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OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY MEDIA CONFERENCE


October 21, 2013


Urban Meyer


COACH MEYER:  Defensively the champions were Doran Grant and C.J. Barnett was the defensive player of the game.  Obviously we need to do a better job on that side of the ball and have more plays.
Offensive one of our better games since we've been here, very consistent, only had three possessions in the first half.  A touchdown, a fieldgoal and stalled out and went for a 4th down.  Second half is probably our best football we've played in a while.  Our offensive line played exceptional.  The champions were Marcus Hall, Jack Mewhort and Corey Linsley.  And I'll get to Norwell.  Four to five were champions, because Norwell was one of the players of the game, and Taylor Decker received honorable mention, you'll win both games if that happens.
Really, really pleased with the offensive line.  Jeff played very well.  74 plays, and also involved in special teams, wide receivers continued to play well.  The three champions, Evan Spencer, Devon Smith and Philly Brown.  And then our running back played very well, as well, Carlos Hyde.
Offensive players of the week, Braxton Miller played probably his best game overall, very efficient at passing 22 of 27, took care of the ball much better.  Had one where he played it on the ground.  We're still continuing to work on that, ran for a hundred yards.  And Andrew Norwell, it's great because I'm a big Norwell fan, as I'm sure a lot of people are, what he is as a person and a leader.  Those were the players of the week, honorable mention was Taylor Decker.
Kicking game champions, special teams player of the week was a guy that was not necessarily co, but got recognition, Drew Basil.  And black shirt goes to Devan Bogard who did very well on kickoff.  We didn't punt and we had a chance to get a block kick.  Special teams were okay that game, not great, but okay.
This week's game, obviously prime time opportunity at The Shoe at night.  Great opportunity to show the country once again Ohio stadium.  Playing a great team, another team that had a bye week before us.  We have to be prepared.  Iowa did have a bye week, and 13 grouping, 3 tight ends, and we weren't ready for it.  We didn't adjust well.  That's something we have to be prepared for when you face a team that has a bye week and that's going to happen again this week.  We have to be ready.  And we will be ready.

Q.  When you watch the defensive side of things, were there big problems, were there things that were more frustrating to you, player execution end be or coaching end?
COACH MEYER:   I think little bit of both.  I think we're all in this together, so I think the adjustments need to be made quicker when they give us something we have not seen.  The first three drives were alarming.  I don't think our defensive line played very well.  I think what happened was you have some good emotion in that stadium and you go 13 play drive, and you let the air out of the stadium and the emotion, and that's where Christian Bryant, our great leadership, overcomes a little adversity and we didn't have that.  That's got to come from our coaches and players.  Very disappointed.  Can it be fixed?  Absolutely.  We're still a good rush defense.  We've got to continue to work because we've dealt with some injuries and depth issues and we've got to play better.  Very, very concerned.

Q.  Penn State like Iowa has very good tight ends, that was a big issue, how much are you going to work on that?
COACH MEYER:  Started already.  We better be ready.  They're a little bit better throwing team than Iowa, and Iowa hurt us.

Q.  Tommie Schutt's first week back, how is he doing?
COACH MEYER:   He only played 10, 12 plays.  Today is my day to watch the defense, and he actually did pretty good.  I think you'll see more of him in the game.  We didn't play very well up front.

Q.  Michael Hill?
COACH MEYER:   Yeah, he's got an injury, same high school injury that we thought would be improving and he's got a shoulder.  So right now he can't play.  We're trying to get him back science we can.

Q.  Could you red shirt him?
COACH MEYER:   Yeah, I think he only played in the first few games.

Q.  Bradley Roby set such a high standard a year ago, seems like he's up and down, is had because he's being held to such a high standard he set or is he struggling this year?
COACH MEYER:   I think he did set a high standard and we, when I say we, he himself, set a high standard.  He's not playing at the same level he did a year ago.  At times he plays fantastic.  When there's a mistake on the corner position it's glaring.  He works his tail off, he's got a great work ethic, attitude, he's coming back every day.  He's going to finish the year strong.

