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January 6, 2015

Urban Meyer

COACH MEYER: I'm just going to answer questions, thanks for coming.

Q.  Can you speak to the fact that obviously you came into this job with some promises that you made to your family.  Obviously you kept those.  But now that you're back playing for a National Championship, does it prove to you, you can also win coaching this way?
COACH MEYER:¬† Oh, I don't mean to be disrespectful at all.¬† I've coached the same way, I just think that's‑‑ I don't want to keep going back.¬† I want to keep pushing forward.¬† But you know, I have a great staff and I love our players.¬† We push them really, really hard and that's never changed and I don't think you can do it any other way.¬† There are some other things I've changed but the coaching is‑‑ that's the way we do our business, and I don't think that will ever change.

Q.  Just to follow, Darron Lee is a kid you talked to us about in the spring.  You mentioned him as a guy who is going to end up playing for you, but you said nobody really knew about him.  Can you talk about his development?
COACH MEYER:  I credit Coach Fickell with that one.  He came to camp, like five or six times.  I rejected him, probably four times.  Shows you how good an evaluator I am.  He was a quarterback from New Albany.
And the thing that we loved about him, he kept competing in.¬† This generation, sometimes kids say, I'm not coming to camp.¬† There was a day where everybody went to camp so you could watch them.¬† You could watch a little ten‑play highlight video and you have to make a $250,000 decision on a guy to give him a scholarship to Ohio State.¬† And you know, most great players that I've been around, they come to camp, they tear it up, you offer them a scholarship, they shake your hand and go play.¬† And that's what Darron Lee, why I love that kid, a competitor.
As a result, Coach Fickell made the right decision.  He worked with him.  They have a great relationship and that's the best way to go about this business; to go compete and work with a guy that might be your coach some day.  That's a great story.

Q.  Now that you've looked at Oregon, what jumps out at you on tape?  The thing people always jump at is their tempo.
COACH MEYER:  Yeah, I've watched a lot of their offense.  Not to the point where I'm going to make decisions.  I give suggestions, because we run similar offenses, a lot of similar plays.  Their tempo; and then the thing that, the best player, the Heisman Trophy winner and he should have been Heisman Trophy winner; I'm glad he got it.  For a lot of reasons, I'm glad he got it.  I just love who he is.
I've been around him when he first‑‑ when he was a young player, I went out and visited and I remember them telling me about him.¬† I think Chip recruited him when he was‑‑ was it which high school was it, Puna?¬† St.Louis, yeah, the other great one.
Was a backup for a while and just a great kid.  I think that's so good for college football to see a guy like that go out and win it.  Great, great player.  Great, great person, great leader, you can tell.  Plays his best when it's hard.
Plays his best‑‑ the Michigan State game was a perfect example, extends plays and he's the biggest challenge.¬† Tempo offense is really hard but tempo offense with an average player is not that hard.¬† He's the one that keeps the chains moving and that's when tempo gets you.
The risk of tempo offense, which I debated for years, you three‑and‑out them and 24 seconds you just took off the clock and you're playing a good team, that's not good.¬† So there's plus and minuses.¬† You have a quarterback like that, that's usually pluses.

Q.  Question about Jacoby Boren, an undersized guy.  I know you love the family.  Did you ever expect him to be what he's been and what has he meant to this team?
COACH MEYER:¬† He is a tribute to the family.¬† Every Boren I've ever met is like that.¬† I've had two of them; and there's another one, I want him, that's coming along.¬† There's something in the‑‑ no, it's not.¬† It's the way they were raised.¬† They were tough.¬† They fight.
Did I ever think when I shook his hand when I first got here in 2012 and he was already committed to us, and he walked through the door and, was like uh‑oh, what's this now.¬† I actually started thinking, maybe he could be a blocking fullback.¬† And he's turned out to have a heck of a year.¬† He's tough, a very good player.¬† Great leader, great team guy.¬† I love Jacoby.

