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 Iowa game, Penn State and more.
First, Coach Meyer’s opening statement:
Thanks for coming. A couple of quick comments about last week’s game. I thought it was a great team win. Always appreciate Ohio Stadium. Our fans base, our skull session, just incredible. Then you see the weather, and you go the pep rally and all that, and I always never not appreciate what we have here at Ohio State.
Played a very good team defensively, especially I have great respect for, obviously I think their top 10 in most categories, certainly rush defense, and our guys are sore. It was a tough game. It was a tough, physical two sledgehammers going after each other. I thought we played a really good team. Once again, two weeks in a row, we had to overcome some adversity whether it be an injury to a player like we had to deal with Christian Bryant deal against Northwestern, a new starter, or one of best players getting ejected from the game and have to regroup. And that had an impact on the game.
Defensively the champions were Doran Grant and C.J. Barnett was the defensive player of the game. Obviously we need to do a better job on that side of the ball and have more champions playing.
Offensive one of our better games since we’ve been here, very consistent, only had three possessions in the first half. A touchdown, a field goal and stalled out and went for a 4th down. Second half is probably our best football we’ve played in a while. Our offensive line played exceptional. The champions were Marcus Hall, Jack Mewhort and Corey Linsley. And I’ll get to Norwell. Four to five were champions, because Norwell was one of the players of the game, and Taylor Decker received honorable mention, you’ll win both games if that happens.
Really, really pleased with the offensive line. Jeff played very well. 74 plays, and also involved in special teams, wide receivers continued to play well. The three champions, Evan Spencer, Devon Smith and Philly Brown. And then our running back played very well, as well, Carlos Hyde.
Offensive players of the week, Braxton Miller played probably his best game overall, very efficient at passing 22 of 27, took care of the ball much better. Had one where he played it on the ground. We’re still continuing to work on that, ran for a hundred yards. And Andrew Norwell, it’s great because I’m a big Norwell fan, as I’m sure a lot of people are, what he is as a person and a leader. Those were the players of the week, honorable mention was Taylor Decker.
Kicking game champions, special teams player of the week was a guy that was not necessarily co, but got recognition, Drew Basil. And black shirt goes to Devan Bogard who did very well on kickoff. We didn’t punt and we had a chance to get a block kick. Special teams were okay that game, not great, but okay.
This week’s game, obviously prime time opportunity at The Shoe at night. Great opportunity to show the country once again Ohio stadium. Playing a great team, another team that had a bye week before us. We have to be prepared. Iowa did have a bye week, and 13 grouping, 3 tight ends, and we weren’t ready for it. We didn’t adjust well. That’s something we have to be prepared for when you face a team that has a bye week and that’s going to happen again this week. We have to be ready. And we will be ready.”
First, Meyer was asked about the defense and whether its more coaching or execution:
COACH MEYER: I think little bit of both. I think we’re all in this together, so I think the adjustments need to be made quicker when they give us something we have not seen. The first three drives were alarming. I don’t think our defensive line played very well. I think what happened was you have some good emotion in that stadium and you go 13 play drive, and you let the air out of the stadium and the emotion, and that’s where Christian Bryant, our great leadership, overcomes a little adversity and we didn’t have that. That’s got to come from our coaches and players. Very disappointed. Can it be fixed? Absolutely. We’re still a good rush defense. We’ve got to continue to work because we’ve dealt with some injuries and depth issues and we’ve got to play better. Very, very concerned.
Later, Meyer commented on Roby’s ejection Saturday against Iowa:
COACH MEYER: I think that the NCAA and everybody is going to want to relook at that rule. We are Ohio State is very concerned about player safety. We have gone to the Nth degree with adjusting practice. Any rule for the safety of players, no question we support it.
However, that was a game changer. To take one of your better players out of the game, that impacted that game. And then you watch and we actually had an official come in and speak to our teams. And two triggers, we were told there’s two ways that you get thrown out of the game, if you hit the crown of your helmet. Nothing but bad things happen when you play with your head down. And when you target someone else’s head above the shoulder pads. We teach and work hard at it, as other coaches, and other coaches have called me, is that you play the game with the shoulder pads and play below the head. I agree a hundred percent. To have a guy ejected who played like that, obviously I’m concerned.
And Big Ten officials have done a great job. I had a good conversation with Bill the head of the officials and they’re just looking at it. I just think on a national level that’s something that needs to continue to be evaluated. Make sure we’re doing the right thing for player safety, but understand the devastating impact on that game when you’re out. I’m interested to see what’s going to happen down the road.
Meyer was then asked about his defense it whehter is good enough to be the type of team he’d like it to be:
COACH MEYER: Yes. I think we need to rush defense, absolutely we are. We tightened up in the second half. Pass defense is the concern. But the answer to your question, yes. We have good enough players, we have good enough coaches, we have to play better.
Then Coach Meyer was asked if he’s been pleased in all three phases of the game during any contest so far this season:
COACH MEYER: Wisconsin I was very pleased … you’re going to find out at the end of the year who Wisconsin is. For some reason they’re not ranked high, I’m not sure where they are. I’ve done this long enough, they’re a top 20, top 15 football game. Our score was 31 10 or something at one point against that team. And then we kind of just played in our hands not played in our hands, just tried to win the game. Yeah, I think that game was pretty close to hitting on all cylinders, especially the way special teams changed the field positions. Other than that you’re right, we have room for some improvement.
Toward the end of the press conference, Meyer was asked what needs to improve defensively:
COACH MEYER: We’ve gone through a little bit of evolution. First thing we’ve got to develop some depth and positions and create a role, where you’re getting more guys on the field. I don’t believe this time of year, though, tackling was a major, major flaw. I don’t believe tackling is a major flaw. Certainly there’s going to be missed tackles. I don’t feel an urgency there. I do feel at times when people give us something new we’re sit back and react and get it figured out. And it’s the intelligent way of doing it or you might give up fast points. I’d much rather take a more aggressive approach when something bad is happening. Let’s go try to disrupt. And we’ve had that conversation. I don’t want to make it sound too easy because it’s not. And at the end of the day that was the performance that as far as effort, as far as there’s been games that maybe we give up a few points because they throw the ball down the field, but the effort was ridiculous. I didn’t feel that Saturday. We’ve addressed that. The 4th quarter, the guy made a mistake and threw the ball over our head. The other than that we did a good job.
We’re addressing it, a lot of confidence in the people we’re putting out there and everything, so we’ll get better.