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October 27, 2014

Urban Meyer

COACH MEYER:¬† Okay.¬† Thanks for coming.¬† A couple of quick comments.¬† Obviously pleased.¬† I don't think relieved is the right word, but pleased to get out of State College with a win.¬† That was‑‑ I'd say that was a Top 5 atmosphere.¬† I got it in the Top 3 now after that one.¬† That was incredible.¬† That's a credit to their student body and their fans.¬† They did a great job.
J.T. Barrett took the field; we were down by seven points after blowing the lead, and to see him lead an offense as a redshirt freshman into the student section, down by seven in the first overtime was‑‑ I just remember‑‑ I'll probably never forget that look when I saw our offense taking the field against the whiteout of the student section, down by seven, against the defense that really kind of shut us down in the second half, No. 1 rush defense in the country, and take us in for a score.
Obviously we're going to build upon that.¬† A lot of things we gotta get better. ¬†The offensive line did not play up to Ohio State standards, and that's where it starts.¬† That certainly wasn't the only issue on offense.¬† J.T. actually had just an okay game as far as some of the reads and some of the decisions he had to make, and anytime a team has a bye week‑‑ and it seems to be this is the year.¬† We've had a couple of those years where you get two or three games right in a row where teams have a bye week before they play you‑‑ we gotta do a good job as a staff getting ready for the unexpected.¬† And that's been kind of the theme the last several weeks when you get a team off a bye week.
Defensively other than the final drive, very pleased with the effort.  We are getting better on defense.  Playing a little bit of swagger and a little more confidence.  I can tell the way our coaches are coaching, and more importantly, our players are going after it, the way just the behavior and the way they go after a game.  So very good.
Special teams was a major factor in that field position.  Our punter is really good at what he does.  Kickoff coverage, I think we just had two, one came out a little bit and we overran it.  But the effort was there.
Kick return we're getting very close.  Dante is hitting it hard.  And punt returns really didn't have any opportunities; a lot of short punts.  So a great win for the Buckeyes and looking forward to coming back home and continuing our journey.

Q.  You mentioned about J.T.'s reads not all being correct.  On the one zone blitz, the pick six, what's the correct read there?
COACH MEYER:¬† That's tough.¬† When the correct blitzes throw hot, and he threw hot, and they schemed us up pretty good.¬† So that was not one that was a schematical thing.¬† A veteran quarterback would just probably burn it, which means throw it into the ground.¬† But that is the correct read is to throw hot, and it's called hot.¬† It's called hot.¬† You hear that a lot.¬† When they bring more than you can block, which they did, you have a sight adjustment hot, and you throw to them, which we've done a few times this year.¬† They did a nice job‑‑ the thing the defenses have to figure out, which side that is.¬† And they did a nice job.
But in those situations, veteran quarterbacks like just burn it.  Get the second and tens, no issue or punt the ball.

Q.  Are you pleased with the pace of the offense?  I think you guys were averaging about 76 plays a game?
COACH MEYER:¬† Saturday I was not.¬† Up to this point it's getting better and better and better.¬† And once again, when you're three in and out pace‑‑ that's not‑‑ we kind of slowed it down a little bit.¬† That was one of those games where I kind of‑‑ not kind of.¬† We were playing very good defense, playing pretty good field position.¬† It's a little bit like Wisconsin a couple of years ago.
We threw the pick six and I saw a rattled quarterback, so we kind of got conservative there for a little bit, and as a result didn't get as many yards or as many first Downs as we normally get.

Q.  I know you're not going to overlook Illinois but in two weeks you got Michigan State.  It will be a very similar atmosphere to what you faced Saturday.  Do you think that what you guys experienced on Saturday is actually a good thing?  Obviously you survived it?
COACH MEYER:¬† It's not a good thing.¬† It's a great thing.¬† I talked to a couple of my colleagues who I talk to on a weekly basis.¬† They made those comments, and that's true.¬† It's not just the atmosphere.¬† You gotta nut up, man.¬† You're down.¬† You're down by several points in that environment, and there's no‑‑ don't look to anyone else for help.¬† There's 11 guys out there, have to score a touchdown, and they did.¬† And there's incredible efforts.
With Dontre Wilson at one point going in there and blockinga guy ‑‑ I just saw some incredible efforts.¬† The thing I like to see as well as anything, when we score you can see the most invested players just ‑‑ on Joey Bosa's sack to see Darron Lee and everybody just‑‑ there's not much energy left, but invested players and invested teams really celebrate wins, and our guys did.
To answer your question, there's no question.  Not just environment, but the toughness element that you just were in a street fight, and you're winning.  You started getting your tail kicked and you came back and won.  That builds toughness.