Q.  You spoke about this a couple times, but in your year off, you spent time in Oregon getting to know Chip Kelly.  What was it about conversations with him and stuff about uptempo that really intrigued you?
COACH MEYER:  Probably the thing that set it off was coaching with Nick Aliotti.  I've known him for 25 years, a defensive coordinator, long time, a friend of mine from back when I recruited California 25 years ago.  We used to have dinner together.  And he's as old school as you get.
You know, you go in there, they are playing Lion King music.  They have like a D.J. at practice, bizarre stuff now.  I remember even I was like, what is this.  I worked for old Bruce, we didn't have Lion King and D.J.s at practice when Earl was coaching here.  But I was talking to Nick Aliotti and Chip and I are good friends and he says, "You know, this is the only way to do it."
I looked at him and said, "What are you talking about, this is the only way to do it."
And for Chip Kelly, to create a culture and Belichick talks about it all the time, where everyone's aligned, everyone, you walk in the facility, it's about win today.¬† It's about I'm not here to promote Oregon, but I'm here to promote‑‑ I would like to think that people walk in the Ohio State football facility now, and it took a little while.¬† But from Amy, my assistant, to everybody associated with the facility person, everyone, this is the way we do it, really not a whole lot of conversation about it, and we have a culture here, too.
So that's what I took, instead of saying, let's go take their culture, it's something I always believed, when you see teams fail, it's not because of bad players, it's not because of bad coaches; it's because of alignment issues.  I'm convinced of that more than ever after being in this business for so long.

Q.  Their uptempo offense, you took some of that, too.
COACH MEYER: ¬†Yeah, at Florida, there's a misunderstanding that we were a big tempo team.¬† We weren't.¬† And I fought that.¬† We actually sent Dan Mullen, who was my coordinator, sent him to Missouri when Missouri had a breakout season.¬† And they came back and it was‑‑ I snatched that after about four days of spring practice.¬† And it was just, technique went to hell and our receiver coach is over there signaling instead of coaching receivers and that was ‑‑ we ended that real fast.
The negative of that what's happened with the tempo offense is:¬† You have an incredible leader at quarterback; he simply just takes a snap now.¬† He's not able to‑‑ it's not as easy.¬† In the old days, you know, the stories of Joe Montana looking at Jerry Rice and winking at him, and there's still that intangible value of this great game of football; let's you and me do this.¬† It's harder when that guy you're winking at is 25 yards away.¬† I had Pounceys (ph) and I had Tebow and I didn't want to lose that huddle.
Obviously we've lost it.  And there's still opportunity for great leadership I've learned but that was the thing that held us back from going full uptempo, four, five, six years ago.

Q.  You saw that as the future, though, didn't you?
COACH MEYER:¬† It is‑‑ everybody says it's not. ¬†It is.¬† It's an advantage for the offense.¬† And if you don't take it, then that's fine.¬† But even‑‑ I know Alabama is moving in that direction, and is it full speed all the time?¬† We're not.¬† But there's certainly‑‑ that gives us an advantage at times.

Q.  I know your overall philosophy doesn't change regardless of your quarterback, but seems like there were tweaks along the way from Braxton and J.T. seemed more horizontal in the passing game.  Cardale seems more vertical.
COACH MEYER:  That's more the defense we are playing.  I think that's very observant and very true if you do a little chart like we do, there's more downfield throws.  The last two teams we faced challenged us to go do that.  There's some teams we played this year that when they are off, you have to take the underneath stuff.
You know, Wisconsin was going to be‑‑ we knew what we were getting into it and it was going to be shot day.¬† If we don't hit those, might be a different outcome.¬† And then same thing with Alabama, really aggressive defense, challenge you, bump‑and‑run coverage.¬† Hitches against bump‑and‑run aren't any good.¬† Soft quarters is when you see us take the short stuff.
I wouldn't say it's more the personnel.  It's more what the defense gives you.

Q.¬† With Spencer, you've talked about how valuable he's been catching the football all season long, the last game‑‑
COACH MEYER:  Unbelievable.

Q.¬† Does that sum it up‑‑
COACH MEYER:  He's the MVP.  He's the MVP of our team.  He's the leader of our team.  He's the guy that at the right time, I'll probably make an executive decision and make him a captain.  He's a wonderful kid.  He's really what to me, football is all about.  He's a reason, him and sitting in the special teams meetings, him and just throwing himself in people's way and blocking.
The play that sprung, the one you're talking about, that one that sprung Zeke for an 85‑yard touchdown, he took two guys out and that's‑‑ there's not one person in this facility that's shocked that he did that.

