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September 5, 2016

Urban Meyer

Columbus, Ohio

COACH MEYER. Be it Butler By'not'e, Joel Penton, Roy Hall last night, yesterday, and he had an interesting thought I'd just like to share, because I think it's pretty profound: That so often, whether it be a football team, whether it be an individual, a young player, even coaches or all of us that -- so often people worry and spend so much time on what people think of you. You call it your image.

And then the second thing is the reputation you have, and that's whether it's -- correct or incorrect. Can't really control that all the time. But what we're going to spend all our time on is our what our identity is.

So you've got image, reputation, identity. And because of social media, because of media, because of just the way the world works right now, everybody -- I was talking to a couple of players just in my office a minute ago that these elite athletes a lot of times will hire PR firms. Why do they do that? Because they want to send out a certain image whether true or false because everyone is so concerned about image.

What is our image as a football team? That's going to be the chat tomorrow with the football team. The reputation is, like I said, you can't control that all the time. That's just someone that usually can push enter, push send on the phone, or write whatever they want to write. It's your reputation, which is important to a degree but what really counts is what's our identity, what's your identity as a player and that's the truth.

The truth is in this: In our world when you push play, what are you? Play means everybody visualize that screen. When I push play, what is Curtis Samuel -- I know there's a certain reputation he has now after that game but really what was it? I'm just using that for example. Curtis did great.

I think that's really intriguing right now and that's occupying a lot of my thought and certainly our team's because the way it was presented was so well done by Roy.

That's first. Second, I'll do champions. Champions on defense -- Jalyn Holmes, Gareon Conley, Chris Worley and Joe Burger. Joe Burger played only 39 plays. Honorable mention guys were Hubbard, Tyquan, Mike Hill, Davon, Robert Landers, Nicky Bosa, Marshon, Denzel Ward, Erick Smith and Damon Webb. And player of the game is Malik Hooker, played outstanding.

On offense, you have champions -- Mike Weber, first start, graded out at champion. And we do a separate -- just because of the, I thought Carlos did a very good job blocking, but what we experienced the last two years and really two and a half years is the best, maybe, that certainly I've ever seen and that was the performance of our tailback without the ball blocking, selfless play.

So he had 91 percent blocking grade, which is very high for him. For any back. Wide receivers, Terry McLaurin, he's going to play more. Terry McLaurin played 30 plays but he graded very high. He's doing very well for us. And K.J. Hill.

Offensive line, Pat Elflein graded out as champion. We had co-players of the game -- J.T. Barrett, who played outstanding other than the first miscue, but he's really playing quarterback. A lot of things he did was -- you can tell sometimes, other times you can't, but he's audible and making the right calls and doing, playing quarterback.

And then Curtis Samuel had an exceptional day. 13 carries, 84 yards, you guys know the stats. 177 reception yards.

That's that. On the special teams front, our kicker was our player of the game. Right. Kicker. I think you spell that kicker, K-I-C-K-E-R. Just for his family, not for him because I love this guy. But still giving him a hard time. His last name is Durbin. That's just for his family. So our kicker graded out at champion. He's really a good guy, man. I love that kid. His effort was outstanding. Made a tackle at kickoff. Hustled all over the place, very talented. Best hanging time we've had on kickoffs and did a very good job.

Also Norwood special mention and EGW (phonetic) had an opening kickoff tackle within the 15 yard line. I think it was the 11-yard line. That's it.

I thought our guys played pretty good. We had a code green around here as far as getting guys game ready to knock the rust off the old guys and then also to get them to breathe normally instead of, what do you call that, hyperventilate, which most young people do before you play in that great stadium.

I'll answer any questions. It's time to move on. I would not take anything more than the guys played pretty good. We've got a tough one coming up this week, a team that beat San Jose soundly from the get-go. And very talented receivers, two NFL prospects at wide receiver, a returning veteran at quarterback. And a D coordinator that used to coach here at Ohio State. They're very sound on defense and do a nice job.

Q. I want to ask about Tyquan, deep position group can be intimidating as a true freshman. What made him keep fighting in that way?
COACH MEYER: He was not a highly recruited guy. Came to our camp, Mike Vrabel was our "D" line coach. I remember it like it was yesterday right out on practice field number three. Just kind of dominated with effort. He's an effort guy. And he's a guy that just -- our strength coach has him ranked very highly just as far as the way he handles his business. He's a made player. Sometimes you get these guys that were already elite, but he's pushed himself past the edge to become an elite player because of his work ethic.

Q. Did you have a tough time getting him to come that far away from home since he's so close to his family?
COACH MEYER: No, no, he was, if I remember he said, you're offered, put his hand up right away. I'm in.

Q. With Tracy Sprinkle out obviously Dre'Mont Jones needs to step up what's another defensive tackle you need to step up now?
COACH MEYER: Davon is a guy that played pretty well Saturday. He has a little twitch to him. And Landers did pretty good at nose. So he'll get more playing time. And we're going to -- Alabi and Malik Barrow. We're taking a hard look at Malik. Josh Alabi played a little bit, but he's more of a nose so we're going to take a look at Malik Barrow. Very quick twitch, good hand placement, so he's a guy that we're going to look at as well.

Q. You have a lot of defensive ends I know you can move inside. Does that mitigate the damage a little bit? Not to sugarcoat the loss of Tracy. I know it's a big loss.
COACH MEYER: Big loss, certainly third downs, you saw us put already Jalyn Holmes in there at the three technique. And obviously Nick Bosa is a very good pass rusher from in there, too. But first down and normal you want to have a good-sized three technique and right now we're looking at some not defensive end guys, our inside guys.

Q. You said on Saturday that you have to look at the tape to see if the performance was really as good as it looked. What was your assessment after reviewing?
COACH MEYER: I think it was good. It wasn't great. It was good. Some disappointments that -- I think Corey Smith should be better than he is. I think he didn't play great. He's dealing with some injuries. And I don't think that the technique of our wideouts was where it needs to be, even though they did make some very good plays. I thought our tailback played good. Offensive line, obviously when you only have one guy grade champion, they didn't play very good. So they have to get much better.

What happens is, and you'll hear the old adage that people get better between one and two and that's because you get your game legs back. For example, our guys have been off since Wednesday -- actually Tuesday. They didn't have padded, there's some guys on our team that have not hit since last Tuesday. And they're not going to practice again until tomorrow. So your body starts to come back and you'll be full speed.

Q. How's Dante?
COACH MEYER: He's questionable for Saturday. He's got an MCL strain, but for sure he'll be back soon. But he has a chance to play.

Q. You referenced J.T.'s one miscue early. Certainly he's a veteran who faced a lot of adversity before. What if anything did he say or did you say to him after that early on?
COACH MEYER: I'm trying to remember if we said anything other than just move forward. And that was tactical error on our part, not just his part. But when it's not right just burn it, don't force something that's not there.

Q. He talked a lot about different mentality this season as compared to a year ago. And do you think both the pressure -- this is kind of speculative -- that he could have bounced back as easily if he was playing with that same mindset he had a year ago, you know what I mean?
COACH MEYER: It always comes up when you have two quality players, you make a mistake like that and you're out. The other guy goes in. Some people don't like that. Obviously I'd love to have that. I wish I had three of them that were J.T.'s caliber.

Does that put more pressure on a player? So be it. That's what happens at the next level. So I think he's such a leader, such a veteran, and I think he knows this is his show that he bounced -- there was zero conversation. We're fine, move on, the next play, let's go.

Q. Is there anything from a technical standpoint that J.T. is doing this year that he either couldn't or wasn't doing last year that might explain some of his plays on Saturday?
COACH MEYER: I think when you say that, it's just the amount of repetitions at that position. Whether you're a veteran or not you need all the reps. He's our number one quarterback. He received all the number one reps. You get timing with receivers. You can see there's some beautiful passes Saturday.

Off the top of my head, Noah Brown and K.J. Hill, that's because they work with him so frequently and seeing there's a couple of corner routes to Curtis and Dontre and those were well-executed plays because they practiced it all the time.

