Oct. 22, 2012
An Interview With Urban Meyer
COACH MEYER: The big play they had for another touchdown we were just out on the linebackers. Nate Williams moved out there, and when Josh Perry went down, that was a big hit. But overall, a much more pleased with the defense.
Turnovers, very poor. Very poor. Exhibition by the Buckeyes, had four of them. Red zone, we were 4 for 4. However, on the turnovers, that’s another credit to the defense. Jerry told me we didn’t allow a point off of our turnovers that we experienced.
So the best thing about 8 0 is a chance to go 9 0. We have to coach hard and trying to get I don’t think Sabino is going to make the bell. Zach Boren will stay at defense. Played to not grade at champion was very close, which was amazing for the second time playing that position in a Division I a football game.
On Defense champions were Travis Howard, graded out at 98 percent, very high, played very well. Nate Williams graded out at champion. John Simon graded out at champion. Christian Bryant played very well, 95 percent, graded out at champion, a lot of activity. Bradley Roby, a lot of activity again, and graded out at 97 percent, very high. John Hankins graded at champion.
And Ryan Shazier was our defensive player of the game, his best game that I’ve witnessed him play, including a film I watched him on prior last year. So he played very well. Graded out 89 percent. He had 30 production points, 11 tackles, 2 assists, one tackle for loss, one hurry, and one pass broken up.
On offense, none. We didn’t have any grade out. You can tell there’s a little inconsistency right now with our team. Certain games you see an offense, I’ll read out six, seven names, and on defense none, and vice versa. That’s just where we’re at. Got to get a lot better.
This week, playing a team that’s playing very well at this time, a quarterback that I coached against him in the Outback Bowl several years ago, I guess just a couple of years ago. He’s much improved. He’s always been a very accurate passer. The guys around him are playing better as well. Their defense has always been good. I know they’re not feeling the effects of the scholarship hit that they’re going to take because they’re very good players on defense.
I’ve not studied their offense as well. I just saw I went home and watched that game, and they did what they wanted at Iowa. But defensively, they’re every bit what they’ve been in the past. The defensive front is very strong, active guys. One is a great player, Number 47. And Mauti is a great player as well. So we have to be on our game.
I’ve never been to a game up there, but I understand from our coaches that is the loudest place in the Big Ten to play. We assisted by playing, I think, at 6:00 or something like that. So we’d better be on it. Whenever you go on the road, you pack your defense and don’t turn that ball over, be smart.
Braxton Miller, I know that will probably be the first question. I went with him to the hospital, or afterwards went over to see him, along with our strength coach, and then Tom Herman stopped by afterwards. All the test results came back. I guess the term is negative, which is positive. He’s very sore, sore neck, and we expect him to practice tomorrow.
So I’ll answer any questions for you.
Q. Coach, I know there’s a fine line between a player wanting to show his manhood and also preserve his body. How much do you have to talk with Braxton about there’s times you need to get out of bounds? Even though it’s got to be tough. I’m sure he wants to show he’s a tough guy.
COACH MEYER: We have talked to him about that. He’s a competitor. He’s done better. You can see a couple of other times he knows when to get down and step out of bounds. That would have been probably you know, I think, where we were at as an offense has something to do. We were not playing very well. A lot of players on the offense were not playing very well. So he was just trying to make a play.
Q. How long after the euphoria of the win, how long after that did the reality of how hard that was, what your problems are?
COACH MEYER: Immediate. I don’t show it because I want our players to enjoy that win, our fans, the student body. It was an incredible night for the Horseshoe and the people in there. From what I understand, the people that left and hustled back in there. I don’t blame them.
No, immediately. Coaches are cheering and having a great time, and then deep in your heart, you know that we have a lot of work to do. And, obviously, my heart and mind went right to our quarterback to make sure he we all did. There’s not a person associated with Ohio State that didn’t see that violent tackle. So immediately, to answer your question, Bob.
Q. Did the players realize?
COACH MEYER: This team lost seven games a year ago. This team kind of was reeling for a while with all the stuff that’s gone on. I think they’re very appreciative. We had a victory meal again for the eighth week in a row last night.
The one thing is there’s some smart guys here. There’s also some injured guys. We’re dealing with a roster that’s around 60, 59 players, and of those 59, not everybody’s playing, obviously. So the call at arms is still there.
Rather disappointed in several handfuls of guys that haven’t contributed. You start throwing those kind of numbers around, that’s why you’re seeing issues on kickoff. We had, I think, a nickname for the piranhas. Piranhas are all out. Really good young players that beat out some older players to be on there. So some guys got to really step up.
Q. Braxton took two shots at Michigan State and was lucky to come back. This week he looked out of sync and took a bigger shot. Does it amaze you he seems to be so resilient? And how concerned are you that, if he’s taking these shots, how is he going to last the season?
COACH MEYER: Very concerned, and he does I don’t want to say that. I don’t know that I use the word amazed very often, but he’s a tough guy. He’s very strong. He takes care of himself. I don’t want to say amazed, but he’s a tough guy.
Did you say how concerned? Very concerned. He’s our best player.
Q. Did you kind of make sure he’s such a weapon for you guys. How do you balance it?
COACH MEYER: I think we are trying to balance it. We don’t go crazy with him as far as like running the ball. I think we’re trying to balance it a little bit. But at some point you’ve got to try to move the ball a little bit too. There’s some limitations. So that’s very we’re very cognizant of that.
Q. Urban, obviously, good news that Braxton is okay, but just the way he looked when he came off, he seemed like he could barely walk, and he just seemed to be in a lot of pain. What was it that was the pain at that moment?
COACH MEYER: His neck. He got like a whiplash. I had a long talk with him about it. He’s just rattled. And once he settled down, he seemed to be fine. And he made a comment to me he’s never really been hurt, never really been as far as a bruise or a contusion or a sprained ankle, but never been like that, and it kind of rattled him a little bit, like it would rattle most athletes.
Q. Just in general, you’re 8 0, after seven losses last year, how would you evaluate how you and your staff have coached this team so far this year?
COACH MEYER: Pretty good. Pretty good. I think a lot of dynamics that had to be overcome, obviously when the experiences that were happened here a year ago. But I think and then you start dealing with injuries. I think pretty good.
I wouldn’t grade an A plus or something like that. I’ll evaluate that at the end of the year. But Ohio State, we’ve certainly got to get healthy and develop and recruit and get going. We’ve got to get there’s a lot of holes that need to be filled and enhanced. That’s through development, and that’s through health too. You start knocking some bodies out of there, and we’ve got a problem.
Coach Mick was doing it. We have some guys playing an inordinate amount of plays, 600 some snaps for some players that you really shouldn’t. D linemen that we should be starting to develop that rotation, but they’re all freshmen behind them, and Mike Bennett’s got to get going. He’s been hurt.
So long answer, for all things considered, I think pretty good. However, not good enough.
Q. Coach, have you developed kind of a healthy skepticism when you hear about an injury, like you said earlier this year, I get in John Simon’s face. I’m just curious if you got in the doctor’s face or Braxton’s face, are you really good? Were you satisfied by what they said?
COACH MEYER: Satisfied? I’m not sure.
Q. That he had no concussion and that he’s good to go, other than the sore neck.
COACH MEYER: Yeah, I was right there when the doctors were I saw everything they saw. Not that I’m a doctor but no, I don’t get in any doctors’ faces. That’s not going to happen. Maybe when I was 36 or 37, but I’ve matured. I’m not sure of the question, but am I confident? This is the best training staff I’m been around and the best medical staff. These guys are terrific.
Q. I don’t know any other way to say this, but when he first went down, did you see kind of pass before your eyes where you were concerned?
COACH MEYER: Sure, yeah.
Q. And going to Penn State
COACH MEYER: I mean, the first thing is, Braxton, are you okay? Then I saw that he was. Then I thought one thing about the old right hander now, he’s been pretty successful when he goes in there. Obviously, it changes our game plan a little bit, but he’s been fairly successful going in the game.
Q. Will you do anything different to prepare for the crowd at Beaver Stadium?
COACH MEYER: No.
Q. Noise, I assume music, that kind of stuff.
COACH MEYER: On Tuesday and probably will Michigan State was very loud, and I understand this one’s louder. We’ll probably go. We went, I think, Wednesday, Thursday. We’ll probably go Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. The no huddle kind of helps you. It’s not quite an issue. The one thing that are issues are emotions and shifts and things like that where you can’t hear. We’ll certainly spend a lot of time on that.
Q. For night games, do you think the crowd gets fueled during the day? Why is it that night crowds seem more excitable than perhaps the day crowd?
COACH MEYER: The politically correct answer? Sure, they’re fueled or whatever you want to call it. It’s just the atmosphere. We saw what it was like here at Nebraska, and it’s something about night games.
