Meyer Answers Questions About His Offense
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Urban Meyer’s new offense got off to a slow start at his new school Saturday, but once it got moving, it was a thing of beauty in Ohio Stadium.
The Buckeyes put 56 points on the board, the most they’ve scored in a game since their 73-20 win over Eastern Michigan back in 2010.
Meyer took some time to answer questions about his offense Monday during his weekly press luncheon in Columbus.
Q. You said after the game 14 of 24 for Braxton wasn't ideally what you wanted. Have you looked at the film and do you find a pattern with the incompletions or something that concerned you?
MEYER: I think we had two dropped balls right off the top of my head, Zach Boren and Evan Spencer. I saw him jerk a couple passes, and that's something that when he has a nice stroke, he's as good a passer as I've ever seen. When he pops open and wants to get out there so fast, his fundamentals kind of get away from him. One time he scrambled out of the pocket instead of hanging in there with a little option route we ran to Philly Brown. So he's going through some growing pains and we have to get him through those growing pains really fast, because we expect more out of our quarterback.
Q. Obviously you've been candid in your assessments and how it's motivated your guys. How soon after Devin Smith made that catch did he think I wonder where that rates on the coach's wow factor scale?
MEYER: Probably the second after it happened, knowing him. Big smile on his face and he just keeps walking by me waiting for me to say great catch, and I just won't do it, I won't do it. I'm not going to do that.
Q. I've heard three analysts and reporters bring up Braxton Miller's name in connection with the Heisman?
MEYER: Oh, gosh.
Q. Given how early it is in the season, how comfortable are you with the idea that he'd be capable of that?
MEYER: That's still one of the things that as we get to know each other when these kids come here, they're worried about making – Tuesday's practice is really, really hard. So any thoughts of anything other than that than practice, we'll have to make them harder. So there will be no discussion of that.
I think he's one of those freaks of nature that has a lot of ability and great things can happen to him. But there won't be billboards posted anywhere or anything like that.
Q. You mentioned how the 1‑yard line stop just wasn't acceptable. Are you going to try anything different in your goal line package to try to make that better?
MEYER: Oh, yeah, yeah. Once again, absolutely. Is that what you can expect the rest of the year on the 1‑yard line? No, we'll do some things different, but that was a tempo setter. That was a timeout. We called them together, and I wanted to see something happen, and we should have scored. We missed a block. The offensive line can't miss a block down there.
So to answer your question, would we change things up down there? Absolutely. Will there be times that we have to hand the ball back to the tailback and get one yard? Yeah, a lot. So that was the most disappointing part of the whole day, and we'll get that fixed.
Q. You mentioned you're venturing into the unknown with a new offensive staff. How did the first trial run go? And what are some of the concerns that remain?
MEYER: It went pretty good. We didn't have the substitution in. I think we had maybe one offensive penalty for the day, which for a new staff and an up tempo, we're good now. Other than the mini huddles we do on the short yardage – and that won't just be short yardage – but I think Tom Herman and the coaching staff did a very good job.
I mean, you talk about 180, it's completely different. The tempo, the offensive line. I think we had one false start, and that's pretty good when you're changing up cadence and doing all the different variety of things that we've done. So I'm very pleased. We have a long way to go, but I'm very pleased with the first game.
Q. Are there a number of big plays you expect each week?
MEYER: I don't have a set number. We really try to evaluate who can make a big play? I ask the question all the time, who can physically score the touchdown. I didn't know Devin Smith could. I have not seen it, now I know he can.
I'm not talking about the one against Wisconsin where the guy scrambles the run, catches it and falls down. I mean go make a touchdown. I think Carlos Hyde can. I think Braxton Miller can. To see Evan Spencer go up, we had to see him do that.
We're still trying to figure out who can score a touchdown. Not who can score, but who can go make a touchdown, and that's what we're trying to still figure out. The good news is I think we have a couple guys that can do that.
Q. What was Devin not doing in the spring and maybe even preseason that made you have doubts about him? Number two, does a play like that totally change your way of thinking?
MEYER: Absolutely. I've never been down on Devin at all. He plays like a young player that had a new offense thrown in his lap, a great kid to coach. He's also running track in the spring, if you remember, so we didn't have him all the time.
Playing receiver in this offense is real. It's not one of those, hey, you stand out there and we'll flip you the ball once in a while. You are very involved in blocking. All those perimeter runs with Braxton Miller takes it 60 yards and no one touches his jersey. There is something other than Braxton Miller running down the field. There are ten other guys that have to grade out a winner to have that happen.
So playing receiver in this offense, that is a grown man's job. He's really coming on. And to answer your question, I think we all know the answer to that, is there are ignition plays in young players careers that make them get that confidence. Nothing greater than confidence, nothing worse than false confidence with an athlete. And I think we all now, I know I have confidence, but more importantly he has some confidence in himself.
Q. You talked about Braxton and how impressed you are with him. How concerned were you with the intentional grounding play where he kind of threw the ball up. Didn't get called a fumble, but what were your thought there's?
MEYER: He's got a little ball security issue. Not near as bad as I saw a year ago. Even when he runs he has a tendency to do this. But we worked hard to keep his hands on the ball and lock his elbows. Those are concerns of a young quarterback. Old quarterbacks do the same thing, especially competitors.
There were a couple of reads where that same play, most teams in America run, they read the defensive end. He pulled it a couple of times when he should have gave it.
But that's one thing about this style of offense, every play the quarterback has to make a read. Some offenses you take the snap, hand the ball to the tailback and hope things work out well. We don't have too many of those plays. He has to make a read on every play, so he's going to make a few mistakes.
*For more info from Monday’s press conference, check out the news and notes in our Two Minute Drill, which includes not only Meyer, but also Mike Vrabel, Tim Hinton and a handful of players.
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