Q.¬† YOU made an interesting comment after the game that Cardale opened up and maybe showcased your outside speed‑‑ you mentioned it's based on what the defense has given you, but all your quarterbacks have different skill sets.¬† What does Cardale give you that makes him a different look?
COACH MEYER:  He's a better pocket guy because he's big.  With Braxton, certainly earlier in his career, he was a guy that we tried to move around a little bit.  One reason was our offensive line was just starting to be good, and you have to help them out by moving the pocket and he's dynamic outside the pocket.
J.T. is a six‑foot‑‑ he'll tell you six‑two, six‑one; he's not (Laughter).¬† I don't want to get into what he is, but he's a great player.¬† There's times where‑‑ a very good deep ball thrower, too.
The one thing, all three of those guys are very good deep ball throwers.¬† But Cardale is the first guy I've had, I want to say since Alex that is up there that can high‑low a pass over the top of a defensive line and that's rare.¬† That's hard to find those guys.

Q.  Your punt return game struggled against Alabama, and granted you were facing an excellent punter but what can be done to tweak that?
COACH MEYER:¬† Yeah, the kick return struggled, too.¬† Our return game at times this year was good.¬† I don't know if our carry is going to do that with our special units tomorrow, but we led the nation in field position; No. 1 on offense and No. 1 on defense, and I don't know it that's ‑‑ they said that's never been done before.¬† And that's when you see those signs, I guess they are covered up but there are signs that talk about field position and hear it nonstop, and it's called the plan to win.
It's something we spend a lot of time on, and it's just a great example of when it's no longer a theory.¬† I call it‑‑ to our players, it's no longer theory, it's testimony of how you go win a game.¬† In theory this is how you win it but we can prove it now.¬† We do all kinds of statistical conversation with our players.
So to answer your question, it's the first time since, I want to say, the first or second game we had that we didn't return the ball outside the 20 on a punt on a kickoff, and we did it twice and punt return really struggled.  So what can we do?  Just really work hard at it.  It's not just the returner.  It's the holdup guys, and we realize we faced a bunch of talented guys, too.  Their coverage units, Alabama's, were excellent.

Q.  Parents being able to travel to Bowl games; what can be done?  They get 800 dollars.  Do you think everything should be paid for?  Should there be middle ground?
COACH MEYER:  No, you can't do that.  I think each family should get a stipend and I would be disappointed it doesn't happen.  I'm waiting for someone, one of you guys, to just blow it up and no one seems to want to do that.

Q.  More than a stipend of what they get right now?
COACH MEYER:  My family couldn't go there for 800 dollars.  So Big Ten office, imagine give them 800 each and give our coaches 800.  It's all across the board.  Our administration, you guys get 800 bucks, see you down there.  I just don't think that's right.
And it's a 15‑game season now.¬† It is what it is.¬† You have 85 scholarships, that's a lot of wear and tear on these players.¬† I'm noticing it.¬† I can see it. ¬†I've never practiced like this.¬† We are being very cautious right now because your bodies weren't meant‑‑ back when they did the 85 scholarship rule, there's 12 games.¬† The three that they added aren't against I‑AA or, you know, whatever they say the smaller schools.¬† The three that you're playing are Wisconsin, Alabama, Oregon.¬† Just throw those on the end of the schedule.
When I hear people make these committees, need some coaches on these committees to have some really good conversation about players families and wear and tear and maybe less about TV contracts.¬† So that would be real interesting.¬† You guys are allowed to write that.¬† Create some‑‑ stir it up a little bit.

Q.¬† Through official channels‑‑
COACH MEYER:¬† I'm trying to coach our game.¬† That's your job.¬† I know Gene Smith, the great thing about Gene Smith, he's practiced.¬† He's a football player.¬† So when I have a good conversation with Gene Smith, it's not what about the billboards, what about the ‑‑ are we going sell the shirts, are we not going to sell the shirts, what about your jacket you wear on the sideline and all those things.¬† And I get that, that's all important.
But when Gene Smith ‑‑ and that's I didn't have so much respect for him.¬† When you talk about the player, he looks at me and he goes, I understand, I understand, I got it, here is what we need Gene, here is why.¬† I'm good.¬† And he's played football before.
I heard someone said he came out and said that he's going to‑‑ that doesn't surprise me one bit.¬† Because Gene Smith understands the student athlete.

Q.  Beyond tempo stuff, with you and Oregon offensively, the way you attack teams, how similar are we talking about philosophically?
COACH MEYER:  Tom is a disciple.  He studied it for many years.  Actually Chip Kelly first started studying when I was at Utah.  He went from New Hampshire and he started that evolution and that would be a good conversation for Chip.  But there's a lot of similarities between the two programs as far as how you go target a defense.

