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December 31, 2015

Brian Kelly

Urban Meyer

Glendale, Arizona

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by head coaches Urban Meyer and Brian Kelly. We'll start with Coach Kelly.

COACH KELLY: It's been a great week, but I want to begin by first thanking the title sponsor, BattleFrog. Certainly it's been for our team a great experience. The host here, the Fiesta Bowl, everybody associated with it, first class.

I think it's that time where I'm sure Urban agrees, it's time to play some football. We're excited about that. We'll put our team through one last walk-through today and get ready to play. It's that time.

Again, just a great week. Can't thank the Fiesta Bowl, our host, for their hospitality. Just a great site. Our kids certainly enjoyed it. Again, it's for us time to play football.


COACH MEYER: I'd like to thank you guys for coming to another press conference. Seems like we've had a bunch of 'em.

I reiterate what Coach Kelly said. This has been a great week. This is not my first experience with the Fiesta Bowl. The reputation of hospitality, the Valley of the Sun is second to none, it's certainly been that way this entire week.

We're anxious to get going, play a great team. Two traditional powers get to go play each other and put on a good show for the country to watch.

So thank you.

THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.

Q. You talked a lot about your relationship with Braxton. Have you had some moments this week. Talk about what he's meant to Ohio State again.
COACH MEYER: I think the entire senior class, we feel very strongly, not to go too far backwards, but a group of coaches came in after a seven-loss season, it was a leap of faith, a blind faith, to follow a group of coaches as they did. What that group has done is rather phenomenal.

Braxton personally, his journey is a very unique journey. It will certainly be in the history books of Ohio State as one of the great players. What I always admire is a great player that does things right. He's a graduate. He's a guy that made a position switch. He's gone through two very tough surgeries, Big Ten Player of the Year two years in a row. Just a lot of respect for Braxton.

Q. Tomorrow looks like sort of a cavalcade of possible NFL talent. Do you see that, too, as you look after these rosters?
COACH KELLY: Certainly I think Urban has done an incredible job recruiting, recruiting depth in his program. We certainly have players on our team that have proven themselves over the last few years that are NFL-caliber players are.

I think the important thing is both players have developed these players. They weren't ready-made players. They're players that developed through the program. We know a lot of them because we recruit against each other for a lot of these guys. We've seen them develop.

So I think it's a testament to both programs that we've developed so many players that can play on championship teams and get their degrees and go on to the NFL.

Q. Coach Kelly, talk about the resiliency of your team after so many injuries, just your thoughts specifically on the Ohio State team that you're going to play.
COACH KELLY: Well, the biggest challenge in playing Ohio State, certainly it's easy to recognize talent, it's easy to recognize speed, physicality. But the things that you don't recognize are when you play a team that has won so much, what it doesn't show you is resolve.

This football team knows how to win. They've got great resolve. They're going to fight for four quarters. It doesn't measure itself relative to size, speed and strength. It's hard.

So you're going to play that kind of team tomorrow. That's the most difficult opponent to play.

Yeah, they've got very good players, there's no question about it. But they have more than that. That's been instilled in them. That's the biggest challenge.

We think we've got some of that as well. We're going to need that tomorrow. You're going to have two teams that have a will, that have a resolve, that have a toughness, a mental toughness that's needed in this game because it's not always just about skill, size and speed.

Q. Urban, this is really two separate questions, but could you talk about what went into your decision that Adolphus Washington would not play in this game, then what went into your significance that Ezekiel Elliott after his incident would be able to play in this game?
COACH MEYER: It was to me a traffic violation issue and one was something more serious. I'm not going to get into much more detail than that. Just completely a different set of circumstances.

Q. Both of you have been very successful at the college level. Seems like every year college coaches go to the NFL. Chip Kelly was the latest example of most of them don't succeed. How tempting is it as a college coach to think about going to the NFL? What do you have to know about yourself to know whether that's the right thing for you?
COACH KELLY: This is one of those (laughter).

Yeah, I don't think it's tempting at all. We get these questions all the time. I'm sure Urban gets them, as well. It's really not tempting at all. We're so focused on what we do on a day-to-day basis that we don't kind of sit around going, Boy, I'd like to coach in the NFL.

We have our hands full on a day-to-day basis coaching the 18- to 22-year-olds. That takes up a lot of our time and effort.

There's not a magical day where we wander around thinking about the NFL. At least I don't.

Then secondly, the success ratio of college coaches to the NFL, you know, I don't know that I've ever sat down and thought about that either. But if you're a ball coach, you can coach anywhere. There are high school coaches that are better than me. If you can coach, if you can teach, if you can educate, if you can motivate and organize, I think you can coach anywhere.

COACH MEYER: I think, once again, I can just push 'Coach Kelly', same exact quote or reflection.

I spend very little time, especially this time of year, man, where there's so much going on, bowl season, recruiting, staff adjustments, those type of things going on, that I've never really spent much time thinking about it.

Move on.

Q. Urban, I asked a while ago, but the cavalcade of talent, Brian answered, you didn't get a chance to. Do you get a sense this is a last rodeo for a lot of guys on your team, not just your seniors, how have you addressed them about keeping their eye on the ball one last time for Ohio State?
COACH MEYER: Three of them have already said they're going to lead, that's Zeke, Joey, Cardale. It is a very good junior class. I take my hat off to them because I know what's out there. I know the agents. I know the pressures that are being put.

I can relate it back to 2008, I believe, or '9, where we had at least 12 to 15 guys put in paperwork for the NFL Draft. It's tough on them. It's tough on us because of the recruiting. A lot of these kids are early commits. You lose this whole group of people.

So a lot of decisions have not been made. We have agreed and we all have agreed to be pros. What do pros do? Pros attack the task at hand. The task at hand is to represent the Ohio State against Notre Dame in one of the best bowl games in the country.

It's been very good. But it's out there. I remember Coach Saban said the other day, last year we had a conversation on the phone about that, about the timing of all this. It's not good. But I don't know where 'better' is as far as motivation for the bowl game, then the recruiting aspect, to keep your program alive and going.

So that's the way it is. I'd rather be in that situation than have a bunch of not very good players.

Q. Urban, could you address the health situation of your team. Nick Vannett was not here. I'm not sure Connolly was.
COACH MEYER: Nick Vannett had an upper -- he was sick. He's fine. He practiced yesterday.

Q. Connolly.
COACH MEYER: Same thing. Had a cold. That was it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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