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OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 12, 2015
URBAN MEYER: Player of the game was Sam Hubbard. Did a great job. He had a forced fumble, pass broken up, interception, the quarterback pressure, two sacks, attack for a loss and three tackles. So have a day, Sam, and that was good. Good young guy, incredible player, incredible future.
Maryland offense champions, wide receiver, Braxton Miller once again is learning how to play receiver, and for the fan or someone, boy, he caught the ball nice. He did what he's doing. He also blocked two screen passes very well. One was Jalin, I believe, and one was Mike on a little smoke screen, and that's a big part of playing receiver is doing the other things.
Jalin Marshall played very well. 89% grade out. Offensive line he had Taylor Decker and Jacoby Boren. Tight endes both graded out champs. Marcus Baugh is a guy that's played 38 plays, and that's way up, obviously, and Nick Vannett. So we're getting a little more comfort. We don't have much depth, but those two guys are playing okay.
Players of the game, Co, the two quarterbacks, Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett. Obviously, Cardale Jones had I think statistically his best day. 90% completion rate -- I'm sorry, 75% completion rate, almost 30 yards, and took care of the football and did a very good job managing the offense and Chucking the ball down in situations and thought he did a very good job leading the team.
J.T. Barrett is an incredible leader. 100% completion rate. 88 total yards, three rushing touchdowns, and that's that.
Special teams, special teams here. Special efforts, Gareon Conley, Jalin Marshall, and Adolphus Washington had I think it's our third -- getting our hand on a field goal, third one this year. Adolphus got his hand on one, and special forces player of the game was Craig Fada, one of my favorite players and a guy that does things right. So excited for a big-time home game, night game atmosphere, and ready to answer questions for you.
Q. J.T. is the red zone quarterback. As well as he did in that role, barring something unforeseen, do you think that's a permanent move?
URBAN MEYER: I think so, but I'm not writing it in Sharpie yet. We'll see how it goes. I think everyone on our team to see him and his energy, and he's a good player. He gives us that extra -- Cardale can certainly run, but when you have that threat, you saw it Saturday, and you have to defend that now.
Q. You use the word energy. Do you feel like it energized the team? It seemed to energize the crowd.
URBAN MEYER: I think so. I think J.T.'s got the personality and the work ethic and respect amongst everybody in this room, and that's not saying Cardale doesn't. Cardale works his way tail off now, so that's a good issue right now.
Q. (No microphone) you talked several times about how much you wanted Braxton to get to that barrier. When you have those conversations with him, is that something he's expressed as well that he wants to be more involved?
URBAN MEYER: What do you think? What do you think? I'm asking you.
Q. I think the answer is no.
URBAN MEYER: No, no, no. Every good quality player wants the football, and we don't discourage that. That goes back to my days in 1986 when Cris Carter was playing receiver, he wanted the ball. What did Coach Bruce do? Gave him the ball. We don't look at that as a negative.
Now it becomes a special media fiasco and selfish where it's getting away of production. But when we go out and recruit skilled athletes, we want them to want the ball. When me and Braxton have conversations, it's about how do we get him the ball and make sure he's fundamentally sound to do it. You can't take the hand off the run way and do those.
Q. What is the right way to express that feeling?
URBAN MEYER: I want the ball. I think I don't mean to be sarcastic, because I've had some situations where they weren't -- the appropriate way is not to have your uncle call me or to tell you guys and then you guys whatever. But I hope there is enough respect in a relationship with guys like Braxton Miller and the players we have that we are trying to get the guys that deserve the ball.
I'd be shocked if you said to Braxton are those coaches working to keep you involved, and he said, my gosh -- so I think that answers your question.
Q. There's much discussion about these black jerseys as it seems to me about the use of your quarterbacks. How do you go about -- my understanding is you don't have to wear these? What is your decision making process?
URBAN MEYER: Decision making?
Q. To wear them, or did they send them and you say, all right, we're wearing them?
URBAN MEYER: No, the story goes as they came in last year, and I think every year we do a -- I don't really get involved with the uniforms, especially a place like Ohio State where you're knee deep in tradition.
