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September 11, 2017

Urban Meyer

Columbus, Ohio

COACH MEYER: Thanks for coming. Just a couple of comments before I take some questions here. First is we've had a couple of tough losses over the years here. And lost to a good team. So what you have to do, you go through, I met with our players about this, because I experienced it ourselves as coaches and myself you go from devastated to crushed, to pissed, and then you've got to move forward as a leader and get going. So we're somewhere between 2 and 3 right now, the pissed and the moving forward.

And so our players, they're resilient, they get over things quickly. So it's our job to get over them quickly, too, and move forward and fix issues that caused the failing, the loss. So that's we're where at.

Moving on, Army, very unique issues you deal with. They are very good on offense. Second in the country, I believe, rushing. The wishbone creates its own identity of issues and unique issues. And then on defense, like some of the service academies I've coached against before, they're 3-4, all over the place and play extremely hard and a very good team. They beat Navy last year.

And I'm just a big fan of the service academy. So I follow that very closely. And so we've got to move forward and move forward fast.

Q. You said after the game, you said you see what we see. You weren't happy with play calling. Just curious, is there so much going on during the game that prevents you from stepping in and sort of fixing things in the moment, or can you walk us through how the whole --
COACH MEYER: To a degree I can. It's not the first year. It's not the first time we've had either issue offense -- defense, or kicking game. It's my job to step in. And I tried.

And a lot of times head coaches can screw things up worse than they are. And I'm not immune to that.

So I'm more conscientious than I've ever been. I have very good coaches on offense. And they played well on defense and did a lot of unique things, and we knew they would because they prepared for this one.

So, yeah, of course just didn't do it well enough.

Q. When you look at your QB situation, I know J.T. is the starter. Is there more consideration to give Dwayne or Joe some game reps at some point?
COACH MEYER: Sure. We like to do that anyway. It hasn't presented itself yet. Any decisions about any personnel is strictly who gives us the best opportunity to win, whether it be right guard, quarterback. And it's always been the case.

And right now it's not even a question. But, yeah, we'd like to absolutely get the other guys in and play a little bit.

Q. When you say that's not even a question, I'm thinking back to 2015 where you said Cardale and J.T. were so on the practice field. Is J.T. so much further ahead than -- Joe's been hurt?
COACH MEYER: With all the above, yeah. With all the above. You think of a quarterback and it's just throwing; it's much more than that. It's getting the right plays and et cetera. So at this point it's still -- I didn't do that, but it's a difference.

Q. You said this is the Ohio State offense. I'm just, can you explain how much autonomy Kevin Wilson has as far as designing the offense and calling the plays?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, it's a term we used -- and you might get tired of hearing it -- it's enhancing it and make it better, like every coordinator we've had. And he's had that opportunity and will continue to have the opportunity.

Q. Defensively, defense gave up nearly 500 yards -- I know Baker Mayfield played well, but as the defensive coaches analyze the film what was the biggest issue that they passed along?
COACH MEYER: I missed -- they have a very good offense, obviously and their quarterback is ridiculous. He played great.

And catching yourself not focusing on your responsibility, that's when you saw a couple of those hits. That was the biggest issue, guys trying to do too much.

I'm going to go stop this play instead of cover my guy and take my eyes off my guy for a second, and that's where you saw a couple of those guys squirt loose.

Q. By virtue of who Army is and maybe the quality of the next two, three opponents, does that prevent you from fixing maybe the pass defense or having it tested like you would like to see?
COACH MEYER: Coach Schiano has coached against wishbone teams. I have, too. And it's a unique week.

So we put that one to bed to -- we met. We watched it. We met with the players and then it was right, even last night, right on to Army. You need to spend every waking moment from here until the foot hits the ball to prepare against the wishbone.

Q. What did you see then from the secondary?
COACH MEYER: From the secondary, did not play very well.

Q. Across the board?

Q. Obviously right after the game you are not going to assign responsibility, the other team to tape. You have watched it. When you break down the offense's problems, how much is J.T., how much is play calling? Not looking for a number, but when you in your mind figure out what's really to blame, what do you see?
COACH MEYER: Like I said, this is not the first time we've had a tough loss. Fortunately haven't had too many. But you know me well the B word doesn't come out. We're not blaming anybody.

There's some guys that didn't play particularly well. And I usually don't bring that up very often. And I think, like you said, the play calling, I'm going to keep evaluating that and make sure we're doing what we're doing best.

But now is not the time. And I would anticipate the whole program feels that way. It's moving forward and fixing issues. And we don't share that necessarily in here.

