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January 3, 2014

Carlos Hyde

Urban Meyer

Ryan Shazier


Clemson – 40
Ohio State – 35

THE MODERATOR:  We're going to begin our post‑game press conference.  Joined by head coach Urban Meyer.  We'll open it up to questions after an opening statement.
Coach, you had a chance to address your team for a few minutes in the locker room.  What did you say to them?
COACH MEYER:  First of all, thank the Orange Bowl and also congratulate our opponent.  They played really hard.  That was a great coach and great friend.  Great game.  Didn't finish the job.
Senior class, we just said an emotional good‑bye to them.  It's not because they're seniors, it's because of what they've done.  I tried to make that perfectly clear.  Just because you stay someplace for a couple years doesn't mean you deserve that respect.  It's what you did and how you did it.  I'll answer any questions.

Q.  Urban, I don't mean to be picky, but that last pass by Braxton, what was the intent there?

Q.  He just underthrew?  What did you see out of him, I guess?  Did he appear to be hurt to you a little bit?
COACH MEYER:  Yeah, he got hit in the shoulder, I think on one of the sacks, he said.  And he's a fighter.  He fought through it.  And we can all get better.  It was a post to the number two receiver.

Q.  The Philly's muffed punt.  You guys had to leave at that point.  The defense got another stop for you.  How big of a momentum change was that?  Obviously, you guys had some opportunities to come back.  It really seemed like momentum kind of shifted there.
COACH MEYER:  That was a big part of‑‑ Philly is one of those guys that I'd rather not do that.  He's one of those skilled athletes and tries to‑‑ really wanted to make a game changing attempt to do something.  Once again, he's not coached to do that.
We're not playing the blame game, guys.  That was a big play, though.

Q.  Urban, did you give any consideration to putting Kenny in for Braxton, given how his shoulder was?
COACH MEYER:  I asked him, and he said, "I'm fine."  He's a soldier.  He's a warrior.  I asked him.  I think on the two‑point play he had to come out, but he said he was ready to go.

Q.  After two seasons of 12 wins and to have two losses at the end, what do you think the feeling is going to be heading into the off‑season?
COACH MEYER:  I think it will be great.  A student‑athlete at Ohio State University, get a great degree, and go on and build for the future.  It's going to sting for a while, probably a long while, because we just didn't finish, and it was right there to finish.
But the thing‑‑ and I think I started off by saying that you're standing in front of a group of team, you don't have a round of applause for seniors and you don't tell them you love them and appreciate what they did if they don't do it.
Next year's senior class, there's still some guys that haven't played much.  We have to get production.
This year's senior class, I mean, everywhere from Craig Cataline, who was a senior and contributor, to Basil to Makridis.  When I looked around the room, every one of them could impact the play.  And that's the sign of a decent senior class.

Q.  Carlos, when you had those two touchdowns, did you feel like momentum had swung in your team's favor?
CARLOS HYDE:  Yeah, I definitely felt like we had momentum after those two touchdowns.  I feel like the offense started getting clicking at that point, and I thought we could make it happen more.

Q.  Urban, Sammy Watkins, obviously, enormous in the game.  What was your guys' plan on him?  Did you try to adjust, or is that just a guy making plays?
COACH MEYER:  They do a good job.  He's got enough‑‑ whenever you have a guy that has that much vertical speed, it creates a cushion, and then you just keep flipping those bubbles to him, that's tough to defend.  Obviously, we didn't do a good job, but I don't want to take anything away‑‑ I don't know all the receivers in the country, but I can't imagine any better than that guy.

Q.  Just about at halftime, you're leading the game and statistically Clemson was dominating the game.  I'm just curious how you felt going into half considering you had the lead, you had gained momentum.  Did you feel like you had sort of stemmed the tide a little bit and been able to get that lead before you go in there?
COACH MEYER:  Yeah, and we knew we were getting the ball in the second half.  I realize we gave up some yards, but we also created some plays, got a safety, got some turnovers on defense.
Yeah, if you ask me how I felt at halftime, I felt fantastic, like we're going to be in a great ball game here.

