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November 16, 2015

Urban Meyer

Columbus, Ohio

COACH MEYER: Thanks for coming. Some comments about the Illinois game and champions effort. Defense outstanding performance again, playing at a very high level. Tyquan graded out a champion, and him and Joey are playing like a very good book-end defensive ends, Adolphus Washington. It was great to have Tommy Schutt back. He only played 25 plays, but he graded out highly.

Mike Hill graded champion again. Sam Hubbard, Darron Lee is playing outstanding football for us. Our captain, Josh Perry, Gareon Conley was tremendous, Vonn Bell tremendous, and Tyvis Powell played very good.

We had three co-players of the game multiple players of the game. You had Eli Apple, he was playing as well as he's played. Joey Bosa just dominated the game, and disrupted the game, and Raekwon McMillan. So our defense is playing very, very high level against a team that just really had their best performance the week before Illinois.

Offense, receivers you had three of them, Jalin Marshall, Mike Thomas and Curtis Samuel all grade out champions for us. Offensive line, we had two. Taylor Decker and Pat Elflein, and the player of the game was Zeke.

Special teams player of the game was Curtis Samuel, blocked a punt, started on three units, great effort, 23 production points, and just a special mention for Denzel Ward.

Couple comments on the game, offensively the obvious was it's hard to distribute balls when we're getting pressured, so we're going to take a hard, long look at our pass protection a little bit, but other than that, we controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. You win most of those games, almost all of those games unless you turn it over.

We did nominate the line of scrimmage in the run standpoint. Zeke was outstanding. 180 yards, and was just constantly in my ear to keep going at the end, and I pulled him out because I can't imagine walking in front of you guys here if something bad would have happened, so we did the right thing and pulled him out of there.

Then, this week Jerry handed me some incredible stats here for our senior class. Last game in the Horseshoe and they'll be honored. And sometimes you honor senior classes and you honor them because I guess you have to honor senior classes, and other times you honor senior classes because of the contributions to great university and a great football program or kind of over the top, and this one is.

48 wins since their freshman year, which is an Ohio State program record. A record 30-game win streak, which is Big Ten, and I think someone said a national record, and they've been a part of two winning streaks, 24 and 23 games, which are both Ohio State records. So I joke around with our players and say how's it going, seniors? It's going pretty good.

These kids really, I look at these names. It's going to be a tough day. Senior Day is always a tough day, especially for the guys that are really invested. And you look at some of these guys from the fifth-year guys, Joel Braxton, Chase Farris, Nick Vannett, Bryce Haynes, all wonderful people, and then your fourth year guys, are Montee who is not playing, but still very involved. Warren Ball, Ken Williams, a real soldier for us. Tommy Schutt turned out to be a great kid for us. Adolphus Washington, Jacoby Boren, Taylor Decker, and obviously Josh Perry. An incredible group of people.

Most prepared team. Very, very good team we're playing, and we've had some great games with them. Lot of respect for the way they play, and their personnel, because they're outstanding. So I'll answer any questions for you.

Q. It's human nature to play to the level of your competition as much as you're playing? You've been athletically superior to everything you've played so far in the last two, pretty comparable. Are you concerned about the fact that the bar is higher, are we ready for this jump?
COACH MEYER: Sure, I'm very concerned. I live my life concerned so, yeah, we'll go out and practice. We're facing the best defensive line maybe in college football. Theirs and ours are very comparable and just very, very good players. One of the best quarterbacks in Big Ten history, and someone showed me his winning record. And that's how you value a quarterback, is do you win games because that's his job? And he wins almost every game he plays.

Q. Even though you're focused on the moment. Have there been times this year when you're evaluating a team where you thought is this going to be good enough against Michigan State?
COACH MEYER: Oh, yeah. I told you. Is this going to be good enough period. And Michigan State, that's the top of our conference and obviously the next two games we have are big, big-time games, and that's human nature to say we see what's coming. I think what our guys have done, because you see it across the country, the consistency and winning, it's very admirable for the way our guys are.

I saw I think it was Finkes -- I was over my friend's after the game and my son's best friend's family's house, and I was there. Get home after Illinois and he turns on the challenge, and I think it was Matt Finkes and maybe Stanley Jackson, do they do a show or something? You might have been there. Yeah, and he said, "Yeah, we've just got to get on a roll here."

My friend looked at me and said get on a roll here? So it just tells you, I guess we've got to get on a roll. So to answer your question, you always, when you watch and evaluate a team, is it good enough to beat the best? And you've got one of the best coming in here Saturday?

