Urban Meyer Press Conference Transcript
Nov. 19, 2012
VIDEO: Coach Meyer
An Interview With Coach Meyer
COACH MEYER: Thanks for coming today. A couple comments about last week's game, as, obviously, a hard fought game, tough environment against a very good team that we have a lot of respect for, really, really good football players.
After talking to our guys, we even have a greater respect for that running back and some very, very good players in a great environment.
Obviously, big week this week. I'll give you our Champions. On offense excuse me. On defense, we'll start with, C.J. Barnett, played his best game of the year: 18 production points, graded out 95 percent, very high.
Ryan Shazier continues to extremely impress with his production: 11 tackles, 2 assists, 2 tackles for a loss, 2 hurries, 1 PBU and 2 forced fumbles. 38 production points, which is incredible.
Zach Boren graded out 86 percent. One of the great stories, in my mind, in college football and certainly in Ohio State history. What he's done, the selfless approach is I know I can only speak on, I guess, our coaching staff and myself, but the selfless approach and what he would do for this team is extraordinary. Incredible human being and a great game.
Christian Bryant graded out 92 percent. He missed some practice with some injury time with a slight injury last week but came back and played very well.
Orhian Johnson graded out 88 percent, was also our special teams player of the week. I made a comment to him I wish we had him for another year because he is really, really coming on as a football player. I'm not sure he knows how good he could be.
Our player of the game is the heart and soul of our program, John Simon, 6 tackles, 4 assists, 4 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, 1 hurry up, 1 PBU, again, extremely high number of production points, 36 production points. Arguably, our best effort on defense against a very good offensive team that was kind of coming into their own going into that game.
On offense, we didn't play very well. Philly brown graded out at Champion. Evan Spencer graded out at Champion. And our offensive player of the week was Carlos Hyde, who played very hard, played very well.
And once again, our special teams player of the week was Orhian Johnson. Orhian Johnson, I thought, obviously special teams played a pivotal role, as it does when your talent is somewhat equal. And Philly Brown's punt return was Taylor Rice, Evan Spencer. Who else did a great job there? Incredible. Stu Smith. Really, that was as fine a job on a punt return as I can ever remember seeing, as far as hats on hats and ridiculous effort running down the field. That was obviously Luke Roberts did a nice job as well.
That's it. I'll answer questions for you.
Q. Can you talk about just the Ohio State Michigan growing up and also kind of what happened when you got on Earl's staff and how Earl influenced you, how you feel about this now being with Ohio State.
I remember the games. I remember it coming down the pipe. I remember everybody talking about it. So it's incredible memories growing up.
And then when I was hired by Earl Bruce, obviously, his passion for this game and understanding of this game was intense. I remember that very well. So it's a when I put the staff together, I wanted to make sure that everybody for me to have to sit there and teach people about it. This rivalry game wasn't something I was really into. I wanted people that had I wanted this to be close to home, and it is for eight of our nine, and we're educating our one ninth guy that's fairly important too. That's Everett Withers.
Q. You've been in a lot of heated rivalries. In the game like this, is there any kind of advantage for, oh, I don't know, the team that's maybe not undefeated or that's not as highly ranked just because it's a bigger target?
Once the cell phone started to become popular and blogs and all that, we had to stop because you just don't want to make headlines with putting stuff around. So we just kind of just a little commentary on rivalry games.
But I think the old adage about you can throw it out the window, I think this is just a pure, intense rivalry. It doesn't matter who's undefeated, who's fighting for what, who's playing for what. Luke Fickell tells me the story they had a couple times where it was just stolen from them. I don't believe it's because they're undefeated. I just believe it's because the rivalry game is that intense.
Q. Could you also talk a little bit about Denard Robinson isn't going to play at quarterback, it doesn't look like, but the mere fact he's still part of this game and how you have to approach him.
I think he'll probably be able to throw that ball well enough out of some I know they have something waiting. So we have to be ready for it.
Q. No matter the record and the circumstances, this game always defines Ohio State's season to some degree. Given that this is the last game in the undefeated season, does it define it more than usual? How much more will it define you this season?
Right here is the team meeting room, and it's electric in here when you start talking about this game. Where we're at right now. Will we be defined by this one game? You usually are. Regardless of what happens, this is the game. Our kids know that. Our coaches know that, but that doesn't change anything we do.