Q.  How does that play into this game at all?  Is your defense used to playing against your offense so they can defend Oregon?
COACH MEYER:  It's a great question.  Remains to be seen.  I know I've gone in there and tell our defense what we don't like and what bothers us, and I'm sure they are doing the same thing.  They see it every day in practice.  And there are some things they do much better than we do on the perimeter and there's things we do a little better than them.
So it's not exactly the same but similar philosophy so I'm sure there's a lot of conversation between the two staffs.  More than normal games.

Q.¬† And before last season, we talked so much about the thousand‑yard rusher and what Carlos did last year in this offense, what Zeke has done this year in this offense, and you told us this since you got here but that power run aspect of what your offense does, with what we've seen with Zeke in the line the last two games, how vital is that to what you guys‑‑ how you guys attack?
COACH MEYER:¬† Yeah, there was a lot of hit on our‑‑ saying you never had a thousand‑yard rusher, and one year I had two 900‑yard rushers.¬† We're always ‑‑ guys get hurt.¬† It's not by purpose.¬† Sometimes we have three good running backs and they all have a lot of numbers.¬† It's worked out the last two years and I don't hear that much.¬† I think we are going to get a 2,000‑yard rusher someday.¬† I would love to have that.¬† But that's usually, we don't like to‑‑ we have other good players that touch the ball.
The thing I look at at the end of the year is more rushing yardage, and we try to be a Top‑10 in the country rushing and most of the time we are.¬† Most of the time we are a very good rushing team.¬† It just depends on your personnel and who is actually carrying the ball.¬† And it's all about the development of the offensive line.
So the concept of our offense is a power offense in the spread set.¬† That's ours.¬† It's not the which you can and duck and basketball and grass and all that.¬† It's a power offense, and that's why I'm going to recruit‑‑ rushing the ball, like what are you talking about.¬† And then you have to be armed with all the stats, which we are.

Q.  You talk about wear and tear on the players.  Wondering, when you came here, there were some who questioned your health situation.  Just wondering if you're living up to what's up on the wall?
COACH MEYER:  Doing great.

Q.  Everything is okay with your family?
COACH MEYER:¬† They are great.¬† They like winning.¬† (Laughter).¬† Bunch of smiles.¬† Yeah, everything‑‑ thanks for asking, and everything's great.¬† Couldn't be better.¬† I'm very blessed and it's a challenge because you get consumed.
There is a little consumption right now.  You're down to the 11th hour after this one, after the 12th and you get a little time to take a deep breath and everybody gets that.  But that doesn't mean we all watch out for like a good family, how is it going and how is your weight and how is this; you need to lose weight now instead of you need to gain weight.

Q.¬† Did you have any doubts at all losing a 1500‑yard rusher, whatever Carlos was, and have that fall on Zeke's shoulders?
COACH MEYER:¬† Here is an interesting stat.¬† We have seven players off of last year startingin the national ‑‑ I don't know if there's ever been done before.
Seven players left our program and are starting, not playing, not backups, not practice squad; starting in the National Football League.  In the history of college football, I'd like to know if that's ever been done.  I don't think it has, starting. That tells you how good that team was last year.
You take three offensive linemen, you take the starting tailback, best receiver, best linebacker, best corner and there might be another one in there, there's seven guys starting.  That's why I knew, especially when the two juniors left, Shazier and Roby, as a coach, how do you replace that.
So I thought these young kids were pretty good coming up, and that's why I made the comment.  In my own heart, I said, this is, what is it, this '15 team, watch out, and then they got better and better and better and better.  That's the great thing about college.  You're a pro, you probably don't see that much improvement because they are veterans already.

Q.¬† In particular, step in for Carlos ‑‑
COACH MEYER:¬† We had big plans.¬† We had a lot of confidence in him.¬† He started kind of slow.¬† His last two games are really productive.¬† He's a little tougher than I thought he would be.¬† His post‑contact yards are probably a bit more than I thought they would be.¬† He's a really tough runner.¬† So a little bit surprising.¬† It's not like we didn't have high expectations for him.