Q. I think in the first quarter Saturday you already played ten receivers that had already caught a pass. A lot of guys had played. Do you see that pattern continuing or do you think you want to pare it down at some point?
COACH MEYER: No, because we want to wear people -- notice they had 50-some plays too in the first half. So our objective, obviously need to get first downs to do that, but we want to play fast, play a lot of people and certainly receiver position. And you need to count Dontre and Curtis as kind of the hybrid. They're also our second and third tailbacks. So, yeah, we're playing 10 but there's two hybrids in there as well.

Q. Lost in all this is how solidly the defensive backs played on Saturday. How big a step forward did they take Saturday (indiscernible).
COACH MEYER: I think they did okay. I think this will be more of a test Saturday. There's -- Bowling Green a year ago with the personnel they had, a real experienced quarterback, two real NFL receivers -- I think one transferred and one is -- I'm not sure he made the team.

But I think Bowling Green's personnel is going to fine, just not as experienced as the year before. This one rolling in here is more experienced and very talented at this point. Once again go back to Bowling Green. Played them a year ago, they beat Purdue, they beat Maryland. They had a quarterback that played a lot of football for them. That would have been a challenge. I think as BG, once again I'm not here to talk about BG, but I think they're going to be a very good team as they continue to grow up and get better.

Q. I know you've been running around for a long time, and it seems like there's a lot of different offensive philosophies that fall under the umbrella of spread. But with Tulsa's head coach from the Briles tree, and the coordinators they had last year were from the Briles tree. How is what you do out of the spread any different or similar to what Tulsa wants to do out of the spread?
COACH MEYER: I think when you hear spread, it's about numbers. So I think that part is similar. I think the objective and what day one install and what's your identity -- there you go, image versus reputation, identity. But the identity is we're going to line up and hammer the football and run the ball. And we expect to lead the conference or be close to the lead in rushing offense.

I can't speak to what Baylor does. But when you look at Baylor and then Tulsa, they're very balanced, more balanced than people think. And so I think it's somewhat similar. But there are different fundamental differences to it.

Q. With the true freshmen -- I think you played ten true freshmen on Saturday. You talked a lot in the past couple of years about redshirting and you guys don't want to do that. Is it really at the point maybe with the exception of offensive linemen, who maybe take that year development, where a place like Ohio State, you just should not redshirt because either, A, they're going to be too good, they're not going to stay four years anyway -- and if you redshirt them you sort of lose a year -- or, B, if they're not that, then maybe you don't even necessarily need them around for a fifth year?
COACH MEYER: That's exactly.

Q. Is it a hard and fast rule?
COACH MEYER: That's exactly the thought process and I first learned that when Pete Carroll was at USC. I read an article that they don't recruit a guy to redshirt them. There's too many good guys that want to come to a top five-type school. And we consider Ohio State a top five.

And we're recruiting a player to play immediately. You have some great story lines in there -- why did you take Darron Lee then? Why did you take, maybe a Josh Perry or Tyvis Powell. Why did you take a Malik Henderson?

Those are the guys that maybe we just see this incredible end of a career. So usually you only take a handful, not even a handful, three or four guys like that that you call them projects, but if it develops, now watch out you have a monster.

But we don't -- we're not in the game. Years ago you would do that. You'd say: Let's take this kid, what do you think he's going to be like in two to three years, we're very rarely in that conversation now.

Q. But you only played four true freshmen, I think, last year. Are you pushing it to the point this year?
COACH MEYER: Pushing it very hard.

Q. Even if there's a kid that's maybe put him in, for a couple of plays here, couple plays there, we're going to have him play?
COACH MEYER: That happened Saturday, Keandre Jones, Malik, Coop, some guys went into that game. Once again are they going to be here five years from now? Probably not. And if they are, they probably got bypassed.

Q. And maybe last year, maybe there would have been a year you would have held off on Keandre?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, well, just last year we had so many guys.

Q. The other thing, the developed here that you've really pushed, it feels like, with a lot of the NFL guys that have gone on, you have that slogan, I think guys wear it now: "Developed Here," that idea of do you want to make sure that people don't think you just recruit good players and they just go, boom, they're recruited, they're gone? Do you want to emphasize that point?
COACH MEYER: It's all Pantoni, I think I've seen that, like #developedhere or something like that.

