Urban Meyer Press Conference Transcript
Oct. 15, 2012
An interview with Coach Meyer
COACH MEYER: Thanks for coming. Couple quick comments about our IU game. Obviously, pleased with the outcome. Give you a million different excuses, for example, injuries, lack of experience at certain positions, driving a bus to Indianapolis, and then getting up and driving a bus again for another hour. However, we're not into that, and I won't accept that here with our staff or players.
So we have a long way to go. The good thing is when you coach a team that's 7 0, you have their attention. It's fragile when other things happen, bad things happen. The will is there, the want is there, we've just got to do a better job.
So very pleased to be 7 0. Coming back here, come home and get a chance to go 8 0 in the great Ohio Stadium. Champions on offense, Jeff Heuerman played his best game as an Ohio State Buckeye, and I'm proud to say that. 48 plays, lot of plays, most he's played, 88% grade out, and a very good job finishing plays. He will play more.
Jake Stoneburner played his best game since our staff has been here as an Ohio State Buckeye, 88% grade out once again. He's not been grading that high. Four receptions, 41 yards, very good blocking his aggressiveness and toughness really excelled in that game. Philly Brown graded out 81%, six receptions, 51 yards, rushing touchdown, graded out a winner.
Offensive line, our tackles played well. Our inside guys need to play better, Reid Fragel, 88% grade out, no MAs, no sacks, no pressures, five knockdowns, continues to get better. The other tackle excuse me, Corey Linsley did grade out a champion, however, I expect more of him, and he expects more of himself.
We gave three players of the week, and that was my decision. I just felt that all three of these guys had a major impact in the game, and played very well for us. First one is our left tackle 91% grade out, extraordinarily high for an offensive lineman. No MAs, sacks, pressures, 12 times the guy was blocking it up on the ground. Played very hard and great effort. Running back Carlos Hyde, 91% grade out, 22 for 156, over 7 yards per carry, 60% of his yards were after contact. Six explosive runs. Very good day.
The other co player of the week was Braxton Miller, 86% grade out. A lot of times he doesn't grade high because he gets tired and doesn't finish on fakes. His action without the ball was tremendous in this game. That opened up a lot of because one thing about having a player like Braxton Miller, you've got to defend him whether he's got the ball or not. He hands the ball off, stands there, and allows another guy to get hit off a running back. The great example of it is the one fumble where Rod Smith ran into the back of our guy and the ball was on the ground because Braxton carried out his fake. You remember that play? It just shows you his effort and what we expect out of him.
Defensively, there were no champions.
Special teams player of the week was Travis Howard. Great effort. Fighting off some injuries. He missed a lot of football on defense, but came in and blocked a punt and recovered for a touchdown. With that said, I'll answer any questions for you.
Q. After looking at the film and spending yesterday I'm presuming on the defense, what did you think of the pressing issue, and what do you intend to do about it?
Case in point was Ohio State had a real, real issue with throwing the ball down field to a receiver that could catch it. We could have just screamed and yelled and complained and whined. There was a little bit of that, but there was a lot of work on trying to get efficient in throwing the ball down the field and now we're much better. We're still not perfect, but we're much better.
So my point is on defense, eliminate the big play. Eliminate I mean, it's been absurd how many big plays we give up. How do you do that?
Well, when it's missed tackles number one, excuse me, is 4 to 6 finishing plays. 4 to 6 seconds is our mantra around here, finish plays. Missed tackles and some of the leverage on the ball, some of those cutbacks is because we have to reteach leverage to some players that are relatively young or even some relatively old players that just need to be recoached.
Q. How happy are you with the job the coaches are doing?
Q. I got a chance to ask Coach Fickell about this as well, but what does holding the freshman linebackers back in your opinion? Is it lack of knowledge of the defense? What's holding those guys back?
Q. How much is the team shorthanded on defense do you think as part of what happened? Also, I'm curious, it seemed like moving your fullback to linebacker and practicing (Indiscernible) is he in a better position?