Q. And just for you, how soon after what was obviously a dramatic win did your thoughts immediately switch to this game?
Q. I got several, but I'll just ask one right now, Urban. Greg Mattison on the other side of you. Having familiarity with guys and him having familiarity with you, how does this sort of enhance it and sort of make it an intriguing matchup in some respects?
That enhances it a little bit, but once again, it's about players. Probably the way it enhanced it, I know we've spent a lot of time now having conversations about how they'll play us, and that's probably the only thing that really matters now.
Q. Having had an unbeaten record once before at Utah, what is the truth you've learned about perfection in college football, about getting there to the end with a zero on the end?
Once you leave here, who knows what's being said? Who knows, when you start talking about the end of the season, agents and who's coming out, who's doing this, what about this, you're not getting the ball enough. Am I going to transfer? All the nonsense that goes towards end of the year.
I'm sure that's what happened in some of those programs. Plus they played good teams. It's such a credit to this team to be in the position they're in. It's hard. It's real hard.
Q. You referenced on some occasions the rough spring that Reid Fragel had and the transition he was making. Do you wonder now what he could have become at tackle if he'd been dedicated to that throughout his career?
I kind of, in my own mind, made the decision he wouldn't be playing right tackle for us, and then obviously, with Coach Warriner and him and Kurt Barton, who did a heck of a job developing him too, but obviously it falls on the kid. I mean, he did a great job. To think he's played 11 games on an offense that's ranked ninth in the country, a rushing offense, that's I would have argued I would have said that won't happen.
Q. Another senior that you talked a lot about, you called John Simon the heart and soul. When did you realize
Q. What Simon stood for?
But I like to develop my own opinion. You meet his family. You meet him. You meet his girlfriend. My son had a baseball game over the summer, and he came and sat with his girlfriend, sat with me for a bunch of hours and watched baseball. So that just tells you what he's all about. The best. He's the best.
Q. From your own experiences using two quarterbacks, Urban, do you get a feel for what Michigan is going through now? Especially two guys that are such polar opposites.
Once again, I guess I'm not equipped to answer that yet. I haven't studied enough. Luke Fickell and those guys, when you talk to them, will. I don't think they're that dissimilar. Like Tebow and Chris Leak were just completely different players. You had two different packages. I don't think they're going to have very different packages for them.
Q. Perhaps you and Coach Fickell as well, can you talk about using both of them on the field together, with Denard as running back.
Q. Urban, 25th anniversary of '87 game and your direct involvement in this. Did the win under those circumstances kind of heighten your appreciation even further for this game?
I saw a bunch of coaches with their arms on the table, with their face in their arms, and tears and the whole deal. I was like the last guy to walk in, and he said that Coach Bruce will no longer be the coach after this game, and I have resigned as athletic director, like it was right there, right out that door.
I have great respect I knew Mr. Bay very well and have great respect for him. Just an incredible moment in Ohio State history.
Q. Urban, one of the things that traditionally has been done here with head coaches, they maybe take a moment maybe when you were a GA here take a moment out of practices and call it a Michigan period to prepare all year long. Did you have you borrowed moments like that throughout the year to stock information away, maybe looking with your players?
Q. Coach, from the outside, your program looks pretty intense, pretty competitive every day from day one. Do you ramp that up at all this week? Can you ramp it up at all this week?
Q. How do you do that?
The pregame speech isn't going to get these kids fired up to play this game. That's where a lot of people get confused, saying, hey, what are you going to do special for this week? We've got to get really good at offense, defense, and kicking. That's what we're going to do special. It's not going to be a whole bunch of conversation because it is what it is.
We have more conversation about games that aren't quite as appealing because you're dealing with the competitive spirit of kids. If we have to motivate them for this one, we wouldn't be 11 0.
Q. Do you have a Senior Tackle this week?
Q. Has there been a moment since you got the job when somebody drove this rivalry home to you, whether a text, an e mail, a phone call, an old lady on the street? Was Brady trying to whup you?
Q. What's your main memory of is it Earle going off on the shoulders of his players? Will he speak at the Senior Tackle?
The great memories, I was here when Harbaugh guaranteed the win. We missed Matt Frantz missed the field goal. I love Matt. It was a great game. Vince Workman took I can go through the whole game if you want. Cris Carter's great catch in the right side of the end zone. 29 tackles, Jamie Morris.
