Urban Meyer Press Conference Transcript
Sept. 17, 2012
An interview with Coach Meyer
COACH MEYER: Couple comments about positive negatives of our game. The obvious positives were 3 0. The Pac 12 team, we have a lot of respect for their talent and their coach. It was also a come from behind win. A win that you try to simulate those situations in practice and training camp. There is really no way to simulate it other than do it in the arena.
I thought they responded fairly well, obviously. The champions for the game, which are the guys graded out winners on defense, also the defensive player of the game by our coaching staff. John Hankins graded out 88%, a lot of production points. 22 production points, 8 tackles, 2 assists, a tackle for a loss and a sack. Playing at a very high level. Right now John is the guy that really has played well, and I thought played great in this game. I finally got a chance to really watch him in detail last night.
Bradley Roby graded out 95%, six tackles, three assists, tackle for a loss, a sack, a PBU, and 16 production points against several future NFL receivers, so he played really well.
Ryan Shazier is a guy that had 30 production points, which is extremely high. 11 tackles, two assists, two tackles for a loss, a sack, a force fumble all over the field. A couple big hits, a couple save the day plays because of his athleticism. The guy that if you take away the missed tackle would have been graded a champion and maybe been player of the game, Christian Bryant. But he got a special mention because he gave up a big one by missing a tackle.
On offense, the champions, guys that played well are Jordan Hall. Welcome back, very rusty. I think he was where he's supposed to be when he was supposed to be. I still think we can get much more out of him, 87 yards. We need more big hits than that out of a guy like that, but he did grade at champion.
Zach Boren and Heuerman is a guy that's starting to earn more playing time. He's been injured in spring and in the fall. So he's now you expect him to play some more. Then Devin Smith, I didn't realize this until Jerry told me, it's the third week in a row he's the only guy on our team, offensive player of the game and he also had graded out at champion. So that's good to see. He's a guy that obviously we need him to play well.
Special team's player of the week was also a guy named Devin Smith. So he's had a very productive day for us.
Positives, defense with sacks and pressures. This is an interesting stat that after our staff meeting they shared with me. Five times they had the ball inside the 40 yard line, and they came away without points, so we stiffened up and we had to stiffen up.
Offensive positives: just big plays in the passing game. Negatives, as a team, penalties were obviously very alarming and they were bad penalties, very ignorant penalties that have to be corrected. That is a sign of an ignorant or lack of discipline team, and that is my responsibility to get that fixed up.
Third downs, we were only 33% on offense. Defense, the negatives are big plays. 40% of their entire yardage at the end of the day was on six plays that all resulted as a result of some missed tackles and poor defense.
Offensively the negatives, we were 33% on third downs. I already said that. Three and outs were alarming. Six times we were three and out. We were not getting enough big plays from the run game other than our quarterback. That's got to change.
Hopefully the return of a guy like Jordan Hall or maybe we're trying to figure out who can touch the ball and take it a little bit. Break a tackle and do something with it because we see other guys doing it. We don't do that enough. We don't break enough tackles. We need some highlight reels on the Ohio State, other than Devin Smith making a great catch. So we need to see some highlight reels from some other players other than Braxton Miller and Devon going up and making a play. Questions?
Q. Coach, question about what John Simon had to say after the game. Sounded like he was very emotional. If I get the proper impression, was he happy and jubilant that you won a close game? Was he frustrated that you put all this hard work into it and you barely beat this team? You should have beaten them by a larger margin. Just kind of confused. What was his motivation and feeling?
There are a lot of teams that you watch every Saturday night, and boy, what's wrong with them? What is wrong with them? It's college football. There are some scholarship athletes on the other side that play very well at times and get coached very well at times.
John Simon is a unique. I just we could go on for two hours about him because that's how much I love this guy. You talk about a completely selfless human being. I think it's just an emotional guy. I actually did a time study that guys that don't play, guys that are eating training table and go to class, they have about five days off during the week. Think about that for a minute.
So if you're a football player at Ohio State and you don't play, you don't travel, you don't do anything, five days you have basically off. If you're a guy like Simon, he doesn't have a day off. I talk about John like I do Christian Bryant, Braxton Miller, because those guys have treatment, lifting weights. They have Friday work. They have Saturday work. So I think when I evaluate what happened that day after watching it, it's a guy that just was all bottled up inside of him. He won a game. He maybe didn't play as well as he could have played because he was injured. He was in excruciating pain to the point where I saw him on the field and he won it.
So I think to answer your question, I think it's all of the above what you said. It was just a guy that he can't give anymore to Ohio State than he's given, and I think that was the result of that.
Q. (No microphone) struggled a little bit running the ball up the middle. You mentioned Jordan. Is he a guy that could be the guy that gets up the middle or what other guys?
I think what you're seeing across the landscape and we see it every year is sometimes guys make something out of nothing, and sometimes people pull through tackles.