Q. Do you feel the need to reassure J.T. or have a discussion with J.T. after the game?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, that's normal protocol after he plays well or he plays not so well.

Q. Are you still confident that the Ohio State offense, your offensive philosophy, the bread-and-butter stuff you like to run can work against the best teams you play or is there something fundamental that needs to change about the overall approach to offense?
COACH MEYER: I think the evolution of defenses, especially the ones that have given us trouble over the last couple of years, that's constant because it's the multiplicity of defenses that have given us -- and then other offensive issues.

So, yeah, we're reevaluating that. And it's constant change and it's much different than it was in 2012. And there are a lot of people in that room working on it to keep it moving forward.

Q. You mentioned before how you have people monitor social media with your players. If you have a recruit on a visit who has tweeted something critical of your team while he's on a visit, how is that viewed? Is that something that could impact a player's potential standing within your recruiting class?
COACH MEYER: Sure. I was made aware of something and I let other people -- I was made aware of it.

Q. When you see what you want to see in practice, you're seeing things that -- you're getting the production that you want, but it doesn't replicate itself in the game. How do you go about fixing the issue if it doesn't manifest itself in practice?
COACH MEYER: I think I know what you're asking. If you see certain things work well or certain players perform well in practice, yet you don't see the carry-over -- that's happened before over the years.

And you just -- it's usually with the younger player, it's the first time in a prime time event. Our kicker did not kick particularly well, the kickoff guy. So a true freshman. We're certainly not going to stick him, ship him off somewhere or cut him something like that. But you keep working with him and you hope he matures enough to handle those kind of situations and other players fall in that category. That's life in the big city when you have to play young players at times.

Q. How do you know when you've got it resolved in practice, I guess? Do you have to see it in the game before you know the issue is fixed?
COACH MEYER: Like you said practice is practice and games are games. And it happens. Usually if it happens with older players you gotta move on. Younger players you coach them through it.

Q. We were talking to J.T. after the game about things that were said in the preseason about the passing game coming along. And J.T. had said he's going to make throws to covered receivers and do things and that maybe he's not doing it now. He said that in preseason it was man-to-man defense, you guys played against man-to-man, and now he's seen zone two straight games. I know you do it in game week, you prepare for what the other team is going to do, but was the offense prepared enough for the zone looks that you've seen in the first two weeks?
COACH MEYER: We've seen a lot of zone. That's one of the negatives when you practice against all the man-to-man. In practice, we -- and they're dropping eight in some situations, too, which is really difficult.

So to answer your question, we've given them that looks in practice and obviously not enough. So we've got to continue that.

Q. For us, the laymen out here, thinking about the way you guys look like you need to throw it better in this offense, what you've said about Dwayne in the past, his potential as a thrower, some of -- me included, people would say, boy, that sounds like something that maybe this offense could use, a guy who really can throw it like that. Can you maybe just explain a little more why that's not where it sounds like you are right now?
COACH MEYER: Sure. Just the term game ready is used quite often around here. That is, is Dwayne game ready to help us go win a game? And if we feel he is then he'll go into the game. And that opportunity is -- that third quarter of Oklahoma is not the right time to do that.

At some point we're hoping if he continues to grow up and get some game experience then you can evaluate it there. Does that make sense? First time to take a snap in those situations. Normally if something happened you have to do it but not in that situation.

Q. I know you guys said you're going forward but going forward to Army and UNLV, is it possible that Dwayne Haskins in the game plan, when games are on the line, not just --
COACH MEYER: I don't know. I don't want to speculate.

Q. Just to make sure we're understanding your thinking on this, you said it doesn't matter right guard, quarterback, anybody, you play who gives you the best chance to win, right?

Q. When the guy is a three-time captain, one of the great leaders you've ever seen, how does that factor in to any decision you're making about J.T.?
COACH MEYER: That's part of the -- when you say the right guard, it's not just can he block the noseguard. You take all the intangibles, the tangibles, everything, then you make that decision. So, those things you just mentioned, absolutely they're in the equation. That's called being a really good football player. Other things you have to continue to work on.

Your question is how much does that play into it. A lot. And that's with every position.

Q. Urban, when you look at J.T., everybody keeps bringing up J.T., I've seen at least three opportunities where you guys could have had an over-the-top, deep ball play that would have maybe, I don't know if shut people up, whatever you want to call it, two of them, one was overthrown, but the other two were to experienced receivers who didn't make the play. When do you start evaluating, I guess, that side of it and when do you bring on, maybe, younger players in that regard? You understand what I'm saying there?
COACH MEYER: Sure. When do we evaluate it.

