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February 4, 2015

Urban Meyer

COACH URBAN MEYER:  I now moved to my daughter's room.  She's in college.  I walk in her room, I plug my phone in, and you hear that darn thing going and going.  And I looked at my clock one time it's 12:10 and I'm still talking to Stan about Mike.
It was a very eventful night.  We didn't get everyone we wanted.  We battled really hard.  But the end of the day the five jumped in the boat today.  And the five were Isaiah Prince, K.J., Mike Weber, Josh, and Torrence Gibson.  That was a little anxiety around here during the morning, and our guys did a good job.
A couple of comments about the class.  Did very well in the state of Ohio.  Our linebackers I'm really excited about, I think that's Luke Fickell has really done a very, very good job the last three years of building back up to the Ohio State standards.  That I think was void when we got here.  Physical injuries, because of a variety of things.  You look now and you see Josh and Ray and Dante, you're starting seeing these athletes coming up on all special teams.  There was a time a couple of years ago the linebackers weren't involved in the kicking game.  It was because for whatever reason they're not.  Now they're all over the place.  You look at these three guys, Nick, Justin and Joe, they're the exact kind of body types, mentality, people that you want.
The offensive line, we don't have the tall, long guys.  We're 6‑6, 6‑7, 6‑7, and 6‑9, three or four tackles that we needed, we're short at that position.  Especially with Cal not being allowed to play football anymore because of his injuries.
I'll answer some questions for you.  But once again, please don't forget about conversations about the current student athletes, and you want to do a great story, do a story from August until January 15th on what a student athlete does.  Most people don't understand that.  They see a kid play against Oregon, and they say that's cool.  If we had to practice one more day, we had to go against each other, there was no scout team, it was over.  For all the committees making decisions, they need to hear those decisions, because you just have to do the right thing by the players.
I'll answer your questions for you.

Q.  (Inaudible.)  Have you ever had a situation like this or seen a situation like this?
COACH URBAN MEYER:  I love Joey Burrow, he's a guy that was under the ‑‑ I don't want to say we wanted to see what we wanted.  The unfortunate thing right now, all the early recruiting you're letting ‑‑ between your sophomore and junior and junior and senior, they're growing up, I'm watching my son, how big he's getting.  Joey Burrow is right on schedule.
Tom Herman went down there and I don't know if he's highly rated or not.  But I remember he sent me a screen into his phone as he's watching this kid throw.  He said, I found your next Alex Smith.  And you meet the kid and his family.  And it's A1A.  He's a competitor, he wins.  He wins at football.  He wins at basketball.  He's a coach's son.  We're real impressed with him.
Torrence I didn't know as well.  He came in, the thing I asked Torrence is, don't penalize us because our guys play real well.  I ‑‑ everybody has three or four quarterbacks, if you don't you're struggling.  Our three or four happen to play really well.  Don't hold that against us.  Because Cardale might leave after next year, and Braxton is out, you're down to one, maybe two.  Don't hold that against us.  Come and compete for the spot.  You go from Braxton to J.T., don't penalize the Ohio State Buckeyes because all four played well.

Q.  (Inaudible.)  Have you ever had guys of that caliber?

Q.  Coming off a National Championship, I'm Mike Weber, and I have Michigan, and I have them pulling me to stay there.  What does Urban Meyer tell me the night before signing day to come here?
COACH URBAN MEYER:  He's a guy that's been here a bunch, he's been committed, and we've all been down that road.  And Elliot was ‑‑ that's his brother.  Now, I heard him talk, I heard the term brother.  Ezekiel is our best recruiter.  His mother played at Missouri.  His father played at Missouri.  His mother was a track star at Missouri.  And he went through the same transition.  They were talking about the Yankees or Red Sox, they're talking about how that is, the pressure.  I know I want to do this, but what about this?  And former players going to his house.  There was NFL guys from the rival, just trying to do what they're doing.
To be able to maintain it, as of 11 o'clock last night I wasn't sure what he was going to do.  And even at 8:00, 9:00 this morning we all weren't sure.  Up until about an hour before it announced we weren't sure.
Your question is:  What do we tell them?  The last two tailbacks are as good as anybody in America.  Statistically we have a fantastic offensive line and we believe in our tailback.  It's not theory.  It's real.  You watch it on film.

Q.  What do they bring to the table more than anything else?  You've gotten sixth year, five last year.  The cupboard is getting I guess restocked.
COACH URBAN MEYER:  We made some mistakes when we first got here.  We had a couple of guys not work out.  And Coach Warinner is a magician taking guys that really never played football and making them NFL type players.  He's the best I've ever been around, I've never seen anything like that.
We were holding our breath this year because we were down to the nubs as far as what was left, and we needed this kind of haul.  In there, there's guys more game ready than others because of the amount of experience they had, and the quality and competition, and those type of things.  You need offensive linemen, a little like D line, it takes a couple of years to get going.  They're long and athletic, three or four of those guys, which we just don't have.

