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November 9, 2015

Urban Meyer

Columbus, Ohio

COACH MEYER: Champions on defense played exceptional at one point during the course of the game. I want to say it was 30 to 25, or 30 yards rushing going into the fourth quarter and 60 or 70 yards passing, and obviously we gave up a few plays to man coverage busts, but against an offense that we have a lot of respect for in that quarterback.

So overall defense played very well. Champions were Joel Hale which was good to see, and Mike Hill on the inside. Tyquan Lewis, Adolphus Washington, Sam Hubbard, Darron Lee, Raekwon, Josh Perry, and Eli are the champions. Then co-player of the game, Joey Bosa and Vonn Bell. Vonn obviously got a second score of the year and playing at a very, very high level.

Joey Bosa's as disruptive as any defensive player that I've been around, so he's playing very well also. On offense, started very slow, but had some guys play well. Had two receivers, great champions. Jalin Marshall and Mike Thomas are playing a very high level for us and blocking and making plays.

Offensive line you had Billy Price and Taylor Decker, tight end you had Nick Vannett, and players of the game you had our tailback, Zeke and Pat Elflein is as consistent as any offensive line we have.

Special teams, you had Jalin had a 33-yard punt return. Eli had two knockdowns on one return playing really hard, and special teams player of the week is great to see this. I think he's following in the mold of a Vonn Bell. I'm hoping he does. Vonn Bell, Tyvis Powell, and Gareon Conley because he plays a lot of the same positions on kicking, and that's Denzel Ward.

So I'll answer any questions. I'm sure the first one will be quarterback. So, if J.T. has a good week of practice, he'll get to start against Illinois. Braxton Miller has a sore neck, and did not practice yesterday. We anticipate him practicing tomorrow if all goes well.

Q. You won't make that final determination until Friday? Will it be Thursday after practice as far as J.T. being the starter or not?
COACH MEYER: He'll be the starter unless he does not have a good week of practice or something. So that's really every week.

Q. How did J.T. handle last week, and how do you think it affected him?
COACH MEYER: I think well, it's a mistake made, a serious mistake by a kid that's really lived most of his life mistake free. He's a kid that's human and I still have these conversations with him. You can handle when people say you're not very tall or fast enough or you don't throw far enough, but when someone challenges who you are as a person or a man, that's tough. He's probably not had that happen to him very often.

Q. Apparently he spoke at halftime. Can you share?
COACH MEYER: I wasn't there. I saw someone said that to me too. I didn't see that.

Q. Urban, last week there was speculation that Braxton would have a larger role at quarterback and maybe throw the ball. Was that smoke screen as it turns out a little bit, or did something happen?
COACH MEYER: No, nothing happened. It's just the way the game went along.

Q. Do you want to expound on that or no?
COACH MEYER: Not really.

Q. At this point whether, if Cardale has to go in or if J.T. is the starter, it just feels that you guys needed the quarterback run game to be part of it. But what is different when you turn Cardale loose as a rusher compared to what you want to do with J.T.?
COACH MEYER: Much different rusher. Cardale did nice job on Q's draws, more slower, developing plays. Then J.T., as you look back, his history of the more quick hitting and a little more Braxton style. It's just a much different style of offense, but we have the ability to do both.

Q. At this point too with the number of games and number of prosecute practices, was it an easy call for you to go with J.T. back this week? Did you have to give it much thought?
COACH MEYER: Sure. No, it's never an easy call because one guy had his 11th win, 250 all-purpose yards. Started off slow and accurate on a few passes, finished fairly good. Made some good plays for us and is invested in our program. It's never easy. So I think it's the right thing at this time.

Q. You've got several like win streaks going, and one of them is consecutive wins in conference ask Jerry's notes, if you were able to get this win this week, it will be the longest streak any team in any conference has had. I'm wondering, how much when you have streaks like that to even bring that stuff up?
COACH MEYER: No, I don't, not with the team. On rare occasion, certainly this one I have not, but in the past I maybe have. But there is so much to be done and what does that make a kid play harder? I think it just complicates things a little bit more as opposed to finding a way to beat Illinois, the best play, the best you can. I really don't have conversations about that.

Q. One thing about Braxton, when that play happens, you've talked about your fondness of him, how much do you hold your breath?
COACH MEYER: It's very reminiscent of the Purdue game a few years ago, hitting the ground like that. Yeah, we spent four years together, and that is the worst thing about this profession is dealing with guys who get dinged up like that. Especially guys you've been so close with. So same reaction.