Q.  Urban, you've done this before in terms of building a program or rebuilding a program.  Is this sort of maybe the natural rite that you guys have to go through in terms of disappointment at the end of the season to sort of build to what you want to be?
COACH MEYER:  I'm not sure.  Is this a typical‑‑ you mean the typical growth of the program?  I guess that's probably appropriate.
I made a comment, we had a team meeting two years ago, and if you'd have told me when I walked out of that team meeting that this group would buy in and we'd go on a nice run and highest scoring offense in program history and 24 straight wins and all that, I'd have looked at you and said you're out of your mind.  We've got to go.
But I didn't value the quality of person in this program, especially last year this senior group was unbelievable.  This group turned into being unbelievable.
So I guess your question is that you sometimes have to go through things.  I'd rather not, but that's part of‑‑ we played a good team in the Orange Bowl, and it was a high scoring game with a lot of great plays.  We didn't finish it.

Q.  Carlos, what got going with the offense after you guys had a slow start and stuff, but what kind of picked it up, do you think?  Especially in the second half.
CARLOS HYDE:  I feel like in the second half, we started hitting it out on the perimeter.  We started getting some plays on the outside, and a huge thing was our passing game.  Braxton making big plays down the field.  So those safeties have to play back now because basically it was just loading the box, playing the run real hard.
So with those big passing plays down the field, we were able to open our running game up a little bit and start getting some rushing yards going.

Q.  Ryan, specifically how you in the huddle defensively, what were you saying to‑‑ you had some guys playing as starters for the first time tonight.  Give me a thought of what it was like to sort of face that type of an offense running sideline to sideline.  How do you feel like the group reacted to that, the challenge that Clemson brought to you?
RYAN SHAZIER:  I feel like the young guys, they were ready and prepared to play, Vonn and Armani and Jamal, I felt like they really stepped up when we needed them to.
We just didn't leverage the ball like we should have in the creases.

Q.  What was it like out there chasing Sammy Watkins a little bit?  And yet at the end you guys ended up making a play that really could have saved the day and stuff.  What were those two things like, I guess, for you?
RYAN SHAZIER:  He's‑‑ like Coach said before, he's a really good player, probably the best receiver in the country, and he was just making plays.
We had to get leverage and was losing leverage, and he was just taking it up the sideline.  So it was getting guys out of position.  If we had leverage, we could have shut him down a little bit more, but we just didn't do it.

Q.  What was the talk like when you all went back out there?  You got the interception with 1:25 left.
RYAN SHAZIER:  We were just saying that all we got to do is stop him because they're going to try the run the ball.  We just got to get the offense back the ball, and we just didn't seal the deal.

Q.  Urban, these last two games, really three games, what does that tell you about how far your defense is to being championship caliber?
COACH MEYER:  We're not a championship caliber defense right now, although we think about the last two games, we were in position to go win that game.  Ryan blocked the punt two games ago, and then C.J. stepped in front of one right here, and we had a chance to go win the game.
The one thing you're going to find out, the more that you're around me, I'm not a big blamer.  We've got to get better.  And so our defense certainly made some plays to help us go win a game.  Is it what we expect?  No, we expect top ten defense at Ohio State, top ten offense, and top ten special teams, and I don't believe we accomplished any of those.
So we've just got to‑‑ you know, we go out and recruit our tails off, got to develop players and work real hard with scheme, and we'll get there.

Q.  Carlos, you're going to graduate among some of the top rushers at Ohio State.  How do you sum up your career, and how do you feel you finished it off?
CARLOS HYDE:  Like I said earlier during the season, this season reminds me of my senior year in high school.  I almost finished pretty much like I finished my senior year in high school, close to 1,600 yards and like 18 touchdowns.  So I think I had a pretty good career my last year here.
I'm looking forward to the next step in my life.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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