Coach Meyer Weekly Press Conference Transcript
Aug. 27, 2012
COACH MEYER: Thanks for coming. A couple of quick comments. Obviously to say I'm excited about Saturday, it would be a very shallow statement, because I think everybody knows that. But I'm honored to be here, honored to be the coach of the Ohio State University football team and to come back home and coach in the great state of Ohio.
Miami, Ohio, I know Miami very well. I coached them the MAC conference for two years. I have a great deal of respect for them as a university. Like I said, I know them very well. I know the history and tradition. And I also know their coach and I know their quarterback. I've been watching them play, and their receiver.
So it's going to be a good challenge for us. On behalf of our players, I can tell you this: Our guys are ready to go play. They're ready to go play on Saturday. With that said, I'll open up to any questions.
Q. Which team do you have? Do you have the team that lost its last four games, lost seven games last year, or are you pleased with how they looked in the camp and do you think they're ready to turn things around?
But I think I have a team that's chomping at the bit to go play. And I wanted to have an angry team, a team with a chip on its shoulder. And at this point I'd say we have that. Obviously we have a lot of preparation left in this week, but I like where we're at right now.
Q. What's the talent level? Could you compare it at all with what you might have had in the past?
Now, there's some areas that really have to step up that are not battle tested. There are others that are very battle tested. But our linebacker position group, there's some guys that really have to make improvements from a year ago.
But they were young. The offensive skill has been well documented. That has to obviously, from just statistical analysis would tell you, it was very poor. But I think those kids have really made a strong development, have really been Zach Smith and those guys have done a pretty good job. We have to get a lot better, but they are getting better.
Q. There's a lot of excitement in the area and the state. New offense, new system. There's also this no Bowl games. There's this kind of mix and disappointment. What's your message to the players, to your staff and really to the fan base going in?
Our coaching staff is aligned with that. There is no conversation about week 13, week 14, week 15 and Christmas break, what do we do. It's full metal jacket just to get to Saturday. And we're not ready. That's the cool thing, is our guys know that, but they're getting ready.
So there's no conversation about that now.
Q. When you have a training camp, how do you find the balance between getting an offense ready to run your system and a defense that might face more traditional things historically?
But starting last week, we actually would take our 2s, when I say 2s, the defense, if you look at our practice schedules, once or twice a week, depending on, for example, a Wisconsin that runs a very dissimilar offense, you'll see 2s to defense a lot.
And I actually go down with the 2s and coach them. And they're good players running the opponents' offense. So we take that. I mean, that's a great question, because that's one of the areas. Oregon, how does their defense get ready for USC when they run nothing like them?
And I think I know Chip very well. But what I am saying what we do, we give a lot of effort to making sure they are looking to what they faced and what they're going to face.
Q. Can you discuss your involvement with your defense? Everybody knows you're heavily involved on offense and special teams enforcement. Seems like you're also involved in the defense. Can you discuss that?
One of the seats I get to sit in, I get to listen to both sides of the story. I like our setup here. It's real close. I walk through two doors, and I'm in the defensive staff room. And I'll say what do you think about this. And from an offensive perspective, and I'll watch their practice film and say this blitz or this pressure, it's not that hard to pick up, let's go somewhere else.
But installing our offense and kicking game has occupied probably 90 percent of my time. So anytime I spend on defense I'm just listening and making sure that the core values of the defense is on target, and that's number one, running to the ball.
So if I see guys not I'm more the effort guy. I'm not going to overrule for example, during the course of a game, I might flip over, say cover them as opposed to if I hear pressure, I'll say no, no, cover them.
Other than that, I let Coach Fickell install his defense with his staff and they've done a good job.
Q. Have you thought about maybe as a kid running out there, leading a team in The Shoe, or is that stuff more reserved for kids? You talk about juice, is that going to give you some juice?
I have to do that because I'll be coming out of my shoes a little bit, because, like you said, since I was four years old or maybe I was three and a half, I can't really remember the exact time I first saw the scarlet and gray play. It's going to be an emotional time. Very much so.
Q. When you look at that depth chart stuff, who jumps out at you, who makes the biggest rise in this preseason in your opinion? We're seeing Doug listed as number two in the running backs and Nick Vannett possible starter, one of the co guys at tight end.
I love Corey. I love who he is. I love the seriousness. I love the fact that he was honest about his it wasn't a blame game. He didn't come and blame the previous coaching staff. He blamed himself for his lack of production.
So he's without question, in my mind, the number one most improved guy. Carlos Hyde would probably be running a close second. And then Philly Brown is a guy that's come on.
So those guys are on offense. On defense, just from what I expect of Garrett Goebel, I had no idea who he was. He's a captain. And really playing very, very good football for us.