Q.  I remember you saying when they came up with the playoff that you can't imagine having to play a game and then preparing for another one, and I'm just wondering, you're living it right now.  How is it, how difficult is it or is it just a grind?
COACH MEYER:¬† I ask our players.¬† I'm not one of those guys been known to say‑‑ I check with our players constantly.¬† The guys I trust; how you hanging in there.¬† That last game, that was a hammer down.¬† Even our players looked at me after the game like, wow, because Alabama, especially in the trenches, you face a team like Alabama, I mean, gigantic human beings.
And so we are just‑‑ I'm watching it like I never have before, I mean, from the amount of contact we're having, to off their feet.¬† And that's where my strength coach, and we have our performance team here.¬† We use a GPS system.¬† We do hydration; we test their hydration every day.
And that's where I think this game is changed and it's in a trajectory where it's really good for the player because you try to keep them out of harm's way as far as your body.¬† The soft tissue‑‑ I could go on a dissertation on this stuff because we studied it so hard.¬† But the soft tissue injuries should not, if you do a good job with your strength staff, performance team; that player shouldn't go out there if they are dehydrated, and there's much better ways to find out now than there was years ago.
I'm telling you for a 15‑game season, I don't know if you could do it any other way.¬† You old school it with 15 games; you go jog out there with 35 players.¬† So you have to be very cautious.

Q.¬† This sounds silly to say because you're playing for the National Championship, do you have any concerns to get back to that level that you were at‑‑
COACH MEYER:¬† Oh, yeah‑‑

Q.¬† ‑‑ in the Sugar Bowl next Monday night‑‑
COACH MEYER:  Oh, yeah, that's our concerned and getting ready for a tempo offense, that means you have to be practicing hard.  What you just said is the concern for this game.

Q.  You touched on it a little bit, your 2013 signing class, what surprised you about their maturity and being ready to play and be impact players this quickly?
COACH MEYER:¬† Really disappointed we didn't play them.¬† A lot of those guys red‑shirted.¬† There was some‑‑ I was very disappointed.¬† And they weren't ready.¬† We don't redshirt.¬† It's not like we are going to say, hey, let's save them for the '17 year and let's have a heck of a year.¬† You can't do that now because they are all gone, any ways, after three.¬† If you're a great player, you're gone, so play them.¬† If they are not good enough, don't play them.
So that's the mentality we have when we go out and recruit.¬† When they are here, we don't say, we are going to save you and let you mature a little bit.¬† That used to be a big deal in college football.¬† At this level‑‑ and Pete Carroll, I stole him from him, one day I was listening to him talk at USC back in 2006 and he says, we don't redshirt guys here.¬† I thought, how cool is that.¬† Go out and recruit guys that go play.¬† Because kids want to play.
So I was disappointed that they didn't play more their first year because there was a handful of those guys that red‑shirted and some of those guys won't be here for their fifth year, so we screwed up.¬† We didn't get another year out of them.

Q.  But now the level they are performing at?
COACH MEYER:  Am I surprised?

Q.  Have the number of guys from that class that are performing really well now for you, does that surprise you this year?
COACH MEYER:¬† I think that Darron Lee, Eli Apple, Joey Bosa does not surprise me, Ezekiel Elliot; you gave me those names when we were walking off the field‑‑ wow‑‑
THE MODERATOR:  Release from College Football Playoff that per NCAA rules, the College Football Playoff is going to reimburse families of the players up to 1,250 per parent to go to the game.
COACH MEYER:  So that's 2,500.  There you go.  Nice job.

Q.  Can you react to that?
COACH MEYER:  That's great.  That's the best news I've heard.  That's great news.

Q.¬† Some of the parents on this team have been quite vocal‑‑
COACH MEYER:  Don't forget, Gene Smith is a powerful man in the sport.  And all due respect to all other ADs, for him to step out on the line like that, that's good.  I'd like to see our commissioners jump out on deck, too, and say, this should happen, because they are all employees of the student athlete.
Student athletes don't work for us.  Take them away and how is our job.  Take away the student athletes and who are you coaching, who are you AD'ing, who are you Commissioner'ing for.  I'm really fired up over that.  That just kind of made my day.  That's good.
So families get to watch their son play in their first ever National Championship, without providing hardship where they will have to take loans; or worse than that, you're going to take it from someone that you're not supposed to take money from, and then we'll miss a Bowl game.  That's outstanding news.

Q.  How does your preparation for this game differ from the two title games you've won?  Do you go back in your notes at all?
COACH MEYER:  Just went back, practices are a little different.  Those ones, we had 37 days to prepare.  I remember in '06 it was 37 or 47, some ridiculous number.  '06 was the first one removed from the traditional Bowl date.
So that's just a much different‑‑ this is a one‑game shot that really, you have four practices in shoulder pads.¬† And tomorrow we're going to give our guys a day off of practice, not a day off of preparation, but you just can't go‑‑ the tempo we went the last three days, you just can't‑‑ you're going to break them down.

