Speaking from the team meeting room at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer held his weekly conference on Monday where he talked about the Wisconsin game, the upcoming contest with Northwestern and more.
First, Coach Meyer’s opening statement:
“Thanks for being here. A couple comments about the Wisconsin game. Great win. For the Buckeyes on offense, the champion efforts were once again, this was very big with our team on how we try to reward great efforts and Marcus Hall graded a champion.
Two receivers, Evan Spencer and Devin Smith, arguably the most improved area on our team. It’s a common theme now, we are getting several receivers grading out champions, and that’s just not obviously for catching the ball, but they are very involved in the perimeter blocking of our run game. Then Co-Offensive Players of the Week this week were Philly Brown, had eight catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns, and captain Jack Mewhort played very well.
So that was our champions and players of the week. On defense, Adolphus Washington came back from injury and played very well, graded champion effort. Mike Bennett, fairly consistent player also came back from injury and C.J. Barnett, who is arguably one or our most consistent players. And Shazier, Ryan Shazier defensive player of the game and has really come on the last couple weeks playing for us.
Special Teams Player of the Week was Devin Smith. Devin Smith, our punt team held him five of six times inside the 10 and one time on the 16 yard line. So our special teams, return game was very average, once again, which we have to at some point have something more than average. But our coverage unit were really good. Our kicker did a nice job and then our coverage units continued to be very impressive. Very pleased with the effort obviously after the game.
We had a shot to our team where we lost Christian Bryant. We still feel that way, the sign of a good team is always someone that really moves on and has someone step up in his place. The issue is going to be not just as a player but who he is. That’s one of the greatest things you get to do as a coach is watch and witness a young man turn into a young guy turn into a man and he has. I can’t say enough good things about Christian Bryant and what he means. I’m hoping we can bring him with us to Northwestern, but he’s an extremely valuable member of this team.
Great win. Best thing about 5-0 is a chance to go 6-0. Really difficult game coming up, back-to-back games against ranked teams. Other than Christian, we should be healthy. Tommy Schutt still a couple weeks away but everybody else from what I’m told looks like they will be ready to go play.
Another night game. GameDay I hear is going to be there, and it will be a heck of an atmosphere so we look forward to this challenge.”
First question right out of the box asked Coach Meyer if senior safety Christian Bryant, who out of the season with a broken ankles, could return next year:
COACH MEYER: “Next year? I don’t think so. I think it’s a four game you mean redshirt? There’s been talk. I’ve never heard about, this but a body of work redshirt, I’ve heard that thrown around that there’s a possibility he could use that, similar to what Devin Gardner did at Michigan.”
Then Meyer was asked about who will replace Bryant in the starting lineup and would it be Corey “Pitt” Brown:
COACH MEYER: “Or Tyvis. Pitt and Tyvis are the next two, because Tyvis plays in this case he will, and so Pitt, the good thing; you get a veteran, a kid that really does a lot of things well, Pitt and then you have Tyvis who has got an incredible future. And then Vonn Bell is also in the mix somewhere, because once you replace that position, then you’ve got nickel, dime issues, so the three names we just mentioned are the ones that, as we speak we are having a conversation about.”
Later, Coach Meyer was asked what he thought of Braxton Miller’s return after missing almost three whole games:
COACH MEYER: “I thought his preparation for the game was one of the best he’s had. His practice was one of the best he’s had as far as Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and I thought his accuracy on the deep ball was outstanding. We were a couple shot that defense we played forces you to do that. They are going to negate the run and we kind of went into win the game mode in the second half and it’s hard to do that against that style of defense.”
Then Meyer was asked about the play of junior cornerback Bradley Roby against Wisconsin:
COACH MEYER: “He didn’t play up to Roby standards. You know, we kind of put him on an island the entire game. We stopped and held them to a 100 yards rushing, to a team that was averaging over 300. That decision was made on Sunday right after the FAMU game that’s to win this game.”
Further along, Meyer was asked about the running game and how it’s changed since Carlos Hyde returned from a three-game suspension:
COACH MEYER: “Yeah, it does. Jordan Hall has got to be involved. That was a decision we kind of made. We thought and we knew it was going to be very hard to run in there the way they play their defensive line. They play them in those four I’s and they are very good against the rush. Those are our top two backs, and we are working on that now. So I want to make sure we get Jordan Hall involved.”
Later, Meyer was asked about the offensive game plan in the second half as the reporter mentioned about “keeping your foot on the pedal versus not taking too many risks:
COACH MEYER: “Well, I think that’s a good question. Here is what is going through our mind is that, and (offensive coordinator) Tom (Herman) is obviously not the Lone Ranger there, but we felt for them to consistently throw the ball down the length of the field, we were playing plan to win which is field position football. Every time we had the ball was near the midfield area, and we have a very good punter, very good punt team. I trust our guys we are going to down that ball and we are going to make them drive it 90 yards. They run the style of defense, now that I look back, that they don’t allow you to just run the clock. There’s so many people packed in there that you can tell the way we scored our points were shots.
That’s not the kind of you’ll see all year they are not the kind of defense that’s going to give methodical, running the ball, they force you to take the shots. That’s why we try to run Braxton a couple times and spread them out and they work very, very well. That’s what goes into the process. The end of the day, you’re up three scorers against a team that supposedly can’t throw the ball as well as they did and we made a decision that the way we lose that game is turn the ball over, and maybe style points, I heard something style points, we’re not really concerned about that but we won the game.”
Here’s the video of the press conference in its entirety.