Q.  Up until midnight, 1:00, is that still fun to you?  How would you describe that?
COACH URBAN MEYER:  Yeah, it was fun when you were 27 years old, and you're 50 now.  It's fun when you get them and you smile and laugh.  But what's fun is when they're very good people and you can bleed with them a little bit because you know what they're going through.  You're talking about Mike Weber, he's a great kid.  Isaiah Prince, when you guys get to know him, there's no better guy than that.  K.J. Hill, that was mostly Chris Ash until the end.  A very intelligent player that's doing it for the right reasons, and very good family.
It's fun when you're dealing with that kind of people.

Q.  Do you ever check off a check mark you've beaten that coach for a guy he coveted?
COACH URBAN MEYER:  No, you don't have time to do that.  We do keep score against the rival in everything we do.  And they're great recruiters, they always have been.  The previous staff was great recruiters.  That's gone on for long before us, and will take place long after us.  Absolutely you keep score on that one.

Q.  How different would this class have been without a National Championship?  Did you gain people?
COACH URBAN MEYER:  I think we'll find that out after we ‑‑ certainly 16 you've seen a jolt.  That's going to help us.  I tell people it was like a 30‑day infomercial.  I thought maybe we might turn, but that didn't happen.  There's a few that helped us.  I think Burrow was still coming, and Mike, I don't think he came because we won a National Championship.  It gets it in a positive light.  Sometimes things happen and it's not in a positive light.  Anytime it's positive, go pay for positive advertisement for 30 days and see what that looks like.  That's basically what it was.

Q.  The whole recruiting, and particularly announcing, I just wonder if you could look at a crystal ball, what do you think it's going to be like in ten years, the same format?
COACH URBAN MEYER:  I've been on committees, and we've been asked that every year at the American Football Coach Association.  We have Big 10 meetings next year, I'm sure that will come up.  When I was in the SEC had a great model.  And then I start thinking, my daughters went through it.  And I'm trying to visualize it.  No visit policies, you can't do this, you can't do this.  Coach, your daughter can't go visit this school.  Sure she can.  They're 17, 18 years old, they're getting a plethora of offers and opportunities.
It's done when the person signs the dotted line.  The more I'm thinking about it, even though we had the battle, and you said is it fun at midnight, no, it's not fun.  But at the end of the day that young person gets to pick whatever school they want to pick.  And now they can gather as much information as they can get their hands on.  I don't think we get Hill or Prince, I'm trying to think who else, maybe not Mike.  I think he was committed by then.
So, I kind of like the model.  Not that my voice matters too much.  But I think I'd be disappointed if it changed.

Q.  A guy like Torrence, a long drawn out process with him.  How much more does it take to get one specific guy like that in comparison to other guys?
COACH URBAN MEYER:  That's a great question, because there are those that tear up and say, My grandfather knew Woody Hayes, and I want to play for Ohio State, where do I sign?  The others if you put a stopwatch on the time you've spent with them, it's out of control.
And to be quite honest, as much as you like the person, I grew up as a Buckeye, and then you get a guy out of south Florida, he's more of a fit, you really have to grind to get.  I don't think it's gratifying, but to get a guy ‑‑ the amount of time on Torrence was ridiculous, but he seemed always to be a natural fit offensively.  And he liked the way Ohio State did their stuff.

Q.  When it comes to pace and putting together a class, sometimes you get eight at the beginning, sometimes you don't have any until July.  Do you guys have a way you want to assemble it?  Is it little by little?
COACH URBAN MEYER:  I like the little by little.  Everybody wants ‑‑ if we took everybody that wanted to commit it would be done.  And I've seen people fail.  You get stuck.  And I think the coaches deserve a right to see a player play his senior year, have them in camp and get to know them a little bit.  There's some people that tried to commit during the Championship game that we don't know, I hope it works, but I don't know them yet.
So I'd rather be much slower and a couple here, a couple there, a couple here and have a few left at the end.

Q.  You always say that you don't recruit kids to red shirt.  You want them to play right away.  Coming off a national title you have a very young team.  What do you envision competition with this group coming in?  Is it going to be more difficult for this group?
COACH URBAN MEYER:  I hope so.  That means you have a good team.  Obviously if you've got a team, a bunch of true freshmen, you're probably getting your tail kicked in a little bit.  I don't know.  I think there's nothing quite like having a very good player behind a guy in front of you, either to make you show up and go every day.  There's nothing like it.  That makes their grades better.  The great things Coach Drake did is ‑‑ that's the perfect world that every coach wishes they have, but that doesn't happen very often.
Next year will be a very competitive group.  A bunch of starters coming back.  But a bunch of guys that signed a piece of paper that want to get a spot.  They have the right.  If they're better than the player, we don't worry about what you've done in the past.  We try to create competition in everything, from the classroom to the offseason workout to the summer workouts and obviously during spring and summer.

