Two-Minute Drill: Updates from Monday's Media Luncheon and Interviews
By Tony Gerdeman and Rob Ogden
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Urban Meyer, Everett Withers and Ed Warinner all took to the podium on Monday afternoon to provide updates on the Buckeyes and their preparation for California on Saturday.
Afterward, Philly Brown, Michael Bennett, Jeff Heuerman, Joshua Perry and Armani Reeves also met with the media.
Urban Meyer Updates
* Meyer said that Braxton Miller has a sprained MCL and is day-to-day. He said that Miller feels better today than he did yesterday, and that you don't really know whether he'll be able to go until at least 48 hours after the injury because the knee is still going to be pretty sore.
* Defensive end Adolphus Washington is day-to-day with a groin injury. He will need to continue getting better before he will be able to play.
* Meyer said that he was pleased that the message they had been sending to the players all week about maintaining a fast start seemed to work.
* He said the kick coverage was great to start the game, but they had a few correctable issues. Armani Reeves was the special teams player of the week.
* He said that the players responded well to Kenny Guiton, and it was not a surprise that they voted him a captain.
* Meyer said that Guiton distributed the ball extremely well, especially against a blitzing defense. He said that SDSU's defense suited Guiton well because he is a quarterback who always gets them into the proper situation. This is one of the reasons why there was no consideration to bring Braxton Miller back even though he was asking to go back into the game.
* The champions on offense were Jack Mewhort, Jeff Heuerman, Philly Brown, Evan Spencer and Kenny Guiton. Guiton was the offensive player of the game. The champions on defense were C.J. Barnett, Bradley Roby, and the co-defensive players of the game were Michael Bennett and Ryan hazier.
* Meyer said that Mewhort was the key block on three explosive plays, and that he was also 35 yards downfield for a knockdown block.
* He said that Guiton controlled the game and made great checks throughout.
* He credited Mike Vrabel for the way the defensive line has played this season, citing Steve Miller's sack and the enthusiasm on the sideline following it.
* Barnett graded out at 95% and Roby at 99%. Roby made 11 of the 12 plays available to him.
* Traveling to Cal this week, Meyer said that they will need all able bodies on defense given how uptempo the Bears play. Also, they will be taking all four scholarship quarterback. He said that Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett are close right now, but Jones is slightly ahead.
* He said that they won't hold Miller back if he's healthy enough to play like Braxton Miller. They won't be saving him for some other week.
* They have begun working more on getting a third quarterback ready should the need arise to play one.
* He said dropping in the polls doesn't impact them at all, though Meyer added that he has no idea why they are dropping.
* Meyer said that Cal is hard to sack because they get the ball out so quickly on screens and such. He said they won't even watch last year's game with Cal because so many things have changed for that football program.
* He said that Philly Brown has made a 180 in all facets. Meyer wasn't initially a fan of him, but said that he is now a true, legitimate wide receiver with a future after college.
* The play on which Guiton scored from 44 yards out is called the "Aztec" formation, and they initially designed it for Braxton Miller, but it's one of those plays like the swinging gate that forces defensive coaches to prepare for during their week.
Everett Withers Updates
* He echoed Meyer saying that California is entirely different than they were a year ago. They have watched film of their two games this season, as well as Louisiana Tech's film from last season.
* Asked how they prepare for Cal's speed of running plays, he said they need to have on-point practices this week to prepare their defense.
* He said that Cal doesn't really care what defense you come out in, they're just going to run their plays. He said that if they do see something they don't like, the quarterback will look to the sideline for instruction.
* Withers said that Cal's freshman quarterback Jared Goff has a good grasp of the offense, but that there's not a lot on his plate because in that offense, you just get the ball and go.
* He said that Vonn Bell is still growing and learning the start. They are trying to get him reps in games, and he'll likely get quite a few in this one because they will be going with two stars at times. He said that right now Tyvis Powell is ahead of Bell by a ways on the depth chart.
* Withers said that the Buckeye defense will be a different type of aggressive this week than last week. The ball gets out of the quarterback's hands so quickly that it's difficult to rush the passer, so they'll do other things to disrupt the offense.
Ed Warinner Updates
* Warinner said that they are working to develop offensive line depth with the idea that they will be breaking in four new starters next season. He said that there is definitely a plan to develop those players this season.
* He said that the offense has an extreme amount of confidence in Kenny Guiton. When he came in, there was no thought to go away from the game plan. He said that nothing in the game plan is eliminated with Guiton in there, then changed his answer to 90% of the playbook being available with Guiton at QB.
* Cal plays a four-man front, which Warinner said the offensive line is more familiar with, since that is what they generally face in practice. There is more confidence in facing the familiar.
* He said that they have been monitoring Corey Linsley closely as he returns from foot surgery. He is 100%, but they had planned to bring him along slowly all along. Jacoby Boren's play as Linsley's backup has allowed them to stick to this plan.
* He called Linsley the point guard of the offensive line. He said that not only does he study the game, but he understands the offensive concepts that this team is trying to accomplish.
* On freshman offensive lineman Billy Price, who was recently moved from defensive tackle, Warinner said, "It's going great." He said that Price has natural blocking talent. He is currently learning center, but could be very good at both guard or center. "He's a natural there" at center. They would like to redshirt him.
* Warinner said that Decker was much better this week. He thinks the excitement of his first game in the Horseshoe got the best of him last week. He then equated offensive tackle play to cornerback play. He said that you can have two bad plays in a 70-play day, but when they happen at tackle or cornerback, bad things happen, and people see them happen.
Philly Brown Updates
* Brown said that he doesn't have to adjust to Kenny Guiton being in the game instead of Braxton Miller at all.
* He said that there wouldn't be a let down if Miller can't go because they all have confidence in Guiton. He added that they would probably have to pull Miller off of the field to keep him from playing, however.
* He said that he's not interested in sight seeing while he's in California.
* Brown said that the difference between Guiton and Miller in the huddle is night and day. He said that Guiton is crazy, loud and obnoxious, whereas Braxton is calm and cool. He also said that Guiton talks trash to the defense. He said that he doesn't think defenses question Guiton anymore.
* He said that he would be crazy to say that he doesn't want the ball more, but all of the players on offense have become more team oriented, and the only important thing is to win the game.
* Asked about dropping in the polls, he said it isn't a concern, adding, "How far can you drop an undefeated team?"
Jeff Heuerman Updates
* He said he saw Miller getting treatment this morning. "If he can be out there, he definitely will be."
* Heuerman said he was much happier with his play against SDSU than he was against Buffalo.
* He said that he's not worried about the polls because the players don't set the schedule.
* Heuerman said that the offense has a ton of skill, and the coaches game plan to get them all touches, but the defense can also dictate who does and doesn't get the ball.
* He said that every play has rules depending on what a defense does in that situation.
* On Dontre Wilson's speed, he said that "You haven't seen it all yet."
Michael Bennett Updates
* Bennett said getting off of the pile slowly is a way to slow an up-tempo offense. He said he's never faked an injury. "I've only faked not being injured."
* Bennett confirmed that Guiton loves to talk trash, even in practice. "He locks into the play though."
* Bennett said he rushed back from a groin injury last year, and has advised Adolphus Washington not to do the same.
* Bennett said the coaches will kick up the pace of the second-team offense in practice this week to prepare the defense for Cal.
Armani Reeves Updates
* Reeves said that he felt a lot more comfortable against SDSU than he did against Buffalo. He also said that Bradley Roby makes everybody's lives much easier on the field and on the sideline.
* Reeves said that to be great on special teams, you just have to be hungry for it. "Just go as hard as you can all the time."
* Reeves said he got a nice t-shirt for being named special teams player of the week. "It has a skull, it's pretty intimidating."
Joshua Perry Updates
* Perry said special teams isn't about speed, it's about effort. "It's an attitude thing. Coaches want players who will go."
* He said that Ohio State is viewing this as a night game, even thought it's a 4:00 pm kickoff locally. He said he's hoping the Buckeyes bring a night game intensity to Cal.
* He said special teams is big at Ohio State. Guys come into the program wanting to play on special teams. He said some guys aren't as excited about it because they didn't necessarily play it in high school, but they get over it. The coaches preach the importance of special teams, and if you want to get on the field, you do it through special teams.
* Perry said that there has been fewer leverage issues this season, and they don't worry about missing tackles. He said they just go out and play, and to this point it's been working.
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