Q. You mentioned the pass protection issues what has been the biggest problem up front with pass protection?
COACH MEYER: It's not just one thing because sometimes we get our tight ends involved in it, and they weren't great Saturday. And then just a guy getting beat here and there in the lap of the quarterback, so we've just got to get a little firmer. It's almost like I challenge Coach Warriner and our staff, do we spend the same amount of time in focus and energy, because you watch him come off and run block, and it's maybe the best there is. And we're not that way in our pass pro, so we're going to work at it really hard. This is a real week to work at it.

Q. Will you consider any personnel changes or is it just the guys you have need to get better?
COACH MEYER: No, no, Jamarco Jones is the next man in, and he's getting better and better, but at this point, no.

Q. It feels kind of strange to sit here and have no real questions about your quarterback. You finally have some stability there. There is no suspension, no Cardale's arm strength, those conversations. I know you thought both would play this year. Did you think it would take into November before you find something to be a little settled there in that position?
COACH MEYER: Did I think that? Not really. I didn't think that far ahead. I know the amount of hours spent on that conversation and that thought to make sure we're doing the right thing is probably inordinate. If I could ever put a mark into how much time I've spent personally and also as a staff on, first of all, doing the right thing, and then second of all, how we manage that situation, and then hit the speed bump a couple weeks ago. But you've got to move on. There is not a whole lot of conversation about that now.

Q. What's it change, say it's an inordinate amount of time, that's gone, you don't have to think about it. What's that mean?
COACH MEYER: I've got a lot of free time (smiling). No, it's a comforting level. And I really, what I think is really comforting about this whole thing is the way Cardale Jones has handled it. He's gone into the game, he's won us a game. The way they practice, the way they maintain that incredible relationship. Because that, for the normal human, I imagine that would separate -- drive a stake between two people that are very, very close. That tells you about the character and who they are and their love of the unit and their love of the team.

So those are things that I really watch for, as much as the actual completion percentage, turnovers, those kind of things. Because you've heard stories now. You want to destroy a team, you have someone with some other issue or some other purpose than to be a team first player, and we don't have that.

Q. Out of curiosity, are you going to honor anyone on Saturday that's not a senior, but may be departing? I'm sure you want to give everyone a chance to bow out.
COACH MEYER: I don't think so. That's not my call. I think that's just the way we've done it in the past here. I think you have to be a senior or at least four years in the program.

Q. And out of curiosity, when you research an opponent, what beyond watching film do you do?
COACH MEYER: Oh, we know most -- if it's someone from out of our region, they'll maybe do a little homework on him. If you don't have enough film on them in high school, which is background and those kind of things. But we know those players at Michigan State, so film is about it.

Q. With your previous National Championship teams, were you placing kind of doubt -- maybe not disrespect -- but going on this year because of your schedule, and then some people called it spring training. I'm not saying that, but what did you get from the first ten games?
COACH MEYER: The only one that was comparable was '06. We lost the majority of our team for '07.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, and then '09 we did bring a lot of guys back. If I remember, no one ever questioned the schedule. It was just was everything ever good enough? Just nonstop. I'll never forget we beat Tennessee by two scores. I walked into the press conference and what happened, Coach? What is the problem here? Beat Tennessee by two scores. We had just won 28-3 on the road by four scores, and hear someone says, well, how did they -- I just was watching TV that night and Ohio State just kind of gets by or something. And I'm thinking, my goodness. Just won 28-3 on the road, and we know we can play better.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
COACH MEYER: Oh, exceptional defense. Our defense has gotten better and better and better. You win championships with great defense. We've proven that. That's time tested. It's an unusual situation when a team can compete for a championship with a bad defense.

We learned that two years ago. We had an exceptional offense and very poor defense, and we lost. Last year we finished the season with the best maybe three-game run of defense that I've seen against three Heisman guys, and just outstanding performance, and we won. So defense is where it's at and they're playing at a very high level.

Q. Following up on that, what is it when you watch your defense right now, what is it that you just see that you didn't see three years ago? Is it an aggressiveness? Obviously they give up a play every now and then. But what jumps out at you as a coach?
COACH MEYER: I think great question. I think our personnel is very good. I think the coordination between the front seven and back seven is exceptional right now, and that's not easy to do. We made a decision several years back to make it a back-end-in type defense where a lot of teams for years would just stop the run, stop the run and leave your corners on an island.

So I just see a lot of work has gone on between Luke and Chris as far as coordinating a very good defense that's very sound and doesn't constantly leave people on islands. That's what I think I like. Obviously personnel number one.

