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February 5, 2014

Stan Drayton

Q.  Doesn't seem like there's many toys for you to play with this last year.  Is that fair?

Q.  On the offensive line and elsewhere?
COACH DRAYTON:  Well, our toys are very useless until we take care of that front, the front five guys we played behind.  So we've got a very dynamic player in Curtis Samuel.  He's of that trick.
He brings speed you mentioned to our backfield that I don't believe we've had since I've been here, just that type of speed.  Ezekiel Elliott kind of walked through the door with that component, since he's been here he's already gained 20 pounds.  So his role has shifted to being more of that pure tailback and as you guys know we love to have that, the hybrid component come out of two positions, both the receiver position and the running back position.
Jordan Hall kind of filled that role a little bit for us last year.  And now we're, based upon Curtis Samuel's maturity how he picks up on things we're hoping he can fill that void for us.

Q.  Stan, you were one of the shock trips who went up and met with Jamarco Jones before he made his final visit to Michigan State.  What was your take on that whole situation, do you think he was leaning leaving or what was your take on it?
COACH DRAYTON:  My gut feeling was I always thought he was a Buckeye.  I really did.  You walked through the school you see this big old scarlet and gray hat on.  You meet his mom.  You meet his grandpa.  And they're talking nothing but about the Buckeyes.
But the paranoid side of us, we've been cut in this thing now.  We're scarred up in this recruiting, this Signing Day deal.  It's not an exact science.
So we react off our paranoia and we continue to recruit them until the very end.  And happy he's a Buckeye.  Happy he's a Buckeye.  We needed him.

Q.  You guys have to replace Carlos obviously.  Still early.  Still have to go through spring and obviously.  But what's sort of the pecking order right now as you guys get ready to go into spring?
COACH DRAYTON:  We've got a group of guys that have played some ball last year.  Rod Smith is a guy who is coming up in his fourth year.  It's time for him to show improvement.  Ezekiel Elliott proved that he has the maturity.
His body is definitely ready to play.  We've got Warren Ball and Bri'onte Dunn.  What I say to them in the meeting room would not be brand new in regards to our scheme.  So we've got four guys that are ready to compete for that starting job.
They've got big shoes to fill.  And if it takes more than one of them to fill that type of, to get that type of productivity we got from Carlos, then we'll do it.
So I'm really excited about what we have coming back.  And part of the reason why we didn't go out and get that pure back this year, we feel comfortable with what we have in our program right now.  But they have to develop.  They're not there yet.  But hopefully by fall they will be.

Q.  Curtis Samuel and Dontre Wilson, how similar and dissimilar are they?
COACH DRAYTON:  You know, they're similar in the fact they can run from point A to point B really fast.  Dontre's got some playing experience under his belt.  They were used similarly coming out of high school.
They were coming from a spread offense where they were asked to do some of the same things.  What we don't know about Curtis Samuel right now is how is he going to respond when he's in the shoe with 108 (sic) people looking at him.  When the ball is in the air is he going to muff it or bow up and embrace the moment.
We do know that Dontre Wilson doesn't flinch in that situation.  So it's a lot of those intangible things that have an effect on the productivity of a young football player at this level.  We do know that he definitely has a set of tools that's going to be a valuable asset to our offense and how he could bring that to the table in his first year, we'll see.

Q.  Stan, can you put into words how different life will be for this offense that Braxton came back for his senior year as opposed to if he had chosen to go to the NFL?
COACH DRAYTON:  To replace a dynamic like a Braxton Miller, what he can do with the football, with his feet, it's thinning the play, those are all kinds of things that are not coached.  A lot of what he does is not coached.
That would have been devastating.  Not to say that we would not have survived the moment.  We've got young men who are being trained on a daily basis, you know, to prepare to take over that type of position.
But what he brings to the table is something special.  And it would have been dearly missed.  Now, Braxton Miller also did those things behind four veteran offensive linemen.  To me that's the issue that we think about in that war room there is how we put five guys in front of him where he can feel comfortable.  We know he's going to continue to develop and mature in his growth toward the game.
However, we've got to put some guys around him where he's feeling comfortable.  You can grow and not feel comfortable around your surrounding cast and still stunt your growth.  So we're real careful how we go about developing our offensive linemen, new running backs, new set of wide receivers, around him so he feels comfortable doing what God has given him the ability to do.

Q.  Obviously you've recruited off a National Championship.  You went out and recruited last year off an undefeated season.  For a team like Michigan State that beat you guys in the title game, won the Rose Bowl, for any team, whether Jamarco or anybody else, did you see anything are they more of a factor on the recruiting trail, how does that successfully translate for them or any team when you're coming off a good year?
COACH DRAYTON:  When you look at a team like Michigan State and the way they go about recruiting.  I know often a lot of times your class is evaluated with these stars, you know, or the pen of some of the scouting services that are out there.
Well, you don't see a whole lot of five stars that they're recruiting.  It does not mean that we don't go face to face with them in the recruiting process, because we do.  But they do a phenomenal job of developing their athletes once they're there, they really do.
And to sit there and say that we're going against them in the recruiting process, that player is going to turn out to be a great player because they won the Big Ten championship this year, that's not necessarily true.
There's so much more to that as you know, you know, the camaraderie within the program, the cohesiveness of the boys and their brotherhood, and you know the understanding of the system, these kids being ready to play at a high level because they understand why they're doing what they're doing.  That's what we have to go in focus on.  Yes we're going to go out and recruit the best athletes in the country.
And if Michigan State just so happens to be doing that, then it's justified, no doubt.  But to sit there and say we can evaluate where we are right now in our program and the way we are, where we are in our recruiting right now, based upon what Michigan State's doing, we can't do that.

Q.  Urban Meyer said in the course of your meetings today you discussed what Wisconsin and what Penn State did in their recruiting and how it might be different than what Ohio State does.  What did you take from that meeting?
COACH DRAYTON:  Well, you know, what I took from that was basically Coach Meyer does a phenomenal job of making sure that we stay on the edge.
No doubt about it.  If those particular teams are doing a great job of going out, getting the top talent in the country, no matter how they went about doing it, okay, then he wants to know if it's a fit for us to continue to do what we're doing, or is it a fit for us to go out there and explore other ways to go about doing our business.  If it's a way to go out there do it better than what we're doing it right now, Urban Meyer is going to see if it's a fit for us, at least evaluate it.
I guarantee you, real soon here he's going to be making a trip or trying to make a trip or trying to get Pete Carroll on the phone from the Seattle Seahawks, because he found a way to get that team, who wasn't a bunch of first round Draft picks or anything like that, they won the Super Bowl, they found a way to get that done.  He's intrigued by that.
He has this competitive spirit that we all have under him and if there's a guy or there's a coach or a recruiter or a team that's out there doing something really well and having tremendous success from it, then we're going to find out what it is and try to better it or embrace it ourselves, no doubt about it.

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