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OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 10, 2016
URBAN MEYER: Thanks for coming. Just a quick review of the champions for the Indiana game.
Defense played outstanding, Michael Hill, Jalyn Holmes, Sam Hubbard, Dre'Mont Jones, Nick Bosa, so that's one, two, three, four, five defensive linemen, and Gareon Conley, Marshon Lattimore and Denzel Ward are three corners, so very strong performances by those two units.
Defensive player of the game was Tyquan, so that's six overall defensive linemen graded champion effort, and three of the back end, three of our corners.
Offensively, the only champions were Jamarco Jones and Pat Elflein, and obviously that's an area we need to get much better at.
Kicking, a little bit like Evan Spencer was to us a couple years back, but Parris Campbell is as valuable a guy as there is on the team right now. He had a 92-yard kickoff return. He's all over the place as far as what we ask him to do. He was Special Teams Player of the Week, and punting was outstanding.
Had a lot of respect for their punt returners who hurt the team up north last year, and then this year had a 50-yarder against Michigan State. Very good player, No. 87, Page I believe his name is, and we worked very hard at it, and Cameron did a nice job with the three gunners of Glover Williams, Clark and Terry McLaurin, did an outstanding job.
Obviously the struggles were in the throw game, and that's going to be worked on extremely hard, a combination. There wasn't one issue but several that either it's a misfire, not a well-executed pattern, or a dropped ball. I think Marcus Ball -- where he had the interception, so we just have to do much better, and I'll answer your questions for you.
Q. Urban, last Wednesday right before your press conference the NCAA Council announced some proposals for different legislation next year with the rules. I was just wondering if you saw those things and if you had a take on the satellite cam reform.
URBAN MEYER: I did a little bit, but I'm so busy. Gene knows how we feel and how our program feels about that stuff, and I think they'll do the right thing. I saw it, and I was on 3rd downs instead of spending much time on it.
Q. One of the proposals, though, was adding a 10th assistant full time.
URBAN MEYER: I heard that.
Q. I thought that was kind of interesting because you seem like you have all your bases covered. If you were to have a 10th assistant, what would that do for recruiting --
URBAN MEYER: No idea. Just be another -- I guess Gene would have to build another office around here, I don't know. I think these are great conversations. That's another thing, but it's a hell of a time to be voting or something.
Q. There's no voting.
URBAN MEYER: Okay, thanks.
Q. You guys looked so good for four weeks and then you had the whole hiccup with the passing game. Is it something that you think is actually good in the long run, okay, it's not going to be a smooth ride, we need to get some things fixed, make sure there's no complacency?
URBAN MEYER: I think that's a good question, and I think urgency is always good, absolutely, and especially proactive conversation as opposed to reactive. I say that to our staff all the time, and Lou Holtz would -- forever branded on my heart is that you don't attack a team when you lose a game. You attack them and you win the game, it'll play well. So we're attacking and there's urgency, and we have very good players and very good people. Very well-said, and that's correct.
Q. Wisconsin is coming off an off week, had two big wins. What's your take on them? Where are they right now?
URBAN MEYER: Outstanding. The typical Wisconsin. I think it goes back to Coach Alvarez and what he's built up there. I think Coach Chryst -- I don't know him very well, but I can push play and see it's one of the best coached teams in the United States of America. Very good players. They have their niche. Average size is 6'6" or 6'8" on the offensive line, 315 pounds. I think that's what it was two years ago, and it's just consistent. They have an excellent running back, very efficient pass game.
And then on defense, they're outstanding. They're what they've been. It's amazing that they've had coach transition. They've changed defensive coordinators and it's a very similar defense. It's Wisconsin's defense. I like that. I like the fact that we change coordinators on offense, it's Ohio State's offense, so Wisconsin you've got to give the leadership a lot of credit. One of the best teams in America.
Q. The word you used for the passing game on Saturday was alarming. Has the panic come down at all from watching it on film?
URBAN MEYER: Yeah, there was a couple mis-hits that usually hit, or when we do hit we're dominating. If we don't hit, we have to work a little harder. And just the style; we're a pretty good run team. It's always been that way. We're kind of a shot team. When we hit shots, it's really good. If it's not, we have to find out why and get it fixed.
Q. Do you have an idea of what that might be yet at this point?
URBAN MEYER: Oh, yeah, I know exactly what it was. Alarming is probably a little overreactive, but we've just got to get to practice and get it better. You never want to take credit away from the team you played. It was a good team we played.
Q. You just read off a bunch of defensive linemen who graded out as champions this week. I know it's been a point of emphasis to build that area up in particular and get rotation going. When people think of that sort of think they think of the SEC, defensive lines that you're so familiar with. How close are you guys to that sort of on that trajectory with the defensive line that you have?
URBAN MEYER: Well, we're closer than we've ever been because of our depth and recruiting and guys staying healthy, and you have to visualize if we had Sprinkle still, so we did lose a very good player.
I don't want to tag them SEC because I haven't been there in a while, but we're very close to -- you'd like to have a rotation, and we're very close to that.
Q. One of the individuals in there, Jalyn Holmes, just seems like he's playing very well this year and seems a little more versatile than people maybe expected from him.
URBAN MEYER: Yeah, he plays inside, as well, and Nick Bosa plays inside, so that's more in the passing situations than nickel, which against Indiana we were in a bunch of nickel. This week we will not be. He's going to be more stationed area at the defensive end.
Jalyn is playing well. There really is no two starters, it's three starters at the defensive end position, Taquan Hubbard and Jalyn, and Bosa is not far behind.
Q. Just want to get your take on Zeke, had another huge day yesterday, leads the NFL in rushing, and his 546 yards is the fifth best start in the history of the league.
URBAN MEYER: Wow.
Q. Talk about the job he's doing.
URBAN MEYER: Yeah, I didn't see it, just his mom texted me. She keeps me posted on how he's doing. Sundays are busy workdays so we didn't get to see much. Very proud of him, and it doesn't surprise me because we think he's that good.
Q. What are the benefits with a guy that wears his Buckeye very proud? What does that mean for recruiting?
URBAN MEYER: Well, if you follow all that Twitter stuff, it means a lot. We beat that to death, and we're very proud of the old boys when they come back. Mike Thomas was with us, Tyvis Powell was with us on the weekend. This is Mike's second visit back in the last two months, so that's the way it should be.
One thing about Ohio State, it's always kind of been that way. It's the spirit of Ohio State. I remember that back in the days when I was here in 1986, '87, they always come back. First of all, Columbus is a great city. Ohio State knows how to take care of their players, and they enjoy their time here.
Q. It was windy on Saturday, and bad weather obviously affects all quarterbacks. Is it a concern that J.T. seems to know throw the ball well in bad weather?
URBAN MEYER: You're saying there's supposed to be bad weather?
Q. This past Saturday it seemed like it was windy, and even early in his career seems like he's struggled in bad weather. I know it affects all quarterbacks.
URBAN MEYER: That's a concern, but both quarterbacks have to play in it. J.T. is fine. J.T. is going to play well, and that certainly had nothing to do with what happened Saturday. A little breezy but that was not a problem at all.
Q. How can a coach work on passing in bad weather? Would you take the guys outside on a rainy day or something like that?
URBAN MEYER: I hate it, but yeah, we do it. I'd rather not, but we do it, absolutely. It's not just the quarterbacks, it's receivers, and you've got to get a couple of those in the bank.
Q. When you look at that passing game, and you touched on it a minute ago, but how much of it was sort of still inexperience, maybe youngish receivers, not coming back for the ball, things like that? What did you see when you kind of really --
URBAN MEYER: First thing I saw was a couple mis-hits on deep balls. One was eight yards behind a guy, one was 10 yards behind a guy, and for whatever reason the one guy got a little bit of pressure, we had to reset our feet and we were behind Curtis. James Clark was running open down the sideline, and we were a little bit out of the pocket instead of being in the pocket. Those are two examples.
We had a couple plays called where we ran poor routes, too. I don't want to name names, but there are a couple names, a couple guys who just ran very poor routes, and that tends to -- you look up at the scoreboard, you're up by two scores in the second half, our job is to win the game. We're playing very good defense. We have the best punter in America. I know it's not what everybody likes; I don't like it, but get out of that thing with a win and let's move forward and get better, and that's what happened.
Q. What does it do for a group like the guys you just named, William Hill, Robert Landers, Nick Bosa, to make a play, be in on a play like that with the game sort of hanging in the balance?
URBAN MEYER: On 4th down?
URBAN MEYER: It's tremendous.
Q. What does it do for players? What's it do for you from a confidence standpoint?
URBAN MEYER: Oh, the defensive line is walking on -- they're walking around here like they're king of the hill. They played very well. Bright-eyed. We showed that entire play to the entire team on -- when was it, yesterday. So yeah, your peers respect you. You get rewarded for it, and like all elite warriors, you wait for your next mission, and that's what those guys are doing.
Q. When you look at Wisconsin with the Watt kid playing on the outside, what stands out about them most defensively?
URBAN MEYER: Play hard and very well-coached. Their hair is on fire. It's been that way for quite a while. We like to use the word culture around here, and I'm sure Coach Chryst and Coach Alvarez are very proud of the culture at Wisconsin. They should be.
Q. I think y'all are something like 116th in penalties per game so far. Is there anything you attribute that to, and is there anything other than just continuing to gain experience that can fix that?
URBAN MEYER: I didn't know that. Obviously I'm going to go check that right when we leave here. I just saw a stat we're only like in the top five in penalties. Check your stats, brother.
Q. You've taken 44 penalties this year, Wisconsin has taken 18.
URBAN MEYER: I don't know why. I'm going to research that when I get out of here. I don't think that's been a huge problem, but that's obviously -- that stat is a little alarming. What do I attribute that to? Depends on the penalties; we'll figure that out.
Q. You said Saturday that J.T. may be a little bit too much of a security blanket for you. I assume that's understandable on one hand, but I assume Tim Tebow, Alex Smith, there might have been others, pretty good players?
URBAN MEYER: Braxton Miller, Cardale Jones, Kenny Guiton.
Q. To name a few. How do you get away from that, I guess?
URBAN MEYER: We don't. I'll tell you, it's part of playing quarterback in this offense. You're one of the best players in the country, we're going to play you and use you and do what you do well. We're aware of it and have to be somewhat intelligent about how we do it, but go win the game.
Q. In tight situations, are you concerned -- not worried but concerned that your opponent knows that tendency?
URBAN MEYER: Sure, but that's why you have to put people around them. The Curtis Samuels of the world, Mike Webers. That's the one thing about that position, the quarterback position, it's the equalizer in spread offenses because they can load up to stop the run. It's hard to load up to stop him because he's an extra single wing a little bit. Just can't lean on him too much.
Q. In talking to your players as they were diagnosing last year, they said one of the things that they maybe wish they had done better was handle a win where there was still some disappointment, like it was still a win. They said wins didn't feel like wins. J.T. said they got to the point where they tried to be too perfect. This might be the first game this year where you've handled that challenge. Are they handling it better than last year?
URBAN MEYER: Yeah, we talked about it. I heard that, too, and I don't know -- elite people, elite performers want to play very well, enjoy the win, make your corrections and move on. I have to be aware of that and watch it, and I think you just have to be aware of it, but if J.T. maybe didn't play very well, you can't -- he didn't play very well, and we're not hard on him. He's more hard on himself, or Noah Brown or Terry McLaurin. They're trained very hard to be very good at their jobs. They're enjoying their wins. It's just the way we do business around here, expected to play great, and keep moving forward.
Q. You talked about attacking issues after a win where you've maybe left some plays out there. How do you monitor whether the guys are attacking themselves more than you ever could? How many teams have you had like that?
URBAN MEYER: The better the player, the more difficult -- they're more difficult on themselves. Oh, yeah, that's something to keep an eye on and try to lighten things up as much as you can.
But these guys are -- you know, the positive thing about here, there's very elite performers in this room, and elite performers go enjoy your victory meal and get better, but let's come in, enjoy the win, hug your teammate, hug your brother, and let's move on and find a way to get ready for Wisconsin.
Q. This is the first of two games in a row that you're going to be playing against teams that have an extra week to prepare for you with the byes. Does it change anything that you do in terms of awareness that maybe they're going to throw some curve balls, or Wisconsin, as you said, their culture is -- you're pretty sure what you're going to get; know what I mean?
URBAN MEYER: You always have to be ready. Bye weeks create a little bit of indecision. This kind of outfit is a very -- they know what they do and they do it very well. It's also a concern they're two night games back-to-back on the road. Just the wear and tear. I am spending more time on that.
Any time you go into a bye week you just be aware for a couple curve balls you haven't seen. This late in the season you don't see holistic changes to offense, defense or kicking.
Q. You guys have scored in the last 30 seconds of the half in every game this year. Defense did it in Tulsa and obviously Parris Campbell did it this one. How big is that?
URBAN MEYER: Well, you realize that they scored, and then they scored again at the beginning of the second half, and it would be a tie game if we didn't answer with that one and then answer again. That was a huge play in the game. Anytime you take a sense of momentum into the looker room, that creates a little more positive energy as you come out the second half.
Q. When you're playing a really good team like this or any game you expect to be tight, I don't know if you can put it in the game plan, but do you sort of figure you have some dynamic playmakers, somebody is going to pop something at some point that for us it's good that maybe we don't exactly plan for but that one of these swing passes to Curtis Samuel might just go for 50? Do you sort of have that confidence when you have dynamic guys, that they'll do things that you almost can't plan for?
URBAN MEYER: Yeah, that's why you -- just the chance -- Curtis touching the ball 10 times, there's a chance two or three of those are going to be plus-20, plus-30 yards because he'll make someone miss and he's got elite speed. That's absolutely a big part of what we do, and I think the comment was made that we didn't get the ball enough to Curtis, which is probably a true statement because he's a big play waiting to happen. So absolutely.
Q. In your career have you had confidence in most games that you have coached in your career that you had a few more dynamic guys than the other side did, that you had the better chance going into the game?
URBAN MEYER: In my career?
Q. Yeah, like if you've emphasized, hey, we're going to find guys who can turn an eight-yard play into a 50-yard play?
URBAN MEYER: That's a good question. That's a long time. From Bowling Green to -- I don't know. I think it's probably safe to say, though, that especially once you start getting a Curtis Samuel around you that the good -- I won't say majority, but there's been a good bunch of games where I feel like we have elite skill. You'll hear me say quite often, and that's the way we recruit, as well, we have to get the ball to the second level because very rarely will they have better skill than we have. A lot of times you can stop the run. This team is built to stop the run. Indiana was built to stop the run. We have to get into second level via run or pass, and we work extremely hard in the meeting rooms doing that because we have such confidence once you get those guys around you.
Remember our first year we really didn't have that, so it really was, it was, and it was No. 5, I think, running right and left. As you started to develop Hyde and Philly Brown, then you started being more creative on how you do things. Good question, and that's why we work so hard at recruiting those kind of skilled athletes and getting them to the second level.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports