim asked Urban on the screen pass that J.T. made. Two passes he made, a touchdown pass to Nick, then two plays before that, there was a slant. Are those passes maybe you haven’t been able to throw recently around here? Seemed spot on.
COACH SMITH: I mean, both of those plays we’ve had in the offense and made over the last two years repeatedly. But they were great throws. He really has a knack for both of those. Slants, drags, benders, he really has a knack for leading the receiver, putting it in a tight hole. He did a really good job on both those plays.

Q. Jalin Marshall looks like he’s really starting to become more a part of the overall picture here. What are the things he’s shown you? Caught a pass. Had the punt returns.
COACH SMITH: He’s a guy we wanted to get more involved. He’s really done a phenomenal job. Coming into the year, we had high expectations. Coming into his career, there were high expectations. He worked hard, tried to live up to those. He’s a guy over the last five weeks or so has really earned more, I guess, respect and more playing time, more touches. So we’re trying to find ways to get him more involved because he’s a dynamic player that’s doing a lot of things really well right now, has a lot of momentum.

Q. Urban talked about Evan Spencer, his value. Doesn’t light up the stat sheets, but discuss what he brings to this team on and off the field.
COACH SMITH: He’s not a guy that lights up the stats sheet because they keep stats on catches and yards. In the film room he lights the film up. Opponents know who he is, think he’s a really good player. Maybe the media or the national news doesn’t because all they care about is touchdowns and catches. He’s one of the most phenomenal blockers I’ve ever seen. He’s really functional, a little underutilized in the throw game. He’s one of better players I’ve ever coached. His respect is as high as it can be around here. So he was a little more involved this week. We’re trying to get him more and more involved because he’s earned that right. He’s as important a guy in my room as I have. He might be the most important. Without him, our perimeter run game’s not near as good. He’s starting to get more and more involved in the throw game.

Q. About your receivers, that group has the reputation of being the divas elsewhere.
COACH SMITH: Certainly not here. That’s elsewhere, everywhere else (laughter).

Q. You do have a bunch of guys rotating. How do you develop that culture in that room?
COACH SMITH: I think it comes from the relationship with each other. There’s not a guy in there that doesn’t want to see one of the others do something well. In order for Mike Thomas to touch the ball, Jalin might not touch it as many times, but there’s a great relationship between the two. He wants Jalin to touch the ball. They all want to do well. At the end of the day all they really care about is we win and we do our job. There’s probably six guys rotating right now. All six of them, there may not be a premiere, marquee guy that’s going to have the national stats that put him into whatever top of the country, but that’s a testament to the development of those six guys in the group. They’re all bought into the fact that whoever is in is going to make the play. There’s confidence in my room.

Q. Mike Thomas redshirted last year as a sophomore. That’s rare unless a guy is hurt. Now he’s your leading receiver. What is the biggest difference?
COACH SMITH: I think the redshirt was probably the best thing that ever happened to him. He came in as a freshman, really shouldn’t have played quite as early. He showed flashes in the spring game, couple times showed some things where we saw where he could be. We also didn’t have any depth. Came in the sophomore year, expected big things. He didn’t have a great training camp. That was a decision we made after the first or second game when he didn’t play. It was to kind of let him have a year to develop into what he is today. I think the way he handled his business that year, the way his family handled that year, that decision, really made him who he is today. By no means is he a finished product. But his successes this year are because of his mentality with that year of development and not playing. It developed a drive, a motivation, a hunger within him that I don’t know that he would be as good today had that not happened.

Q. Anybody who is redshirting this year standing out?
COACH SMITH: Yeah, I mean, Terry McLaurin is really doing well. He’s developed over the last six weeks phenomenally. He’s an exciting player that I’m excited about in the future. There’s other guys. Parris Campbell is a guy that kind of been injured. He shows flashes. He’s going to be really, really good. That’s really it.

