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 Penn State game, his defense, Purdue and more.
Granted, there’s not much to say and there’s not a lot of questions when your team is coming off a 63-14 blowout win over Penn State and the next opponent, Purdue, is 1-6 and winless in the Big Ten. Needless to say, this was a shorter than normal press conference.
First, Coach Meyer’s opening statement:
Hi, guys, thanks for being here. A couple of quick comments about last week’s game. Very much impressed with like, really impressed with the way our guys started that game. I was worried anytime we always look for advantages and disadvantages going into the game, and the fact that we had a very physical game against Iowa the previous week, very physical, and our opponent was off. So I just think our staff and our players really, the good thing about this team, I’m very honest with them and very open with them and I was very concerned about them being fresh and especially after that game. We still get our work done against a fairly complex offense and defense.
And they did a great job. My hat’s off to our staff and our players for, because we didn’t practice as long as we would normally just because of the previous week’s game and then I had to get them fresh. We had to get them fresh for the Penn State game knowing that Penn State would be very fresh. Very impressed with the work ethic for that week.
On offense, the champions are Marcus Hull, Corey Linsley, those guys are playing, I made a comment, if we’re not it’s hard for me to say we’re the best offensive line in America because I just don’t get to see everyone else, but I’ve done this a while, and this is I take this offensive line over any offensive line that I’ve seen. These guys are tremendous players and their work ethic and alignment and cohesiveness is arguably one of the best I’ve ever been around.
Tight end Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett graded out champions, playing very well. Jeff Heuerman playing a very high level right now. Certainly in blocking, need to get him some more catches but playing at a very high level. Wide receivers continue to improve and play very well, Chris Fields, Devin Smith and Philly Brown. Trying to think who didn’t make it. Evan Spencer. Got dinged up a little bit but he’ll be fine for next week
Co-offensive players this week are Carlos Hyde playing at a very high level and then offensive tackle Captain Jack Mewhort played as well as we have seen him play and he plays at a high level too.
On defense Ryan Shazier graded at champion effort and Doran Grant, got Evan Spencer back, Braxton Miller also got hit in the knee a little bit late in the game so he’s fine. So we just gotta today’s the day to get him healthy because we need him full speed tomorrow, Tuesday and Wednesday.
One of the first questions Coach Meyer fielded was about his defense. Against Iowa, the Buckeyes were flat-footed and very passive. Against Penn State, it was the total opposite. The Buckeyes brought consistent pressure on the quarterback and were very aggressive. Coach Meyer was asked if he had any conversations last week with the defensive coaches on his staff:
COACH MEYER: “We did have some conversation. I think Ryan Shazier is one of the blitzers in America, doesn’t blitz very much. We had that conversation. I think disruptive defense is hard to go. I’m an offensive guy. Disruptive defenses are very hard to work against. And I thought Luke and Everett did a very good job mixing it in, some pressures. But we did, we disrupted this quarterback. And to let that guy sit back and throw, I’m not sure. I don’t know if we’d lose a game but we certainly wouldn’t have held them to 14 points.”
Then he was asked if it was frustrating to see how his defense fared a week ago against Iowa:
COACH MEYER: “I think it’s frustrating for everybody. There’s a time here where a decade of defense that was as good as anybody in America, last three years hasn’t been that way. But I see improvement. I think player development is going to be very important. We lost a lot of great players from last year’s team. Last year’s defense, the last half of the year, was Buckeye defense.
I was used to watching all those years. First half was not. The first half of this season we were okay. I knew we’d have some growing pains with all their brand new players, when Christian Bryant went down, you’re playing with, I want to say, eight or nine new starters on defense. But we’re nine games into it. So I think we should be. I’m glad we played the way we did because I was starting to get a little concerned.”
Later, Coach Meyer was asked about Purdue:
COACH MEYER: “I have not watched their offense yet. I’ve watched their defense. They changed. They were all 4-3 defense about three weeks ago before the Nebraska game, changed completely. They’re now 3-4. Means they’re just going through some personnel issues and scheme issues. Very big up front. But like I said we’re just still trying to figure out what we’re going to see Saturday because it’s completely different from the first half of the season until now.”
Here’s a video of Coach Meyer’s press conference in its entirety: