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OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 31, 2016
COACH MEYER: A lot of respect for our opponent, our players do, too, certainly after that game.
Champions on defense were Mike Hill, Jalyn Holmes, Dre'Mont, Tyquan. And then the back end, Marshon and Malik Hooker. Player of the game was Gareon Conley.
On offense, we had J.T. graded at champion. Mike Weber played really, really hard, graded a champion as well.
Three receivers: Best blocking performance we've had down field: Curtis Samuel, K.J. Hill and Parris Campbell.
Offensive line three of the five. It's great to see Isaiah bounce back, had a very good game. Jamarco Jones and Pat Elflein. And co-players of the game on offense were Noah Brown and Billy Price.
Noah played exceptionally hard. Special teams player of the week was Eric Glover-Williams.
Our prime-time game against Nebraska. Very good team. Really impressed with our conference, with the quality of play, players and teams we we're playing, and these guys are really good. So I'll answer questions for you.
Q. I'm going to ask you about Malcolm Pridgeon. He's the guy that I think you guys were counting on entering the season. Any chance he'll be able to come back this year or is his season over?
COACH MEYER: I think we'll get him for bowl practice or something. But he won't play this year.
Q. I know you said after the game Parris Campbell sprained his ankle?
COACH MEYER: Not bad. It's high, but he's questionable this week. But it's much better than we thought.
Q. I know that the last two weeks probably have not been the best performances you had or what you had in mind. But have you ever had teams, when you're dealing with some of the young players where they just go in this straight line and every week, every performance is better than the last one, has that ever happened?
COACH MEYER: Every performance is better than the other one.
Q. I'm sure you're frustrated, but also maybe you anticipate that there's going to be some rough edges?
COACH MEYER: Sure. Of course there is. I think '14 -- I'm just thinking back, with the young teams, '14 -- and I hate to keep putting everybody in that category -- but '14 was the team that we had the double overtime win. We didn't play exceptionally well that game. And that's just college football now right now, too.
So I do -- I guess I'm not normally like this, but I see a lot of positives from our teams because I know what we're playing and I know these young guys and they are getting better because I see it from maybe a different angle, viewpoint than a lot of other people.
COACH MEYER: I do see some very good positives. I like the fact that you get in a street fight and you win it. And that's a good sign of the future's very bright here. We have really two seniors that are playing in Pat and Tyquan -- well, Tyquan's not, he's got another year -- and Dontre. You've got a bunch of young cats going and swinging hard and practicing hard.
So I guess I'm much more positive. Do I wish that we were -- that 56 points and all those kind of things, sure, but we're a work in progress.
And I gotta make this clear, too. A lot of it, it's a quality opponent. I know they maybe didn't start the season well, but they held Indiana and Michigan State to very low rushing totals and much improved defense.
Q. Maybe it sounds too harsh to call them growing pains, but when a young player encounters them, how do you coach them out of it? What is the key to getting past that plateau?
COACH MEYER: That's the essence of our job. Great question. Every player's different. Every team's different. Now we've got the wear and tear, because the bye week was so early. So you have to be very cautious of that. You're entering week nine and ten of a season with little depth -- some depth issues.
So that's the essence. Take us a couple of hours to have that conversation about who we are as a team and who the individuals are that we have to coach through growing pains, I guess.
I don't think growing pains is -- it's part of the way it is. Every school in the country is dealing with it. I would say this, too, that it's very fragile. You just go home at night, sink into that chair and go, ooh, that team lost, that team lost. It happens. It's very fragile. You've just got to keep swinging -- one game at a time, one quarter at a time of play.
Q. Building on that question, I asked you on Saturday whether this team is ready for pursuit of championships in November. How good do you feel about that right now?
COACH MEYER: I'd be disappointed if that was even brought up anywhere around here. That's just -- we know what we are. We've got two tackles with some -- their ankles are going to be fine, but two sprained ankles during the course of the game.
So -- teams don't think that way. Really, let's get -- we just flipped the film on of a team that's, I think they're still ranked in the top ten. A top ten team. They play like it. They look like it. And that's the only concern.
Q. In regards to that question, you seemed optimistic, you liked behind the scenes what you see. What specifically do you like?
COACH MEYER: I'm just a big fan of work ethic, high-character people that go to work, understand where we are. Understand we're not as explosive as maybe we'd like to be. We're not as tight on coverage as we were earlier in the year and let's fix it as opposed to whatever. And enjoy the damn win and had a victory meal last night and go about our business.
Q. Did you think it would be like this five years ago?
COACH MEYER: Been like?
Q. This attitude?
COACH MEYER: I have no idea. Five years ago, when was that? I don't know.
Q. I guess it's more the psychological stuff. When your season's on the brink, so to speak, if a loss could end a lot of things for you, how do you keep a team in the moment? How do you keep them, I guess, you keep --
COACH MEYER: These are great questions. And it depends on the team. It depends on the individual. I've got a leader at quarterback. So those are all great questions. The conversation around this facility and all focus is on the next game. And that might sound coach-speak it is and that's the way it is.
And that's what I like about these guys. Pat Elflein is not coming in here talking about, hey, tell me about the college football playoffs and the rankings coming out. That conversation I'm sure is everywhere else. But in here, especially with the guys playing, the focus is on playing a very good team.
Q. You just mentioned that Noah Brown played a really good game for you guys. What do you like about the way he's playing so far this year?
COACH MEYER: He's just a tough guy. Did you guys see the Q draw, the last 35-yard run he got two people on the ground, got the corner down and then hit the safety.
Three plays before that, he had man underneath coverage and they were basically double teaming him. He came free on a corner route and made the play to move the chains. So just a tough guy, tough hard-nosed player. Very consistent with his ball skills, and just a tough guy. I just love being around him and I think he's playing well.
Q. This is your guys' first major recruiting weekend, night game. I was wondering, every year in your guys' recruiting class there seems to be one or two players that emerges as a leader in that group helping you guys. I think at least probably recruit on the Internet, on social media. I was just wondering to have a guy, or one of the guys that's a leader in that class be on his official visit the same weekend as some of your major targets, how important is that from a leadership/recruiting aspect to have somebody that's already committed in the class who is outwardly --
COACH MEYER: I think the obvious answer is it's essential. I mean, nowadays, with all the group chats -- and we actually really have those conversations in the spring where we're putting classes together -- who is the bell cow? Who is the King? Who is the guy that's going to be the, run those -- that's where Mark Pantoni does a good job. We recognize that. They a lot of times end up being the leaders on your team as well. They have the characteristic. So those are very important.
Q. Parris has emerged as one of the go-to important guys in this offense. How is this going to change things if he can't go?
COACH MEYER: We'll be down one less player. And Bin Victor has been so close, we've just got to get him pushing through the hump. And James Clark and Terry McLaurin have got to has to step up and play.
Q. I want to ask you about Curtis Samuel. When you recruit him out of Brooklyn, which is a very different place from Columbus, what in his personality, I guess, would be the thing, that made you confident that he could make this transition to Ohio State, to Columbus, to a place very different from home?
COACH MEYER: Very unique place, Brooklyn. I actually love Brooklyn. I love the delis there and love the people. His high school coach is a very good friend of ours. He kind of patterns his program after ours. And Danny Lambert is his name. And you meet Curtis' mom and dad, you're going to find out what your going to get. He's a wonderful kid that takes his academics very seriously, very clean lifestyle and a talented guy. There was no doubt once you got to know his whole, who surrounded him.
Q. I know there's a lot of talk around here about getting him the ball more.
COACH MEYER: Let me make it clear, I've been places -- been at times where there's no one to get the ball to. So we're good. Ask all you want.
Q. I guess I would say, he seems perfectly fit for the role that you have him in?
COACH MEYER: Perfect.
Q. I imagine that's the reason you wanted him here. Are you still trying to feel ways of do you get to the fourth quarter and go, man, we've only had eight touches for this guy?
COACH MEYER: Not as much this year. I've done that in the past, but we certainly script plays with the idea of getting him his 15, whatever it is that. 15's kind of the number or more.