Travis Howard is a much better player than he was. Those are the two on defense that really stand out to me that have made monumental, from my impressions of them, then to now, those are the guys that really stick out.
Q. Do you think they were getting pushed, Grant, Doran Grant had something to do with that?
Those two have a great relationship, work ethic and work habits, and footwork as a result of lazy, just a little lazy. I see him much improved. I really like coaching him right now. He's a lot of fun to be around.
Q. How do you just generally tailor your game, preparation, lightest day hardest day; you look at the game plan and that sort of thing, and is there a day, if an injured player hasn't played by that time, that you would just come, always help them out?
If they don't, we'll be full pads all the way through Friday. I anticipate that that won't happen, because they're really good practice guys right now.
Normally speaking we go Tuesday we call it bloody Tuesday. It's awful. Inside drills, run emphasis. Just bad stuff. It's all the hard blitzes, all the hard looks. By Wednesday we try to give them more confidence. And Thursday we try to clean it up a little bit, and you don't want a ball on the ground and we say no balls on the ground, no playbacks. That means we're striving for game ready on Thursday. Tuesday is awful. Wednesday not as awful, and Thursday getting ready to play. And Friday you go out and walk through.
Q. You've obviously been through the anticipation of openers and first games of programs, but is there anything about this week that's really different? And the second part of that, have you had a hard time so far fulfilling the contract demands of the paper that came from the family?
I have a lot of guys on our coaching staff I didn't know. And obviously I don't know them very well yet. But you never know until you know. And that's practice, reading off a script in period 12 as opposed to second quarter, 13, 16 left on fourth down on 2, whatever. Those are all situations that will be first timers for us.
That's the first time now in 10 years that I've had to do that. Especially on offense. On defense, Mike and Luke have been together but you've got two brand new guys.
That's probably the biggest thing, difference, going into this one. Usually I've had some not some complete continuity on offense. And now this is completely new.
The contract part, I've been doing great. Got to see her play volleyball on Saturday night. That's one of the things keep checking off things on the contract. She did well, by the way. She got elected captain. I have a daughter that got elected captain as a senior at Georgia Tech.
Q. Looking at the depth chart, ten true freshmen, four redshirt freshmen. Have you ever started a season with a two deep that looked like that with that much youth?
So I think so. Nothing's caught me off guard as far as how many freshmen are involved. I know I'll start three on kickoff. Three true freshmen starting on kickoff. But we've done that before. But the good thing is the three are really good players.
Q. Just curious about Braxton's development. From the player you first met or watched on tape a year ago to the player you see now after training camp, what are maybe the differences that we might notice when we see him Saturday?
When we first got him there wasn't a whole lot of urgency. I think the no huddle up tempo makes the quarterback you have to be urgent. I think he's becoming a pro what he does.
And he's a quarterback of an offense that's counting on him every play. I think that's the urgency and the way you attacks the game. Not attacks the game. But attacks the preparation for the game. Much better.
Q. What are your thoughts on taking a team to the new scheme to them against a MAC school where basically all they do is spread?
Q. Miami seems to spread all the time. Everybody in the MAC.
They're more of a drop back pass. With that quarterback, tremendous player. And that receiver is really good. Those two kids can play anywhere in America.
Q. I don't know if you talked to Mike about your special teams philosophy. Obviously it's very important to you. Can you describe that philosophy and what potential that will have in that phase?
We want to come after it. We want to be a pump block team. And so that kind of tells you what the mentality that we have, our best players are on it.
We want to change the game. We play the game of field position, which means that any opportunity we can to go force a punt or after a bad punt we will. There's risk involved. Sometimes you run into a punter.
I had that meeting right away with our players. Understand, I don't need any complaining by the D if we run into a punter here's why we do that.
And I have the field position chart that we live by. But I'd say very aggressive. And you see a lot of our good players on kicking. But I know Ohio State's always been very good on special teams. I don't know how much drastically drastic change you'll see, other than we will go after a bunch of punts.
Q. Do you like what you're seeing from this team?
Q. You've been assessing a lot of aspects since you got here, changed from the previous administration. And I'm just wondering if some of that is because you were taking over a new program and you were doing what you normally do, and also if some of the guys have a chip on their shoulder, if that's what you were hoping to get at this point, motivator to that point?
If someone's going very well, I think it's my obligation to tell you Garrett Goebel has come from nowhere to captain. It's all about 18, 19, 20 year olds, not a 48 year old coach. All due respect to you guys, it's all about the players. I think honest assessment and honest evaluation and to a point being honest with the media, you know if a kid's not playing, why.
It's because he's not doing very well and he has to, he has to do a little better in certain areas. I will also use it as motivation for a player. I like the fact every once in a while I read something about our players, they're sick and tired of hearing it. The receivers.
Well, good, you should be. If you're a competitor, if you're not a competitor, it doesn't matter to me. I don't care what coach says and don't care what people think, and those aren't the guys that usually change who they are.
So that's why, Bob.
Q. Seemed like every Ohio State head coach has a different criteria for the Buckeye helmet stickers. Assuming we're going to continue with the stickers, what's your criteria?
We'll call them up in the front of the room. I remember that back when Coach Bruce did that in 1986. I mean I just sat back there and said wow we got eight Buckeye leaves. It will be a huge deal.
There's a little different we changed it, adapted it a little bit. I want to make sure I'm not doing something that I wasn't supposed to with all the former players.
It was approved. It's a little different. We have team and individual awards like they've always had. But it will be a little different. But to answer your question, that will be one of the biggest sources of inspiration and pride and reward system we have is to get a Buckeye leaf.
Q. How comfortable do you think Braxton is heading into the season? How much time have you personally spent with him and how has he picked everything up?
And that's what I just said. It's years of experience. He came from a very good high school program. So we're not starting off with a blank slate. Obviously he's been a major college quarterback for about 90 or 80 percent of his season last year.
Once again, it's not a blank slate. I think he's fairly comfortable. I think that would be a good question for you to ask him. I ask him all the time. I think you asked the question how much time have I spent with him. A lot. A lot. And I can read him pretty good now, when he likes something, doesn't like something. At some point, maybe not this first game, but he'll actually game plan for us.
We always have the opening script of plays we want to have run. At some point he'll be the guy making that script and giving great input on this is what I want, because he's the one that has to pull the trigger.
Nathan is today's a big day for Nate. He's been up and down, trying his heart out. Tough injury. I would hope to have him for a limited basis in the first game. But today's a big day for him.
We work, rest, work, rest, work, rest. Now we're in a game week and we have to find out what we can do.
Q. You're hoping that (inaudible)?
Q. Kind of dovetailing off with Braxton, how far along from the end of spring can you talk about challenging those guys through the summer and camp and Braxton and receivers and offense as a whole, how far from the end of spring to now, are you interested as anybody to see them in game action? Do you feel like you've got them where they need to be?
The first couple of weeks was really bad. And I've seen they've worked. And we try to give credit where credit's due and they worked really hard this summer. There's no way they can get to where they're at on 18, 20 practices, whatever. I think we're at 22 or 23.
There's no way that Braxton Miller, Kenny Guiton, that group of kids, can be where they are at through the summer because you don't have time. I'm excited to see what they've got. We'll see what they've got.
Q. When you talk about the young linebackers, specifically on Ryan Shazier, what are your expectations for him? Obviously played a little bit last year. Still pretty much young
Some guys don't have that skill set to play at that level. But he's got to have a good week of practice. I wouldn't say he's game ready yet. He needs a good Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.
He missed a couple of practices during training camp. So he's got to get game ready and keep his weight up. I think he's 226 today. That's 15 pounds. I want to say more than he was last year. But you can't help but like Ryan Shazier. He gives you all he's got.
Q. You mentioned the plan to win. What was the thing that led you to isolate and what's the utility having those things driven home to your team pretty much every turn?
For example, people first think, well, that means play good defense. The quarterback has to play really, really good defense. That means we're a little bit unique on third down and 14, we're not one of those teams that are going to throw it all the time 15 yards.
Our objective, if we have a plan to win, if it says just throw the ball and have fun and just whatever, then you would throw the ball down the field.
We won't do that. Our objective is stay out of third and 14. And be in manageable situations. So every third day, for example, if I told you red zone is critical, obviously ball security, every coach in the country stands up and tells you that.
But you'll see it, if Carlos Hyde is having a hell of a day, if the ball comes away from his body one time, he's out, out of the game. If the quarterback is not taking care of the ball, he comes out of the game. The kids know that.
The same thing with receivers. When you say red zone, every third day in practice, spring practice, training camp, and during the fall, we go and spend the whole day down in the red zone. So we spend a lot of time down there.
Understanding that it doesn't, goal line defense, I want to say sometimes your defense at max gets it 12 to 15 times a day, however that's the money down. So on offense we get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals. We spend a lot of time down there.
Great kicking game is eye coordinated, best players are on it. So there's an emphasis. That's a little bit about our plan to win, but we'll talk about it every week when I come in and visit with you guys after a good day or bad day and I'll explain to you: Did we follow the plan to win.
It's amazing, when you have two good teams going against each other, those four categories. It's something for years and years, when I was assistant coach, I used to sit and say what are the critical factors. There's a bunch of them. You can come up with 87 parts to the plan to win.
But those are the four that we manage a game with. I hire coaches with. We recruit players with. Those are the four things.