Q.  Heuerman?
COACH MEYER:  Heuerman, what's the word, probable.  And Dontre Wilson is probable now.

Q.  You mentioned on the TV in the basketball game about the Penn State game, you felt that was the turning point.  Just wondered, was that mentally?
COACH MEYER:  Mental toughness.  You don't win that game unless someone, a group of players like Billy Price, Pat was talking about, 2013, he's part that have 2013 group that grew up.  He was not very good.  He struggled last year.  Struggled early in the season this year.
And every player has it, when you become a player, it's like you're‑‑ it's time and that was his time.¬† And he did a great job against a very good defensive line, and I just‑‑ I'll never forget looking out there and seeing that student body, 110,000 people.¬† It was scripted‑‑ I would say 99 percent of the time you lose that game.¬† It was scripted that way.¬† They came back, we fell behind.¬† They scored in overtime and we have got to go down and score with a freshman quarterback, freshman lineman, freshman this, freshman that, and they toughened up and got it in there.

Q.¬† Every year you're going to take ten to 12 in‑state guys, and it was kind of the same way at Florida with the talent in the state.¬† With Oregon, 95 percent of their classes are from far away places‑‑ can you comment maybe on your time at Utah?
COACH MEYER:¬† At Utah I had the same issue.¬† I talked to other coaches in other states and that's hard.¬† Matter of fact, when I was offered the job at Utah, that was the only thing that was‑‑ because there's great football players in Utah, just not enough of them.¬† So that's certainly, just a little bit of a challenge, but obviously they have overcome it because there's a bunch of great players there.

Q.¬† You've been a proponent of alternate uniforms because of the impact it has on recruiting‑‑
COACH MEYER:  Not really.  A proponent?  I just say okay.  Big difference.  (Laughter).

Q.  How much do you think that having Nike uniforms and gear can have an impact on an individual?
COACH MEYER:  Nike's cheating, man.  I'm saying that because the owner is a very good friend of mine.
Every school has their niche, and God bless Oregon for finding their niche and that is a huge part of it, man, their new uniforms, the stuff.¬† And do we listen‑‑ we're big Nike people here, as well and when they bring something to the table, it's hard to say no.¬† I always ask our players, I asked Archie Griffin.
I ask Gene Smith, because this is different now.  Ohio State, you start going too far and there's a lot of old timers out there, me included that, get a little nervous, you start spraying away from the old traditional stuff.
So you've got to be careful, and I think we're classy that we still maintain our traditional uniforms.  I hear we have new ones.  I haven't seen them yet.

Q.¬† Do you think whenever you're talking to‑‑ whenever you're on the trail, do you ever address that with players?
COACH MEYER:  Recruits?  Oh, yeah.

Q.  They love it.
COACH MEYER:  I bring pictures and all that.  Act like I like it.  (Laughter) I become a proponent of it.  (Laughter).

Q.  In your experience, do you recall a situation similar to Cardale's?
COACH MEYER:¬† I don't think so.¬† Tom Herman and I were talking about it the other day, and we kind of had a quick run down history lane here, memory lane, and I'm not sure we have.¬† And there's not many people in here that really know how far he's come.¬† There's a couple people, I think they have gotten the credit because I've talked about them a little bit, and that's Teddy Ginn, and Michelle, his mentor and guidance.¬† Sometimes you hear the word "mentor" and I get a cold chill shooting down my spine, because mentors, I don't call‑‑ they are the third uncles.¬† Third uncles aren't good.¬† They are bad, because third uncles are worried about third uncles.¬† The people that ‑‑ they could have ruined Cardale.¬† He could have been a statistic.¬† There could have been a big asterisk next to his name; whatever happened to so‑and‑so because he was given the wrong information and given the wrong guidance.¬† Instead, they looked and said, what do we need to do Coach, and I said, this is it or it's over, and they said, it's done.¬† Great story.

Q.¬† You've been the underdog five times since you've been here, and you've won them all.¬† How hard do you push that button, you're the underdog again‑‑
COACH MEYER:  We don't do that until it gets close to game time.  Our strength coach and I just feel where we're at.  We usually swing a little bit with it.

Q.  A little more detail there?
COACH MEYER:¬† And I don't mean to be like sly about it.¬† I mean, it's just we do‑‑ it depends on the team.¬† It depends where we're at.¬† I don't like pull out my underdog script that we have in my file there.¬† It's what kind of team you've got, who are we playing.¬† We played‑‑ since I've been a head coach, we've gone berserk with it a few times and there's other times, this last one, we didn't really play it up much.
I think I made the comment, I really believe that the shot in the arm was Wisconsin beating Auburn.  That's when I saw everybody walked a little different to the bus and when I saw that, you kind of read your team as you're talking about it; I could see everybody, that was legitimacy of what they have done.  So this one, I don't know what we are doing yet.

Q.¬† You've played two Heisman guys that went to New York and held them in check, and you've got a another one.¬† Do you have a philosophy‑‑
COACH MEYER:  Play them in a row?  Wow, I didn't realize that.

Q.  Do you say, let's stop those guys?
COACH MEYER:  Of course you say that's the target and you try to simulate that at practice.  You can't simulate him.  I was thinking about moving a receiver sometime but then he can't throw, because he is such a good athlete.  But that's the focal point.  When Cooper was on the field or off the field, we knew last week, Gordon, we had stuff all over the kids' lockers about stop this guy.  It's very clear, and if it's not now, it's certainly getting clearer that he's the guy.

Q.  You mentioned the seven starters in the NFL.  That team didn't have quite the success of this team, and I wonder what that says about this club's alignment and where that might come from?
COACH MEYER:¬† I think that's a great point.¬† I think that's one that I certainly didn't de value.¬† It was one, you just don't know because you can't measure that.¬† You can measure a 40‑yard dash and how many times they can do 225 and those type of things and how hard they throw a ball.
That's why I point to the Penn State game.¬† We played awful against Penn State in a tough environment.¬† And that's the beautiful thing about athletics in this game is that the immeasurables are the things that win games and that's when recruiting‑‑ I go back to‑‑ I can go off and off about this.
But get them to camp and find out what they are made of.  Here is a guy that runs for 4,000 yards, but they are playing bad teams and he's bigger and faster than everybody and you find out when you get him that he's not that.  And that's the intangible value of this great game of football that's been around way before us and going to be here way after us, and that's what this team developed and has, no question, has.

Q.  The seven starters, talking to them before practice, what was the gist of that?
COACH MEYER:¬† I can't remember. ¬†I think it was just the way‑‑ about I think we always talk about theory and testimony, and when ed Warner teaches an offensive lineman that's the way it's supposed to be it's not theory anymore.
When we first got here it was because it's a little bit different.¬† But now that every player he's coached is in the National Football League, it's testimony.¬† And same thing, we talk about our quarterback play, that every quarterback we've ever had our hands on has either been invited to New York or there's been conversation about it.¬† That's not theory anymore.¬† It's testimony about just because you're getting it‑‑ players get it from all angles now, uncles and peoples saying, why are you doing this.¬† We're good.¬† Just follow the plan.¬† That's all that was about.

Q.  Can you talk a little about the progression of your offensive line, basically four new guys starting, a guy playing a new position?
COACH MEYER:¬† Yeah, he's a hell of a coach.¬† I'm glad he's with us.¬† Certainly will get a head coach opportunity some day like all‑‑ the plan is ‑‑ I'll release the plan but he's going to be instrumental in the offense again.¬† The good thing is, and this might be a good time to talk about it is I'm losing a great coach with Tom Herman, but this isn't Rice or Iowa State's offense.
We said, let's try that, this is the Ohio State offense.¬† Next year, guess what it's going to be?¬† The Ohio State offense.¬† The year after it's going to be ‑‑ because Ed Warner will get an opportunity probably down the road and everybody is going to be, what do you guys do?¬† Well, we lost a great coach but we are still running the Ohio State offense.¬† I think that's when you look at transition of coaches, and Ed Warner, just reiterate what you said, has done a great job with the development of the offensive line.¬† But he's a pig picture line coach which is what makes him so valuable.

Q.  Could you talk about the progression of Joshua Perry?
COACH MEYER:  Yeah, that's a great question because he's one of my favorite guys.  He'll be a captain for us next year.  He's a guy that just does everything right, everything right.  He's already had multiple job offers outside of football from real life Wednesdays.  He's a guy I'd hire in a minute if he wants to coach.  He's a guy that just represents the Perry family and Ohio State the right way.  Normally, there's a high correlation between that and playing very well on the field and he's doing it.

