home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


December 29, 2016

Urban Meyer

Glendale, Arizona

THE MODERATOR: I'd like to welcome Ohio State coach Urban Meyer with some opening comments.

COACH MEYER: Thank you once again. Honored to be here. We've made that very clear. And as the game gets closer, we want to thank all the folks involved, Mike Nealy, all the way down to our hosts and people who take care of us.

So this is one of the favorite bowl games I've ever been to and always look forward to coming back and very proud of our preparation and look forward to playing the game. Thank you.


Q. How much of a challenge is it for you -- I know you've been in this position many times -- when you go more than a month between playing games and keeping your guys locked in?
COACH MEYER: Every team is different. We have a template that I've used for many years. But I go all the way back to 2008, that was a very veteran team that we had to basically get them to the final game.

We've had young teams like the 2014 team was very young. This team falls more into that mode. So we practiced hard. I've tried to put them in as many game situations as possible.

Almost half our roster's never been to a bowl game. And they're freshmen that have never played in a bowl game. But it was a little different preparation that we've had if you were a veteran team. So that's the only difference. And now it's all about getting them off their feet, getting them ready to go and rested so they can play their best.

Q. You don't really think of Clemson and Ohio State being traditionally recruiting rivals, but Coach Lee said you two have gone after the same players. Has that been your experience and what is it like to recruit against Clemson?
COACH MEYER: It started at Florida. I didn't know much about Clemson. We lost a player to them. I didn't understand that.

And I remember Charlie Strong saying that Clemson does a good job. Then I got to visit there at ESPN. It's a good place.

So we are certainly probably rivals -- Clemson, Alabama, those are usually neck to neck with them and fighting for the best players. So you win some, you lose some.

Q. Can you talk about your relationship with Dabo Swinney a little bit? You guys have done things in the offseason together in the past and just talk about the relationship you two have?
COACH MEYER: We were together last night. We were trying to put together when we first met. I was the head coach at Utah, he was an assistant coach at Clemson and Tommy Bowden was the coach. He sent him out to spend three days with us. That was the first time we met. And then Phil Knight at Nike invites, I don't know, 15 to 20 coaches every year to get away. That's when our relationship really got strong.

Our wives are very good friends. So it's just a very good relationship.

Q. Why do you think you've had so much success in bowl games? And secondly, do you think that you think about your legacy in the pantheon of college football coaching?
COACH MEYER: Every time you hear the word success I always credit these guys next to me. We have very, very good players that care. I've had not many but every once in a while you get a few great players that don't care, that's tough. But when you start seeing Raekwon McMillan and Pat Elflein and J.T. Barrett and Malik Hooker, they're not only great players but they care deeply about their team.

So we push team first. We push brotherhood of trust, other things. So you want to get a group of players that play really hard, get them to care about each other, and that's why we've had success.

Q. At a time when a lot of parents are steering their kids to specialization so that they can maybe be in a program like yours some day, you have a lot of multi-sport athletes. What is your philosophy?
COACH MEYER: Specialization, you have to speak louder, please.

Q. Concentrating on football only in the hopes of some day being in a program like this, you have a lot of multi-sport athletes in your program. You were a multi-sport athlete. What's your philosophy?
COACH MEYER: I think every parent -- I just speak on behalf of my kids. I was very disappointed when my daughters -- I don't know if now is the time to talk about it -- but when I was told that she had to play volleyball year-round because I think you should play multiple sports. My son plays baseball, football, and I always like the athletes that play more than one sport.

Q. Does it change at the college level? Do you think that's when they need to specialize?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, there's just really no time to -- I've had some dual multi-sport players, but I think one or two at most. Track and football are fine. But I had a couple of baseball players. You start putting that intense academic workloads, it's much more difficult in college.

Q. We're asking guys if Kanye West wrote a song about the team what the title would be. But I understand you're more of a Sister Hazel fan. If Sister Hazel wrote a song about your team what would you say the title would be?
COACH MEYER: You have to ask one of these younger guys, I don't know.

Q. (Question off microphone)?
COACH MEYER: I believe you start now. One of the great legacies is a group of coaches that have become head coaches from my staff that in this day and age of different styles, (indiscernible) placed on toughness and how important it is to have a family-type atmosphere within the program.

I got to go visit guys, because you get in a cocoon. And when I was younger I used to love to go out and watch other programs and take nuggets from everybody. And I worked for some of the greatest head coaches, Bob Davie, who doesn't get enough credit. What a fantastic coach he is.

And then Lou Holtz, Earle Bruce and Sonny Lubick, those are my mentors. I was able to, that year, go off to visit some guys I have great respect for and I learned a lot.

Q. The players said the 26th you came back and had a hard practice?
COACH MEYER: Hard one.

Q. Is that the first time you brought them back and had one on site before you go out?
COACH MEYER: No, we always do that. It's the first time we've had a hard one, because usually we play on January 1st or 2nd or 3rd, and you bring them on the 26th and they've been sitting around for four and a half days, but we had that as a Monday practice. So it was a hard one.

Q. Just off the top, Gibson, is there any word, will he be at Ohio State as far as you know or is he --
COACH MEYER: I don't even -- we've been so busy we'll visit that after the game.

Q. When you visited ESPN (indiscernible)?
COACH MEYER: It was an SEC-style atmosphere. There's that big battle between the SEC and ACC. And the SEC, which I was part of for a long time, no one is as good as the SEC. I walked into that atmosphere and I said, wow, I didn't know this was here. Small town with a big stadium. Very impressed.

Q. Did it make sense to you?
COACH MEYER: No, I still don't believe we should ever lose a recruit.

Q. What have you taken from the playoff two years ago in terms of logistics and managing your team?
COACH MEYER: It was unchartered waters. I remember I was very concerned about logistics -- my biggest thing is I don't really care about how the trainers' children are getting -- I'm not being mean, but I just care about our players, I care about our players' families. And I thought how in the hell are you going to be able to do this, pull this off.

I'm not worried about the television contracts or about the money or about the stadium. I'm worried about our players. And distractions to players cause poor performances.

I think one of the great things that myself and Gene Smith, along with our President Drake pushed that through, is they were going to pay our players' families to be able to get to the Sugar Bowl or to the National Championship game.

So that's all. I thought it would be a logistical nightmare and there would be a lot of disgruntled players and families. And I still ask that question today: How do all my children go for free? Mine do. I never ask for that, but they do. Why don't we get our parents.

And we're giving them $2,500. I think it's a step in the right direction. But that maybe pays for one person airfare and a hotel room. So my biggest concern is about players. I don't care about this other stuff.

Q. What about, I remember last time two years ago in terms of managing their bodies and their health. This year the turnaround to the next game is (indiscernible)?
COACH MEYER: I learned. I remember we played Alabama and we scheduled a padded practice, uppers, and the players, I talked to them, they said I don't think we can do it, because it was such a physical game with Alabama.

So once again the template. We have a template now. So we'll worry about that next one if we get there. But at least we went through it.

Q. What was the difference in motivating this young team this year compared to the squad last year?
COACH MEYER: Big difference. Every team is different. I think we've created a culture of family, of people who care for each other, and if you don't fit that culture, we don't recruit you. If you don't fit that culture, you don't stay very long.

And so that's the good thing, the consistency, culture is the same, but it's real. Half our team's never been to a bowl game. Half our team's never played in a bowl game. So we had to -- practice was a little different. And one of the concerns I had last year at the Fiesta Bowl was when we lost that one game and we weren't playing in the National Championship game, how would they respond.

But I didn't give them enough credit. They played their best games after that. That was against our rival and against Notre Dame.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297