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 Northwestern game, the bye week, Iowa and more.
First, Coach Meyer’s opening statement:
“A couple of quick comments. I think I did not give you our (players of the game) against Northwestern. Joey Bosa was defensive player of the game. Mike Bennett graded at champion. That’s all we had on defense. On offense, Marcus Hall was a champion. Andrew Norwell graded out as champion; Jeff Heuerman at tight end, and three receivers again, Evan Spencer, Devin Smith and Philly Brown. Player of the Week was Carlos Hyde. Bradley Roby was special teams player of week, and I think we had some all conference awards with those guys.
We had a bye week. I think we managed it well. Once again, I evaluate that every year on how we do after bye weeks and we gave them some rest, six tough games back to back night games, back to back primetime games against ranked opponents. I told them we would take care of them if they won, and they did a good job.
So now the issue is, we went Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday last week. They were in at 7:00 AM this morning for meetings and we go Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday this week in pads. So that’s our plan.
And a very good Iowa defense. Just because I don’t know a whole lot about Iowa other than I did coach against them in a Bowl game awhile back and they are the same as they have always been on defense, real stout, real firm against the run. I believe they have not given up a rushing touchdown, I read that somewhere, and I can see that they are very good. So just a big game.”
The first several questions asked by the media came from Dave Biddle of Bucknuts.com, who kept prodding Coach Meyer about the fact he’s never had a running back go over a 1,000 yards in the season which Meyer replied, “I’m tired of hearing that, man.”
Later, Meyer addressed the fact that he’s had several backs at Florida that nearly eclipsed the magical number, only to say that injuries derailed that goal. Meyer then said, “So thanks for bringing that up today.”
After another question by Biddle, Meyer said, “Some guys just like leave their press conferences. I might start doing that.” That drew laughter from the reporters.
Later, Meyer was asked about being at the halfway point of the season and his thoughts of his team now and what lies ahead for the rest of the season:
“Well, I think we all learned, every week, this is the first chance I had to watch football this weekend. I watched some volleyball but I did watch some football, as well.
I mean, those are we’ve got to find a way to win this Saturday, and it’s not easy. We’ve been in here for two weeks trying to figure out how to run the ball against this defense. They are Top 10 in scoring defense, or I think Top 10 in rushing defense and very good players and all that. (Editor’s Note: Iowa is 9th in FBS in total defense, tied for 12th in scoring defense, 8th in rushing defense, and 28th in pass defense.)
I think water cooler talk and good conversation is, where are you, how is it going, what’s the future look like wait a minute, we have a really good practice today and some people laugh when I say that stuff but the mind set is that I like this team, I really do. They are good people and they are guys that play hard, I love the fact that the emotion that I see in the locker room; at times, very relatively minor, minor issues I’m dealing with. I really like this team.
Where are we? I don’t know. We are 6-0 and doing the best we can to get first downs and stop people. And I can feel sometimes pressure mounting on players when you streak; you start hearing about streaks, you start hearing about that. And it’s my job as a coach and our coaching staff is it’s all about today.”
Meyer was then asked about team leadership this season:
“I was panicky going into the season because I thought it was poor. It was certainly poor in the spring, and obviously when you have issues like we had in the summer, then that questions the leadership of the team.
But, you know, I’m not saying it’s great yet because they are still only halfway home, but through the first half the season, they have done a very nice job. There’s good chemistry, good alignment and good leadership right now.”
Later, Coach Meyer gave an injury update:
“Tommy Schutt is a go. We are going to get him into some reps today and he is a very welcome back player. He was a guy that might not have had the title at the start but was a starter for us and went down to training camp and worked his tail off. Coach Marotti says he’s one of the best at taking care of his business and getting ready, so he should be a go Saturday. And then Jordan Hall is going to practice some today, is what I’ve heard.”
Then Coach Meyer was asked about Dontre Wilson:
“Dontre is a valuable guy. Problem is he’s what am I looking for … he’s a novelty right now as opposed to a full time player. Full time players have to go block SAM linebackers and those kind of things and we are not quite ready, but we are working at it.
There’s other ways that we can be creative in getting him involved and not necessarily say, by the way, when he’s in, we’re handing the ball on a stretch play or running a wheel route. That’s kind of what he’s been doing. So we are working hard, because he deserves to play, works hard. You know, this time next year, he’s going to be a rocked up, 350 pound benching guy, we hope. So that’s what he’s not, yet.
So there’s blocking and Kenny running inside zone, sure. Is he great at it? Probably not because he’s not big and strong at yet so those are the areas … everybody uses that Percy Harvin term, that Percy was a 400-pound benching guy that when he blocked you, he blocked you.
So that’s where we have to get with him. And the answer to your question, we did work really hard on that last week and it’s still in progress.”
Later, Coach Meyer was asked about his pass defense:
“I think it’s the underneath coverage. There’s a couple glaring ones and that was … I watched film on some of those, the Wisconsin game. And I told our staff this morning, I said, know what, our defensive staff did a wonderful job stopping that run game. I don’t know, I watched them play, Northwestern has a fine team and they ran all over them.
We really spend a lot of energy and focus on the run game, and stopping the run game; and my challenge to them is without sacrificing that, how do we get that same focus into stopping the pass game and last week we did several things that we are going to continue this week.”
..and is it possible that Kenny Guiton might get some playing time:
“Sure, it is, because of who Kenny is, and we have a starter and we have a backup. The backup is very productive here, and could start at a lot of places. Two years ago, he could not. I keep bringing it up; Kenny has worked himself into that situation.
Quarterback is a very complicated position, especially how and when do you pull them out and when do you put them back in, those type of things. So he’s on call, ready to go.
The wonderful thing is that I don’t have Uncle Kenny coming into to see me all the time asking me why he’s not playing. So a lot of respect for Kenny and his family, the way he’s handling our situation. Are we handling it right? I don’t know. I mean, I’m sure we’ll be judged on that every week.”