Q.  Last week you had conversations in the preseason about practice habits and complacency.  What are those conversations like between the two of you now?
COACH MEYER:   What's our conversation?   There's really not much conversation, other than how to get better.  Any conversation about coming back, going, all of that, that was done back in February.  So it's just about his practice work ethic is pretty good.  It's improved, and that's something I keep pushing real hard.  But he has been pretty good in practice.  I think he's getting ready to have a good game, he worked hard the week before, before he got tossed.
I will comment on that, I'm sure I'll get asked the question.¬† I think that the NCAA and everybody is going to want to relook at that rule.¬† We are ‑‑ Ohio State is very concerned about player safety.¬† We have gone to the Nth degree with adjusting practice.¬† Any rule for the safety of players, no question we support it.
However, that was a game changer.  To take one of your better players out of the game, that impacted that game.  And then you watch and we actually had an official come in and speak to our teams.  And two triggers, we were told there's two ways that you get thrown out of the game, if you hit the crown of your helmet.  Nothing but bad things happen when you play with your head down.  And when you target someone else's head above the shoulder pads.  We teach and work hard at it, as other coaches, and other coaches have called me, is that you play the game with the shoulder pads and play below the head.  I agree a hundred percent.  To have a guy ejected who played like that, obviously I'm concerned.
And Big 10 officials have done a great job.  I had a good conversation with Bill the head of the officials and they're just looking at it.  I just think on a national level that's something that needs to continue to be evaluated.  Make sure we're doing the right thing for player safety, but understand the devastating impact on that game when you're out.  I'm interested to see what's going to happen down the road.

Q.¬† Did he give you an explanation of why he was tossed?¬† Was it because ‑‑ if you watch the replay, he definitely makes shoulder pad to shoulder pad contact, but it looks like their helmets touch?
COACH MEYER:   Yeah, and I'm not sure what's going on.  I don't need to get find because of this conversation.  I think my boss is in the back.

Q.  We won't put it out there, don't worry.
COACH MEYER:¬†¬† What I was told, and Bill, our officials are fantastic.¬† I've never had a problem.¬† Especially communication.¬† And I asked him, I said the instant replay ‑‑ it goes to replay.¬† The guy on the field has the hardest job.¬† After the shoulder pad hit it slid up.¬† And is it enough to overturn it? They're evaluating, as well.
That was not the intent of the rule.¬† That play ‑‑ I can say that without, I'm sure, getting in trouble.¬† That rule was not put for that play.¬† I guess the term defense also receiver will come up at times, too.¬† Our job is to teach.¬† What do you teach, boom, you're in a contact team, we teach them to get your pads down, hit with your shoulder pads.

Q.  He was leading his head away from the guy, too, as he hit.  (Inaudible.)
COACH MEYER:   I watched the game.  I think he's a real talent.  He throws the ball real well, big tall, range I guy, and seems like a heads I guy.  I've not watched enough of them yet, that's later in the week.

Q.  (Inaudible.) Could you offer an opinion on what it must have been like for him and what he's going through?
COACH MEYER:   I hate to do that because I wasn't there.  And I don't want to speculate.  I would say I've had some dealings with Coach O'Brien over the last year and a half.  I think he's a first class guy.  He represents a great school.  I do know a lot about Penn State and it doesn't surprise me that Penn State is doing well.  I think the circumstances, once again, I don't want to speculate, because none of us are there, but a lot of people are surprised, I don't act surprised.  They've got a quality coach and it's a very quality school.  And it overcomes a lot of adversity.

Q.  Is your defense right now good enough for you guys to be the kind of team you want to be?
COACH MEYER:¬†¬† Yes.¬† I think we need to ‑‑ rush defense, absolutely we are.¬† We tightened up in the second half.¬† Pass defense is the concern.¬† But the answer to your question, yes.¬† We have good enough players, we have good enough coaches, we have to play better.

Q.  Talk about Hackenberg playing as a freshman.  This day and age as a coach, is there any hesitation about playing a first year guy at quarterback or if guys are ready, you put them in there just like you put anybody else in there?  Had that changed at all as your time as a coach?
A.I think it's obviously much easier to play the skilled positions.¬† But you are see freshmen play a little bit.¬† I'd hesitate to do that.¬† We did with Tim Tebow a little bit, but he was a part‑time player.¬† I'd be hesitant to play a freshman.¬† You want the kid to come in and learn and then take over.

Q.  If you watch the game Saturday, I know you've looked at it, Brown threw four or five huge blocks.  Talk about Corey, talk about what you see of him.  Is that what you were talking about after the game?
COACH MEYER:   I've got to be careful.  I really admire players.  And my entire career I've done that, and sometimes you grab them every day and say I throw you out a lot, don't burn us.  He's 180 to where he was.  He's an absolute leader of this team, unchallenged, unquestionable, maybe one of the leaders.  He is one of the leaders, one of the top two or three leaders on the team.  If you said that a year ago, we would have gotten in an argument, because that's not who he was of the his development as a person, a player, as a student, I couldn't say enough.  He handled halftime for us.  It wasn't a pleasant halftime.  And he took over the pregame, postgame or whatever, prehalf speech or whatever, and he addressed our team.  And he grabbed me by the arm and said I need to say something.  And I said, you got it.  And it wasn't about throwing the ball more (laughter).

Q.  Talk about a guy like that, blocking?
COACH MEYER:  That's who he is now.  He wasn't that before.  He is all in.  And I think the Carlos Hyde touchdown, when and what he said about it, when I read that it makes you feel good as a coach.  This team gets it.  There's no blaming, no arguments on either side of the ball.  We've had multiple wins around here where the defense has won the game for us.  And the offensive is very appreciative.  The other times offensive carried it a little bit.  And other times special teams did something.  There's good chemistry on the team right now.

Q.  Have you guys put together a game yet, other than maybe Florida A & M where you've been pleased with all three phases of the game and if not, are you a little surprised that you haven't done that yet?
COACH MEYER:¬†¬† Wisconsin I was very pleased of the you're going to find out at the end of the year who Wisconsin is.¬† For some reason they're not ranked high, I'm not sure where they are.¬† I've done this long enough, they're a top 20, top 15 football game.¬† Our score was 31‑10 or something at one point against that team.¬† And then we kind of just played in our hands ‑‑ not played in our hands, just tried to win the game.¬† Yeah, I think that game was pretty close to hitting on all cylinders, especially the way special teams changed the field positions.¬† Other than that you're right, we have room for some improvement.

Q.  You said Saturday that you were concerned with the slow starts (Inaudible.)
COACH MEYER:¬†¬† No, I've been so ‑‑ it's still early in the week.¬† I'm going to start to attack that here.¬† We have so much other things to do.¬† I'm watching for that.¬† I do not have an explanation for that yet but I will.

Q.  As the week goes on, the teams have high standards and playing for a national title, how do you address that?
COACH MEYER:¬†¬† Well, we had our first state of the union address on ‑‑ when was it ‑‑ yesterday.¬† And it's the first time that I do talk about polls, because I wanted to ‑‑ they're going to hear it, this BCS thing came out.¬† And my comment was that we are, indeed, in the mix, embrace it.¬† In the mix for what?¬† Don't worry about it.¬† We are in the mix, though.¬† People think very highly of you.¬† Maybe some people don't.¬† You just have to go out and be the best team on the field on Saturday, not in the country.¬† I addressed it.¬† We did talk about it.¬† Somewhat briefly, but at least it was addressed.¬† That was the first time I did that.

Q.  From when you got into coaching to now how much harder or is playing defense harder with rule changes, not making excuses for what you see on defense, but you look at a lot of scores around the country, a lot of teams scoring a lot of points?
COACH MEYER:¬†¬† Yeah, I spent some time with the defense and made the comment it would be hard for me to be a defensive coach, because it seems like you're the nail, adjusting to what they're doing.¬† As opposed on offense it's easy to keep swinging, and you punt the ball if it doesn't work.¬† I admired ‑‑ I don't try to get too involved in defense, because they're a hell of a lot smarter than I am.¬† They have a tough job.¬† You're right, the differential ‑‑ the different offense that you face are mind boggling, from 13 grouping, one back, three tight ends, but you have all kind of run, fit and gap issues, and play action pass issues that you wouldn't have if it was another set.¬† Much more difficult.

Q.  You talk about defense needs to get better.  Specifically is that philosophically or press, more pressure, is it just tackling, where do you see it not being on that side of the ball so much, what do you see needs to really improve?
COACH MEYER:¬†¬† We've gone through a little bit of evolution.¬† First thing we've got to develop some depth and positions and create a role, where you're getting more guys on the field.¬† I don't believe this time of year, though, tackling was a major, major flaw.¬† I don't believe tackling is a major flaw.¬† Certainly there's going to be mistackles.¬† I don't feel an urgency there.¬† I do feel at times when people give us something new we're sit back and react and get it figured out.¬† And it's the intelligent way of doing it or you might give up fast points.¬† I'd much rather take a more aggressive approach when something bad is happening.¬† Let's go try to disrupt.¬† And we've had that conversation.¬† I don't want to make it sound too easy because it's not.¬† And at the end of the day that was the performance that as far as effort, as far as ‑‑ there's been games that maybe we give up a few points because they throw the ball down the field, but the effort was ridiculous.¬† I didn't feel that Saturday.¬† We've addressed that.¬† The 4th quarter, the guy made a mistake and threw the ball over our head.¬† The other than that we did a good job.
We're addressing it, a lot of confidence in the people we're putting out there and everything, so we'll get better.

Q.  (Inaudible.) Does that happen a lot where the players say something?
COACH MEYER:   No, we needed that.  And he walks the walk, too.  He doesn't just open his mouth up.  It's nice to have a team meeting and show that to the team.  Because they heard what he said.  And then it's easy to pop your mouth off and go sit in the back and sulk or throw your helmet.  And he didn't, he went as hard as he could.  That's the sign of a really good leader. 

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