Q.¬† Is there a part of you that ‑‑ you've coasted really for a month, you've blown out everybody.¬† Were you almost hoping for something like that?
COACH MEYER:¬† No.¬† No, no.¬† No.¬† No, no, no, no.¬† No.¬† (Laughs).¬† Monday afterwards was a Monday afterwards.¬† I'm good, but we didn't play very good.¬† There's some positions and some players that didn't play very good that we have to get fixed.¬† And to overlook Illinois, Illinois just won a big game.¬† Illinois is much improved from a year ago.¬† So there's no‑‑ there will be no overlooking anyone.

Q.  Is J.T. Barrett going to be limited in practice this week?
COACH MEYER:¬† He's got a sprained knee, MCL, so obviously there's no surgery or anything, and I think he will be limited.¬† We're going to go‑‑ we adjusted our practice schedule, we got in at 4:30 and was going to have a 6:30 team meeting and get going, but we decided to give them Sunday off, so we're going to practice today, and we usually practice on Sunday.

Q.¬† Is this the time of year‑‑ I imagine you're backing off on your starters a little bit in practice, especially after an OT game.¬† How hard does it make that to improve week to week?
COACH MEYER:¬† The area that takes‑‑ that's a great question.¬† The area that takes a hit is your fundamentals because you just can't be out there for that long.¬† The two‑hour practices become hour‑and‑45‑minute practices.¬† So that's a hit.¬† So we're going to actually keep the young players out that didn't play much today an extra 35 minutes to work on the fundamentals.¬† But there's some guys played 80 plays, 70 plays in those games, and to take them out today, it's going to be a 9‑period, 10‑period practice and we're off.¬† But Tuesday and Wednesday you have to do what you gotta do.¬† That's why when you hear people talk about bowl practices being so important, which we missed a couple of years ago, but it's just to get back to that, because some of these kids are not going to get fundamentals until spring practice if you don't go to a bowl game.

Q.  Going into halftime you told the sideline reporter you thought you were being too conservative and you needed to open it up.  In the second half you guys were pretty conservative.  You touched on this a little.  J.T. was a little rattled after the first interception.  Also the offensive line, as you reflect on it, do you think you guys were too conservative?
COACH MEYER:  No, I think we did what we had to do to win the game.  It was ugly; it was nasty.  I didn't like it.  No one, I'm sure, any Ohio State fan, if we do our phone call and let people call and rip us to death, it would be interesting.  We're not going to do that, but we won the game in a tough environment, and our freshman quarterback threw a pick 6 three times; offensive line gave up quick sacks against a very good defensive line, but no excuse.  You just gotta get better.
Yeah, it was a little‑‑ when you're playing good defense, at one point ‑‑ you take away the final drive, I want to say we held them to under 200 yards offense, and you're playing very good defense, you're getting pressure on the quarterback.¬† It's called game management.
And sometimes I watch TV, sometimes and I'm like, what are they doing.¬† Win the game.¬† Sometimes fans don't want to‑‑ they want to throw, throw, throw; do this; where is the reverses?¬† Where is this.¬† And you look at the score and you're up 17 nothing, and you gotta do what you gotta do to win that game, and that's what happened during the course of that game.

Q.¬† I know there's a lot of interest in the first college football playoff rankings coming out tomorrow.¬† I know it's probably not on your mind right now, but have you taken a chance to familiarize yourself with the criteria, and with the committee more than computers, do you feel like there's maybe more of an emphasis on so‑called style points heading into games like Saturday?
COACH MEYER:¬† The BCS is no different in my opinion.¬† There was‑‑ I think style points are real.¬† Does that affect the way we go about our business, not at all.¬† I have no idea what their criteria is.¬† But I imagine, everything I hear is it's very similar‑‑ the BCS and the playoffs are the same thing.¬† Instead of the Top 2 you gotta get in the top four.