Q. You brought it up about watching channel 6 and all that kind of stuff. I'm just, do you have time? Are you giving yourself -- can you take the time to enjoy a 30-game win streak in the Big Ten regular season, and a 23-game win streak? I mean, if you were sitting there watching that from the outside, I don't know, what would you take from that? What does that tell you about a program when they have something going like that?
COACH MEYER: Well, I'm more "mature" is probably not the right word. Experienced or aged, whatever you want to call it. It's water off the duck's back. I didn't bring it up. The guy said did you hear what he just said? And I said no, what? And he told me, and that's life in the big city, expectations. There's probably ten places like this in America where you keep building a beast and you've got to feed it.

The really good thing about myself, our staff and our players is the focus is not on anything. Are we playing good enough? We know there are issues. This is not a perfect team. I've never seen a perfect team. As a matter of fact, we've got a long way to go. There are certain areas we're not playing very good, and that's why we practice all the time.

Q. Do you in the midst of it, can you feel you're part of something special?
COACH MEYER: Oh, sure. I do. And when Jerry hands me this, the first thing I do is look at the names and faces of those people that were there. I called it blind faith from the day we walked through the door, because they probably couldn't stand us compared to the previous staff. An excellent staff, it's just we were so much different, and they stuck it out, stuck it out. Some guys didn't stick it out. Some guys decided to move on and go about their own journey. So my first thing is to think about those guys and what it's going to be like to put your arm around them in the stadium.

Q. You mentioned the pass protection. (Indiscernible) the guy who has talked about a first-time tackle on that island at times. As you evaluate it, how do you think Jason has been in that area?
COACH MEYER: Last Saturday was not great. I think there are games he's played outstanding and he's graded champion a few times. Tackle is a tough place to go. They had two very good defensive ends, Illinois. I think very undervalued or what is the -- we certainly have great respect for them, and after we watched them play, they were really good.

So for the most part he's done fine. He's got a big week ahead of him because the guys he's going to be facing are really, really good, two NFL players at defensive end this week.

Q. You lost Tom Herman and there was an adjustment there. Michigan State lost Pat Narduzzi. I'm just curious, losing any coordinator, how difficult is that to adjust to? And have you seen any difference with Michigan State now that Pat Narduzzi is not there?
COACH MEYER: Great question. It is probably more than I give it credit for, especially because Tom was really good. And the coordinators I've had have been outstanding, Dan Mullen was outstanding, and the minute we lost him, and then Coach Addazio, he was outstanding. So, yeah, you do lose them.

Even though we don't change offensively, it's the Ohio State offense, but Tom added a lot and you can see the success he's having. But we're doing a lot better now. The first two games were a little rugged, just the mechanism and logistics of how to do it. Michigan State losing their third D coordinator, really no difference.

That's, I think Coach Dantonio would be the first one to tell you it's Michigan State's defense, and they're running a very high level against -- who did they play? They played Maryland, and I think it was 80 snaps, 65 or 70 blitzes. So it was very aggressive, and they're not normally that aggressive, but that's kind of putting us on our toes. So that might come. But it's the same scheme.

Q. We know how well you guys played in the postseason last year. But the Michigan State game last year, to go up there and win that game and to play the way you guys did, how much was that sort of a launching point for what you did? And how well did you guys play the last time?
COACH MEYER: That was our best game offensively, by far. We threw for over 300. We ran against not a good defense, a great defense. That was, you know, you just kind of watch. We're not there right now. We've got to get there fast when you start playing teams like this and a talented team like this.

So that's one of the first things when I came and watched that Sunday morning is my goodness, J.T. was ridiculous. Our receivers played great. The offensive line blocked that defensive line, and once again, not a good defense, a great defense.

Q. You mentioned their defensive line, how good your defensive line is. When you talk about a great defensive line, what is it that stands out? Is it pass rush? Is it stopping the run? I'm sure it's parts of all of that.
COACH MEYER: I think the term is disruptive. What makes Joey Bosa, he's only got so many sacks, but at least two and I saw a video where there were three guys blocking him. He took one where he took his -- he came from the left side and took a 300 pound man and threw him in the back field and made a tackle in the back. Completely disruptive is what makes a great defensive lineman, and that's what this outfit we're facing this week are.

Q. Braxton has had two touches. This is his Senior Day obviously. What would you want to say about getting him involved, where he is, and his evolution?
COACH MEYER: He's doing great. When you're having trouble, there are times when it's designed and the defense actually was going to go to him and we couldn't get it off because of the protection issues.

So, yeah, I mean, I think we're a team -- I don't think, I know. Somebody said Joey Bosa has only so many sacks. There is zero conversation about that. We are 10-0 with a chance to go 11-0 and if the whole idea is more touches, more sacks and all that, then we'll be 10-1 when we're done.

So we're going to do the best we can, and he's going to keep grinding and working and developing as a receiver. We've got to protect him and distribute the ball a little bit.

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