Earlier today, Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer held his weekly in-season press conference.
Here are some of the highlights.
Last year, Meyer was having problems with four or five different units, most notably with the wide receivers and linebackers. Meyer was asked about his comfort level this season:
No, much more comfortable, the area we still trying to solidify is linebacker. Just because there’s some young guys in the depth and then also Curtis Grant has not really played a whole lot of Mike linebacker. He’s catching up quick. He missed a lot of practices because he got injured during training camp but he’s going real hard and trying to catch up as fast as he can. That’s the only one area that we are a little bit behind.
The other positions, offensive line, feel very good about, quarterback feel good about. Receivers probably one of the most improved areas on our team. Running back feel very good about, so just kind of going through it. Kickers, interested to see how our kicker, our punter reacts. That’s one unit that remains to be determined and then defense, defensive line, they are young, but Coach Vrabel has done a really nice job with them.
Secondary, I’d like to see how Armani reacts to getting his first college start. Safety is a pretty veteran group, three older players. Tyvis Powell is getting his first college start. There are some units, but the linebacker is the one area that’s the most concerning.”
Meyer was then asked which freshman will see the field on Saturday:
For sure, Dontre Wilson and Ezekiel Elliott will play. On defense, I would imagine Joey Bosa, for sure will play; Mike Hill we are hoping to get in there and the freshman punter. I think that’s those are the ones for sure and then the other ones, depend how they practice and get going.”
Later, Meyer was asked about this year’s offense and whether Braxton Miller will lead the team in rushing again:
I hope that doesn’t happen. He was by far our best player and when I say by far, I mean, it wasn’t even the same hemisphere as far as who the next player was that could go make a play and help us win.
But I’m very comfortable with Philly Brown. Evan Spencer has had a tremendous camp. Jordan Hall looks better than he ever has. We have two tight ends that I can’t wait to get them involved.
If Braxton is leading, I don’t see that happening this year. If it does, that means something’s not going well.”
Then Meyer was asked about what he’s looking forward to see on Saturday:
The game, the reaction by Ezekiel and Dontre Wilson in the stadium. They weren’t here in spring practice. The kids that came early, at least they had a chance to play in front of the big crowd for the spring game.
I don’t, but I think coaches have a tendency to devalue what happens when you jog out that tunnel, especially a place like Ohio Stadium. There will be a lot of deep breaths being taken and you just can’t create that animal until you get that opportunity.
That’s what I’m anxious, but I’ve been there a few times, so I want to see how Dontre he’s going to return the opening kickoff of the 2013 Ohio State football team.
The thing I like about Dontre is he doesn’t seem fazed, but he has not done that yet. You see me jog someone else out there, you know we are having a little hyperventilating issue which I’ve seen before. Isn’t that beautiful about young players.”
With Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith not playing this week due to suspensions, Meyer was asked about how he feels about his running backs:
Jordan Hall is the best running back on our team right now. And so he’ll have to lose that spot. I’m talking next week, the week after, whatever. Jordan, it all depends, he’s a tailback at Ohio State, he’s earned that right.
Bri’onte Dunn and Warren Ball are the next two in, and we want to get Ezekiel in to see how he responds in that kind of environment. I’m not sure how early but he certainly will be carrying a ball on Saturday and he’s earned that right as well.
Same with Dontre Wilson; we’ll line up with some tailback positions. It’s really neat to have that many spots, have those choices.
Later, Meyer was asked about the development of Braxton Miller:
Fundamentally he’s a much different player than he was at this time a year ago. Pocket presence, which includes when it breaks down, getting plus yardage, not a very good scrambler most of his yards last year were on design quarterback runs and maybe a play that got screwed up. He was not a very good scrambler. He’s much improved.”
And about Buffalo:
They have one of the best linebackers. He’s No. 2 on the board as far as the NFL Draft, No. 46, tremendous player. They rush him a lot off the edge. They play a very unorthodox defense. It’s called 54 I, which mean it’s all there’s 3-4 and 4-3, this is an inversion of the 3-4, and they play their defensive tackles inside our tackle which is just screws up all our blocking scheme and a really unique coverage called 2 invert which we have not seen in a couple years.
Good thing is we have been working on this for a while but it’s a pain in the butt. I this think they play extremely hard and they have got good players. That staff has been together, also. It’s not an unprepared team so I think that it’s a good team, good players, and a unique scheme that’s hard on offense.
I think they are going to probably switch up things a little bit. We are not quite sure exactly what we are going to do get. They do sometimes shifts and motions which can always cause you issues. So I think the first quarter, kind of settle down, in typical openers, they let not get too nuts out there and let things get settled down, find out what they are playing and then your game plan adjusts, because you’re going off last year’s stuff, but a lot of things change.”