Q.¬† A ton of one‑loss teams out there, obviously five major conferences battling for those four spots.¬† Do you think the BIG TEN should and will be in the conversation at the end of the year?
COACH MEYER:¬† I think so.¬† I don't have in any idea what the‑‑ I think Michigan State is playing great football right now.¬† They're the top team in the BIG TEN right now.¬† They're playing great.¬† Not good.¬† So I don't know.

Q.  If you have players who are 18 to 20 years old whose focus can wander from time to time, does Illinois's win against Minnesota help you a lot this week?
COACH MEYER:¬† In the videotape, I say this quite often, the videotape‑‑ because they've already got‑‑ today they came in for an hour‑and‑a‑half and we put the Penn State game away, and they're going to come in again today, and they're going to get another 30, 45 minutes of videotape on the opponent, and that usually wakens you up.¬† If they were lousy, then you'd have a problem, and the good thing is for our conference and them, Illinois won.¬† Illinois is much better.¬† I know they lost their quarterback, but they're playing much better.¬† I just spent all morning watching their defense, and they're much better than a year ago on defense.

Q.  Any other health issues other than J.T.?
COACH MEYER:¬† Help me with that.¬† I don't think so.¬† Was there someone got dinged in the game?¬† Cam Burrows should be back.¬† Frazier should be back this week.¬† He had a sprained ankle.¬† Devan Bogard is going to have surgery, ACL.¬† Bri'onte is close and Ron Tanner is close.¬† So that's going to be a game‑time decision on those guys.

Q.  Couple things, No. 1, you were a wiley defensive back back in your day.  What is the difference being on top of a guy, covering the guy and then making the play?  Eli had a couple of challenges the other night.
COACH MEYER:¬† So did Vonn Bell.¬† I actually talked to Chris Ash about that today and that's giving the guys‑‑ like Tyvis Powell was that guy, and he stepped in front of one and made a great interception.¬† Some guys are really just naturally playing the ball.¬† A lot of times those are the offensive players.
Joe Haden was an offensive player his entire career, and he was very natural at going after balls and stuff like that.  Vonn Bell is usually much better than he was on that one play down on the far end zone.  But as often as you can put him in practice, I'll even go down to the scout team and I'll tell them to throw picks.  I'll tell Stephen Collier, let this go, because I want to see those guys make interceptions.

Q.¬† The reason I'm asking because obviously‑‑
COACH MEYER:¬† Armani had‑‑

Q.  Armani had a ball right there that would have ended the game.  What do you tell those guys from a confidence standpoint or whatever about, you know, you still believe in them.  What do you tell those guys this week?
COACH MEYER:¬† We have a method of coaching here that the only time we'll jump a kid and jump them really hard is the effort.¬† Other than that, it's all coaching and opportunities that you give them in practice, and that's why I love our staff, and they do a good job with that.¬† There's no ‑‑ you don't rip a kid.¬† That was great effort, great coverage.¬† We have to give them that.¬† It's called competitive excellence, how many times do we give you that opportunity in practice.

Q.¬† Just to follow up on that previous one, college football playoffs, this is a committee, though.¬† There's going to be discussions between‑‑ do you think that will make it a more inclusive kind of group at the end of the process, meeting teams from around the country?¬† What do you kind of expect from the fact they're going to have discussions?
COACH MEYER:¬† Tim, I couldn't tell you‑‑ I think Barry Alvarez is on the committee, and other than that, I'm not quite sure who is, and that's just because I'm good friends with Coach Alvarez, and he's a great guy.¬† That's all I know.¬† I spend zero time on that.¬† We gotta try to find a way to win our seventh game.

Q.  You said J.T. will be somewhat limited in this week's practice.  When you have a situation like that, do you already kind of know how many reps he'll get throughout the week?  Do you have to play it by ear?  How do you manage a situation like that?
COACH MEYER:¬† I think each player is different.¬† He's a guy that's not going to say‑‑ he's one of the toughest cats I've ever been around.¬† To think what he did to that game, I'm just so impressed by that.
To say I knew that, I didn't know what.¬† What he did, now, how many guys could have done that, had a very serious injury‑‑ MCL injury is a serious injury, and to go in, and he won‑‑ he got hit on the three‑yard line.¬† I didn't realize that until one of my friends who watched it on TV says, unbelievable.¬† I said what happened, because on video it's hard to see.¬† I guess the television copy they showed it, and he got on the three‑yard line, and he bulls his way against Penn State's defense to win the game.
So we're going to‑‑ to answer your question, I don't know.¬† We're going to see how he goes.¬† He's going to probably be a guy that you won't tell that he's limited.¬† We're just going to make sure he limited.¬† Not on throwing.¬† It's on running.