Q.  Everybody wants to be a great closer, a salesman.  You went five to five last night, what do you attribute that?
COACH URBAN MEYER:  We missed on a couple of guys earlier.  I think once again I think it was our players.  I don't think, I know.  But Mike Weber is not at Ohio State without Ezekiel.  I don't think it happens, I don't think, I know it doesn't happen.
I attribute it to you believe in what you're selling.  A lot of momentum.  And our players right now are bought in.  That's the cool thing.  You walk in drills, you see the weight room and the attendance, it's been great with Coach Marotti.  There's a lot of momentum in Ohio State.

Q.  Could you detail the process by which you got Prince and K.J. Hill, two guys that are not committed?
COACH URBAN MEYER:  Prince was a battle.  Prince committed to another school.  Wonderful family, father is from Trinidad, and just a great, great people.  He was a fit.  And then we went to see him, felt great.  Home visit.  And then he made a commitment.  He came back for a visit and was blown away.  And it was a street fight until signing day.  I think he's a great fit.  Great player that a lot of people wanted.
K.J. Hill was interesting.  He committed early.  He was on our radar.  Chris knew his family, he was telling us what great people they are.  He was a receiver.  He liked how we do things.  And I think the National Championship helped a little bit.  He saw we lost two upperclassmen, too, and he watched very closely with what we do with the receivers.  I think he jumped in because of the actual receiver play.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
COACH URBAN MEYER:  There's a couple injury issues that we're dealing with.  And right now I think we're only at 85 or 86.  I don't have that number in front of me.

Q.  Berry, some people were talking D and some people talking tight end.  Is that a situation that have you always thought of him as a tight end?  Second, Arnette, out of a school you know well.  Probably knew it well when you were at Florida.
COACH URBAN MEYER:  We'll take one every year if they give them to us.  That's a great school.  Rashod, that's all coach Drayton, he does a great job in the northeastern part of the state, and just spotters himself in there.
He talked about Rashod a while back.  I don't know him well.  He's one of those typical guys.  I think we put him at tight end, we'll see what happens.  We didn't know quite what we were going to do with our man Sam Hubbard, because his body kept changing and all that.
I really like this kid.  I like his family.  Got to spend a little time with them, but Stan Drayton is doing cartwheels with this guy.  He's seen him play basketball.  He thinks he's one of the stars of this class.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
COACH URBAN MEYER:  We had a de‑commit and we had some injuries in the secondary a little bit.  Right now there's a chance he might not play.  When I talk about injuries, because of concussions, and that's still being evaluated.  That's a big priority, especially his size.  He's tall, he's athletic, he's a strong guy.  Kind of developed in the last year.  And he was a must get, especially after we had a de‑commit.

Q.  From what we know about the roster it seems more that you're at 90 or 91.  Are there anymore you can tell us?
COACH URBAN MEYER:  I think Ron Tanner ‑‑ you've got to give me a couple of days, I've been running around the country.  I think Ron Tanner and Armani are two off the top of my head that won't be able to play anymore.  Johnson can't.  Bogard can't.

Q.  Bogard definitely done?

Q.  How much are you aware of that with your roster management?  You talked about losing guys at the end of the season, and you're short on bodies, how much are you trying to max out ‑‑
COACH URBAN MEYER:  I never really oversigned.  We don't go two over, three over.  Gene and I really never had those conversations, because we just don't do that.  There's a couple of guys when you're not sure if they can continue playing.  There's a couple of guys with two ACL injuries.  You have to be aware.
How aware am I of the roster?  About as well as I can be.  There's also the truth that you don't know for the next couple of weeks, couple of months, until you see what happens.  You have to prepare.  But you also can't do the unthinkable, and be stuck with 87 scholarship players come June or July.

Q.  Did you see the cost of attendance issue, is that something that came up with any kid?  Just in terms of ‑‑
COACH URBAN MEYER:  I have no idea.  I have heard that for the last year, I don't know what that means.

Q.  There are guys that had big senior years.  What do you think those guys add to that picture?
COACH URBAN MEYER:  Less chance for Erick, because you get to see him as a senior, less buyer's remorse because you get to watch them.
When I first started coaching the recruiting started the senior year, and now it starts the sophomore year.  We had to make a decision.  The first couple of years we fought that and fought it and finally we had to give in a little bit to get in the game.  The days of making a guy come to camp are over.  We've accepted that.  That's disappointing, because I think we should have the right to do that.  Darron Lee, if he doesn't come to camp, he's not at Ohio State, and there's other players like that.

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