Two-Minute Drill: Meyer Gives the Latest Via Call-in Show
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Urban Meyer's weekly call-in show took place on 97.1 The Fan on Thursday, and per usual the Buckeye head coach had plenty to say.
Meyer provided updates on his depth chart, on the team's injuries, and gave some insight into this past week of practices as his team prepares for UAB on Saturday (noon ET, BTN).
Here's the loaded synopsis of just about everything that Meyer had to say during Thursday's show.
* RB Carlos Hyde and DL Michael Bennett are both out this week, but are expected to be back next week against Michigan State.
* Not having Bennett continues to be a factor in the lack of a pass rush. According to Meyer, you can stop one really good defensive end, but you can't stop two.
* RB Jordan Hall is still not 100%, but he's a "tough guy and a leader". Meyer said that Hall should have had about 110-120 yards rushing last week. He didn't finish runs and he got tripped up, but attributed it to rust. Despite the rust and not yet being 100%, Hall could be close to resuming his duties as the kick and punt returner.
* FB Adam Homan is still out. TEs Nick Vannett and Jeff Heuerman are the two backup fullbacks at the moment. Meyer said that he's never had two "legit" tight ends like he does now.
* CB Bradley Roby and S C.J. Barnett were dealing with injuries this week and didn't practice fully. Roby injured his shoulder on Saturday, but returned. Barnett has an ankle sprain. More will be known about them both after today.
* CB Travis Howard is also fighting various small things, but is fine.
Looking at UAB
* With former Arkansas and Northwestern offensive assistant Garrick McGee now head coach at UAB, the Blazers offense is a mix of the Arkansas and Northwestern offense. They have an athletic quarterback who can run, but they will go down field more than any team the Buckeyes have seen to this point.
* Defensively, they will play a base 4-3, but will bring pressure half of the time with a linebacker as well. They play a cover two in the secondary. In the redzone, they blitz 75% of the time, and Meyer believes Braxton Miller will have a good day in that type of situation.
This Week In Practice
* Had a little more urgency in practice this week. Meyer believes they already work on tackling more than anybody, but with the struggles this season, they added tackling in Wednesday's practice as well. Meyer believes you get what you emphasize, and now with tackling on Tuesday and Wednesday, it's time for the defense to produce.
* Freshman linebackers Joshua Perry and Camren Williams will play this week, and the plan is to get them each some meaningful minutes. "The linebackers at Ohio State need to get much better," Meyer said. That improvement either needs to come from the older guys, or via the development of the younger guys. Some of that development will be on the field this Saturday.
* Meyer said that the freshmen defensive linemen took a big step forward this week. Three true freshmen were on the defensive line for the Buckeyes at times last week, which is something that Meyer doubts has ever happened at Ohio State, and probably not anywhere else this season either. He said having three freshman DL playing at one time is both good and bad, but more good than bad.
* Based on the way he played on special teams last week, and the way he practiced this week, RB Rod Smith has moved ahead of Bri'onte Dunn on the depth chart. Meyer said that on one punt return last week, Smith had an eight-second block. He should get some meaningful snaps this week.
* Meyer said that Smith had earned playing time and the worst thing you can do is to give an athlete mixed messages. "I don't need your uncle calling me," he said in reference to random players/families wondering why their son isn't playing. "He's not playing because he's not good enough." Smith has done what has been asked of him, and now it's time to reward him.
* Meyer also mentioned freshman QB Cardale Jones as having performed well with the Scout team this season. "I think he has a future here," Meyer said, which is quite a departure from his opinion of Jones in the spring.
Grading the Assistant Coaches
* A caller reminded Meyer of his desire to have the best coaching staff in American, and then asked him if he thought he had the best staff in America. "That still remains to be seen," Meyer answered. "I like where we're at."
* Meyer specifically cited that he likes the staff's ability to recruit. The thing that he monitors is whether or not each member of the staff provide something that makes them better. Do they bring in schematic ideas, do they conduct themselves well in the heat of the moment, are they strengthening the unit that they are coaching, etc. According to Meyer, however, it's still "to be determined."
* Asked specifically about defensive line coach Mike Vrabel, Meyer mentioned that his most immediate impact came on the recruiting trail. "Everybody knows Mike Vrabel," he said. "They know exactly who he is." He said that not everybody who has spent so much time in the NFL would then be okay making early-morning recruiting trips across state lines. Meyer said that Vrabel has a great work ; ethic, and added "He is going to be a star in this profession."
* Meyer did say that the coaching staff had a meeting about their efficiency of practice time. Felt time had been wasted preparing for things that they never ended up seeing from opponents simply because opponents would change everything they did in an effort to beat them. Said things will become much more efficient once the staff hits conference play and teams will no longer be able to scheme for weeks just against them.
* He said he's still learning about his team and his coaches, but knows more about them after the California game than before. He said the conversations with the coaches were good, and that the only guy panicking was the head coach, which is what he gets paid to do.
Getting the Message out
* Meyer took a moment to talk about John Simon, and rather than tell you about it, we thought the actual words would tell you better:
"I just think it's so important for Buckeye nation, you walk into Ohio Stadium and the tradition, and the numbers and the jerseys and the names hung on the wall of all of the great players, and how many great players have not had their names put on that wall. And I think it's my job as a coach to let everybody know that this is a special, a different guy, he's not a normal player. There is nothing left in him when he plays for us. I just think that's important for his family and him, and for his name to be known for that.
"Forever, I'll be indebted. We had a new staff come in and he was right right on board. Blind faith, man. He just jumped behind us 100%, and we're jumping behind him.
"The most selfless player I've ever been around. It's maybe not a sexy story, but it's a story that I want my 13-year old at home – and he's heard it enough, he hears it every day. He hears about guys like Simon that are just the ultimate teammate."
* Meyer believes that he has maybe made too much of an issue out of Braxton Miller's carries, and perhaps that Miller took it too much to heart. "Braxton Miller does not have a pitch count," he said. The game will predicate Miller's touches, but Meyer would still like them to be under twenty. Meyer called Miller the team's best offensive player, so they will still do what they have to do to win a game.
* Said they haven't run as many QB draws lately because teams are trying to fill those gaps, which is why they're running more straight runs for Miller, and finding success doing so.
* Meyer was asked to compare Miller to Tim Tebow at the same stage of their careers. He said that Miller has more talent, but Tebow was simply relentless and non-stop. He wants to see that from Miller moving forward, and has begun to. He was a bit worried about him in the winter. Said that after his interception last week, Miller stayed upbeat, where as Tebow would "go into a hole".
* Said that Miller will be given the opportunity to do more this week. If the defense doesn't look right, they want him to get the offense into the right play. He couldn't do that last week, but they're "going to ask him to play quarterback" this ; week, and that takes a lot of work.
* Meyer expects the OSU offense to continue to utilize the vertical passing game as a way to loosen up defenses who are sitting on their running game. He wasn't comfortable with that thought in the spring, but has liked how the passing game is emerging.
* Said that WR Devin Smith is really opening up the offense right now. His development allows them to do more and more each week.
Donate by Check :
1380 King Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43212
Help us bring you more Buckeye coverage. Donate to the-Ozone.
Click here to email this the-Ozone feature to a friend...or even a foe.
(c) 2010 The O-Zone, O-Zone Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, rebroadcast,rewritten, or redistributed.