So Nike came to us and what do you think of this? And my first reaction was no way, no chance. And I looked and said whoa, and it looked pretty sharp. Then Gene looked at it, and granted I think there are some channels that everybody has to run them through to make sure that they're on par with what's expected at Ohio State. Then you start thinking about the student body, the fans and the unique experience of recruiting players, and it's kind of a unique experience.
Q. Do you poll the players do you ask them?
URBAN MEYER: I think I did. Not the whole team, because there are a bunch of guys that I don't care what they think. But the leaders of the team, I asked them, and I'm sure you know their reaction.
Q. Do you really like that?
URBAN MEYER: I haven't seen it.
Q. Aside from the part of having J.T. play in the red zone, how much of a lift, if there is a lift, just having him involved in a significant way so a guy like him who is a captain, who is obviously the guy last year has a real role on the team?
URBAN MEYER: I think that's all good. It's very touchy with the two people involved doing it, with the families involved, and I think we're very leery of that. But I think everyone knows the answer to that. It can't be better to have J.T. Barrett going in, and have three touchdowns and see the smile on his face, and the guy that's worked so hard and has his leadership skills and able to use them. Because he's always going to lead. That's just the way he is. I didn't know this until the middle of the season last year, that's one of the best leaders I've ever been around.
Q. As far as Penn State goes, obviously they had a strong game against Indiana. What are your impressions of them so far?
URBAN MEYER: Excellent defense. I think they're top 10. I haven't seen the final stats, but had a hard time moving them last year, very good defense. Offensively seems to be their coming into their own. I have not spent a lot of time. Tomorrow I'll watch their offense. Started slow, but they're really moving it. So, obviously, we have a lot of respect for Penn State and their players. They're great players.
Q. I remember you saying that you have a camera that looks at your guys on the sidelines for reactions and stuff like that. I'm wondering if that video this year has been especially enlightening? Because you've got guys over there that are you're so deep that they're not used to being on the sidelines. Are their reactions what you want?
URBAN MEYER: We don't have a specific camera for that. I might have misspoke. What I do when I'm watching a play and you see a big play, I pause it to see who is reacting. Is that what you're talking about?
Q. Yeah. You've got guys over there because you're so talented and deep, Joey Bosa's spending more time there than he ever has, Cardale is obviously spending time there. Are you seeing what you want from reaction?
URBAN MEYER: Yeah, I'm seeing a very close team, a team that's playing hard. I think that's a good point, but I have not felt it or seen it. I have certainly not seen it, and I listen closely to the Ryan Stampers of the world, the guys that know these players and listen and find out there are not some issues because that's something we want to trade closely.
Q. Typically with Cardale, how tough is it to be the guy until you get to the 20 and then turn the reins over? What's it say about him that he's doing that?
URBAN MEYER: I think Cardale continues to grow as a human being, as a young man, and a person that I have a lot of respect for. Maybe that respect wasn't there two years ago because he hadn't earned it. I think that's the same -- my thought -- and the reason I say my is I'm talking about the whole program. There is an incredible amount of respect for that kid and the way he handled it. I didn't see the quotes, but Jerry asked me if he could visit with you guys and certainly. He's earned that right, and I imagine he would say all the right things.
Because I think he's earned the right to have that conversation. We're going to do what's best for the team, but he was involved in that conversation. Like I said, two years ago, he would not have been. People earn things around here, and he's earned an opportunity to let me know what his thoughts are.
Q. A little off topic, I assume you know what's going on at USC out there. Without getting into specifics. You've been on both sides. You've been an assistant and head coach. How hard is it for an assistant to confront their head coach or to say something if the head coach may not agree with? Just kind of that accountability piece? Does that make sense?
URBAN MEYER: Yeah, I would rather not speak to that because I don't know the whole situation. I can answer your question because I think every coach wants that guy on his staff, a guy that -- I've had them all along in my opinion. I think right now Luke and Chris fall into that category. Luke Fickell and Chris Ash. Certainly I've always had it with Mickey Marotti that will give me one of these, because head coaches are wrong a lot of times. And you need to have the checks and balances in place to make sure. So I think you need to be probably a little bit more mature coach that's been around for a while.
Because I've seen some things when I was assistant coach that I'm still to this day upset that I didn't fix it because I was very young. And the older you get, the more mature you get, you have, Coach, I don't think we should do that. So does that answer your question?
