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November 18, 2013

Urban Meyer

COACH MEYER:  Just talk briefly about the Illinois game, obviously pleased with the opportunity to be 10‑0.  The champions for the offensive side were Corey Linsley and Jack Mewhort are playing really well for us.  Tight end0 Jeff Heuerman playing fantastic.  Evan Spencer, Philly Brown as receivers.  We had co‑offensive players of the week.  It was Carlos Hyde, the obvious with 10.2 yards per carry, six big plays, five touchdowns.  Then the other guy, which is just great to see, Andrew Norwell, 88%, extremely high.  Once again, played a very, very high level.
On defense you had Ryan Shazier and Noah Spence and C.J. Barnett were all three co‑D players of the week.  Mike Bennett and Joey Bosa.  Joey Bosa had a little neck injury.  When he was in there, was extremely disruptive with two sacks and two pressures.
Special teams, our punter did an excellent job in the kicking game.  The black shirt goes to Ron Tanner.  That's special teams players of the week the four tackles on kickoff, great effort in kickoff return, very productive player.
This week is all about 18 seniors.  Last two years have been on a nice run.  Guys I have great admiration for.  Didn't know them very well obviously for a while.  Now we all know them very well.
I think Buckeye Nation is going to do a great job of sending off these guys in the last home game with a chance to do some really historic things, but most importantly just win this game.
Our effort this week is we're beat up a little bit.  Right now we're just going through it.  It's showing up in our coverage units a little bit.  I want to say nine players are out for the season, scholarship players.  Seven or eight of them are guys we were all counting on.  Adam Griffin, Jamie Wood, Blake Thomas, Jayme Thompson, James Clark, Christian Bryant, Mike Hill, Underwood and Munger, those are all guys out for the entire year.
Then we have these other ones, Curtis Grant, Jordan Hall, Darron Lee, Perry, Jack Mewhort, Joey Bosa.  Tommy Schutt and Adolpus Washington have been in the lineup which has really caused us certainly some issues on defense last week when you're down.
We had to put a guy at Mike linebacker.  Cam Williams never played Mike linebacker, always been an outside guy.  Joe Burger, second year in the program from Cincinnati, was playing for us.
Obviously, we've got to improve.  That's our focus this week, getting some players back.  The problem is I'm not sure how many of those guys are going to get back, and preparing some of the younger guys to either play or play a little better.
With that said, I'll certainly answer any questions for you.

Q.  You mentioned doing some historic things.  The streak this week, do you put emphasis on that?
COACH MEYER:  We talked about it.  Emphasis, no.  Emphasis is on just what I spoke of.  There's Warren Ball doing things, they really haven't done a lot of them in their careers.  We're asking offensive players to tackle right now.  You saw what happened when you ask to do that.
Our emphasis is on teaching people how to tackle.  We have five offensive players on punts right now.  Never had that.  Punt, you go down and tackle.  When guys have never tackled in their career, that's bad coaching by us.
So we're spending time.  Either you try to create some defensive players, which doesn't usually work this time of year, or you just teach and get better.  So our focus is on that.

Q.  Last year for the BCS.  Having been a coach throughout the BCS era, what do you think of it?  How do you think people will look back on it?  Has this been the best way to decide who plays for the national championship?
COACH MEYER:  Without spending much time on it, because it's not fair for our team to do that.  I will say this:  I think it's a flawed system.  When you logically think about it, what the BCS people have done, which obviously we're all part of it, I think it was great for a while.
I think it took an imperfect system and did the best you can without a playoff.  There's going to be controversy in playoffs, too, now.  There's not a 64‑team playoff.  You're going to have four guys.  What is that fifth team going to feel like?  So...

Q.  What's different about Carlos Hyde this year?
COACH MEYER:  Completely different.  First, he's more mature.  I love Carlos.  He was immature a couple years ago, like very immature.
He handles his business.  He's 230 as opposed to 240 and some change.  Much faster.  Longest run last year, someone said it was 20.  I can't remember it went over 8.  Just kidding (laughter).
But he's got the acceleration now.  He's playing very aggressive, too.  Plus, the chemistry between the offensive line and him, it's really neat to watch.

Q.  Joey Bosa, confident you'll get him back?
COACH MEYER:  Pretty confident.  It's nothing structural.  It's a sore neck.  He's a tough hombre.  I don't worry about Joey Bosa.  Everybody is going to know that name by the time he leaves here.  That's how good I think he's going to be.