Q. I was curious I think you had said weeks ago that you had studied with Bill Belichick, not only maybe forward but in your time off. I was just curious if you had encountered Bill O’Brien at that point and what you learned about him at that stage of his career, what that maybe gives you an idea of what he’s like now, what kind of a coach.
COACH MEYER: It was more Josh McDaniels when I went up there twice and spent time with him. Actually, when I went up there, I spent more time on defense because I wanted to I think I just I think, as a head coach, you’ve got to well verse yourself a little bit. So I spent all my time on defense the two times I went up there and sat in the meetings with Josh and Tom Brady. I have great respect for Coach O’Brien. Obviously, he’s doing a great job.
Q. It’s a unique setting for both programs, obviously what he’s dealing with and what you’ve had to deal with the past year. It’s intriguing that they meet in this scenario. Both teams are kind of trending up. I’m just curious what you anticipate that will bring.
COACH MEYER: I’m going to make this clear to our team. I did a little of that already. Penn State has been through I have great admiration for Penn State, always have been being from this area and what kind of school that is, just the academics and everything, just a strong, strong school.
Make no mistake about it, Penn State was undefeated at this time last year. As a result, when you’re undefeated, you’ve got very, very good football players. I mean, very good. They beat us at our home stadium last year. So make no mistake I know it maybe started. When you have a new staff, you have a couple of things happen early in the year, but this is still Penn State.
I know there’s going to be some tough sanctions against them. I don’t really understand all of them. I’m like you guys, I read what I read. But the minute you say whoa to Penn State, Penn State has great football players right now. They’re very well coached. So I made that clear to our team just like I’m making it clear they’re on point right now, and there’s a bunch of NFL Coach Coop, my personnel director, free personnel director, gave me the list. It’s going to be a good draft day for the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Q. Urban, with your history with quarterbacks running the spread, have you had trouble before with a quarterback being hurt like this? This is the third time this quarterback has been hit and collapsed? Have you encountered that before?
COACH MEYER: Tim’s taken a few. Alex, Chris Leak, and Josh. I don’t believe so. I think this is the first time.
Q. Because Braxton’s a little more
COACH MEYER: He doesn’t go down very easily, and he’s a competitive guy. The good thing is he usually bounces right back up. This one was a tough one. I’m trying to think, the other ones were out of bounds, a couple of out of bounds shots, and he cramped another time. But he’s just he’s just a dynamic athlete. He’s a little more difficult to bring down.
Q. Coach, on Saturday you pointed out Chris Fields, how he kind of flipped that switch a few weeks ago. Today you mentioned some guys haven’t contributed. Do you still find guys buying in and changing their attitude on this team?
COACH MEYER: Oh, sure, every day. Every day someone makes every day I change. Every day you have opportunities. You have every day something flashes across you that maybe you’ll get a little better. We’re nonstop.
I believe that’s one of the great things about college football as opposed to the NFL. These kids aren’t driven by paychecks. They’re not trying to support their family. They’re motivated by a multitude and we could get into that. That’s a four hour discussion, how to motivate a 19 year old, 20 year old. God bless the ones that are self driven, self motivated, but that’s very rare.
So, yeah, I think we spend a lot of time if you say what do I do for a living? I try to motivate 18, 19, 20 year olds, and every once in a while get involved in some other phases. But our staff, I’d like to think that’s what we do as well as anybody in the country is try to pull guys out of a spiral and give them I’m not talking just about football. I’m talking about academics. I’m talking about life after football, the whole deal. That’s what’s great about this job.
And our quarterback is probably the poster child for that. I’m so proud of that guy right now. To sit we went to victory meal last night and sat I wanted him to see that I wanted to sit with him and watch the television version of the drive, and I just kept yelling Kenny Guiton, Kenny G., or something like that, and the players are all laughing, and we’re watching him. Just to and to see him, the television did a great job of showing him on the sideline when the defense is out there playing.
Kenny Guiton, it’s just imagine being Kenny’s mom and dad sitting there watching that. That’s all good. All good.
Q. That was my question. Kenny Guiton kind of alluded to this a week or two ago that you might put him in the game before an injury or garbage time or whatever you call it. Is there a situation now going forward where maybe you’ll use him? Is?
COACH MEYER: I don’t know yet. That’s too early to tell. But the answer is probably. Has he earned the confidence to go in the game and perform? He has. I mean, he could throw the touchdown at Chris Fields. I said feel free to throw a little harder and get it there a little quicker.
And on the keeper when he got down to the yard line, feel free to get a few more squats in there and get across the end zone.