Q. When they carried Earle off the field, what did you think?
Q. You mentioned earlier you've been through a lot of rivalries and a lot of places. They all have passion. They all have emotion. What is absolutely, positively unique about this one?
Then also I think I think the Bo Schembechler/Woody Hayes era, when college football began to explode on a national level, that's what made this such a visual, visual rivalry for the country to see.
Q. One other thing. I know this isn't on your radar screen this week especially. Do you have any thoughts on Maryland joining this conference?
Q. They voted.
Q. Yeah. Rutgers tomorrow.
Q. Boomer's eligibility is up.
Q. You mentioned John Simon and talked about him. But the senior class as a whole, how important is they been to this season and also establishing what you're trying to establish going forward? Is it bittersweet for you that this is it?
Those kids could have all went wherever they wanted to go. I still remember that day when we walked in, and he said, you're not going to a bowl game. I thought, we're not what? And then my mind started thinking about this year's team. Those seniors, if I remember right, if I read the rules right, they can pick up and go without punishment.
So I called a team meeting. Within 15 minutes, we had one. I kept the seniors after. I had no idea who they were, and they didn't know me, so it was a leap of faith. I think it was also the love for their school.
When you look at these kids, now that I know them, I know exactly why they stayed, for the love of Ohio State. It's really cool in this day and age to witness that. We're forever indebted to them because they didn't have to do what they did. I should say that because they certainly didn't know Urban Meyer or this coaching staff a thing. Their love of this university was very apparent that day.
Q. Urban, what's your relationship with Brady Hoke? Did you cross paths with him much over the years at different stops?
Q. You mentioned Bo and Woody and what they did in the ten year war for this rivalry. Here you are in your first year, Brady Hoke in his second year. He seems to get the tradition of the game and everything at Michigan the same way you get it here. What do you think it means when you have two coaches like that who not only are having success but are so invested in the history of the rivalry as well, that both you guys grew up with this?
He's born in the State of Ohio, which I still don't get that's another story. But I guess it adds to the intensity, to answer your question, rather obviously, and I think when you're talking about it's close to home, it adds to the fuel, fuel to the fire.
Q. Urban, are you at all concerned about the pressure of this league being that it's Senior Day, it's the Michigan game, a chance to go undefeated, and an outside chance of an AP National Championship?
So I am concerned, but you've got to move forward and do the best you can.
Q. Looking back to last week's game and the way Wisconsin was able to slow down your offense, a lot of teams try and copy things that were successful. What did you see on film as to why they were successful in slowing down Braxton?
We were in a bad field position game the entire second half. Started the game great. I mean, we had a ten play drive, eight play drive, eight play drive, plus field position, doing great, and then just backed up. Then we kind of tightened down a little bit because we figured a turnover would lose that game.
Our defense was playing good. Obviously, I've got to take responsibility because Tom and I called that game, and it was not the we want to open this thing up. We have to against this team we're playing. We have to open this offense up and trust that good things are going to happen. That's what happened.
But you figure our starting field position was just awful. It was like, for some reason, I felt that student body was chasing us around. Every time we took a snap, the student body other than overtime when we moved it down to the other side.
Q. One of the newer traditions since the '90s for this team has been the former players, the tunnel of pride. Is that something you guys are going to bring back and endorse?
Q. Archie Griffin started it in '95.
Q. Archie Griffin, that guy, '95. When they played Notre Dame, and he's done it for Michigan every time since.
Q. Urban, this game also culminates quite a year for yourself, going back to last November when you lost your father and decided to take this job. Just kind of reflect on what has this year been like for you personally, and what have you learned about yourself as a coach and as a player this past year? Not as a player, obviously, but as a person.
That's what I learned. I'm always trying to learn from people. I learned from our coaching staff. But I learned from the senior class of John Simon, who hasn't been healthy all year and fighting through it. Zach Boren on a Tuesday before Indiana steps in and plays. Four periods later, 20 minutes later he's a starting linebacker, middle linebacker at Ohio State.
I haven't had much chance to reflect because I want to put these guys in position to go win a starting game, so there hasn't been a whole lot of reflection. But very appreciative of where I'm at and who I'm doing it with.
Thank you, guys.