Press Conference Transcript, Oct. 28
Oct. 28, 2013
An Interview with: COACH MEYER, COACH FICKELL and COACH HINTON
COACH MEYER: Hi, guys, thanks for being here. A couple of quick comments about last week's game. Very much impressed with like really impressed with the way our guys started that game. I was worried anytime he always look for advantages and disadvantages going into the game, and the fact that we had a very physical game against Iowa the previous week, very physical, and our opponent was off. So I just think our staff and our players really, the good thing about this team, I'm very honest with them and very open with them and I was very concerned about them being fresh and especially after that game we still get our work done against a fairly complex offense and defense.
And they did a great job. My hat's off to our staff and our players for, because we didn't practice as long as we would normally just because of the previous week's game and then I had to get them fresh, we had to get them fresh for the Penn State game knowing that Penn State would be very fresh. Very impressed with the work ethic for that week.
On offense, the champions are Marcus Hull, Corey Linsley, those guys are playing I made a comment, if we're not it's hard for me to say we're the best offensive line in America because I just don't get to see everyone else but I've done this a while, and this is I take this offensive line over any offensive line that I've seen. These guys are tremendous players and their work ethic and alignment and cohesiveness is arguably one of the best I've ever been around.
Tight end Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett graded out champions, playing very well. Jeff Heuerman playing a very high level right now. Certainly in blocking, need to get him some more catches but playing at a very high level. Wide receivers continue to improve and play very well, Chris Fields, Devin Smith and Philly Brown. Trying to think who didn't make it. Evan Spencer. Got dinged up a little bit but he'll be fine for next week. Co offensesive players this week are.
Carlos Hyde playing at a very high level and then offensive tackle Captain Jack Mewhort played as well as we have seen him play and he plays at a high level too.
On defense Ryan Shazier graded at champion effort and Doran Grant, got Evan Spencer back, Braxton Miller also got hit in the knee a little bit late in the game so he's fine. So we just gotta today's the day to get him healthy because we need him full speed tomorrow, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Q. When you took the job, you inherited a team that had a losing record, seven losses. Were you wary there might be problems with the cultures or personnel that might take longer to turn this around that what you might have played the optimum?
Q. Were you a little bit surprised that, not surprised that it's worked out how it has, but again, they've lost seven coming off the bowl game and big losses down the stretch the year before, that that they've been able to overcome any problems they've encountered, you win close games, big games whatever?
Q. You guys brought a lot more pressure defensively. Did you go to the defensive coach and say, hey, this is something I want done or can you take us through the change there?
Q. Bogard, when he left, is he okay?
Q. In terms of the defensive pressure, how frustrating was it and still last week the team seemed to be a little more passive than you want?
I was used to watching all those years. First half was not. The first half of this season we were okay. I knew we'd have some growing pains with all their brand new players, when Christian Bryant went down, you're playing with, I want to say, eight or nine new starters on defense. But we're nine games into it. So I think we should be, I'm glad we played the way we did because I was starting to get a little concerned.
Q. What's the next step, do you think, in terms of development of the defense?
We addressed some situations and you see some development going on. The Christian Bryant injury was, I keep going back to that, because that's not just something you brush underneath the carpet.
I mean our best player and he's out of the game. Our best leader on that side of the ball. He's out of the game. So I like the fact that we finally, I saw some energy. I saw some pulse on defense, and that was concern the last few weeks, like a lot of people were.
Q. With that in mind, Corey "Pitt" Brown had a big play what does that do for a player's confidence, he was thrust into that role of Christian Bryant?
And for him to step up, you know, the energy level I go right to offense. I don't see what happens on the sideline. You saw a very confident team coming off the field like we can do this. Where Iowa wasn't that way at all. They score there, that's a whole different ballgame.
Q. Dontre Wilson, he was upbeat after the game. He got more touches. I know we ask about him every week, but he seems to be adding more every week, what do you see in your crystal ball coming down the stretch?
He's an energizer, and we've, I don't want to say mandated it, but he'll be more and more and more. Played very well, by the way. I mean, when I say very well, of course he carried the ball well and all that. But he did a lot of things well.
Q. Is there anything that you guys do differently now that the calendar changes until November, you coach him with more urgency, do you expect more urgency from him, seems like November is a month around here where things mean a little bit more than not to dismiss anything else that's happened but seems like there's more of a sense of urgency in this month, not just here, but across all top 25 programs?
And my concern ever since I've been head coach, let's win our goals for the year and we don't have that conversation. It's always the same: To compete for championships in November, to get to November and then let's go try to find a way to win a championship. Because there's injuries and issues you have to deal with. So that's our focus. We're going to be in November. We are competing for championships so you can bet the focus is very intense.
