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September 21, 2015

Urban Meyer

Columbus, Ohio

COACH MEYER: Haven't watched all the secondaries in the country, the defensive back fields, but I take ours, especially the way they're playing, the way they worked, the way they're coached. We went from one of the worst pass defenses in America two years ago -- I know we're No. 1 in the Big Ten, but we have to be up there in the national rankings. I haven't seen that. But playing at a high, high level. That's obviously correlated with the pressure we get to put on the quarterback.

Tyquan Lewis graded a champion, Joey Bosa, Adolphus Washington, Raekwon McMillan, Josh Perry, Eli Apple, Gareon Conley, Tyvis Powell, and the co-players of the game were Darron Lee and Vonn Bell, so obviously the ones that did not, it looks like we have a couple interior guys.

But the four guys in the secondary, the three backers, that's a heck of a day against an offense we had a lot of respect for going into it. An offense not just with a very good quarterback and skill, but well-coached and did a variety of things that our guys practiced well.

On offense, no champions. We did not do well. One of the worst-executed performances since we've been here, so we'll get that corrected.

Special teams was solid, and we had players special efforts was Jalin Marshall and Erick Smith, and Vonn Bell also got an award for kickoff cover, and then special teams player of the game was Chris Worley, just great effort on punt kickoff and punt block starting on three phases.

So I'm just going to go ahead and hit it with the quarterback situation. That seems to be a theme. Had a conversation with one of them yesterday, and going to have another one today. And I think because of all the intrigue by it, that you'll hear someone say how can you play quarterback with someone looking over your shoulder? And my comment to that person was -- well, no one's complaining, but how do you not?

If you think you're going to play at the next level, there is going to be probably one better than you stand right next to you, so get used to it. You are going to look. That doesn't mean you get hooked. If you have a bad day, you get replaced. That might not be everyone's philosophy and that's okay. That's okay.

We're going to play -- I haven't decided yet, we're going to have conversations. Today, not one is beating out the other, and they're not playing great. So once again, if that's an excuse, which I call it an excuse of how can you perform with someone looking over your shoulder, NFL quarterbacks do. I've never had one not. We've always had a back-up quarterback. It just happens the back-up quarterback here whoever it may be is really good.

So it's not that, we just have to perform better. We're turning the ball over at alarming rate, and we're not playing well on the offensive front. So all those things have been addressed, and it's more coaching than playing performance. So we're going to get that fixed. I expect a much better performance Saturday from our guys.

So with that said, I'll answer any questions.

Q. If you say that not one has beaten out the other yet, does that mean that Cardale is still likely to start?
COACH MEYER: I don't know.

Q. When you go through a week, can you take us through how you have managed these guys in terms of practice reps and game reps?
COACH MEYER: Cardale has gotten most of the one reps. He's a high-volume right now guy. J.T.'s a very efficient guy and he stands right behind him and gets the same reps. Just not actual behind center. So those are all things that haven't been determined yet.

Q. Do you think that any of the other -- the offensive line the last couple weeks struggled. Does that have anything to do with playing two different quarterbacks?
COACH MEYER: No, no. That has something to do with facing a variety of defenses. We did not prepare our guys for, once again, it just sounds bizarre and it is, but Northern Illinois changed their whole defense, and we weren't able to adjust and adapt and we slowed down the offensive line. So we're playing defense and offense right now, and it's not working. So we're going to take a more aggressive approach to how we go about our business.

Q. Kind of an off-beat question. But last week on your radio show you mentioned you tried to hire Toledo coach Matt Campbell to your staff. Going back to that time, what stood out about him? Can you take us back to that time?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, that's a great question. He at the time was the No. 1 assistant at Toledo, and I was putting together a staff from scratch. Kind of an idea with Tom Herman because I worked on that a little previous to that. But other than that, no idea. Then I started recruiting, and he's really well known throughout the State of Ohio. Obviously has Bowling Green ties, where I do too, and obviously Mt. Union ties which I knows those guys really well too. Just the feedback was really positive. We have a great relationship, and I think he's a star in the business right now.

Q. When you watch the tape of the offensive performance, what stood out to you? Was it a bunch of different things?
COACH MEYER: Bunch of different things. Obviously, when no one grades a winning performance, bunch of different things.

Q. No theme at all or is it just each time it was somebody else messing up?
COACH MEYER: If someone's going to ask this question, we didn't play very well, and it wasn't -- we don't do this anyways, it's not the quarterback, it's not the O-line, it's a variety of things that we have to play better. If you look historically what an Ohio State offense is for us, it's control the line of scrimmage, best perimeter blocking in America, which we had last year, and a very good, solid play, action passing attack. That's not what's going on. So we're going to get that fixed.

Q. This is obviously your offense, but there was a lot of turnover on the offensive coaching staff during the off-season. Do you feel like are you guys all on the same page right now?
COACH MEYER: We're getting there. It's not as smooth. Anytime you have transition, we lost two. Stan Drayton was a very quality coach and so was Tom Herman, obviously. But we've hired two very quality guys. I just think we're going to adapt and change some things, and while I'm anxious to -- I wish we were playing tomorrow.

Q. Herman used to talk about how he liked calling the plays from the press box and it was a sterile environment and he enjoyed that. Is that just everybody's different? Is that something you might look into?
COACH MEYER: We're looking into some of that. Ed Warriner's -- it's not like it's a demotion or something like that. And Tim's been here long enough. The way it would work I would say Tim or Dan Mullen or Tom Herman, run this, run this, and it's boom, and we're on the same page and we're going. We're not quite there yet.

Also if we go jet tempo, that's got to be from upstairs, because you can't see anything from down there. So those are all things we're going to get cleaned up.

Q. If there's ever something you don't like out of a specialist and all those guys have their own coaches, generally, and Cam's is in Australia, so how do you handle that dynamic? Do you let them sort it out with their coaches? Do you ever talk to them?
COACH MEYER: No, as far as getting that extra coaching? I met the guy, and he came over and visited us. Obviously they're far away, but I always think a specialist, a kicker, a punter should have that extra guy that he works with. I know our kicker does.

No, I encourage that. Because you only have nine coaches, and I'm kind of the guy that -- coach of those guys. In punting I have a pretty good understanding of, in kicking I don't. So I always encourage those guys to have a guru or a mentor or a coach that works with them in the off-season.

Q. Do they handle everything? Like if there's something you don't -- if Cam's not getting enough hang time or --
COACH MEYER: No, no, punting, we handle that. The kicking is -- those are strange guys those kickers, so we just kick them through the upright (smiling).

Q. You mentioned turnovers and turning the ball over. How do you handle that other than emphasizing it? Is there anything you do?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, you have to look at how and evaluate each one. We had three turnovers, three interceptions. All three were absolutely inexcusable. Sometimes there will be something where a guy gets hit as he's delivering a ball. Zeke Elliott who is usually pretty good, laid one on the ground. Curtis has been really good, but the guy put his helmet right on the ball, so I'm evaluating. That has an impact on who touches the ball.

If I see Mike Thomas one time, he didn't get fumbled, but he swung his armed around. We really watch that, teach through it, coach through it. That's how.

Q. It was also like they weren't turnovers, but sloppiness in terms of --
COACH MEYER: Dropped balls?

Q. Yeah.
COACH MEYER: Braxton dropped a snap.

Q. Yeah, are guys trying to do too much? Do you see pressing there?
COACH MEYER: Good question. It's a fight for the ball a little bit too. That's a very good question. I guess if you're only playing three guys, but we play more than three because we have more than three. I'm talking about the skill set. So that's observant, and I think there is something to that. That's our job to calm it down a little and go play. Because one's over here and we drop the ball. The other one we motion in and between the exchange we drop the ball.

Q. You talk a lot about wanting to get the ball to your best play makers. Do you feel like you guys have been doing that? Did you do that Saturday with the play calling?
COACH MEYER: No. And then a couple times we did and it didn't get to them, so we'll get better.

Q. Specifically with Braxton, you guys had eight direct snaps to him against Hawaii. I think it was just two last week. Do you like that direct snap to him? Is it possible that takes the quarterback out of any rhythm when he comes in for them?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, I like it because it's one of the best athletes in America with the ball in his hand, and it's sometimes a rhythmic issue. It worked pretty well against Virginia Tech, so we're not going to stop that.

Maybe what we'll do is that's a flow of the game type thing. But we have some Q runs and you don't necessarily want to hammer your other quarterback.

Q. Looking back, obviously you've said there were multiple areas offensively where things weren't going right. When you took Cardale out of the game, was that the right time to take him out or is there, looking back, is there any second thoughts about that?
COACH MEYER: I think it was the right time.

Q. What made you?
COACH MEYER: Turnovers.

Q. That read on that second turnover?

Q. I guess the question is it seemed like J.T. had a similar read on his pick later, but he didn't come out.

Q. So what is the -- how do you determine what causes a change of quarterback?
COACH MEYER: Well, it's a feel of the game. It's not something I have written down. It's something that I have to make sure that you're on the same page that they are, and that's not easy. The thing that I worry about and I know that's happening is just the overwhelming mess that is on these 19, 20, 21-year-olds as far as that's why I'm probably going to say just let them stay away from the quarterback for a while. Just let them get settled in and go.

Very unique situation that I constantly evaluate am I doing the right thing by them? And I don't know any better other than if you have a very good player at the number two spot and number one's not performing, go in there. If your number two is not very good, but I don't know. At this kind of level, I don't know where that is.

When I hear that, most of the people that say that haven't played a whole lot. But every once in a while you hear someone say how can I play -- well, I'm not looking over your shoulder if you perform pretty good. If it's not good, then we have to make a change. We have to win the darn game, and that was a close game.

Q. Your psychology, what is the difference in psychology between hunter and hunted, and how has that psychology affected your kids?
COACH MEYER: Great question. I think it's affected us offensively, and we're playing defense on offense right now, and you don't do that. Some people do, but our history is we want to score a lot of points. We want -- our objective is to score a lot of points and still play great defense. So very good question. It's something that I feel on offense. Not defense, defense or special teams, this whole program is the hunter.

On offense right now, for a variety of reasons and not the players, we're sitting back and we're not going to do that anymore.

Q. You kind of hinted at it earlier from the quarterback situation, are you thinking about going with one guy now and see how it goes?
COACH MEYER: Let's be clear. I did go with one guy. The guy didn't perform well, so we went with the back-up. There is no set thing saying that we're a two-quarterback system, we're not. The back-up's a very good player, whomever that may be. So we are going with the guy.

Q. Number two, you guys, I'm not going to say you live on it, but what sets you apart are your explosive plays. And you had them against Virginia Tech and stuff. But sort of do you feel a frustration there too in the offense about not getting those?
COACH MEYER: As is Marty's question, you're the hunted instead of the hunter. So, yeah, those are all addressed. You're exactly right. We recruit players to have explosive plays. We give them opportunities to have explosive plays and over the last several years for the majority, they made them. We're not doing that right now, so that's a high, high emphasis right now.

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