Q. You're Midway through the regular season. You're looking at your team, what do you see? Where do you think you guys are at?
URBAN MEYER: A very good team that gave up 130 yards to scrambling quarterback. They came out and I give Mike a lot of credit. They came out and went back to kind of his roots when he was at Illinois as the offensive coordinator. Pure spread offense against us, Q runs. We stop the tailback. That's two weeks in a row that we basically eliminated the run game other than the quarterback run.
They had some Q runs, but that really hurt us. The long one was in scramble. The defensive line got out of position, and he took off and ran straight ahead. But I disregard the last touchdown against our defense. That was a ridiculous play on offense. The game should have been over. The twos and threes were already in the game.
We gave up 21 points, one was a touchdown pass that we were a little out of position. Not necessarily the player's fault, and the other one was a long run. So I think defensively I like where we're at. Offensively it was our best performance. The penalties, red zone production, four penalties offensive line in the first half. That was the only negative all day. High-end execution in the pass game. So I'm pleased with where we're at.
Q. Week by week the guys are getting better?
URBAN MEYER: Yeah, I wanted to make sure the guys are enjoying the wins. We're 6-0 now. Lot of victory meals we're having around here and we need to continue to enjoy that and not let the drudgery pull you down because Tuesdays are a grind. People have high expectations for you. It's like a freshman coming in here. Why aren't you starting? Can you imagine all that during recruiting?
And it's just tough, man. High expectations, and how do you deal with them? And that's as much as dealing -- I'd rather not go there, but dealing with when you lose.
Q. It seemed like in the red zone this week there was a more concerted effort to run the ball whether that was J.T. I think if the numbers are correct or not, 15 runs on 15 snaps out of 20 or something like that. Why is it that J.T. allows you to run the football at that rate in the red zone that maybe you guys weren't doing with Cardale in there?
URBAN MEYER: A different type of runners. Cardale's best runs if you remember a year ago were on scrambles. Weren't necessarily in the Q run. In the Q run you have to be a little more of a tailback with the niftiness and jump cut and do the things that J.T. does for us.
We I think we threw a fade to Mike, but we were running the ball well. We certainly had passes available. But I think that's pretty much the focus of most people. When you get in the red zone, you better be able to run the ball, but you're a guy short. How do you equate that? You run option football or you run the be quarterback.
Q. At least the plays that J.T. scored on were either straight ahead runs or I think one might have been asleep. It seems the things that Cardale has done for you and seemingly done well at times?
URBAN MEYER: Cardale can't run the sweep. His yards have been primarily scramble on pass plays. If you remember last year in those big games, those went back to pass or something happened and he took off running.
Q. (No microphone) a guy that is 250 pounds?
URBAN MEYER: Not as nifty. Great question, but he's just not. It takes a little bit to get 250 going, I guess.
Q. I know it takes time to learn a new position. Talking about Braxton. How have you figured out how to integrate him more fully in the offense?
URBAN MEYER: He's starting, he's playing and he's teaching. One of the things with Braxton I have talked, he's got big-time goals and he should. He's very blessed. He wants to play at the next level. We take that very personal upon ourselves. We've had great success developing receivers for the next level. That doesn't necessarily equate to 160 catches a year, 110, so sometimes that's a product of the style of offense.
We like to fully -- like a Philly Brown, the reason he's playing isn't because he can catch a pass, but because he can get lined up, go block, and function on a balanced offense. That's our job. I promised Braxton we'd do everything we could to get him ready to go, so he could maybe have a career in football and also help Ohio State. So he's full. As of right now, he's fully integrated as a wide receiver at Ohio State. He was not early in the season. He didn't know what to do.
Good, whatever it is, we're 50-50. I think we're 230 rush, 230 pass, which is about. We want to be a little bit more yards, but we want to be balanced. Half the game you're going to be getting your hands on someone blocking. And he's done a much better job with that.
Q. Follow up on the question about chemistry. You know offensively you've had your ups and downs this season. (No microphone) last year.
URBAN MEYER: Well, we're leading the Big 10 I believe in scoring offense, rushing offense. We're doing a lot of good things. Maybe not the "Star Wars" numbers that took place a year ago. That doesn't mean we're not trying. His chemistry is great. He's been voted captain three years in a row. I'm not sure of the question, but has he impacted the chemistry? Is that what you're asking?