Q. He's got all those hashtags. For real, do you think some people would think like Ohio State, you just recruit the best and they're good automatically, you send them on; it's easy, right? You want to emphasize the development?
COACH MEYER: Mark works on our image a lot. I don't care about our image. Reputation is important to recruit, but I care about the truth. And when they come visit and talk to our players and families they know the truth, the identity.

Write that down now.

Q. Coaches love teachable moments. When you win by 67, were there teachable moments, either positive or negative, that you work on this week?
COACH MEYER: Oh, sure. One lineman graded out a winner. Our starting receivers did not grade out a winner, I believe. There's some great teachable moments in there.

You have a kickoff unit that's expected to be the best. We had one good one and two or three bad ones. So there's incredible moments. So it's a lot more enjoyable to coach after a big win than the opposite. But, of course, yeah, big teachable moments.

Q. Going back to Dave's question, is there a chance Tracy could play in a bowl game at the end of the season?
COACH MEYER: I don't believe so. I'll know more today. His patella tendon, had surgery yesterday, I got the text that everything came back. I have not seen him. He's going to be here in a little bit. I will go talk to him, find out more.

Q. As far as the rest of the team is concerned injury-wise, how are you going into this Saturday?
COACH MEYER: Book came out of the game, but he's questionable. And there's a chance he'll play. I think we're okay everywhere else, right? Yep.

Q. Just a couple three. Is there a such thing as a quarterback having a knack for getting his team to the end zone? Because you've been around a bunch of them. And J.T. Barrett set the record two years ago in the Big Ten with 45 responsible for. Seven Saturday sets the school record. What is it about just him and that ability to get his team to the end zone?
COACH MEYER: When teams fail to score down there, it's because they load the box. It's hard to just pound the football at them. That's where you saw the game last night.

I thought Texas did a heck of a job, spread them out, let the big freak run the ball. That's pretty good game plan. Not everybody has the six foot whatever he is, big athletic guy.

But J.T. is athletic enough, certainly quick enough, twitched enough, to get us in the end zone. The other thing is you have to make those tight window throws.

And he's pretty good at that. When you see teams score a lot, it's because there's creative ways of creating a run game. And that's option, single-wing football, because the days of just we're bigger and stronger than you, you can stop that. And then the other one are tight-window throws.

Q. Like Doug was talking about, about the young guys, when you're in a game like Saturday, you're playing against the school where you cut your teeth as a head coach. But you've got Demario McCall going into the game and Joe Burrow going into the game. Is there any such thing as calling off the dogs in that situation? You want to see those guys play, right?
COACH MEYER: I just kept -- I did, and I don't want to spend too much time on that. But I think we threw a swing pass or something. And I hear them saying let's throw this. No, don't you dare, just hand the ball off, hand the ball off.

And, yeah, especially sometimes you don't give much thought to that; you're more worried about your team. But in that situation, just out of respect for Bowling Green, yeah.

But Demario, you can't tell him to slow down. He ran really hard and he's trying to -- he's trying to become a backup tailback right now at Ohio State. He did a good job.

Q. Your father's had three kids play sports. What's it like to see like Demario and these guys that you recruited to bring in here to play and step up into that big time and make plays? Do you get -- you just personally, do you get a little bit of that same feeling you get as a father watching somebody?
COACH MEYER: No doubt. I'm glad you asked that. As you get older, what do you coach for? That's a big reason why we coach and the experience to see these young guys' dreams fulfilled.

Demario ran into the end zone twice. Think about that for a minute. And kid that grew up near Cleveland, Ohio. Got to stick it in the end zone twice. That's been his dream. I hope there's more to add to his dream as we continue.

Q. Tyler Durbin, your kicker, I don't know, where did he come from?
COACH MEYER: I have no idea. (Laughter).

Q. You know where he came from, but this is a little bit --
COACH MEYER: I don't know him.

Q. The guy never played football until he shows up here.
COACH MEYER: He made a great tackle Saturday. He had two actually he would have made -- because they tried to get a field return. I don't know where the hell he came from. He's really good.

Q. He is a football player --
COACH MEYER: He doesn't look like a football player.

Q. But he stuck his nose in there, is my point. This guy just shows up.
COACH MEYER: I don't think I met his family. I guess we have to do that some day, because he's our kicker. But they raised a good dude. He's a very talented too. Thanks, guys.

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