Q. Braxton is not your only injury this weekend. How are guys like Joshua Perry and Corey Brown?
COACH MEYER: Josh Perry, the MRI came back clean. He’s ready to go. Corey Brown dinged a little bit. He should be ready to go. They’re still evaluation, but everybody tells me he’s fine.
Bogard, we lost Bogard, ACL. Love him. He’s one of my favorite guys on the team. Top five guy on the team, Devan Bogard. First guy to lose his stripe as a Buckeye. Obviously, from up at a great school, Coach Ginn. He’s a great, great guy, man. He had one of those emotional moments after the game because he spills it. He was getting ready to start getting a little more action as a defensive back too.
You know he played linebacker in high school. So playing in space is all knew for him. But if we could go out and recruit a hundred Bogards, life would be pretty good around here.
Q. Couple of questions, Urban. Number one, keep talking about the defense basically being on fumes. Maybe even the offense a little bit now. How do you like play things now practice wise where you don’t run out of energy?
COACH MEYER: We lose 15 bowl practices. I think I talked about this last week. Sunday we went out and didn’t go for a half hour, we went for 15 minutes. We have an obligation to develop Ohio State too. So that’s nonstop churning in my mind here is development of players, but also let’s go win this game because you don’t want to get caught without players, which we’re getting pretty close to getting caught.
You’ve got to that’s why I’m trying to put as much pressure as I can on the guys that are just eating that sandwich and eating a victory meal but had nothing to do with that. The great teams, you don’t have many of that. Obviously, we’re not a great team yet, but we have far too much of that right now.
Q. The Mauti kid I think that’s how you pronounce that.
COACH MEYER: Recruited him, great kid.
Q. Describe what you see of him on video. You saw him play live.
COACH MEYER: His dad and brothers are Nittany Lions. I recruited him hard at Florida. Loved him as a high school athlete. For an ESPN thing, I went up and talked to him. He’s a tough guy. He’s a leader. Love his family. He’s and he’s playing his tail off after his knee injury.
Q. That’s what I’m saying. Can you see that whole defense sort of rallying around him and stuff?
COACH MEYER: He’s that kind of personality, but there’s we just had our offensive meeting after everybody broke up for three hours of watching film, and they came back and said there’s no shortage of talent at Penn State now. They’re loaded up really well.
Q. Is there any way to keep Braxton Miller like you were just asked this a little bit sort of in a way. How do you do you change his game at all now, or do you talk to him about differently that big run was a huge play in the game. How do you corral them a little bit but let him still be him?
COACH MEYER: I don’t think you do. I think you let him be him and coach him, if you have the opportunity to step out of bounds after a big play, step out of bounds. To be a classic drop back passer in his career now, I’m not sure how efficient we would be.
The thing is I think more guys need to step up and take some heat off of him, which we did at times this year, not near where we need to be.
Q. To build off of Tim’s question about handling practice at this point, do you feel like you’ve been more
COACH MEYER: Tim’s?
Q. This guy. He asked about managing reps throughout the week. Do you feel like you’ve been more unlucky with injuries this year than the years past or just the number of scholarship positions?
COACH MEYER: The number. Any time there’s staff transition, you get a little transition of roster as well, and we had that. And then we had some behavioral issues we had to deal with. And I think the biggest thing is some guys have got to step up, and you’re just disappointed. My gosh, what are you waiting for? Let’s go, man. You come to Ohio State to go play. You don’t come to watch your team in a game like that and sing the fight song afterwards. You go to be a part of it, and we still have far too much of that right now.
That’s the motivation of everyone involved. Let’s go. Let’s push. Let’s grind.
Every school is dealing with injuries, but one area that got smacked that couldn’t get smacked was our linebackers. The only area that and the offensive line. Don’t even say that. The offensive line, we’re in but the good thing is Chase Farris and Taylor Decker have had two really good weeks of practice. The linebackers, we’re just hanging on.
Q. Seems like you’ve been able to develop throughout the year at wide receiver, though.
COACH MEYER: Not near enough. Not near enough. But you’re right. Verlon Reed and Chris Fields are active now. That was a great catch by Chris Fields.
Q. You had talked earlier in the year about toying with the idea of maybe Kenny and Braxton fielding sometimes. Would that happen?
COACH MEYER: If we did, Braxton would be the runner, and I’m not sure it’s the right time to do that.
Q. Or let Kenny run.
COACH MEYER: Let Kenny run it? Nah. I love Kenny, nope. You guys have a great day.