Q. I know you evaluate it. But when does it become critical?
COACH MEYER: When do you sleep? When do you eat? That's all we do. So all those questions, sure.

Q. But do you have guys in line there now that maybe get opportunities that didn't get opportunities before?
COACH MEYER: I think so. Yeah, it's a six-man rotation. There's not a differentiation from 1 through 6, and I think they're going to be all fine players. They're continuing to grow. It's not -- Johnnie Dixon to Bin Victor and Austin Mack. There's not that Michael Thomas right now where you say he's your go to all the time. Bin Victor, we tried a couple with him. I think Terry got behind him one time. So when you ask the question when, it's when do we not, it's nonstop.

Q. And the other thing, this isn't my follow-up, but update. Austin Mack, what's his situation?
COACH MEYER: He's just feeling much better today. Obviously very cautious about -- his head hit the back of the turf. So they're very cautious about it. We'll know more tomorrow. But I put him as probable for the game.

Q. I asked you this a little bit after the game on Saturday but I wanted to follow up. The way y'all used your running backs Saturday, I think Mike Weber and J.K. combined for 14 carries or something. Where does that fit on the list of things --
COACH MEYER: That's not enough. And Mike was still not quite 100 percent. He had a little -- it tugged on him a little bit but he's much better. We're anticipating -- he's still not full speed yet, but we anticipate him and J.K. runs real hard, too. You want to be in the 30 -- 25 to 30 number with him, with them.

Q. Your players after the game, we were talking to them, were saying things like they feel they're inches away, but it's little things right now that need cleaned up. Is that where you want them mentally, or would a little more urgency be apropos at this time?
COACH MEYER: There's a tremendous amount of urgency. What they say to you, as my wife says, coach-speak and player-speak at times, which is kind of what I want and what I try to do if I think before I speak.

So because we don't need anything out there. This is all internal. I assure you there's plenty of urgency. And once again it might not be -- when you ask a guy a question 20 minutes after a game, and they have a tough loss -- we try to coach them through that -- we don't need headlines.

Q. After a game like this -- in every game you're going to have one, maybe two players that doesn't have their best night. But when you have a game where it is beyond that one or two guys, what is generally the cause of that, when it seems like it's gotten contagious?
COACH MEYER: There's two or three things. One is a quality opponent. Sometimes if a corner gets beat by a first-round draft pick, those things happen once in a while. Or a very good player.

The other thing, are we putting them in position to be successful? And that's constant, like someone asked, Tim, I think, someone said, when do you evaluate that? It's constant evaluation; can they do what we do?

And you had two first-round corners. We hope developed two first-round corners, so we continue. And that's constant conversation. Can they do what we've done in the past? And it's early in the season. We've still got a lot of football left and that's what's going on right now.

Q. When you looked at the offense, what happened on Saturday, do you have like a priority list? What jumps out at you; we have to get this fixed going forward now? Do you have a list in mind?

Q. Can you share --
COACH MEYER: Not really. Because I don't -- I think some of it is rather obvious. And maybe some of it not so obvious. But that's not my position to do that here.

Q. Also in terms of J.T., do you worry at all about his confidence? He's always been a confident player. What do you see?
COACH MEYER: Sure. I see a mentally tough guy. He's got to play better. We've got to play better. And we've got to coach better. Very mature guy. He's kind of seen it all.

But I worry about that now with J.T., but with corners, that's a tough position. You're out there on an island. And a corner loses confidence -- and that's what coaching is, though. That's our job. I had a good meeting with our staff, inspire and motivate and move them on.

As awful as we feel, no one's really asking how we feel, we've got to move forward. And they're the ones out there doing their job. We've got to make sure they're in position and have that feeling that they can do it.

Q. You said at Big Ten Media Day that Kevin Wilson was the first coordinator in your career who you brought in who is an established guy. You've had younger guys who you've kind of brought along. What's that merger been like? He has an established philosophy, he is one of the best play callers in college football. Coming into your offense, just how has that merger gone? And do you think we may see an evolution towards more things we saw with Kevin --
COACH MEYER: Yeah, I think if it fits -- after the -- the first half of Indiana was not particularly well, but the second half flowed very well. And it did not flow necessarily well against Oklahoma.

So I would anticipate that you will continue to see a merging of ideas and concepts, the same with Ryan Day. He's got a very good mind, and we're always constantly adding wrinkles to make things better.

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