Q. Things get turned up a little bit like practice?
Q. I know there's a lot that goes into developing a quarterback. Braxton's completion percentage is up around 12 points. What do you think has been the most important part of that improved accuracy?
The more a quarterback does the same system you've got to figure up to this point Braxton was, his last year was the second system as a quarterback and now he's in the same one, same coach, same system for two years you should be better. But he's really better. I anticipated he would be better. He's better than better. Nice job. That's my master's degree from Ohio State. Better than better.
Q. Go back to what Tim was saying about Dontre, have you found that he's as available as a decoy as more valuable than when he gets the ball?
Q. One of the motivating methods that coaches use with players is don't forget the sting or the taste of losing. You got guys on this team that have never lost in college, going back a couple of years. How do you keep them agitated, you kind of lost that bullet, so to speak, to use with them.
Q. So that's one. Two, you've gone three years since you've lost a game personally. Have you lost any of the exact feeling of what, of that sense of loss and the feeling of losing, do you remember what it's like?
But I mean that "L" word is not a good word for anyone. And so the one thing is we coach very hard. And Lou Holt said it best: You coach hard when you win. When you lose, it's very fragile and we're coaching you come out to practice and you are like, my gosh, you act like the offense is the worst in the country, especially on Tuesdays, they're Bloody Tuesdays around here for a reason.
And I think that's the as long as we're still coaching that way and we will, they're very hungry.
Q. The feeling of losing, do you still have it?
Q. Urban, since Kenny Guiton was warming up at Northwestern, Braxton Miller has gone to a different level. Curious as a psychology major if you find that to be a coincidence?
And he knows that. He's not used to being second fiddle, his high school and college career so far. I love him to death; he's like a son to me. We get along great. But he knows I have a job to do and that's to make sure the best players are on the team. The guy behind him happens to be a very good player, very good leader. Great to get him in the game. We're going to keep trying to figure out ways to do that.
Q. On Braxton, as good as he was on Saturday, do you have an envisionment that it can get even better?
Q. Urban, when you were running through things at the beginning you mentioned good linebacker play, defensive line, safeties, like the offensive line, the receivers are improving, tight ends, Braxton, do you feel like every part of this team is working the way you want? I know you can always improve, but do you feel like there are any weak spots on this team or is everybody doing their job?
Punt team was good. Kickoff return was excellent. Kickoff coverage is probably the best we had all year. Those guys did a great job.
Q. Were you strong everywhere across the board? Are great teams strong everywhere, sometimes are great teams even covering up some deficiencies?
Q. Curtis Grant, he got the head bump on Saturday?
Q. And just want to make sure we get something in about Purdue. They're a very young team. Is it difficult to get a read on them?
Q. Unrelated, but I'm curious, you get the question about the halftime speeches that go on when games aren't going well. You're never asked what halftime is like when the first half has been humming along. I'm wondering how you handle that break in the action when things are going as well as they were against Penn State?
You come to Ohio State to start and the good thing is when you recruit fairly well, they know there's a guy right behind you. If you want to go take a few plays off there will be someone else in there. That's when you start getting a good program. And right now the cert positions playing the best, it's not by accident. The gentleman asked me a question about Braxton. He knows the guy behind him know. The friggin' stadium is calling his name. He better be pretty good.
Q. You guys play with more aggressive last week, I know that was part of the plan. How much of that is enabled by the fact that you know your offense is going to put up points if you give up a play so be it, but you want to play aggressively?
Q. Urban said that the one deficiency not that word but one area he's concerned about are the linebackers. What's your view of that position?
Q. Coach, just want to ask, you got a lot of young guys, backup players into the game in the second half, as you went back and looked at it yesterday who were maybe two or three of those guys who played all the way to the end and you had a couple of good defensive stops. Who were some guys who stood out for you in the last quarter and a half?
Q. Luke, Marcus Freeman is coaching on the other side. I know you have a history with him. Did you see a kid that maybe could become a coach one day when you had him or what did you see back then?
But the number one thing is especially if you played here and win here sometimes you think I want to get into coaching because I want to coach at Ohio State. The reality is not every place is like this.
And if you're really, the reason I tried to talk him out of it or tried to if you can't talk them out of it then you know they're fit for the coaching profession. As much as I tried I couldn't do it. You see why.
Q. Cerebral kind of guy back then?
Q. Sounds like Coach Meyer's a little bit involved with the defense. Talking about that where Coach Tressel wasn't involved at all in the defense. He was talking about that how he thinks Ryan Shazier is really good at blitzing what's that like when the head coach as defensive coordinator what's it like when the head coach is also involved in defense?
So I think that's a different perspective that he brings and gives to us on a daily basis. So we want it. We really enjoy it. Sometimes it's tough but the reality is it makes us better.
Q. Couple things. Number one, what do you remember about Coach Hayes more than anything else that stood out that allowed him to be a success at Kent State now taking on this challenge at Purdue to turn that program around, what stood out about him?
Q. Pitt Brown with that interception much has been made about losing Christian Bryant, leadership wise, everything else. What does it do for Pitt Brown to have a big play like that that turns a game and what does it do for the confidence of the defense to know they've got another guy back there?
Where it came was even bigger, but the reality whether it's great for Pitt Brown it was great for the entire defense, it was great for the entire team it created that momentum. It created that energy. Gave us some of that confidence that hey even if people move the ball what you gotta do is force them to get into the end zone when you have a shot at something you've got to make the play. I'm sure it's huge for his confidence, but it's huge for the confidence of the whole group as well.
Q. [Indiscernible] in the season a lot of people disappointed, thought the program was at the bottom. Could you have ever foreseen it's not [indiscernible]?
If you really look back, it could be completely different over the past two years. The thing is we were successful last year and a lot of those early games that what did it do? It created a great confidence. It created a great momentum, not that coach had any doubt in the way he does things and not that you would have any doubt in the way he does things because you see his record. But 18 to 22 year olds obviously as you've heard him say question things, and to have that success the way we did and come through maybe the first six games of the season last year, you can say you can have great players and you can have this, but the reality is that guys come together, guys believe in one another, guys have confidence in what it is that they're doing and good things happen. Because just like you can go back to 2011 say if you would have done this in this game, you were close in a couple of games maybe the season is different. The same thing you can say last year.
And there's something to say about going through tough times.
Q. Snowball effect both ways, things started to go bad, they continue to go bad in 2011?
There's no substitute for momentum and energy, and I don't care what level of football it is. And you can see that that's what has gained. That's what we've gained over the last year over this year, that we probably lost as much as anything in 2011. And how do you, if you're going the wrong way what do you gotta do do something to create it the other way whether you have great leadership that can pull you out, whether you have to make a play or something drastic that happens that gets guys back on track.
There's a lot of psychological things involved in it. Belief in what you're doing is one of those big things, but people are truly buying in and having that ability to continue to, when you have the momentum to keep it and if you don't have it find a way to get it.
Q. You guys have not given up anything close to a long run this year. Why is that? What did you do well?
Start worrying about I gotta make this tackle which you see some in the big field open field, guys hesitate and wait it's hard to make the tackle when you hesitate and wait. Having that belief and that confidence in one another and playing with great leverage and learning from your mistakes is a big part of it.
Q. Have you seen either looking at Purdue and their offense on film so far or what you know of Darryl Hayes being around him does he remind you of Tressel?
Q. The way you guys are playing right now defensively, is there any personnel grouping package, scheme, that you have a reluctancy to call?
There's some things for the people we have that, hey, in 2007 we were really good on defense. I'm using we're good on defense and we did a few specific things because that's what some of our guys did really well. That's a different team than right now. Whether it's Mike linebacker or Will linebacker or Leo or Vipe or whatever you want to call them. We've got to continue to figure out what it is our guys do well and let them build off of that as opposed to asking them to do something in theory it should work but the reality is we're asking him to do something that he physically might not be able to do.
Q. Is there something aside from Shazier athleticism that enables him to be such a successful blitzer?
Q. Devin Beaugard, coach mentioned for a kid like that got such praise early on and to have an ACL.
Q. He said he's going to have surgery this week? COACH FICKELL: That's news to me. I was going to say I sat at dinner with him last night he did not know anything.
Q. Devin walked into his office right before he came
Q. Coach, with Purdue still searching for themselves a little bit, do you kinda have to go back to the principles that you used early in the season of being ready for everything when it comes to the Boilermakers?
It looks like they've bought into being more of an odd front football team, and we'll see how it goes, and during the week we will have to throw in some four down stuff and practice it, but that makes it hard on the teams going in. When you look at it you say, okay, the teams they have done that against is Nebraska, after the bye week, and then they had Michigan State the next week, and Michigan State is not anything offensively similar to us, so you have to look at it and say how much background work do we have to look at their odd schemes. It's interesting, it's something you fight early in the season, when you change strategies or change position coaches, you figure out what that guy is going to do, and early in the year you see that but we're facing it in week nine.
Q. Tim, when you're 8 0, fourth in the country, 20 straight wins and Urban rattled off everybody who will graded out as champions, I think there is at least one guy if not two guys for every position groups, and then he said Tuesdays are "bloody Tuesday." Are Tuesdays really bloody around here? What are Tuesday practices really like?
You can play that game, be happy, celebrate, or if you do lose, and hopefully that doesn't happen for a long time at Ohio State, you have to put it away because when you show up, it's time to go back to work.
One of my emphasis in talking to that group certainly was, hey, listen, you know you can't be satisfied with where you are.
There is a guy that coached here a long time ago, who said you're either getting better or you're getting worse. Well, we still have a lot of room for improvement. When you turn on the video, they were coached very hard yesterday in the film session. Very, very hard. When they go out to practice on Tuesday we will throw a lot of different looks at 'em, a lot of hard things at 'em, we'll make it very challenging, we will be demanding on their effort, we will be very demanding on the fundamentals and we will be very demanding on the execution, I mean, very demanding, like top end stuff.
When you're throwing new schemes and every team has their own intricacies, everybody does it a little bit differently. You could say well, it's odd defense, well it's odd defense Purdue style, or you could say it's four down Purdue style, so everybody does it a little differently. So that first time you really go out and you show that look, you know, there is always that hesitation, so we'll be wrong a little bit and when you're wrong we really get a chance to coach you hard, I mean really hard, and it's not by accident.
We're going to coach 'em really hard because the bottom line is all that body of work we've done to now doesn't mean anything unless you continue to do your job. That's the game.
So the body of work is all great and you can pat yourself on the back but obviously we have other things we're trying to achieve as we go through the season, so forget about that body of work, let everyone else talk about it, we have things to do right now and that's get better.
That was my whole emphasis yesterday. I'm sure Coach Meyer has probably alluded to that already, to the staff, and I know that I'm sure every position coach covered it that way yesterday, too.
Q. Tim, Coach Meyer said that Jeff Heuerman is playing at an extremely high level but you've got to get more receptions for him. What's that like? Do you have to keep Jeff's head up?
This week there is a couple of plays that we called that I thought going into the game the tight end would get the ball, we all thought the tight end would get the ball, Penn State didn't cooperate. But on the one they took the two defenders and guarded the tight end on it, well Carlos Hyde caught a pass, went down the sideline, that's okay. Really. And the bottom line is that we all get what we want if we win.
Who cares who gets the credit, how that game planned work, if we are executing at 63 or 64 points, whatever that was on Saturday night, we're good, trust me, let's keep executing at that level. And who is getting the catches, who is not, obviously our tight ends are integral in all phases of it because they got to run good routes to create other things for other guys, and they have to block at the point of attack, or on the perimeter and all of that is part of winning opinion.
If we're called upon we're going to do our job and do it well, we hope, and whatever that may be, the surface. So I don't spend time on it, but if I had a guy that complained about it, he might not go on the field for a while, you know.
Q. How much better is Heuerman than last year? Why is he better?
Q. Following up again on Heuerman, he seems to have a knack for the block on the end, maybe I'm wrong about that. Do you agree with that?
He does have a knack for it. He understands leverage, and you know like every great football player you're around they're very football intelligent and he's a very football intelligent guy. He'll sit there and when he's wrong in a play there is a play early in the game, we run we're on the 4 yard line and we're running the inside zone to Carlos and he kinda cuts back and only gets down to the 2. Jeff is at fault on that play, because he saw a linebacker walk out of the box, and he thought that linebacker was blitzing and he didn't blitz; he lined up differently than we had taught him, so he actually made a mistake because he overthought the play.
Well, you know, listen, Jeff, don't do it again, but you love that awareness, because a guy who isn't aware of those things and doesn't get it, well that's bad!
One of the things that makes him good is his understanding and awareness and he's strong physically, really literally a gifted kid. He works so hard at it. He's got great toughness and like every competitor, and there is a lot of we talk about being 1 0 on every snap, it's the big Coach Urban saying, 1 0; he doesn't like to lose any snaps, so he's going to battle you and that's what he does really, really well.
Q. You said a while ago that Michigan State is not like you guys offensively. Do you mean schematically?
Q. Coach, Coach Meyer said that Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett were graded out as champions. How satisfying was that for you?
They got graded out at 80% in that game; that means your opponent is not grading out very well. They're on scholarship, too, and practicing really hard. I'm pleased with how both of 'em are playing.
Again, like everything else, there is a good momentum right now in our room, good momentum on this football team, and it's our job to continue and enhance it and take it into this week.
Q. There are times when catches are slow to come to Jeff because of what the opponent is doing, so the trickle down affect probably multiplies that for Vannett, so for Nick to get that complement from the Coach, how satisfying is that for you?
Without each other being happy for Braxton Miller being successful or Chris Fields being successful, because he doesn't play a lot either, unless we're complementing and happy for each other, you have that dissension in a team that doesn't allow you to be as consistent as Ohio State has been because all those things in the locker room will wear you down, and right now there is none of that, with this football team. No one cares who gets the credit; let's get the final result Ohio State way, and that's why there has been such consistency in our program and why we're winning at a consistent level is that no one cares. They really don't. It's like, hey, what do we got this week? When it wasn't Carlos Hyde, did anybody care? Now that Carlos is getting reps, good for Carlos, but whatever it takes, let's find a way to win this game.