Q. The Northwestern's best receiver --
COACH MEYER: You asked me the other day if you're being fair, remember that?
Q. I do.
COACH MEYER: Are you?
Q. Am I being fair to you?
COACH MEYER: Yeah.
Q. I was thinking about that this weekend. (Laughter)
COACH MEYER: We'll switch spots. (Laughter).
Q. We can go sit, I have a lot of internal feelings about this as well.
COACH MEYER: No. (Laughter).
Q. Northwestern's best receiver, was he in the slot a lot in that game? I don't know if you guys maybe -- and do you just cover the slot guy with your slot --
COACH MEYER: We got caught -- the two or three that got us were outside leverage. And it was man-free outside leverage, and he did a nice job on stemming his routes. We were behind him and he made some plays.
Q. Do you play your defense and you play your defense, or sometimes --
COACH MEYER: You should adjust, and those are conversations our coaches are having.
Q. And when you see a team and a coach like Mike Riley at Nebraska, you've been through this, you go to a new place, to see what they've done from last year, they had a lot of close losses, didn't have the year they wanted to have, and to see where Nebraska is right now, when you look at the Nebraska team, what do you think of what they've done from last year to this year?
COACH MEYER: I know Mike very well. I've known him for a long, long time. We're friends. And I think he's one of the great coaches.
I'm not surprised. First of all, they have very good players. The previous staff loaded them up really good. So we knew that because Coach Pelini did a good job recruiting. And it's Nebraska.
So he's utilizing his talent very well. Not surprised. They were -- I didn't study them because we didn't play them last year, but they were very close to having a great year. Couple of real close losses.
Q. Branden Bowen's number for last week makes him an eligible receiver. Do you expect him to continue to do that?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, we're looking at him at post routes and corner routes. (Laughter). He's just -- we had a couple of injuries at the tight end position. And he's a guy that's really earned some playing time.
So I anticipate -- and he can catch, by the way. But he played pretty good in that game.
Q. When you look at the structure of the Big Ten now, when you look at the teams that are in the middle, is it just tougher to win because those teams are better than they used to be?
COACH MEYER: I think that's a very good assessment of -- I can speak on -- yeah, just even watching the film on the teams we don't play.
And I'd be -- I haven't timed it, but I bet their out-of-season or out-of-conference record is pretty good because I'm seeing a lot of good football teams in our conference now.
Q. Did you see emerging stuff in the downhill -- downfield passing game, in this game, that encouraged you? Just what were your thoughts on that?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, the team we played kind of -- they played soft enough that that forced it -- that's why you saw a lot of the intermediate stuff that we started the game. And J.T., I thought, played really well.
Certainly the first three drives and the last few drives were fantastic. I'm seeing improvement. We're not as explosive as we have been. And is it the receivers' fault? No. Is it because James Clark came clean? We missed him on a deep ball.
Q. You see that coming?
COACH MEYER: I do see it coming.
Q. What's the encouraging side; that there are some shots that almost --
COACH MEYER: We have talented guys. And in practice we see them improving. And like anything, it takes -- throwing the football is timing. We're seeing a lot of press coverage.
When you separate from press, it has to be an accurate throw and we have to protect the quarterback. It's all three. It's nothing new. It's the essence of throwing the ball.
Q. No. 25 on Nebraska, their safety, seems to be a really active --
COACH MEYER: Great player.
Q. -- get-after-it guy. What jumps out to you about him?
COACH MEYER: Fast, tough. Tim was telling us about him. Got our scouting report on him. He's a draftable player, very draftable player and just real fast and physical.
Q. And you were talking about the focus on the here and now, this week, this quarter, this game. You have the first college football playoff rankings come out Tuesday. It will give you an assessment of at least what people are thinking about you. In your mind, how important is that first set of rankings to know whether you're in the picture?
COACH MEYER: Oh, it's important. Not for us. It's important. I won't look at it. I'm sure people will tell me about it, including my person of 27 years of marriage will tell me about it when I get home.
But, I mean, it's not going to change the way we work. And I'm sure we'll be somewhere around there. But we've got to improve and play well Saturday against a very good team.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports