Two-Minute Drill: Updates from the Big Ten Championship Game Coaches Teleconference
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Urban Meyer and Mark Dantonio each spent some time previewing Saturday's upcoming Big Ten Championship Game. Meyer also spent some time answering questions about the BCS, as you might expect. Here are the highlights.
Urban Meyer Updates
* Meyer said they will discuss the fight tonight with the Big Ten and he and Gene Smith will talk about it shortly. He was disappointed in the entire situation. He said he has already met with the players in involved. He said it's a tough penalty in a rivalry game, but it's one that he agrees with.
* Meyer said the “secret” to winning a conference championship game or any big game is preparation.
* Meyer said he has watched a little bit of Michigan State's defense and says they're as good as any he's seen this year.
* Meyer said they'll have a team meeting tonight and spend about “6 or 8 seconds” on the BCS. He said it would be a disservice to his players to worry about anything other than Michigan State.
* Meyer said that Pat Elflein played very well and he's excited about his future. He's comfortable having him out there if need be.
* Meyer said he had no comments or thoughts on Auburn's AD campaigning on SportsCenter earlier in the day.
* Meyer said everybody was able to follow the Auburn game on their iPads, and then they got into Columbus just in time to get the reception on their DirecTV satellite on their bus and they were able to watch the end of the game.
* Meyer said Bradley Roby started off okay this season, but said he's played very well this season. Meyer called him his “ace” on kickoff coverage, and also mentioned his two blocked punts.
* Meyer said Carlos Hyde is a much different player than a year ago, and on a different side of the planet than two years ago. He said Hyde is playing as good as any tailback he's ever watched.
* Meyer said they're working on their passing game today because there have been issues. There won't be any issues with the weather conditions next week, however. Meyer said they didn't throw much against Michigan because they were so dominant on the ground.
* Meyer was asked who he would vote for the B1G Offensive Player of the Year between Braxton Miller or Carlos Hyde, and he said he wasn't going to answer that question.
* Meyer said he has already handed down internal punishment to Marcus Hall and Dontre Wilson, and also another player whom he did not mention. He said he likely wouldn't punish them with anymore time lost.
* Meyer said that he has a great relationship with Mark Dantonio.
* Meyer said that Michigan State's coverage schemes is different than what most people do, and they add in a number of blitz packages as well, “and it's a very hard defense to prepare for.”
* Meyer said that he expects Braxton Miller to be fine playing in a game of this magnitude. He said his preparation is much improved this season, and he'll be ready for this one. “Usually the brighter the lights, the better he plays.”
* Meyer said the OSU defensive coaches are impressed with the improvements that the MSU offense has made throughout the season.
* Meyer said focus shouldn't be a problem this week with a BCS National Championship on the line this week, he said the bigger problem will simply be Michigan State.
* Meyer said the Ohio State defense was exposed by Michigan on Saturday and that they need to get it fixed.
* Meyer said Ohio State's best defense is holding the ball on offense and keeping it away from Michigan State's offense.
* Meyer was asked about injuries and he said the Buckeyes are “in pretty good shape” right now.
* Meyer said they had Pat Elflein stand up immediately after the game in the locker room and get recognized.
Mark Dantonio Updates
* Dantonio was asked if this was the biggest game he's ever coached in as a head coach, and he said it would be up there.
* Dantonio attributes the defensive success this year to coaching stability and veteran players. He said there is risk involved in how they play defense. He said you need to have good players at every position, and they need to know what to do, and be able to make adjustments.
* He said he's just getting started on the OSU offense today. He said he's seen them here and there this season, and last year's game gives them some familiarity. He said he's very aware of the players on the OSU team because he recruited a bunch of them. “Great offense. Tremendous offense. They've got great skill players.” “The quarterback is a game breaker.” He said the key to their success will be containing the quarterback when things break down.
* Asked about last year's game, Dantonio said his memory of it was missed opportunities. He listed four quick ones off the top of his head.
* Dantonio said when they started the season they didn't have a running back, but as the season has gone on, the offense has gotten better throughout.
* Dantonio said with the national championship implications of the game, it makes it a more exciting game. But he said it was exciting the last time he was there as well.
* He said that middle linebacker Max Bullough knows the defense almost as well as the coaches. He was asked about Ryan Shazier and he called him a big-play guy who can also pass defend. He said he runs well and rolls up on you “and hits you with power.”
* Dantonio said quarterback Connor Cook “creates in his own way”, and that he's made very good decisions this season. “He handles pressure.”
* Dantonio called Carlos Hyde an excellent running back. He said he breaks tackles and can go the distance.
* Dantonio said he voted Ohio State #1 this year.
* He said linebacker Denicos Allen is their most productive defensive player. He's a 4.5 guy who is highly motivated to play.
* Dantonio said MSU wasn't a top 25 team to start the season, but they started climbing the ladder in October. “And it's been a climb.”
* Dantonio on his relationship with Urban Meyer and the OSU coaching staff: “It's all good. We're good.”
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