Q. Braxton Miller, does he remind you of any quarterback you've had in your career along the way? Especially as his evolution as a leader not just as a player.
When we got down there, just finished his sophomore year. Very good passer. Not a very good leader. Chris will tell you that. Became a good leader, won a national championship.
So I would say Braxton Miller, this is not throwing Braxton underneath the bus, it's just what I saw.
There wasn't a whole lot of leadership between him and the receivers. Not a whole lot of relationship there and now it's a much different animal.
Q. You've instituted the quick (inaudible) as a new tradition for game day. Could you talk about, if you think that benefits the students, more your team, or who gets the most benefit out of that? The second question, on game day will you maintain the walk over through skull session and on in through the stadium?
In the spring we did a couple of functions with the students, including a town hall meeting, opening the practice to the students. We were going to do a community service project. It was too late to get that done. And this was I wanted to somehow tie the students in with our team.
Great thing, first year they're going to be here for the first three games. We sent out 50,000 or 60,000 e mails with a YouTube video on it and just everybody has a dream. My dream is to see that entire stadium before a big game getting ready to rock and roll with 23 minutes left, last thing we do before we go in the locker room is address our student body with some kind of energy.
So for selfish reasons. Maybe our guys will that helps them get ready to play. But I think also in an unselfish reason it's given ownership of the program to our students which is every kid wants to be a part of this team. Every student at Ohio State. I would think. Maybe not every. But the majority. So that's just our way of giving back.
And we will certainly continue I've never witnessed that when we were in Ohio 25 years ago, we weren't asked that, I asked when they started. It's a great idea. Can't wait to be a part of it.
Q. Including the skull session and all that?
Q. You said you want an angry team with a chip on its shoulder. Yet you said you didn't want to comment about the past or you haven't thought yet about week 13, 14. What do you want this team to be angry about?
I don't want to talk about at the end of the season; however, I'll utilize any form of motivation I can to get guys angry because I love coaching angry teams. There's nothing like it. There's nothing like a group of kids that really want to prove someone wrong or prove something to someone. That's every coach's dream as opposed to the fat cat that sits back and, hey, we're good and don't worry about it.
Q. Dovetailing on what Dave said. 2011 was a bad year around here. Not just on the field but off with the NCAA and everything else. Has the book been closed on that? Is that something there's still lingering aspects to that is that something you told the players forget about all that, this is a fresh start none of that matters, don't bring it up again?
So it's just constant education and constant reminders about it.
Q. More or less the lingering things for the players that, like you said, they were beaten down by everything that had taken place last year. Did you just tell everybody, look, everything that happened in the past doesn't matter to us, this is all new to us and it's going to be new to you?
Q. When you were here last, Ohio State staff type thing you saw a man who became your mentor, godfather guy, Earl Bruce, get fired here. Very few coaches have left here on their own accord.
Q. What tells you now you're equipped? How much better equipped are you than when you left back here in '87?
Q. You know what I'm saying. It's a tough job.
I just think that obviously the journey traveled makes you am I ready for this? We all judge that here probably in the next week or next two weeks, next two years.
So I'm not even concerned that's the kind of neat thing about where I'm at in my career. I don't care. I want to work on getting this team ready for Miami Ohio. Everything I've got. I'm not worried about what's the legacy, what's this, what's that. I want to make the great state of Ohio proud and win this darned game coming up, and look good doing it. Because our kids deserve that.
Our players I'll tell you if they didn't deserve it. Our players deserve to play well on Saturday. It's the job of our coaches to get them in position to play well.
Q. The all legacy thing, when Braxton missed the pass on a fourth down, third down play, nobody seemed that upset about it. And have you seen an attitude change there from the standpoint of I'm not going to bring up what the former saying was, but how important every play is to keep things going, et cetera?
They can't play for us, though. I mean, the guy's maybe a little slower, might not jump as high, but they're going to refuse to lose and those are the guys that you'll see on the field on Saturday. So there is a little different culture change and shift because we just we hammer that real hard.
Q. You mentioned a couple times Braxton wasn't very good last year. Is part of that just because he was a freshman, or is that not a good excuse? And secondly, piggyback on Tim, you left Utah on your own, Bowling Green on your own. But have you ever been fired from a job ever?
Q. Braxton being a freshman, is that a good excuse for not being good?
Then you come to training camp and am I really ready to do this? And he probably would not tell you that, but just being around athletes my entire life, that there's a little bit of anxst as far as if he was prepared to do that. And he didn't perform as if he would early in training camp. I did some research on it.
So I wouldn't say that's an excuse. That's absolutely real. True freshmen are hard to lead. I've never had a true freshman come in and lead a team. It's really hard to do.