Right now we're not getting a lot of that. We're getting it out of five. Our quarterback is making a couple people miss. But defenses are so good right now that you've got to be able to pull through.
Cal had a couple of guys pull through tackles. Really poor tackling on our part, but once again, that's a powerful, big back. The kid that ran I saw it when I went home and saw the highlight on TV. I said, my gosh. I watched it on video. It was a good run and poor tackling.
So to answer your question, he certainly can. He has to. And we need to find a guy to hand the ball to that when a guy hits you, you don't go down. You get some more yards.
Q. You how much more can you emphasize tackling? What will you do differently starting say Tuesday and Wednesday that will make a change?
We make a huge emphasis on stripping the ball. If you watch one of those tackles, it looked like the guy was going after the ball instead of wrapping him up. So we've addressed that and we'll have more conversation about that.
Q. But you have six sacks. Just what in your head, what kind of defensive game was that?
Q. It caused a huge turnover at the end.
Q. (No microphone) where did that play originate?
One day in practice I said try this one day. The first one he almost hit me, and I was nowhere near the receiver. It looked like a tight end throwing the ball, but he got better and better, and we used it and won the game.
So Tim, we put the same one in, but it wasn't a jump. So he came down just like Braxton did. And Tim was a little bit of an extremist who wanted to go jump and do that. So that's how it all started.
Q. What about him makes him so effective?
Q. Is there an option though for the quarterback when he sees them vacating the area?
Q. The defense so far, I know you don't want to put your defense in bad situations, but there's been some quick change so far this year, and they've done a good job keeping points off the board. Can you talk about the way they've bared down in the situation?
Of all the stats on defense, there are two that caught my eye. That's where hitting the quarterback, and also the fact that we stiffened up when we had to down there.
Q. (No microphone) from the suspension, where is he right now?
It's the ones with the families where all of a sudden the kid doesn't act really responsible, and you hear excuse after excuse, after excuse, and there are no excuses. So Jack's handled it. As far as I'm concerned, unless he does something stupid again I've never really had a hard time with Jack. He's a hard nosed player that does great for the community. Does great for Ohio State. Was a really stupid thing he did.
Q. How does he play?
Q. What are your thoughts on the game coming up against UAB? Also on a non football note, did you have any thoughts with what happened on campus last night with the students getting evacuated from their dorms here at Ohio State?
Q. Water main break.
Q. On UAB, just your thoughts on them so far?
I see guys walking around here, loading up their iPads and they understand the seriousness of where they're at right now. We got to eat our victory meal last night, and that is good to go, but that's over and now it's time to get ready for the next one. We're attacking this one.
We understand there are good athletes on this team. They had a tough game themselves. But we have to find a way to get to 4 0. That has to happen.
Q. You talked after the game about this is a different role now with defenses really trying to stop. What more did you see of that as you went back and watched the game? Was there a part when you figured even if the defense wanted to stop Braxton as a runner, he's still good enough to get the yards?
The best thing that's happened so far in the first few weeks is we've identified a go get it guy on the outside that we did not have a year ago. I was worried about it. I didn't see that develop until this first three games, and that's Devin Smith. Him and Philly have now proven to me that we can start to be a little more aggressive down the field. That's what I saw Saturday. A couple of those plays were dynamic.
Also, Jake Stoneburner. Defenses are forcing us to do that. That's bad coaching. We've got to do more of that because they're defending the run. I think Braxton's going to do what he does, and he makes guys miss and he's one of the most dynamic runners at college football. That's not just from me, but some of the people we've played against already.
Q. Do you have a tendency to want to get more involved when it's 28 28, and it's tight? Do you get more involved in the game plan and calls at that point?
But, oh, yeah, if it's 20 of 28, I'm right there. How did they do?
Q. In the first three games you guys have given up 13 plays in 20 yards or more on defense. It's gotten worse each week. Is it the scheme, lack of execution or just bad tackling?
A good piece of it is poor tackling, but once again blame it on the kid for poor tackling. That's not acceptable. That is the most alarming thing. I can't remember Ohio State defense. I've watched them for a long time, and I can't remember the defense I've been around that's given up this many. We've got to stop or we'll lose the game.
Other than saying that is a high priority and getting that stuff fixed, that's all I can share with you now. We're working awfully hard to get that done.
Q. Any confidence you will? Couple of years ago special teams were an issue early in the season. They thought they got it fixed and then against Wisconsin, it reared its ugly head again.
Q. I realize UAB has already had a bye week. But are you still getting to the point of the season where you're predicting what an opponent will do more than guessing based on their coaching staff?
They did good. We scored 35 points and guys made plays, but that's frustrating as a coach and play caller and all the involvement. But we've worked all day for three straight days on a certain defense because that's what they've shown. We didn't get it. So you're on the sideline, correcting adjustments and everything else.
It's harder as the season progresses for a team to do that because they can't just say we're working on Ohio State because they have some previous games.
So after this game, we'll see usually what we see, and that is what teams play, because you can't change defenses in the middle of the year normally.