Q.  Obvious question, but how good is Joey Bosa playing right now?  What do you see in him that has kind of elevated him even more?
COACH MEYER:¬† I always go back to, and I say this all the time about Joey is I don't see him changing, and if I do, it's going to be a bad conversation, because what's got him to this point is‑‑ it's also a credit to his dad who played the game and his high school program, St. Thomas.¬† He's a practice player.¬† He goes out and practices and does a good job, and it's effort, and that's why you continue to see a guy like that improve.¬† And he is getting better.¬† He's better than he was at the beginning of the season right now.
Early in the season he made some mistakes.  We didn't probably announce it, but he had some mistakes in the run game when he's supposed to come under and he didn't do that.  He's playing much better now.

Q.  That winning play, what was your reaction?
COACH MEYER:¬† I didn't really see it until I came in the next day and watched it.¬† It was a tailback that was trying to block that big monster, and he was actually supposed to loop out.¬† He was contained on that, because we had a little pressure, bare pressure against him.¬† That guard blocked down, tackle blocked out, and he took a step and it's him in the back, and he just took it right into 'em.¬† Obviously tremendous physical specimen what he was able to do.¬† He's a fast‑twitch guy that's real big and strong.¬† So great player.

Q.  Urban, you've talked about how the defense played well, except for the last drive to tie the game.  What do you think happened, they marched 19 plays, 77 yards to tie it up?
COACH MEYER:¬† We had penalties along the way, and we played too soft.¬† We gave up a couple of underneaths, and you give Penn State credit; the guy made a couple of tremendous throws, but that was a tough one to‑‑ I think.¬† Is that the one where Vonn Bell, the guy caught it on the two‑yard line, too?

Q.  That was their score in overtime.
COACH MEYER:  We just in my opinion played a little too soft and a little bend with no break, and the guy Hackenberg is a hell of a player, made a couple of throws that were outstanding.

Q.  And you talked about after the game just the operation of the offense in the second half.  You guys had put up so many points and so many yards, I know not against a defense like that, but the previous four games.  Did you think you were rolling even against a defense that good, did you think this offense was going to be able to do whatever it wanted to do?
COACH MEYER:¬† Not whatever it wanted to do, not against a run defense like that.¬† You start becoming balanced a little bit, and I knew they had a bye week, and the bye week stuff sets up red flags in that offensive staff room because you can spend all your time working this, and you're going to get something ‑‑ and Penn State did a very good job.
We're checking our own tendencies more than we ever have right now because they're making some good defensive calls against us right now, and we're facing‑‑ right now the BIG TEN's got some really good‑‑ someone gave me a list of there's some teams, including ours, in the Top 10 or top 15 in defense.¬† Penn State there's no question that's a Top 5 defense right now.

Q.¬† And you guys put in Cardale just for one play on a short yardage thing.¬† Was that like a wrinkle or was that because J.T. had the knee or what was‑‑
COACH MEYER:¬† That was the head coach's thing that didn't work.¬† (Laughs).¬† He's a big guy that runs well, and I knew J.T. had his thing, and they were doing a good job defending our short yardage, and we had some success early on with that play; and I thought a 250‑pound quarterback could drop his pads.¬† Instead, he jumped.¬† So we're going to keep his feet on the ground and[] get his pads down.¬† That's why.

Q.  You've got a few disciples out there now, if you will.  You talk about Charlie Strong, Mullen, etc.  Tim Beckman was one.  Because he's struggled a bit, fourth year, he's 10 and 22.  Over the years has he consulted with you?  Have you talked with him?  And maybe now that he's in the league you can't do that, but advice to him?
COACH MEYER:¬† It's not advice.¬† He's a colleague and a good friend, so it's more conversations about our families, and his father ‑‑ actually I'm very close with his father.¬† He's an old football coach.¬† He was a real coach back when I call them.
Not advice.  Certainly we don't talk football because we're in the same league, but a lot of respect for Tim.  You watch his team, they're getting better.  Now it's just a matter of how much better can they get, because I think their players are well coached.  I'm just speaking about their defense.  Even Tom Herman said this is one of the better coached defenses we're going to face.  So more friendship conversation than anything else.

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