Q.  The wins you've gotten are impressive.  How do you balance it with the team, don't take winning for granted?
COACH MEYER:  That's absolutely true.  We had victory meal last night.  22nd time they got to go eat victory meal.
Once again, we're going to really do a good job this week about teaching Warren Ball how to tackle, Ezekiel how to tackle, Warren Ball.  We mentioned it as of now.  We might have another chat about 8:00 Saturday night if we play well.  Up until that point, we're all business.  We have some issues we have to take care of.
Every team is dealing with those issues right now, injuries, making it right.  That's our job.
We had an excellent team meeting yesterday.  There was nothing other than conversation about congratulations, great job.  You ran for 441.  I think that No. 2 for Illinois, I just watched it Sunday night again, I think he is a great football player.  He made plays with guys hitting him right in the face.  So we got to get better in certain areas.  But we also appreciate where we're at.
I think appreciation where we're at and move forward.

Q.  With the way that both Carlos and Braxton are running the ball now, how do you see defenses playing you guys in the read portion of the run game?
COACH MEYER:  That's a problem.  That's a problem.  The guys blocking right now, you have Evan Spencer and Heuerman blocking the perimeter as well as I can ever remember.  Same with Philly Brown.
A lot of times you see a big 230‑pound back hitting the second level of defense untouched, all due respect to Carlos and Braxton, the guys blocking for them are really, really good right now.
It's difficult to defend.  It's enjoyable in a game plan when you have weapons and guys, you call them checkers, you like the size and speed of your checkers.  Nice to draw the circles on the wall.  A little uncomfortable to draw the circles when the circles are small and slow.  The bigger and faster the circle, that's fun stuff (laughter).

Q.  How has Braxton developed in terms of making the right reads?
COACH MEYER:  Good.  Last year was hit‑and‑miss.  Last year, I'm being hard on him, but he was probably half‑half.  When you guess, you're half‑half.  When you go to the proper mechanics of the read, Carlos coming out the other end, I want to say 75% of the time he's reading the defender and he's on it.  His work ethic.
I think him and Kenny both, the impact Kenny Guiton has made on this program, Braxton Miller, what's the right word, just profound.  It profound what he's done.
He's an excellent prepare guy.  He's the guy that really studies the game, is a nut about his fundamentals.  As a result, every other quarterback sees that.  That's really helped Braxton.

Q.  There's almost this escalation of the mentality or attitude that if you don't play for the national championship, it's like a failure of the season.  What do you think of that?  Has that changed since you came into coaching?  On the flipside, Buckeye Nation, almost moving away from that.  There's a segment worried about being embarrassed in a national championship game, scar tissue there, they'd almost rather not do that.  What would you say to that side of it?
COACH MEYER:  Ezekiel on our punt team, I have to teach him how to tackle.  Warren Ball is running down on kickoff.  He's the number two guy in the boundary.  When you run a boundary run, you're job is to spill the lead blocker.  He hasn't done that in his high school career.  We're going to work hard on that in practice.
Any other questions about Warren Ball's coverage (laughter)?

Q.  The depth concern, you mentioned every team is going through this.  Is this typical for teams you've had at this time?  Secondly, do you have redshirt decisions even at this stage that you go through?
COACH MEYER:  Probably made some errors.  You have Gareon Conley, Eli Apple, Jayme Thompson got hurt.  But those are the bodies you normally have.  The same with Mike Mitchell, Trey Johnson hasn't played a lot, fighting injuries all fall.  Those are the areas.
The defensive skill guys at the end of the day, they just weren't ready yet.  We've done it.  Everybody has done it.  In the end of the year he plays 37 plays.  Was that really worth it?  If we have confidence in a lot of these young players, you just watch them, there's potential for really good careers.
Was it a tactical error?  Maybe.  Especially when you start dealing with some injuries like we're dealing with now.  But you have however many games left.  But the games left are really, really important.
The question you asked, probably a conversation comes up every two hours as we're in here working in the rooms.  I'll start penciling through depth charts.
We traveled I want to say four walk‑ons that never played at Illinois 'cause if something happens, they're going in the game.  That occupies a lot of our time right now.
At the end of the day we probably could have played a couple guys more, but that's hindsight, so you've got to move on.

Q.  With the way that the schedule sets up for guys who have to declare early for the draft, are there already conversations?  Do you have to address that at this point in the year?
COACH MEYER:  I was going to give you the Warren Ball answer, but that's probably not fair, but that's real.  With all due respect, your question is real, too.
At some point, it's after the season, between the bowl game and end of the season.  I've sat in a lot of those meetings.  We'll probably have a couple this year.  But not yet.

Q.  Not yet?

Q.  An Ohio team leads every division of college football.  Mountain Union, Ohio Dominican.  As a native of Ohio, what does that say to you?  Is it coaching?  Talent?  Does it make you proud?
COACH MEYER:  It does.  I'm an Ohioan.  I didn't realize that about those other schools.  You live in a cubbyhole, drive to work, sit in dark rooms all day long.  That's great for those two schools.
You said Ohio Dominican?

