Speaking from the team meeting room at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer held his weekly press conference on Monday where he fielded questions from reporters and talked about the Illinois game, the BCS, Carlos Hyde and more.
Meyer’s opening statements:
COACH MEYER: Just talk briefly about the Illinois game, obviously pleased with the opportunity to be 10-0. The champions for the offensive side were Corey Linsley and Jack Mewhort are playing really well for us. Tight end0 Jeff Heuerman playing fantastic. Evan Spencer, Philly Brown as receivers. We had co offensive players of the week. It was Carlos Hyde, the obvious with 10.2 yards per carry, six big plays, five touchdowns. Then the other guy, which is just great to see, Andrew Norwell, 88%, extremely high. Once again, played a very, very high level.
On defense you had Ryan Shazier and Noah Spence and C.J. Barnett were all three co-D players of the week. Mike Bennett and Joey Bosa. Joey Bosa had a little neck injury. When he was in there, was extremely disruptive with two sacks and two pressures.
Special teams, our punter did an excellent job in the kicking game. The black shirt goes to Ron Tanner. That’s special teams players of the week the four tackles on kickoff, great effort in kickoff return, very productive player.
This week is all about 18 seniors. Last two years have been on a nice run. Guys I have great admiration for. Didn’t know them very well obviously for a while. Now we all know them very well. I think Buckeye Nation is going to do a great job of sending off these guys in the last home game with a chance to do some really historic things, but most importantly just win this game.
Our effort this week is we’re beat up a little bit. Right now we’re just going through it. It’s showing up in our coverage units a little bit. I want to say nine players are out for the season, scholarship players. Seven or eight of them are guys we were all counting on. Adam Griffin, Jamie Wood, Blake Thomas, Jayme Thompson, James Clark, Christian Bryant, Mike Hill, Underwood and Munger, those are all guys out for the entire year.
Then we have these other ones, Curtis Grant, Jordan Hall, Darron Lee, Perry, Jack Mewhort, Joey Bosa. Tommy Schutt and Adolpus Washington have been in the lineup which has really caused us certainly some issues on defense last week when you’re down.
We had to put a guy at Mike linebacker. Cam Williams never played Mike linebacker, always been an outside guy. Joe Burger, second year in the program from Cincinnati, was playing for us.
Obviously, we’ve got to improve. That’s our focus this week, getting some players back. The problem is I’m not sure how many of those guys are going to get back, and preparing some of the younger guys to either play or play a little better.
With that said, I’ll certainly answer any questions for you.
Meyer on the BCS:
COACH MEYER: Without spending much time on it, because it’s not fair for our team to do that. I will say this, I think it’s a flawed system. When you logically think about it, what the BCS people have done, which obviously we’re all part of it, I think it was great for a while.
I think it took an imperfect system and did the best you can without a playoff. There’s going to be controversy in playoffs, too, now. There’s not a 64 team playoff. You’re going to have four guys. What is that fifth team going to feel like? So…
Meyer on the difference between Carlos Hyde from last season to this season:
COACH MEYER: Completely different. First, he’s more mature. I love Carlos. He was immature a couple years ago, like very immature.
He handles his business. He’s 230 as opposed to 240 and some change. Much faster. Longest run last year, someone said it was 20. I can’t remember it went over 8. Just kidding (laughter).
But he’s got the acceleration now. He’s playing very aggressive, too. Plus, the chemistry between the offensive line and him, it’s really neat to watch.
Meyer on Joey Bosa, who left the Illinois game with an injury:
COACH MEYER: Pretty confident. It’s nothing structural. It’s a sore neck. He’s a tough hombre. I don’t worry about Joey Bosa. Everybody is going to know that name by the time he leaves here. That’s how good I think he’s going to be.
Meyer on depth concerns and redshirt issues:
COACH MEYER: Probably made some errors. You have Gareon Conley, Eli Apple, Jayme Thompson got hurt. But those are the bodies you normally have. The same with Mike Mitchell, Trey Johnson hasn’t played a lot, fighting injuries all fall. Those are the areas.
The defensive skill guys at the end of the day, they just weren’t ready yet. We’ve done it. Everybody has done it. In the end of the year he plays 37 plays. Was that really worth it? If we have confidence in a lot of these young players, you just watch them, there’s potential for really good careers.
Was it a tactical error? Maybe. Especially when you start dealing with some injuries like we’re dealing with now. But you have however many games left. But the games left are really, really important.
The question you asked, probably a conversation comes up every two hours as we’re in here working in the rooms. I’ll start penciling through depth charts.
We traveled I want to say four walk ons that never played at Illinois ’cause if something happens, they’re going in the game. That occupies a lot of our time right now.
At the end of the day we probably could have played a couple guys more, but that’s hindsight, so you’ve got to move on.
Meyer on if his team is peaking at the right time:
COACH MEYER: Offensively I do. We have to get the guys back, Josh Perry and Curtis Grant, we have to get them back, we have to, or we got a problem. That’s our focus, getting better.
I don’t feel like we did at special teams. I thought up to that point our coverage units were the best in America. The way they performed Saturday was not. Our punter, the blessing is a punter can hammer a ball. A 70 yard punt, 67 yard punt. We have fast guys on there. Gets to the second level when those are the guys that don’t tackle, so we’re really working on that.
I think we got to get right back at it. A lot has to do with the personnel issues we’re dealing with right now.
Meyer on the status of linebackers Joshua Perry and Curtis Grant:
COACH MEYER: Josh looks probable, Curtis looks 50/50, whatever that means. We’re hoping. Questionable.