Two-Minute Drill: Updates From the Ohio State Media Luncheon
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — With the bye week over, Urban Meyer and members of his football team and staff met with the media today for their weekly assessment of the goings on with the Ohio State football program. Joining Meyer today were running backs coach Stan Drayton, co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers, receiver Philly Brown, defensive tackle Joel Hale and linebacker Ryan Shazier.
Urban Meyer Updates
* Meyer said he gave the team plenty of rest during the off week. “I told them we'd take care of them if they won.”
* Meyer said that Iowa has a good defense. “They're the same as they've always been on defense.” He called this a big a game for the Buckeyes. He said they spent the bye wee trying to figure out how to run the ball against the Hawkeye defense.
* Asked about not ever having a running back rush for 1,000 yards, Meyer said they've had running backs get injured who were on pace to do it, then added, “If somebody wants to question whether we run the ball effectively...”
* He said “I really like this team”. Adding that he has only had to deal with relatively minor issues.
* Meyer said that he was “panicky” about leadership in the spring and in the summer, but they've done a very nice job in that area this season. He said it's not great yet, but it is progressing.
* He cited his 21-2 record after byes as being blessed to have good assistants and a good strength coach.
* He said that he watched some football over the weekend and wondered where the Buckeyes would stack up, but he quickly snaps himself out of that thinking. Where would the Buckeyes rate with what Meyer saw? “I think we're right there.”
* Regarding Ryan Shazier, Meyer said, “He's one of the most incredible young men I've ever been around.” Curtis Grant's father passed during the weekend and Meyer said that Shazier wanted to drive down to Virginia to be with Grant. He also said Shazier's idea to wear #2 in tribute to Christian Bryant is one of about 50 ideas that he's come up with for the team.
* Meyer said that Tommy Schutt is a go and will play this week. Jordan Hall will practice today and they will see where it goes from there.
* He said that Dontre Wilson is a valuable guy, but he's too much of a novelty. There are still ways to get him involved, however, and that's something they're working on. Meyer said that he deserves to play. He also said that this time next year Wilson will be a rock who benches 350 pounds. He said Percy Harvin benched 400, so it's not fair to Wilson to put that “Percy Harvin” label on him yet, because Harvin could do everything, including throwing some leveling blocks.
* Meyer said that overall the offense isn't explosive enough.
* He said that they had a staff meeting today and he told the defensive coaches that they did a great job stopping the run against Wisconsin, but he challenged them to defend the run like that without sacrificing the pass defense.
* Meyer said that there are no health problems with Braxton Miller, and added that Curtis Grant will play this weekend.
Everett Withers Updates
*Asked about passive vs aggressive defenses, Withers said that you don't blitz just to blitz, you have to have a reason to do it. “You have to have a plan.” Are you blitzing on running downs or are you blitzing on passing downs, and why are you doing it?
*He said that he would rather play press coverage every snap, but in today's game with more snaps than ever before, you just can't do it as much as you'd like. Players get tired. Plus, you have to change things up to keep offenses off balance.
*Withers said what everybody else has said this season, “Our #1 objective is to stop the run.” He said that when a team throws, as long as the defense is triggering and tackling, you'll be okay. They worked on both triggering and tackling during the off week.
*He said that Pittsburgh Brown did “pretty decent” for a first game. He'd like to have a few plays back, but Brown is a senior and he likes his experience. He said they'd like to see if Tyvis Powell can play free safety. He thinks Vonn Bell can play the nickel. They toyed around with it last week.
*Withers said that they are able to play fewer guys in the box right now because of how well the defensive line is playing. He said the Buckeyes are one of the best third-down defenses in the nation.
*He said that Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis gave him his very first Division I job in coaching at Tulane. He added that Davis' offense hasn't changed since those days either.
*Withers said he doesn't feel any pressure regarding Ohio State's 18-game winning streak. “I think every game is its own entity.)
*He said that they need to get Iowa running back Mark Weisman to stop his feet and get him slowed down before he gets started. He said he's a very good cutback runner.
Stan Drayton Updates
* Drayton said that any time you have an offensive line as good as Ohio State's, the running backs are going to run with confidence and read things with anticipation. He said that doesn't happen unless you have confidence in your offensive line. “It's been phenomenal for us this year.” He said the offensive line is rocking off the ball. There is no hesitation, and the defenses are giving them a lot of different looks. “They move people.”
* On Carlos Hyde spending time on the scout team, he said that he wishes he could “raise every back that way.” He said that scout team running backs see a lot of contact, and nothing comes easily. However, it can also be a negative because there are no holes to run through and they come back hesitant. He said that never happened with Hyde, who already has his rhythm back.
* Drayton said that Iowa's defense is disciplined, so you can't take any short cuts against them. You have to let everything progress properly.
* Asked what the team is doing best on offense currently, Drayton said “trusting each other”. There are no selfish players, and they are just focused on doing their jobs and not worrying about anybody else's job. He said that when a defense takes one dimension of their offense away, another steps up strong.
* He said they definitely take Iowa's run defense as a challenge. He said Ohio State likes to run the football, and they're not going to not run it because a team has a good run defense. He said they know they'll win some and lose some.
* Drayton said that the offense hasn't clicked on all cylinders just yet. The run hasn't completely supported the pass, and the pass hasn't completely supported the run. He said they need to continue to improve in that area.
* Drayton said that Jordan Hall will practice today. He has made progress and is feeling much better right now.
Joel Hale Updates
* Hale said that he is excited to get Tommy Schutt back on the defensive line, as is everybody else. He said it will make their rotation stronger and deeper, and give him and Michael Bennett some breathers.
* He said that the bye was good timing for mental reasons more than physical reasons.
* Hale said that Iowa is well coached, they have good running backs and their offensive line zone blocks very well.
* He said that when Carlos Hyde was on the scout team, he ran the ball harder than anybody else they've faced this season.
* On the defensive line stopping the run being an Ohio State staple, he said, “We just made it our responsibility to keep the tradition going.”
* Hale said he never gives any thought to what the Buckeyes are ranked. He did say that the winning streak is a little bit of pressure because you never want to lose, but it's great to be a part of something outstanding. He said their main goal isn't to win these next four games, it's to beat Iowa.
* Asked how he felt he was playing, he said he's playing okay. He said his main job is to free up “those guys behind me.” He said when Ryan Shazier gets Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, that's a good day for him. He said that Shazier went home with him to Indiana over the bye week. “We were just eating like kings.” (Shazier had to put on a few pounds to hit his target weight. Hale came in right on target.)
Ryan Shazier Updates
* Shazier said he had an amazing time in Indiana and is back up to 230 pounds. He said the Hale steaks were fantastic.
* He said that he's talked to Curtis Grant and Grant is doing pretty good right now. He's back home in Virginia at the moment. He said it wasn't a sudden thing with Grant's father, but it's obviously never easy.
* He said the bye week came at a good time so that the defense could get refreshed and refocused. On Weisman, he said they have to get him before he gets going. He said they need to “build a wall”.
Philly Brown Updates
* Brown went home and got to watch his 13-year old brother play football. He scored three touchdowns in his three touches. “He's a beast,” Brown said.
* Brown said that they still have work to do on offense, but “by the end of the year, we could be a ridiculous offense.” “We can get a lot better.” He said you never reach your peak because you can always get better through hard work. He said they're leaving too many points on the field.
* On the winning streak, he said it's a nice honor, but it's not their ultimate goal.
* He said he's hoping to get Dontre Wilson on the field more. He said he's talked to Urban Meyer about a couple of young players who are ready for action, but he wouldn't reveal the names. He said we'd see them soon enough.
* Brown said that Tom Herman does a good job of getting the game plans together. “Any scheme that Coach Herman draws up is gonna work.”
* He said they always look forward to defensive challenges, that way they know where they stand as an offense.
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