Two-Minute Drill: Updates From Monday's OSU Press Luncheon
by Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — After a week off, Urban Meyer returned to his regular Monday media outing. This week he updated the health of his team, as well as previewed Illinois. He also talked a bit about Ohio State's place in the college football landscape. Here are the highlights.
Urban Meyer Updates
* Meyer said that his Coaches Poll ballot has 1) Alabama; 2) Ohio State; and 3) Florida State. He said he couldn't remember if he had Baylor or Stanford fourth. He said he has had Ohio State ranked #2 all season long.
* Meyer talked a bit about the new rule allowing mid-year signees, as the Buckeyes already have two in Curtis Samuel and Marcelys Jones. Both are members of the 2014 recruiting class. The paperwork they signed does not replace a letter of intent, and it does not lock them into Ohio State. But it does allow Ohio State to have unlimited contact with both. Meyer said they are still free to sign with a different school outside of the Big Ten if they want.
* Meyer said Braxton Miller is in a much different place than he was when he completed one pass in a win at Illinois in 2011.
* Meyer said that Jack Mewhort is a high-level pro prospect and one of the best leaders he's ever been around. Meyer said he had high expectations for Mewhort this year, and he thinks they've even been exceeded.
* Meyer said that Joshua Perry is good to go and practiced full speed following surgery to repair a dislocated finger. Curtis Grant did not practice today as he recovers from an ankle injury and lower back issue, but he should be fine for Saturday. He will practice tomorrow.
* Asked if he watched college football this weekend, he said he did. “I really enjoyed watching the Oregon – Stanford game.”
* Asked if there's a chance his players could overlook Illinois, and he said, “No issue whatsoever. This is an invested team.”
* He said he believes he has an angry team, and admitted to using some of the media criticism of his team to build that anger. He's not frustrated by the situation, however.
* Meyer said they are a better functioning team than they were a year ago. They're better on offense, but not yet better on defense.
* Meyer said that the point he stresses to his team is to win games, but that they also have to play great in those games.
* Meyer said he spoke with Florida Atlantic AD Pat Chun about putting together a profile for a coach that could succeed down there. He said he had coaches on his staff who fit that profile.
* Meyer said that Taylor Decker is fine and will play on Saturday.
Kerry “Cincinnati” Coombs Updates
* Coombs said that Illinois has a dynamic passing attack thanks to a four-year starter at quarterback in Nathan Scheelhaase. Like Ohio State, they try to find one-on-one matchups to exploit all over the field.
* Coombs said there has been dramatic improvement in the secondary over the last few weeks because that's what their focus has been on.
* He said that Noah Spence is playing very fast right now. “When we play fast, we're really good.”
* Coombs said it took some time for everybody to get comfortable with not having Christian Bryant on the field anymore. “You don't replace great players instantly.”
* Coombs said that he was texting back and forth with Bradley Roby while both were watching football this weekend. They were watching the same games and seeing the same critiques defensively.
Corey “Pittsburgh” Brown Updates
* Brown said the team isn't preparing any differently right now, they're always trying to be great as a team. Being on the outside looking in at the BCS doesn't alter their process.
* Brown said they can't overlook an Illinois team that can throw the ball this well. He expects them to throw it a lot this weekend.
* Brown said he isn't frustrated by being #3 in the BCS. They are doing what they can, and that's all they can control.
* He said the team isn't surprised that they have a top 10 defense this season.
* Brown said he watched football this weekend and thinks the Buckeyes can play with anybody.
Jack “Toledo” Mewhort Updates
* Mewhort wasn't interested in talking about Alabama because he was focused on Illinois. But added, “If we ever get that shot, then we'll be ready for it.”
* He said they proved on the road at Purdue that this team is focused, and they won't be overlooking Illinois.
* Mewhort said it's easier to run the ball this year because of Braxton Miller's improvement. He said the passing game has gotten better every week.
* He said they came in this season with a high expectation of the running game. They established a certain level last year on the ground, and they expected to exceed that this year, which they have.
* Mewhort said there is talk in the locker room about being on the outside looking in, but it's not their focus at all.
Joshua Perry Updates
* Perry, who's hand and finger were in a splint, said that he's been dealing with the finger for a few weeks now. It was an issue with a dislocation and a tendon. He's doing fine now.
* Perry said Meyer's criticisms of the linebacker position motivate him. He said he played his best game against Purdue, and he thinks he's coming along.
* He said that Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase is more of a quarterback than he was in the past. He will keep his eyes downfield longer than he did in the past before taking off and running.
Evan Spencer Updates
* Spencer said that Braxton Miller's improvement from last season has changed the entire dynamic of the offense. Receivers are able to execute better because of it as well. There is constant communication among the entire offense. Everybody knows what they're doing.
* Spencer's left knee was wrapped in ice, and he noticeably limped. “It's not comfortable, that's for sure.” But he said he'd be 100% for the game on Saturday.
* Asked about Alabama and Florida State, he said that he thinks they both have weaknesses. “Personally, I think we could exploit them.” He also said that he thinks they would “wipe the field” with Alabama.
* He said he gets a little upset when he sees people dissing the Buckeyes' strength of schedule and the Big Ten. “It's frustrating to me when everybody says stuff about the Big Ten.”
* Spencer said that it would be irritating to be 13-0 and be left out, but if that happened, they did what they could, and that's all they're trying to do.
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