Zach Boren is a guy that there's something about game experience. There is something about being in the arena many, many times. Came here as a linebacker, and was kind of a test for the first four periods of practice that I watched. He changed the entire dynamic of practice, because so much of playing football is the leadership value too of what's going on. Who is the tough guy on the defense? Who is the guy that's going to stand up and take charge? You start sticking freshmen here and there, here and there, and they're just in survival mode, not leadership mode.
Nate Williams had a concussion, and I was expecting him back, and it just got worse as the week progressed. He'll be back this week. He worked out yesterday with us, so that is another leader. Right now we're putting an APB out for tough guys for the guys that take the center of the defense and make it whole. Zach has certainly helped with that.
Sabino was kind of our guy. He was a leader. Shazier's getting better. But Nate Williams and John Simon are it's a little harder when you're on the edge. It's that old saying of what makes a baseball team solid when they're strong through the middle? It's because all eyes and the focus I believe that in football as much as baseball. Same on offense. That's why so much emphasis on our center has got to be a grown man. It has to be.
You can't hide a center, because that's why they call him the center. You can't hide the middle linebacker. You can't hide the center of your defense. It's got to be strong.
Q. When Carlos Hyde seems like a guy that just gains strength the more carries you give him. With that being said, if Jordan were to come back, would you still have to consider leaving Carlos out there to get 20?
You're right, Jordan is jogging now. He's not healing well. But Carlos won't be removed from tailback.
Q. You mentioned on occasion that maybe had you sold on a power back role in a spread offense?
Q. Yeah, you didn't really understand how he may fit.
Q. No, you didn't feel like you had to do that?
Q. In terms of the move you made with Zach, how unusual is that for you? Have you been through something like that before anywhere? What goes into that offensively that you felt like somebody playing at the level, you mentioned Jeff Heuerman, somebody playing at that level that you can fill the void so you feel like you can spare him there. How does that work?
I was thinking and our strength coach reminded me we did that one time with Mike Pouncey, the starting center for the Dolphins. Right in the middle of the practice I moved him to defensive tackle because we were banged and bruised and didn't have the leadership, didn't have the toughness at that point. I moved him for period four, and it changed the whole practice. His energy, his leadership, his toughness, and we kept him over there for several games just until guys got back. It's very unusual though.
Q. Kind of a general question about the offense. It seems there are a lot of games these days where both teams are scoring 40, 50 points. I'm sure you don't want to contribute that with the way the defense is playing. But with spread offenses and no huddle offenses, is it getting harder to play defense in college football these days?
Q. Talk about Purdue. How do you judge them? I don't know how much you've had a chance to study them so far. But they got gashed running the football from Wisconsin Saturday. Do you judge them a little bit more on that or maybe some other evidence that you've seen of them defensively that they might present?
But I know player personnel director John Cooper gave me a sheet of paper, and there are a lot of NFL prospects on there. One is a very early round draft pick on defensive line and he's a dynamic player.
It's just too early to give you a whole how/why Wisconsin did that. I see very good players. I see an aggressive scheme. It's not a vanilla scheme. The last couple of weeks they kind of played and showed you their hand and played it. This group's all over the place. It's a little bit of a they play a bunch of different defenses, so we just have to be on our game.
Q. You mentioned you want to get more involved in defense. How in a week where defense is such a focus, how would your timeout change and the attention be divided?
But calling defenses, I'll give my ideas, but once again, that would be a mistake for me to come in. We have very good coaches, very good coaches. I think mine is going to be one of leadership, toughness, and the 4 to 6 second demand that we have on this team, not just defense.
Q. Do you anticipate that you might have to make additional personnel moves just to shore up linebackers in other areas?
Q. Injurywise, is it good to have Nathan back?
Q. Is Zach Boren moved permanent?
Q. What do you tell Devin Smith this weekend? He had two huge plays in that game and two huge drops. Where is he in your thinking in that regard?