Q. Number one, can Braxton Miller pass? Can he throw a football?

Q. Is he doing that in practice?
COACH MEYER: Not a lot. Not a lot. He's still -- he can. It's not -- I think what happened to him a year ago is still fresh in his mind, so it's not -- he's not out there throwing seven on seven, spinning all over the field, but he certainly can throw it.

Q. J.T., you talked about this a minute ago, but as you watch like the Rutgers video, what do you see when J.T. is on the field when the offense is clicking? Can you explain to people what he's getting done?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, he gives you an added element of the double option in the offense and double option means, I'm reading someone either in a throw or in a run game. Obviously ten years ago or 15 years ago, it's not as easy anymore. It used to be very easy because defenses didn't understand it, now they do.

You read the defensive end, he closes, you run, get yards and move on. It's much more complicated than that now. You're reading a variety of different reads and defenses are so good at giving you false reads. So, any time you have that, that gives you a cleaner defense because teams are not quite as aggressive.

Q. When J.T. comes inside, do you get a good picture from him of what he's seeing? Is he seeing what you guys are seeing?
COACH MEYER: Are you talking about J.T.?

Q. Yeah, when he tells you?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, that's a strength of his. Yeah, he's a coach on the field.

Q. Jalin Marshall, he's been really close, it seems a few games to really having a break out. In your mind is he one of those guys?
COACH MEYER: He's one of our best players right now. He's one of our best practice players. He's handled his business in the classroom, and he'd be the first one to tell you he red-shirted not because we were saving him because he wasn't good enough. He didn't work hard enough. He screwed around in the classroom, and as a result of fine parents and a lot of pushing from other people, he's handling it.

I can't wait to see him every day, that's how much he's matured, and it shows on the field. He's a leader for us. He's doing a lot of unselfish things that most people don't see. He's blocking, he's our best blocker. He's obviously a very aggressive punt returner that's worked very hard on that. He's one of the best punt returners in America right now.

Q. By this point in the season I'm sure as an offense you want to have established what you do well. But whether it's with the Braxton role or anything else, how much do you want to keep defenses guessing when they're game planning for you? Maybe they don't know exactly what you have.
COACH MEYER: We've had a few games. I think the two before, the Penn State and the Rutgers, I really felt that way. I felt we're doing what we're doing well but have enough wrinkles, like the two tight end sets. You took a team that doesn't give up much rushing yardage and ran for close to 350 yards on Penn State who we have a lot of respect for, and that was simply because we kept them off balance, and the quarterback and tailback were making the right reads.

So that's the goal. What you just said is the goal. Be very good at what you do and have enough wrinkles each week whether it be a Braxton or some other things that we have not done. That's what we spend all this time doing. What are we good at? Let's make sure we do it.

But defenses nowadays, with all this video and the last four, five, six years, I mean, it's defense is doing a much better job than they have in the past.

Q. We've talked a lot this season about the injuries at receiver and that list of guys. How much has that affected what you've been able to do on the field?

Q. And how important is it that you've praised Mike and Jalin that those two guys are playing the way they are?
COACH MEYER: Jeff Greene has stepped up too. Jeff Greene is a guy that's been playing for us and filling in admirably and doing a good job. Also, mar cause ball's getting more reps than he has in the past, and guys are having to play more plays than they have. Parris Campbell is questionable now, so he's getting close to getting back. Obviously Corey Smith and Noah Brown are not. And Dontre Wilson, we'll know more. He's moving around now. We'd like to get him back, but you're starting to get really thin on numbers.

But week ten or whatever it is, if you look across the country, that's what happens.

Q. Urban, you labeled this "the grind". There does seem like there is a sense of heaviness this season, like maybe I don't know, lack of enjoyment is a fairway to put it. Did you name it that knowing that was going to be the case? I mean, is there a fear of a self-fulfilling prophecy?
COACH MEYER: No, I do believe that there's a little bit of tightness, heaviness of expectation, living up to other people's expectation, living up to our own expectation. Most of the people in that locker room were together in Dallas, Texas and saw stuff falling from the ceiling, and then I feel it. But the good thing is I have experience with it.

It is a grind, and the whole end point was we all made decisions. You don't have to stay here. You don't have to coach here. Go wherever you want, but you have to embrace the grind because there's only one way we're going to do it, and that's work really hard. That was the whole purpose of it.

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