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October 13, 2014

Urban Meyer

COACH MEYER:  Thanks for coming.  A couple quick comments as we finished our second bye week in three or four weeks, which is unusual.  I felt like our team had a lot of momentum after the Maryland game to go on the road and play like that.  I don't normally give too much credit to our staff, but I think our assistant coaches did a great job of getting a group ready to play a noon game on the road against a talented team.
We have to restake that momentum.  This is a little bit unchartered waters for myself to have this many bye weeks this early in the season.  We got to get ready to go.  That means we got to crank it up today against a team that their last game was a tremendous effort by their quarterback, threw for 400 yards.  Their defense played well.  Obviously an incredible environment at Rutgers.  We just got to be ready to go.  I'm sure we will.
We're a young team that's getting older.  You'd expect that, you'd anticipate that, but sometimes that doesn't happen.  I think you see a lot of maturity starting to occur.  Someone told me in the last five interceptions four have been by freshmen.  You see a freshman quarterback that is playing very well.  You see young receivers starting to develop, an offensive line that's starting to solidify themselves.
We certainly have areas of weakness that we're working on.  I enjoy coaching this team right now and I know our staff does, too.
I'll answer any questions.

Q.  What did you do specifically and the coaching staff to ensure that momentum will not be stalled?
COACH MEYER:  We haven't done it yet.  That's what this week's for.  We kind of have a standard operating procedure for what we do on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.  But this, I'm going to have a team meeting today, discuss it with them.
The good thing is if you have a bad team and guys that don't quite listen to you, then you have to create things.  I'm going to talk to them like grown men, say this is where we're at, this is what we have to do, you've had three days off, let's pick up and go.  I'm anticipating that they'll answer.  That's why we're having a team meeting.  I want to look them in the eyes and say this is where we're at and what we need to have happen.

Q.  I don't know how much you were able to watch the rest of college football this weekend.  The landscape is changing.  How do you feel you fit into that?
COACH MEYER:  You have a better idea because you get to watch it now.  If you asked me several weeks ago, I have no idea.
Once again, I like our team.  We're certainly nowhere near where we'll end up, in my opinion.  We're still growing and getting better.  We're a much better team than we were two weeks ago.  That's because you get in the game, reps gain experience.
By all means, there's no answers in this room.  The good thing is, our players know that.  In my opinion we need much more depth in our defensive line.  There are four or five guys that aren't playing.  You got Cris Carter and Munger and Schutt, Mike Hill.  I mean, those guys, it's time to contribute a little bit.  We're going to put a lot of pressure on those guys this week.

Q.  If you look at your offense, guys like J.T. Michael Thompson, Ezekiel Elliott, Dontre, these are guys you recruited and developed.  Is this offense starting to look like that fast offense that you want here, almost created in the image you want it to be?
COACH MEYER:  Last year's offense was kind of the way we wanted it, too.  It's just you have to adapt to the personnel you have.  You have a 235, 240 pound tailback in a line like we had, a quarterback we had, Braxton.
I think what we do well, our offensive staff, is we adapt to the personnel.  I've been asked that question, Is this the vision we have?  I'd like to have really fast players that create big plays.  We're kind of developing that right now.  But I don't mind having what we had last year either.  You have good checkers to work with.
As long as there's good quality players to work with, which you should always have at Ohio State, it's up to the offensive staff to develop the plan around those players.  I think our guys have done a really good job.
Much different offense.  I talked to Coach Holtz briefly.  He said it's a much different offense now than it was last year, and it's because there's a void.  We're using skill.  Ezekiel Elliott is a different player than Carlos was.  You got Dontre and Jalin starting to develop which gives you a little more flexibility on the perimeter run game too.

Q.  If you were going into an overtime game and had the option to put the offense or defense on the field first, what would you do?
COACH MEYER:  You always go defense first.  Overtime game?

Q.  Yes.
COACH MEYER:  Yeah, always go defense first.

Q.  None of your players have played Rutgers.  From a coaching standpoint, is it easier when nobody has a preconceived notion or does it make a difference at all?
COACH MEYER:  I never thought of it that way.  I don't think it makes a bit of difference.  I think nowadays with all this technology you have, they're going to be watching hours upon hours of film.  So I don't believe it's that big of a deal?  What caught their eye is what they did last week.  It caught their eye.  To watch people storm the field, it caught my eye.  I was watching the end of that thing.
Our guys will really prepare for this game, I can tell you that.  We never played them before, I don't think that matters.

Q.  Mississippi and Mississippi State have moved up in the national consciousness.  You have some ties there.  Do you have any comments?
COACH MEYER:  I voted Mississippi State No.1.  What they've done.  That's the first chance I really had a chance to watch them, and that was in between volleyball sets.  Wow, I mean, three top‑10 wins.  I talked to their coach, who is a great friend of mine.  That's spectacular.
I think they earned it with what they've done.

Q.  You have 23 scholarship true freshmen on your roster.  10 have played, 13 have not.  Is that kind of where you want it?
COACH MEYER:  No, I would like more to play.  I think we could play Sam Hubbard.  It's not his decision.  If it's his decision, he'd be playing.  He's working hard enough to play.  It's just pulling the trigger and putting him in that game.  Certainly could help us.  A guy like that you don't him to play a handful of snaps.  You want him to play play.
About four or five more if we could get them in there and play, it's where we'd like to be.

Q.  You have talked about the red zone offense.  You were so good at it the first two years.  Is there anything that's the reason?  Still pretty good.
COACH MEYER:  It's not very good at all.  For what we expect, it's not good.  There's a couple styles that teams are starting to play us.  It's not the players' fault.  It's our fault.  It's coaching errors, whether it be tempo, we just have to do a better job.  Tomorrow and Wednesday will be those situations again to force us to call plays that block those numbers because everybody is within a yard of the ball.  A lot of times in tempo when we first started doing it, they couldn't get lined up.  We mush them in for one or two yards, and that's not happening now.

Q.  In your career when you have a team that does lose early versus teams that are undefeated, does it change anything about how you coach the guys at all?  Does it change anything about the feel of the season when you have an early loss versus when you still have that no losses yet?
COACH MEYER:  We're just day‑to‑day.  I don't really remember.  As you were talking, I'm trying to think years ago back what happened.  It has no bearing.  It depends what kind of team you have.  This is a unique experience.  This is an extremely young team that got hit in the face in training camp with some injuries.  I didn't have my two offensive captains playing.  That was a unique challenge.
The cool thing is you have a redshirt freshman quarterback grow up right in front of our eyes.  You saw Nick Vannett start to grow up and be the tight end still Jeff got back.  Now we can play them both.  You saw Mike Thomas grow up.
You got to give credit to some guys that were absolutely non‑factors a year ago, are having an impact on this team right now.  That's a tribute, a credit to them.  When a teammate goes down or you're struggling, someone has to step up.  We've witnessed that right before our eyes.

Q.  Speaking of the youth you mentioned earlier.  13 of your 24 starters are freshmen or sophomore, youngest team in the Big Ten.  Can you recall one of your teams being this young?
COACH MEYER:  I think '07 was a very young team.  You said 13 of the 24?

Q.  Freshmen or sophomore.
COACH MEYER:  That's a good sign for the future here.  I knew we were young, but I hadn't looked at that number before.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH MEYER:  Braxton gave us the 'wow' factor and would take one at any time.  You saw a couple times last year 60 yards, 70 yards.  I know J.T.  That's not really his game.  He's a move‑the‑chain quarterback.  That's fine.  We have to get those big plays elsewhere.  We kind of are.  The thing is teams are forcing us in our run game to stop the run.  They're loading the box, taking shots down the field.  We're starting to hit them now, which is encouraging.  That's where Dontre and 'Zeke and Jalin Marshall, and when we get Curtis Samuel back, and we should get him back this week.
Defenses are too good.  You have to have some hits somewhere.  You saw Jeff Heuerman go up and make a big play.  We have some big‑play weapons.  Braxton, when he first got here, the big‑play weapon was Braxton right, to change it up we go Braxton left.  Now we don't have to do that.  I feel better about the skill positions.

Q.  Seems like he makes the right read more often than not.
COACH MEYER:  He played very well.  That's very observant.  A lot of those reads were split‑second reads and he made the right decision.  Gained us 12, 14 yards, moved the chains, get going.  That's the kind of guy he is.

Q.  You talked about right after the Maryland game addressing some things in your pass defense.  What did you discuss over the last week about a few guys still getting out of the gate?  Talking about receivers, et cetera.
COACH MEYER:  Well, when a situation shows up, you have to ask the why.  We found out there's a signal issue on one of them.  Big play against Cam Burrows.  I don't want to show it to you.  It was a very similar signal, so we changed the signal.  If it's a personnel issue, you have to look at changing personnel.  I think our personnel is hanging in there now.  The last two weeks, we faced very, very good receivers, gave up some big plays.  We're going to face two good receivers again this week.
The options are, number one, which I think is to continue to work and improve, enhance the ability of our players.  The other was implode and start over again.  We're nowhere near there.  We're actually pretty pleased where we're at.  We can't have guys cut lose.  We've addressed that.

Q.  Curtis is going to be back this week.  How does he blend in now?
COACH MEYER:  Rod Smith is in a street fight not to let him blend in.  One thing that Coach Drayton really developed, you watch those kids on special teams, you watch their involvement in the program, done a very nice job.  If that's not the strongest unit, one of them.  I'm anxious to watch.

Q.  Does Ron get a bonus?
COACH MEYER:  Oh, yeah.  He was 88, out the gate in spring.  Non‑factor.  When I was getting ready for training camp, there was part of me saying we probably won't have a back.  Not a bad guy, just struggled academically, didn't do much.
He's been a pleasure to coach.  His demeanor, his work ethic.  I really like where he's at.
Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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