All the great coaches I worked for, Lou Holtz was the greatest at that. First of all, you've got to get confidence, and then you coach them as hard as you can. You finally walk into the wide receiver room here at Ohio State, and it's probably been a while. We have not had one day since December whatever it was to walk in the receiver room and coach them hard, because they would believe you if you told them we're not good.
Now you can start coaching a kid like Devin Smith really hard, and I can't wait. He's a great kid, and he's really worked hard. He bounced back and made the play of the day on that square in. That was the play of the day. That was excellent. That showed you his excellence has something good going with him.
Drop a ball, usually the head drops. The head in spring practice, there would have been tears and he would have been off the field. Now he came right back. If you watch that closely, too, the first guy or the third guy that meets him in the end zone is number 5. And his energy and that's good to see.
Q. Rod Smith was having a pretty good night. Kickoff returns, getting the balls on the ground. What do you do with him this week?
Q. He's still in your plans?
Q. What did you think about that block in the back?
Q. You mentioned a couple of times going down with Jay. What is the purpose of trying to communicate about Braxton?
Q. What kind of feedback did you get?
Q. You guys are undefeated, you're highly ranked. There are a lot of teams out there that score a lot of points and give up a lot of points and still win games. Could you be successful doing it like this?
The great teams we've had over the years yeah, we scored some points, but at the end of the day, defense wins games. As much as I love the other part of the defense and kicking game, that's how you can win a game.
Q. You talked before the season of coaches that you haven't worked with and see how it goes. Do you feel good about where you are with the defensive staff in terms of being on the same page? How they coach it, what the game plan is, all that kind of stuff? Are you comfortable with your relationship in coaching with the defensive staff?
Q. When you guys talk about having a balanced offense, is that something they have to play out over the season, or is that something that you need within every game to be happy?
You kind of go back to what's working well for you, also in game management we notice we're not as fast as we've been because we want to eat up as much clock. Especially when you're having issues on the other side of the ball. So we play together. So it's just been a little bit different the way we manage the game. Because at the end of the day we have to win it. If that means a little more imbalanced in the run, I'm fine with that.
Q. How many times in your career have you coached a team where you've been so pleased with one aspect of your offense that you've been willing to unbalance things a little bit?
Q. You said you guys needed Curtis to be a player for you guys on defense. Played the whole spring as your starting linebacker and played in fall camp. Is there something more to the fact that you can't really get him in there? You had to go to a guy like Zach?
Sometimes guys go through that learning curve of whether it be the style of defense, whether it be overall system of play. But I still think Curtis Grant's got a fine career.
Q. Coach, along the same lines of Shazier, (Indiscernible) you have him listed here, but I don't recall seeing him play a lot. Was the spread something he's not used to playing against? Just what is his status?
It's hard to be really optimistic about that position. That's when Zach made the move. So that's the only reason. Josh Perry, I think will be once again just dealing with the young kids. They have to play better.
Q. The long run they hit early in the game with Houston appeared guys were out of position. Nobody flew into the line of scrimmage. What did you see there? What happened?
Q. Do you see instincts from Zach Boren that tells you he is a former linebacker?
Q. How does that show up?
Q. This program for years now has been about defense. You come in and publicly, at least spread, spread, spread. How much of a danger is it that the mindset changes among defensive guys?
Q. You said you were exposed by the spread, was it by those factors that you mentioned at the top that you want to improve on? Is that why you were exposed?
The one that the gentleman talked about coming out the gate. Near the end of the game, the cutback one, just very poor leverage on the ball. Usually this time of the year you're working on scheme. Spring practice, training camp is when you do a lot of leverage drills and we're going to enhance that and make it a little stronger and make sure our players understand the leverage of the football.
Q. You and Dan Mullen are 13 0 this year, compared to whatever you were for a while. He's having success. You as well. Did you have good synergy in Florida?