Q. The fact he's moving from one position.
URBAN MEYER: It's been great. It's been great.
Q. Whenever (No microphone) run it by Archie. Just curious what those conversations are like? And have you ever been told let's hold off on that idea?
URBAN MEYER: I'm not really part of those. The only time that I did was when we wanted to use Justin Hilliard, No. 47 with the Chick Harley, I did, because that was asked to me. I'm not really privy to those other conversations about the old-fashioned uniforms. I let other people do that.
Q. We talked about J.T. this year, and it's been a lot about how he's handled things and that kind of stuff. But we saw him play very effectively on Saturday. He maybe wasn't as good consistently when he came in. How do you think he's played? You saw him compete all of August. Was he as good as you thought he would be? Was he maybe not quite what you thought? How is J.T. playing this year?
URBAN MEYER: He played good. It's different. I think he's a guy that gets better, like a lot of players, once you let him roll. I'm hoping that's developing a little bit in the red zone for him, but I think he's played okay. I don't think the Northern Illinois game was particularly effective for whatever reasons. Maybe it was the competitive reps he gets at practice, and those are all things he's looked at. But I think he's a fine player and he's going to continue to get better throughout the year.
Q. I guess I'll rephrase a little bit what I asked after the game. If J.T.'s the red zone guy, why wouldn't he be the quarterback all the time? I guess from like a football explanation of you talked about how the quarterback run game helps you in the red zone. What is it, as you think about this quarterback situation?
URBAN MEYER: You kind of caught me off guard with that question on Saturday night, and I think I go back for J.T. to be the quarterback, he's got to beat Cardale out. There is no anointing. So that makes sense. So I look at that picture, for someone to go play defensive tackle here, they have to beat out Adolphus Washington.
Now that doesn't mean there's good ones in there that aren't going to get in the game somehow, but for him to be the full-time guy you have to beat out Josh Perry, Raekwon McMillan, and you have to beat him out. That has not happened. Doesn't mean it's been very close, because it has been.
Q. I'll ask this because it's been floating out there.
URBAN MEYER: Just out there.
Q. When Cardale came back to Ohio State, did you make any promises to him?
URBAN MEYER: Absolutely not.
Q. That influenced him being the start being quarterback?
URBAN MEYER: Absolutely not.
Q. Because that is something that people theorize.
URBAN MEYER: Absolutely not.
Q. You're going to wear black, are you all going to have a special uniform?
URBAN MEYER: I won't. I wear what I wear.
Q. You told us a long time ago that you like to sit on Thursday or Friday and come up with a number of touches for guys who deserve touches. Saturday, how close did you come to those numbers and do you still do that?
URBAN MEYER: Oh, sure.
Q. And how close did that come to matching what you kind of wanted to see from an offensive spread standpoint?
URBAN MEYER: Tight ends, you like to have them a couple because they've earned that right. And Dontre Wilson is a kid that tweaked his foot a little bit in the game. We had to come out. Curtis Samuel we did not hit the target number. Mike Thomas we did. Braxton Miller we hit the target number. J.T. Barrett, his involvement, I have him on the list now. So getting pretty close. Jalin Marshall is another.
Q. Does that mean you're getting close to what you envisioned this offense as or do you ever, did you sit and think what it could be? Do you see understand what I'm saying?
URBAN MEYER: Yeah, I think everybody looks for some profound thought that, boy, every day is a grind man. There are injuries involved. Someone has a sore shoulder, someone has this or that that maybe you're not privy to. Or defense is playing a certain way that that's why we sit in that room and work so hard at. It's not as easy as give this guy ten. Well, the defense isn't giving us those ten.
I mean, to answer your question, I think, last Saturday, that was a lot of fun on that sideline, because you saw guys playing and saw guys executing and making plays.
Q. What is your feeling now though that you have found a way to have Cardale and J.T. involved?
URBAN MEYER: It was good for that day. Now this is a whole other challenge. It's every week. I would love for Cardale to throw for 30 and J.T. to do that again. This defense is probably going to have something to say about that. It's a very good defense we're facing.
That one's in the books. We felt great about it. But everybody knows his journey continues.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports