COLUMBUS — With the National Championship game against Oregon less than a week away, Urban Meyer spoke with the media about last week's win over Alabama and the upcoming matchup against the University of Oregon. Here are the highlights.
Urban Meyer Updates
+ Meyer said he rejected Darron Lee for an offer probably four times, but Luke Fickell convinced him to finally offer him and it has worked out. Meyer joked that this tells you the kind of talent evaluator that he himself is. "That's a great story."
+ Meyer has watched the Oregon offense and has made suggestions to his defense because they run similar offenses. He is a big fan of Marcus Mariota. Mariota is the biggest challenge the Buckeye defense has faced this year.
+ "He is a tribute to the family. Every Boren I've met is like that." Meyer said he didn't foresee Jacoby Boren being as good as he is. The first time he saw him he thought he might be able to be a blocking fullback.
+ Meyer said he was impressed by Oregon's alignment as a culture when he spent time with Chip Kelly in 2011. He said Ohio State is a lot like that now as a program.
+ Meyer said that even though some people think up-tempo and no huddle isn't the future of future, it absolutely is. It's an advantage for the offense.
+ There have been more downfield throws with Cardale Jones, but that has been as much a product of what the defense is doing than anything else.
+ On Evan Spencer: "He's the MVP. He's the leader of our team. He's, to me, what football is all about."
+ Cardale Jones is a better pocket guy than the other two quarterbacks because he is big and can see the entire field over the offensive and defensive line.
+ Meyer was not happy with the punt and kick return teams against Alabama and they will need to spend more time on it this week. Field position leads to wins and it's imperative that they have better field position this time around.
+ Regarding the travel of players' families and their $800 stipend, Meyer said he would like to see administrators and executives travel for $800. They couldn't do it.
+ Meyer said there are a lot of similarities between Ohio State and Oregon's tempo on offense, which will make it interesting considering the defenses see it every day in practice.
+ Meyer said he likes that he's had 1,000-yard rushers, but now says he'd love to have a 2,000-yard rusher as well.
+ They had a lot of confidence in what Ezekiel Elliott could do in this offense, but are still a bit surprised. "He's a little tougher than I thought he would be."
+ The concern is getting up for another game and then also dealing with Oregon's tempo.
+ Meyer said it's great news that there is legislation in place to get funds for parents/guardians of players. "I'm really fired up over that. That made my day. That's outstanding."
+ Practices are much different than national championship games of the past for Meyer. They have four practices in pads this time around, as opposed 37 days of practice before the playoffs were implemented.
+ He doesn't think he's ever had a player come as far as Cardale Jones has. "He could have been a statistic."
+ They'll push the underdog angle closer to the game. "It depends on the team, it depends where we're at. What kind of team you've got. Who you're playing." They didn't really play it up much against Alabama. He saw the team walking and standing taller after Wisconsin's win over Auburn.
+ They made it very clear leading up to the Wisconsin and Alabama games that the defenses needed to stop Melvin Gordon and Amari Cooper, and this game will be no different with Marcus Mariota.
+ Meyer on Ed Warinner: "He's a hell of a coach." There will be a plan moving forward for Warinner but Meyer will announce that at a later date.
+ He said Joshua Perry will be a captain next year. "He's a guy that I'd hire in a minute if he wants to coach." Meyer said he's already had multiple job offers during "Real Life Tuesdays".
+ "That's when this all started." Meyer on when the seniors didn't leave prior to the 2012 season. Their leadership made the 2012 season possible.
+ The biggest fear and challenge leading up to this last game is player health because 15 games is a lot for the players. After that it would be the distractions of being at another bowl destination.
+ Meyer said there isn't much of a difference in the play calling between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones.
+ Jeff Heuerman is probable and Dontre Wilson is probable.