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January 1, 2019

Urban Meyer

Parris Campbell Jr.

Dwayne Haskins Jr.

Pasadena, California

Ohio State - 28, Washington - 23

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, student-athletes Dwayne Haskins and Parris Campbell.

COACH MEYER: On behalf of our players and the Big Ten Conference and The Ohio State University, I want to thank the Rose Bowl. This has always been a bucket list. It's something I've dreamed about as long as I've been watching Ohio State football, which is as long as I've been around. And it was everything and more. So thank you to the Rose Bowl people.

I also want to recognize and show respect for our opponent. What a game. Tremendous team. And their coach is a good friend of mine, and he's one of the top coaches in America. And Washington played great. So thank them.

And then the most important people I want to thank and obviously recognize, and I've said this several times tonight, we've been talking about it all week, when I needed it the most, you gave us your very best. And in life, players -- we've talked about this many times as well, that in life, a lot of times when adversity strikes, that's not what you get.

And these players stuck it out. What an up-and-down year. But a year that when we needed them the most, they gave us their very best. Never more indicative than the game in Columbus, Ohio, against our rival, and then we went to Indianapolis and played a very good team, and then to come out here to the Rose Bowl. They gave us their very best. Big Ten Division champs, Big Ten champs, Rose Bowl champs, and one of the great teams in Ohio State history.


Q. How pivotal was Mike Weber's performance in opening up the passing game for you, and what kinds of things could you take, could you exploit against Washington's secondary?
DWAYNE HASKINS JR: I'll start off. Coach Mick and Meyer preach about the winning line of scrimmage. So today Mike ran the ball really efficiently and got a lot of first downs with him. Opened up the passing game for us, giving us some wide-open lanes and as far as impacting the zone coverage. We did a great job picking up some blitzes today, and we had to be efficient.

PARRIS CAMPBELL JR: I think in every game, you know, a big thing we want to do is establish the run early. Just from speaking from a receiver standpoint, having defenses worry about the run early on definitely makes it easier on us because defenders play a little soft, they might want to load the box, and it makes it easier on us.

Q. Coach, obviously a game that had so much attention focused on you because of your announcement and everything. I want to know if this does turn out to be your final game as a head coach -- I don't want to be disrespectful by saying if, but you're still a very young man, 54. What has this ride been like at Ohio State as a head coach, what has it meant to you, how emotional in a rewarding way to you to have been a head coach these years?
COACH MEYER: This has always been very personal. I'm from the great state of Ohio and I'm very proud of my state. I've been a Buckeye fan, like I said, as long as I can remember.

And I operated -- it's not healthy all the time -- but I operated under the sense of fear. When I would see our former players come around this program, and you know I was in the elevator yesterday with Archie Griffin, a dear friend, and John Cooper is a dear friend, and we lost Coach Bruce recently and Jim Tressel is a dear friend of mine. And I just felt an obligation to not let them down.

We were going to not coach right away, and then this position opened up. And the program was struggling a bit. We had probation. We lost nine scholarships. The year before we lost seven games. And we just were hit with a bowl ban two weeks after I took the job.

And we were in dire straits. Every one of those seniors could have left back in 2012, and every one of them stayed. And it was one of the six undefeated teams in Ohio State history.

And so it was something that every week, every yard, every down, when we recruited these players, I just wanted to make sure that we made the great state of Ohio proud. And once again, we weren't perfect, but we did a lot of good things.

Q. Was there any joy in this, you make it sound like --
COACH MEYER: Oh, sure. Sure. A lot of joy along the way. That's something I have to learn to have, more joy. And there was joy when you see that you have one more point than the opponent at the end of the game.

And the other joy is to see guys like this, two players I'll love for the rest of my life, and football is a small part of their lives. They don't realize that yet, but guys like Parris and Dwayne and really the majority of our team, this football gig is going to be over before you know it. And these two, they'll be able to do whatever they want for the rest of their lives. That's how good of people they are.

Q. Urban, how did you feel walking off the field, and was it any different than every other time you've walked off the field after a win?
COACH MEYER: Oh, sure. We'd been on the phone recruiting the last half of the walk if it wasn't our last game. And right now I'd be starting to put pencils to who is coming back, who is not coming back, and what do we do at left tackle, what do we do this, what do we do that. But the new guy's got to worry about that, and we're certainly going to help him. So it felt different.

Q. You gave a salute to the band, you gave an O-H to the fans. What kind of connection did you feel not just to your team tonight, but everybody from Buckeye Nation that was here?
COACH MEYER: I told you that when adversity strikes and people scatter. And when I needed them the most, you gave us the very best. The band didn't scatter. The band was there. Buckeye Nation was there. We saw that all throughout the adversity that we went through. And I can't tell you -- my love affair for Buckeye Nation has never been as strong.