Q. As you watch J.T. from a wide receiver coach’s perspective, what do you see him play to play looking down the field, his awareness? Is it past where you thought it would be as a redshirt freshman?
COACH SMITH: I’ve always been really impressed with J.T. I mean, he gave a speech to some recruits maybe his second weekend on campus just about why he chose Ohio State, was kind of telling them about he couldn’t imagine being somewhere else and watching us play for a national championship, him sitting there that he let that opportunity slip away. I’m thinking, This kid is 17, 18 years old, I’m thinking that’s an impressive 18 year old. He’s only continued to wow me with his leadership and maturity since then. It’s not that surprising, but it’s rare. It’s rare that you have a kid this young that kind of has that maturity and understanding and intangible value. But he definitely has it.

Q. Any qualms about him from your coaching standpoint leading this team in front of 110,000 on Saturday night?

Q. Why not?
COACH SMITH: Kind of that innate leadership quality. Guys want to follow him. Every pregame, he talks to the offense. I’ll never forget, must have been Navy, pregame he spoke to the offense. Devin Smith, Evan Spencer looked at me, Wow, that’s a mature 18 year old, 19 year old. He’s different than most redshirt freshmen. There’s no qualms. There’s no lack of confidence. When we’re going into that stadium on a Saturday, we know he’s leading us. Everyone is confident in that.

Q. Penn State is only giving up 15.2 points a game. What do you see when you scout them?
COACH SMITH: You see a very talented defense that has a very sound scheme and they execute it well. Number one rush defense in the country, number six scoring defense in the country. That doesn’t happen by accident. I mean, we’re not bad on offense either. It will be a fun experience for us and really a challenge that we’re excited about.

Q. As a guy who knows offensive football, does J.T. belong in the Heisman discussion?
COACH SMITH: I don’t know. I don’t know nationally what’s out there. All I know is he belongs as our starting quarterback right now, and we’re fired up to have him do that.

Q. Urban talked last year before the season about the need for the young guys to get developed, have depth, add that second layer to the team. How did the assistants take that in terms of making sure you had not just a first group but a second group ready?
COACH SMITH: We kind of went into this year talking about last year talking about how I felt my guys wore down a little, they weren’t as fast and productive as they were at the beginning of the year. I think a lot of that had to do with the number of snaps they were playing. I went into this year saying I need six starters, two at every position. It’s not this guy is ahead of this guy. These are six guys. I don’t care who is in the game, we’re going to roll them. That’s a starting wide receiver at Ohio State. That’s the mentality we had really starting back in January because I think to be productive down the stretch in a no huddle up tempo offense you need to have that depth. So that’s what we tried to develop, that’s what we aimed to do. I think so far we’ve got that done.

Q. What happened with Mike last year, the redshirt, a mid career redshirt not for injury reason, is there a risk in that? Could a kid go south? Is to a move that you’re willing to make with almost everybody if it makes sense or does it have to be a particular situation?
COACH SMITH: I think we’re not going to waste a year on a kid that’s not going to be productive or worth it. So I don’t think there was necessarily any risk involved. I mean, we know Mike. I knew the situation. He needed that year. I guess it’s case by case. By we’re not going to throw a kid out there, play him 20 snaps, 40 snaps on the year, have one catch, say, Sorry, there goes one year. We’re going to play you if you’re ready to play. If it’s a redshirt, then we’ll do it. It has nothing to do with mid career, mid year. It’s all based on are you ready to play or not. If you are you’ll play, if you’re not you won’t. At the end of the year if you have a redshirt, we’ll use it.

Q. You addressed the receivers’ unselfishness. J.T. says the guys tell him they are wide open on every play. Did you ever have to say to the guy, Leave the kid alone, let him settle in?
COACH SMITH: I’ve had a lot of conversations with them about how to kind of back up and support your quarterback. But I don’t think telling the quarterback, Hey, I was open, I want the ball. I think that’s a positive thing. That’s a kid saying, Throw me the ball, I got your back. But there’s no question they’re always open. They always should have got the ball, could have got the ball. Until you watch the film, maybe they weren’t. I don’t think that’s a negative. I think that’s a positive. You want a kid that says, I want the ball, throw me the ball, I want to touch the ball. If you got kids that don’t want to touch the ball, you got major problems.