Q. This is your last two games before the Big Ten. Are there one or two things that jump out other than this guy on offense? Couple of things that you think you need to have in your arsenal going into the Big Ten that you haven't seen?
But I've got a lot of respect for the defenses in this league. They're probably the best. I would say Top 5, Top 3 in the country, and I did watch them a little bit. They've been good for a while, obviously, on defense.
What has to happen on offense, we have to be able to take more shots and that has to happen. We have to create or find a guy that can carry the ball and not get tackled when you get tackled. That's what college football is.
Very rarely do you see teams drive the ball. Not one team has taken the ball and driven the ball against Ohio State. Really in college football, it doesn't happen where a team says I'm going to go drive the ball against you. Usually the running back jumps over people. We saw the guy do it in East Lansing. We've seen the guys run over people. We're not getting that. We get them from No. 5. We're not getting them from the other personnel we have. We have to be able to hit the down field shots which we've shown now that we're further ahead than I thought we would be on completing the deep ball. So we're going to throw more deep balls.
Q. Will Carlos be available?
Q. Just interested, after reviewing it, what do you think happened in the third quarter on both sides of the ball. They've had great success?
But 3rd and 18, 3rd and 17, that's what happened for the most part because of lack of execution on first down or a penalty.
Q. Braxton Miller had 12 carries in the game. Probably closer to where you want him. But as a young player, do you worry it gets in his head a little bit too much and the pendulum swings too far in the other direction when he's not making the plays he's capable of making, and how will he work with a young player on finding that balance?
He is a young player, and someone gets in his head and says why do they run you? It's not your job to evaluate. Go play and we'll make it work. So we'll need him to carry the ball a lot. It's rather obvious he's going to have to carry the ball out for us. A lot of that is dictated by the defense too. I think you'll see more people give you because when you read a defender, that defender can make the quarterback run or give it to someone else.
If I'm playing Braxton, I'm not making him carry the ball. I'm going to have him give it quite often. So we'll see that more and more. So it might be more designed quarterback runs because he has to carry the ball for us.
Q. Two things about John Simon. Do you hope to have him a little healthier than he was last week this week? Do you anticipate Michael Bennett getting back?
What is that movie called? I got you, Braveheart. Just tell us so we can get you treated and get you right.
But he's an amazing kid. If you don't know him and you get a chance to meet him, boy, he's something else. It's why we do what we do.
Q. Michael Bennett?
Q. If you watched Braxton the first three games in prespring, are you seeing the progress you wanted to see?
Q. From Braxton into this system. Does it rival like Alex's or you know what is the next step, I guess, for Braxton in this kind of offense?
Now Cal has guys as fast as Braxton because we're challenged. So that's where I'm probably most pleased is the way he's practicing much better than he did in the spring. I do think he's on schedule.
The fact that we're completing some deep balls I know it's not enough but we're completing some deep balls and some real deep balls. Those two throws he made were grown man throws I like to call them. The two to Devin Smith were about as good of a throw as any quarterback in the country can make, and that is marked improvement.
Q. The game is on the line in the fourth quarter. Throws an interception and leaves you in a bad spot. Defense gets you out of it and he comes back to get the run. Talk about, that's not something that you probably would have done a year ago. Just how was he able to pull through that?
Sometimes young players when it goes bad, it's something else to do. But he wanted the ball in his hands and that's a sign of maturing.
Q. On that play call, 3rd and 7 on the 28. You can play for overtime, punt it away, whatever. You had no problems letting him roll out and make a decision. Was it just rolling the dice or did you have confidence in him?
Q. High percentage play?
Q. You've mentioned Christian Bryant being a missed tackle away from being champion this week. What in general in the defense, it seems like you can make big plays, and then maybe make kind of a big mistake or trying to make a big play. How hard is it to get a player sort of draft the idea of when to go for it. When to be sound, that kind of thing as you develop as a player?
Christian Bryant I'm continuing to learn that Christian Bryant is kind of a rock star type of player, and we've had that conversation. I just want him to stay within. He's been great. I don't feel that too much. I've coached players before where I've had that conversation. So the greater the player, sometimes you have to do that, but it's also individual based on who you're dealing with.
Q. I know you were a big endorser of the Heisman campaign for Braxton. Have you warmed up to that idea?
Q. You're playing a team with a coach from the previous staff. Can you talk about when you make that transition, and you retain some, you don't retain some? Is that more about philosophy and family tree? Just because you don't keep a guy doesn't mean he's a bad coach, but he just doesn't fit?
I was here when John was playing, so I know John. He's a great coach, great guy. But you're right. I wanted to hire guys that had spread offense because I got stuck before where I hired guys that don't have the same alignment, same philosophy. You're in there beating your face against the wall instead of all for one, and one for all.
I'm not saying John wouldn't have done that. But that's one of the hardest decisions in coaching. You have to make those decisions. But in that situation, it has absolutely nothing to do with quality coach, quality person.