April 15, 2017
COACH MEYER: Thanks for coming. Couple quick comments, just thanking our fans. I think I heard 80,000. And that’s awesome. I tell our players — and our players actually share with me quite often how appreciative they are of our fans. And it was a beautiful day. Got a lot of work done. The best thing was we’re injury-free today. I saw some guys, some receivers really step up and make some nice plays. And it was good to see the young corners kind of rebound — talking about Wade, Okudah, Williamson and Kendall Sheffield. They kind of started a little slow, but — I have to go back and watch the video — but I thought they finished the game pretty good.
Q. How do you feel the quarterbacks performed today? And more importantly how do you feel they performed throughout the spring?
COACH MEYER: Outstanding. They started, the first week was kind of, oh, not real productive, and then they just — all four quarterbacks in the last three weeks have been exceptional. They’ve done a very good job. I thought Dwayne and Joe Burrow played well. J.T. was just, I think with three series we went, and it was more — he threw a pick when he got hit.
But I thought once again his accuracy was right on target, like it’s been most of the spring. So very good spring for our quarterbacks.
Q. Two questions — first one, just to ask about the last play, and how the idea to get Jacob involved, and what you thought seeing him taking that touchdown?
COACH MEYER: This is one of the best groups of older players I’ve ever been around. And Tyquan Lewis and Jalyn Holmes came to me yesterday and we love Jacob. Jacob’s part of our family. He’s been that way for about four or five — four years now. And they asked if we could do that.
And I wasn’t sure how you would do it. So we worked it out. But that was the players’ idea. And that shows you what kind of character we have in those upperclassmen.
Q. Is there anything to read into the reps you gave the quarterbacks today, the way you handled them early in the game? Are Joe and Dwayne even in your mind? Or how will you go into summer with those two?
COACH MEYER: I want to watch the film and have conversations with our coaches. We haven’t had that yet. I know it is very close. But I’m not prepared to say who is 2, who is 3, et cetera, yet.
Q. After the Fiesta Bowl, Johnnie Dixon wasn’t sure if he was going to be healthy enough to remain on the team. Now it seems as if he’s had a really healthy spring, and he’s out there scoring and then making some moves and stuff, some of the things we envisioned he might look like when he was recruited. What has Johnnie Dixon’s journey been like since the Fiesta Bowl? Were you ever concerned he might not be on the team? And can you talk about his spring performance and the way he’s kind of come on the last few weeks?
COACH MEYER: Johnnie is an enigma. He’s a very highly recruited guy out of Dwyer High School, a very talented guy, nice person. But he got here, had this tendonitis and issues in his knees, and he would go two practices and have to miss two.
And it was frustrating for all of us. When he was healthy, he just didn’t make plays, because he would never practice enough to get in the rhythm.
So, yeah, I didn’t think, I didn’t know — he probably shouldn’t have come back. If you had a career like he’s had. But his teammates, his position coach, Zach Smith, I talked to him, and wanted one last swing. And he had the best spring — he didn’t miss a practice.
I was so happy to see him have great success today, because we really need him. And he just has to have a great summer. So he stayed healthy. That’s the most important thing.
Q. With that said, Urban, Justin Hilliard seemed to flash a couple of times. Do you see him coming along now? What’s your update on him?
COACH MEYER: He’s another guy like Johnnie Dixon. He’s been hurt since he got here. So you’re not aware what he can do. I think he’s had a very good spring. You can ask Coach Davis in greater detail. We do our evaluations all next week. But we certainly need him to be in the rotation at linebacker.
Q. Why did you at the beginning of the game not have it be tackling, basically two-hand touch? What was the rationale behind that? And just in general, how do you feel about your team now compared to the start of spring?
COACH MEYER: We’ve done that before. After the 2014 season we had a veteran group come back, and I wanted — it’s either you don’t play some guys or you kind of restrict the tackling and keep guys up. And I wanted them to experience the crowd and play and finish a good spring.
So we did, I think, three series with the 1s, two series with the 2s. And we call that thud tempo just to keep everybody up. And then we let the guys that don’t play much scrimmage.
Q. Overall the progress in the spring?
COACH MEYER: Very pleased. I would be disappointed if I said we’re awful right now. But very pleased. Couple areas we’ve got to shore up, and I don’t think we’re nine strong, but I think we’re seven strong right now. And that’s pretty good in April to be that.
COACH MEYER: That’s between me and the two.