Q. Wondering, during the game, are you thinking about what tonight is for you? You know, you've made this decision a month in advance and you've been trying to, you know, build up to this, but how long do you anticipate it will take, if you weren't thinking during the game, for this to be real for you?
COACH MEYER: No, I was too busy yelling at Ryan Day and Coach Schiano on their headsets and the quarterback because he missed a couple of throws. So no, I wasn't thinking about that.


COACH MEYER: Worrying about getting the hands team lined up and making sure the punt was off. No, I get a chance to reflect, and you reflect with the people you love. That's your family. That's those closest to you. And these guys are a part of the family for the rest of our life.

Q. Dwayne, can you address where you are with your NFL decision?
DWAYNE HASKINS JR: Nowhere as far as like gaining any momentum with that. I still have a lot of time making the decision, working with my family and teammates and coaches to figure out what's best for me.

But right now I'm excited to get this win. Excited to leave Coach with this victory for myself and the rest of the teammates. It's a blessed situation right now.

Q. Dwayne, when you were walking back to the tunnel, there were a lot of fans saying: One more year, one more year. What does it mean to you to hear those type of comments, and what does that signify for your career?
DWAYNE HASKINS JR: Well, Buckeye Nation loves me, and I love Buckeye Nation since I was eight, nine, ten years old. So to receive that ovation from them, to know how much they value me as a player and to know how much work I put into this to be in this spot, just to go to school here, just really blessed. Thankful to the guy to the right for recruiting me. And I really couldn't ask for more.

Q. Why do you think your team won tonight?
COACH MEYER: I think we got off to a fast start. We had -- obviously, that's a top 10 defense, one of the best defenses we faced in the last few years. And they were playing zone coverage, and we had to be patient because they went around us, over the top, and I thought Dwayne did a great job.

And the offensive line blocked a very good D line. We ran the ball. Very good balance. Didn't turn the ball over. Had nice drives. But obviously the fourth quarter, it's up 28-3, and we gave up three scores, and we don't score at all.

So I think we jumped out fast, but that was a heck of a team we played tonight.

Q. Coach, how different was pregame and postgame maybe compared to 2010, your last game at Florida? And for the players, how was Coach pregame and postgame? Was it another game, or could you tell the emotions that this was his last one?
PARRIS CAMPBELL JR: Well, I think Coach Meyer does a great job of hiding his emotions. He didn't really let that get in the way of, you know, winning the Rose Bowl, because that was our number one goal coming in as a team, coaching staff, everyone included. So it was a more serious than anything. Everyone just prepared to go in this game.

DWAYNE HASKINS JR: I wouldn't say anything changed as far as Coach Meyer's demeanor other than taking every game by the horns and knowing it's our opportunity to go show we're the best team in the country.

So to be able to have three weeks for the preparation for this team, all that we put in for this team and this game, and to have the added benefit of Parris's last game, Coach Meyer's last game, a lot of added motivation to ourselves as a team to know that we have to go out there and play our best ball for each other and no selfishness with anybody.

So really just how much love we have for one another got us this win today.

Q. Urban, Shelley said out there she thinks you're done and she would be ecstatic if you never coached again. Why do you believe you won't coach again?
COACH MEYER: I've been blessed. I know this is relatively young, but I started young, 17 years as a head coach, 33 years doing this. And just very fortunate, and I do believe I'm done.

Q. What were your emotions pregame? Were you a little anxious, a little different?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, real anxious. But no different than the Big Ten Championship game, That Team Up North game, the Tulane game. It's all about these guys. It's all about the players. And I might be more nuts than most, but I try to give them every possible scenario that happens during the course of the game so that when their number is called, they can go make that play. And obviously that's a lot of scenarios.

So all the focus for 33 years has been the same. It's all about these two. Coaches are way overrated. It's about the players doing the job they have to do and us having them ready.

Q. You won't be the head coach tomorrow. Are you eager for tomorrow? Are you curious about tomorrow? Are you dreading tomorrow? What do you think -- do you have an idea what tomorrow will be like, or do you not really know?
COACH MEYER: I have no idea, to be honest with you. I've been thinking about that a little bit and trying not to think about it because it gets in the way of these two players and the team.

But I have the best athletic director that you can be around. I have a school that I love dearly. I feel very welcome in Buckeye Nation and here and I'm an Ohioan. So my job as we move forward is to make Coach Day, who is an elite coach, make this program even stronger, and that's all our focus. That's their focus, my focus, Gene Smith's focus. It's a very strong program, but we're going to make it stronger.

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