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September 13, 2014

Urban Meyer

Ohio State – 66
Kent State – 0

URBAN MEYER:  Thanks for coming and I want to start off like I normally do with thanking our crowd, a noon game against a MAC opponent and still every seat was filled.  I keep hearing about how student bodies across the country aren't showing up for games.  Ours certainly is and I want to thank them.  I never want to take them for granted, because one day you'll look up there and they won't be there for you.
I think a big reason we jumped out fast was because of the environment created by our students and our fans, so I just want to make sure we show our appreciation.  I thought our guys played well.  Obviously a little talent advantage, but we had to have a game like this.  Normally that's a first game, especially when you have a young quarterback and a young offensive line, but I'm glad we played like we did.
I thought we would after the week of practice we had.  We've all been in those games where you're just sloppy for the 30 minutes, and it just wasn't the case.
Time to move on, a bye week, and then get ready.  I watched Cincinnati last night and they're a very talented team, so we're going to put everything we can into it the next two weeks to win that game.

Q.  Other than getting a win, what did you really want to see today, and what did you really learn about your team today?
URBAN MEYER:  A fast start, and see guys play.  There was a lot of guys‑‑ we wanted to get a lot of reps.  With the young receivers, from the Corey Smith to the Michael Thomas, continues to improve.  We wanted to get Nick Vannett the ball in his hand a little bit.  We did not play Jeff Heuerman, he was hurt.  Probably could have played him but we made the decision to sit him.  He has a stress reaction in his foot, same foot where he had surgery, so he'll be back ready to go in two weeks.  I think we made the right decision.  We're going to sit him this week, as well, and then Monday of Cincinnati week he'll be full speed.  So I wanted to see a quick start, I wanted to see some young players play, even players that are considered starters here, there are just so many guys out there from the Billy Prices to the Darryl Baldwins, just want to get them a lot of reps, and we did that today.

Q.  Can you provide any insight on what has happened with Noah Spence, and what would be the impact moving forward if you can't‑‑
URBAN MEYER:  Yeah, that was a sucker punch, boy, when I got that phone call.  It happened late in the week.  Obviously we were getting ready to play a game, and we'll know more.  I don't know much other than he was declared he couldn't play for this weekend, and what the future holds for him, I don't know.

Q.  As you watched your defense play today, what stood out to them, to you, as far as like effort, etcetera?
URBAN MEYER:  Yeah, I think effort was good.  I think we denied throws.  That's the where the challenge I have‑‑ you're really going to be challenged in two weeks with the Cincinnati group of receivers and their quarterback.  But I think everybody has heard me say I just want to challenge throws, and I thought you saw that today.  Once again, not taking anything away from Kent, our opponent, but we obviously over matched them a little bit, and I wanted to see what I saw, and it seemed like they had a hard time moving the ball on us, which should happen.

Q.  At the end of the first quarter you had eight different receivers catching a pass, running backs all over the place.  I know that was part of your plan, to get as many people touches, but is that kind of the plan to win that you guys need to follow moving forward to get, spread this ball around to those guys?
URBAN MEYER:  I think so.  You know, you have mixed emotions about having that one guy that's going to be a 1,000‑yard rusher.  In the past, I think Carlos, people told me, was our first 1,000‑yard rusher.  We've always been kind of a top ten in America rushing, but we've usually spread it around a little bit, so I got the mixed emotions.  Zeke is our starting tailback, but he only had seven carries.  Curtis Samuel, we started feeding it to him because I think he's got a really good future here.  He got 100 yards.  And we have a group of six receivers who are kind of in a rotation right now.
Receivers you want to have rotation.  Receivers, the way we ask them to play really shouldn't play more than 35, 40 plays a game.  Tailback, I think we've settled in on two that are going to be kind of our workhorses for us, and we're still kind of trying to figure out who we are offensively.  The identity was clear two years ago, and it was Braxton Miller right, Braxton Miller left, because that was kind of our best player.
Last year we developed this big tailback and a really good offensive line, so that identity was started.  I still at this point, I think we have a lot of speed, and you can tell we're trying to get guys in open space to see what they can do because you've got Jalin Marshall, who's a very talented guy; Dontre Wilson, I could go down the list, but we're still trying to get our hands on exactly who's going to touch that ball.

Q.  Can you talk about J.T.'s day, tied the record set by Kenny last year with six touchdown passes, just what you saw that you liked today?
URBAN MEYER:  Yeah, on purpose, and early in the first half I wanted to throw a lot.  I wanted to force him to make plays, and receivers‑‑ it's not just him, it's the whole combination of quarterback/receivers.  I thought he played good.  I thought there was a couple misses, too, now that we could have had.  But a young quarterback needs to do that, and we actually did some empty‑‑ I think he'll be a good empty quarterback, five‑receiver set, so we're still, once again, figuring out exactly how we're going to be moving the ball as an offense once we start getting to the Big Ten season.

Q.  Is a game like this‑‑ a lot of times there's questions about the value of a game like this.  When you have a young quarterback like that, does that put more value on a game like this just for getting him the reps?
URBAN MEYER:  I hope ‑‑ some people say, oh, you shouldn't play him, and I was at Bowling Green and I think you should play him.  I think we played very well today.  That doesn't mean Kent on a great day might‑‑ you've seen it before where all of a sudden there's a shocker.  I like it as a first game normally, especially‑‑ you can't forecast when he's making the scheduling that you're going to have a new quarterback and a young offensive line, but this is what the doctor ordered when you do have young people that you have to get ready to play.

Q.  You're going into a bye week with some time to figure some more things out.  You played an unconventional team in Navy, a decent team in VA Tech and an overmatched team today.  Where are you guys at?  Are you happy with where you're at going into this bye week?
URBAN MEYER:  That's a great question, and I'm going to‑‑ we're going to practice hard this week.  A lot of what you do in a bye week is depending on what kind of team you have.  But our guys need repetitions.  Football is a game of‑‑ it's organized chaos out there, and the more often you get players in those situations like on a two‑a‑day practice last Tuesday, I went 55‑play ones‑on‑ones and twos‑on‑twos, and I've never really done that before, and I didn't script it that way.  I was watching them practice, and I'm looking at these young players out there who need to get the coaches off the field and let them play, so I am trying to get our players as many reps as possible by the time we get to the Big Ten season, and this was a great opportunity for that.
Where are we and do I like where we're at?  I think so.  We're 2‑1.  You still have a sick feeling in your stomach about last week, but we're moving forward, and I see a lot of young guys that are going to have great futures at Ohio State.

Q.  How would you describe how your team did handle this week, what their mood was, and how good do you want them to feel after a day like today?
URBAN MEYER:  I want them to feel good, and go into the bye week and enjoy their families and show up ready to go this week.  I thought they handled it very well.  One indication is how they came out, but the thing I keep going back to, not to keep changing where we're headed, but I've seen places where all of a sudden that stadium is half full.  There's disinterest involved.  That stadium was packed, and our players fed off of that.  We had the skull session, you see all those people there, and that does wake you up and get you going because a noon game against a MAC school, there's a tendency to have zero enthusiasm and energy in the stadium, and that wasn't the case.  They responded well to the week and certainly to the day.

Q.  Playing that many players, did you see something from someone?  Did you remark to one of your guys, I didn't know he could do that playing almost everybody in the rotation?
URBAN MEYER:  Oh, I was giving Dontre, Jalin and Curtis Samuel a hard time.  They got caught today, each one of them, so they'll‑‑ one guy got caught by a punter, I think, and so we'll give those guys a hard time.  But I think ‑‑ I'm really excited about our young skill, and I was hoping to try to get Buckeye Nation and the stadium to see some of those guys out in open space, and Curtis Samuel and Dontre and Jalin are just off the top of my head guys I'm excited to get out in open space.

Q.  Are you writing off Noah?  I know you say you don't know, but is he done for the year, or is that undefined?
URBAN MEYER:  Undefined.

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