Q.  It's not been that long since these two teams have played in the Rose Bowl and both programs have been in front of the NCAA taking hits and sanctions; what does that say to you about the programs?
COACH MEYER:¬† I can't speak for Oregon.¬† I can speak for Ohio State because I was here during that transition.¬† At a school like Ohio State, you're not ‑‑ you should be able to rally back pretty quick.¬† You know, I do, and that's why any time there's transition or issues you have to deal with, sometimes you get a little bit of a void in a recruiting class and it's amazing nowadays, one year‑‑ but we have a really a motto around here, there's no excuses from the coaches or players, and I don't want to hear about this, we don't have this, we don't have this, the previous staff‑‑ no, no, no.¬† We are good, they are your players now and our players now and do the best you can with them.
I really admire our coaching staff and our players for‑‑ to answer your question, to be able to rebound.¬† It was tough, you lost seven games, they came walking in and said, within, I think it was like three or four days, by the way, you can't go to a Bowl game.¬† And I remember, I sat down for a second like, oh, know.
And not so much for that year but you lose that recruiting class or a group of seniors who are allowed to get up and walk out that door, you get your brains kicked in that year and it send you back a while.  And what happened was, that group of seniors, if you remember, not one left, not one left, and that was a very bad football team that became very, very good because of their leadership and they stuck around.  You just bring back some great memories.
That's when this all started, when that group of players said, we are not going to leave here, we love Ohio State too much.  They could have all picked up and left.  We certainly would not be where we are today if they did not do that.

Q.  How much do you live vicariously through you lead and how much personal satisfaction do you allow yourself at this point in the season?
COACH MEYER:  Vicariously through people?

Q.  In other words, do you take joy out of what other people are feeling at this point of the year because of your accomplishments?
COACH MEYER:¬† Oh.¬† I don't know.¬† That's a hell of a question.¬† You got me there.¬† (Laughter) I don't know.¬† You kind of stumped me there.¬† Apologize for not answering.¬† 1‑0.¬† You're up.¬† I'm get you back, though.¬† If there's a second part‑‑ I don't want to be respectful.

Q.  I hope this isn't redundant, but you touched on this a bit.  But this isn't a normal week.  I'm sure you want to try to instill that in your kids a bit but it's uncharted.  What challenges and/or fears does that extra week present?
COACH MEYER:  Well, the biggest one is the health of the player, the wear and tear that we have to be leery of.  I was kind of worried about, was there outside influences.  I'm really glad we're here and not going down a week early and spending a week in Dallas and have to deal with all that nonsense.  We are going to get all our hard practices done.
I think the way they did it was perfect.¬† We don't leave until after our Wednesday practice which is big.¬† You get down there and they kind of tie you down and it's not all kinds of‑‑ we've already done the Bowl experience.
So those are my biggest concerns, because I didn't do any research on this.¬† We won the game, now, I look at my strength coach, what's next.¬† We stat down and started going through it, and I was excited that they weren't.¬† Because that would be a mess if you had to play another game and then had that same‑‑ the Bowl experience.¬† That would be tough.¬† Does that answer your question?

Q.  To run the ball like you did against Alabama, does that telling the offensive line is playing at a high level?
COACH MEYER:¬† Last two weeks, any time you have back‑to‑back 200‑yard rushing performances by a back and they protect.¬† The defensive lines the last two weeks were different.¬† Wisconsin was much different.¬† They are more movement oriented and then the tree trunks, the big guys against, big guys that stayed fresh.¬† So, yeah, no question, this is as well as they are playing.

Q.  They only have two games on your quarterback; how much of a game of poker do you try to do to keep it to your advantage?
COACH MEYER:¬† I don't know if there's‑‑ once again there's been a lot made about the difference between Cardale and maybe J.T., for a guy that's very involved in a play calling, it's not that much of a difference.¬† It's very similar.¬† We are not calling for deep balls because Cardale is our quarterback.¬† We are calling for deep balls because we are getting more bump‑and‑runs.
I don't think there's much of a chess match.  We know kind of what they are going to try to do.  That doesn't mean there's not a lot of adjustments that go on during the course of a game, but it's regardless of if it's Cardale, J.T. or Braxton.

Q.  Urbana, Ohio is going to be called Urban Ohio on Monday.  Your reaction?
COACH MEYER:  You're kidding.  (Laughter) Urbana, Ohio is dropping the A?

Q.  It's about an hour from here.
COACH MEYER:  Wow.  That's very nice.  Thank you.  FastScripts by ASAP Sports ...

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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