Q.  Yes.
COACH MEYER:  That's outstanding.  I didn't know that.

Q.  Are you sitting there a little bit stunned that you have a shot at breaking the school record for most wins in a row based on what you took over late in 2011?  How surprised are you to be at this point with this group?
COACH MEYER:  You know, I haven't really thought about it much.  When I look at the names, we were doing it today getting ready for Senior Day, you look at the transitions.  I look at Marcus Hall.  To think that those guys have developed, I go fight for those guys, I have to be careful how you I say it because it's headlines somewhere.  I would take that defensive line against anybody anywhere.
I love who they are.  I love who they've become.  If I was a college kid, that's who I would hang out with.  They're sincere, great people that work their tails off.  They love Ohio State and they love football.
I think someday you'll be able to look back and reflect.  Now is not that time.  We have too much work to do.  I think it's an honor when you start thinking about it.  We had a team meeting.  I leave all this stuff up here for a reason.  We could have changed this team meeting room any way you want.  We talk about 1916 is the first championship, Ohio State, a lot of great football teams.
To have our name even in that breath is almost as overwhelming.  If you spend too much time on it...  We spent I think 30 seconds on it, moved on, started working on Warren Ball (smiling).  Poor Warren.

Q.  Speaking of that streak, last year you were comfortably ahead at Indiana, then it's 52‑49.  Looked like you you had been shot at a few times when you walked into the interview room.  What do you tell your players?  What's the message?
COACH MEYER:  You know, the concern I had with Illinois is you're talking about also the leading passing team in the Big Ten Conference.  We jump out, I want to say it was 28‑zip something like that.  We start throwing it around, next thing you know they return a punt.  Pulled Jack Mewhort out.  Probably not the right thing to do at the right time.  All of a sudden you're in a storm, somewhat of a storm.
This one, I would anticipate they move the ball.  Last week, I'm not sure the weather, but they just kept dropping the ball.  You watch the rivalry, against their rivals, it was all over the place.  I think they scored 48 points.
This team can score points in bunches.  We got to control the clock, control the time.  They scored a good amount of points on Michigan State, number one defense I think it might be in the country.
On a national scale, which we're not worried about that, we're going to beat this team.  Wait a minute now.  Very good team, very good players, well‑coached.  We have to really focus this week on facing a very potent offense.

Q.  They got back into it throwing the ball big‑time.  When you leave Saturday, was it a pit in your stomach?
COACH MEYER:  A little bit.  Then I've been there before, so I made sure they enjoy it.  My job is to coach these players, not worry about anyone else.  I grade myself a C last week.  I was worried about too many other things.  I can promise you, we're going to coach better this week.
The guys need to enjoy a Division I win.  That's our job.  We certainly did.  That doesn't mean today, tomorrow and Wednesday we're not going to go get after it, because we are.  I can assure yesterday that we made sure that the staff and players enjoyed that win.

Q.  Do you feel like you guys are peaking right now?  Do you feel good about the trajectory of your team?
COACH MEYER:  Offensively I do.  We have to get the guys back, Josh Perry and Curtis Grant, we have to get them back, we have to, or we got a problem.  That's our focus, getting better.
I don't feel like we did at special teams.  I thought up to that point our coverage units were the best in America.  The way they performed Saturday was not.  Our punter, the blessing is a punter can hammer a ball.  A 70‑yard punt, 67‑yard punt.  We have fast guys on there.  Gets to the second level when those are the guys that don't tackle, so we're really working on that.
I think we got to get right back at it.  A lot has to do with the personnel issues we're dealing with right now.

Q.  Can you address Curtis and Josh.
COACH MEYER:  Josh looks probable, Curtis looks 50/50, whatever that means.  We're hoping.  Questionable.

Q.  I know that last year there was a lot of discussion about Michigan State being a turning point game for you guys.  When you look at the Indiana game, if you include that, the five BCS opponents you faced up until then were scoring 30 points a game.  After that they were scoring along the lines of 20 points a game.  Was the Hoosiers game last year a turning point?
COACH MEYER:  That was one of the first times I've ever seen our guys have an effort problem here.  That was not a comfortable Sunday when we all came back in here.  People make mistakes in football all the time.  As a matter of fact, you make probably more mistakes than you make great plays.
But lack of effort is something that is just not tolerated.  That is the only time I can remember, Wait a minute, that guy's not trying.  What's the problem here?  Let's get that fixed.  Fortunately we got it fixed.

Q.  Haven't seen that ever since?
COACH MEYER:  I mean, not as a unit.  I saw this guy or that guy, but not as a group.
Thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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