Two-Minute Drill: Updates from Monday's Media Luncheon
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Urban Meyer met with the media on Monday to talk about Saturday's game against Buffalo, as well as to look forward to this weekend's opponent San Diego State.
Also speaking to the media were running backs coach Stan Drayton, cornerbacks coach/special teams coordinator Kerry Coombs, and players Christian Bryant, Jordan Hall, Chris Fields, and Doran Grant.
Urban Meyer Updates
* Meyer said that he was pleased with the team's fast start against Buffalo, which saw the Buckeyes score 23 points in the first quarter. He said the fast start was exactly their intention.
* Jordan Hall was named offensive player of the week, Christian Bryant was the defensive player of the week, and the special teams player of the week was safety Ron Tanner. Also earning the "champions" label for their winning performances were Chris Fields, Philly Brown, Noah Spence, Doran Grant and Vonn Bell (for special teams).
* Meyer said that Spence graded out at 80%, Grant was 96% (made 18-21 plays available to him), and Bryant was at 94%.
* Meyer said things are looking positive for C.J. Barnett to play this week. Running back Rod Smith will be back as well, and if he practices well he will play. Roby will be back also, and he will compete for a starter's spot. Meyer said the depth chart will likely be Armani Reeves "OR" Bradley Roby. He also said that Corey Linsley will play more, and his snaps will increase as the season goes on.
* Meyer said that the kickoff unit was fantastic. They got down the field quickly and kept all of the returns in check.
* He said that San Diego State plays a 3-3-5 stack defense, which is similar to what the Buckeyes faced last week, but instead of dropping back, SDSU will bring more blitzes from all angles.
* Meyer said that Chris Fields was one of the most improved players on the team and he is "doing it all right".
* Meyer said that he's not sure how often they'll employ the swinging gate two-point conversion moving forward. He just likes the fact that defensive coaches now have to prepare for it.
* Asked if the defense will be more aggressive with Barnett and Roby back this week, Meyer indicated there may be a little more aggression. He said last week that there were just so many new guys on defense, that you can't just go all out in terms of attacking an offense.
* Meyer said that Roby has done everything that they have asked him to do. He spent last week coaching his fellow cornerbacks.
* Meyer was asked if the special teams were performing better now because Kerry Coombs is the coordinator, and Meyer joked that he's much more organized than the previous coordinator (which was Meyer).
* Meyer said that for the most part, the Buckeyes played okay against Buffalo. He said that he has plenty of confidence in the offensive line, but credited Buffalo's Khalil Mack, who he called fantastic.
* He said he has high expectations for this offense. They came out just like he wanted, and they finished like he wanted, but in between the start and the finish there were issues.
* Meyer said the team graded very average on offense, which is a disappointment.
* He is expecting a very fast-paced offensive attack from SDSU on Saturday, but he said they are getting more suited towards playing those styles on defense. He said they need to learn from their mistakes last week regarding preparation and hydration in order to avoid cramping issues.
* Meyer said that "complacency is certainly not a problem this week".
* Meyer said that Dontre Wilson was good, but added that if he fumbles again, he won't be playing much. He also said that they need to find more carries for Ezekiel Elliott.
* He said that Armani Reeves had one rough series, but he was okay. He's a tough kid and he expects him to get better. He deserves to be in the rotation.
Stan Drayton Updates
* Drayton explained that it's tough to get touches for everybody in his running backs room. He doesn't have control of the flow of the game, and what he plans to do doesn't always work out once the game starts. Plus, he says that he likes to go with the "hot foot", and added that it does the hot RB a disservice to take him out of the game when he is doing well.
* Drayton said that one of the reasons why Jordan Hall got so many carries is because he felt more comfortable with him out there, which he credited the Buffalo defense as necessitating his desire for said comfort.
* The initial plan was to get the young tailbacks involved earlier, but the game just didn't allow it. Bri'onte Dunn didn't play, and Drayton called it a "flow of the game" thing. He said that it doesn't feel good not to get kids on the field.
* The talk of the day was that before players see time on offense or defense, they must first play well on special teams. That goes for both Dunn and Rod Smith moving forward.
* He said that Smith's return won't lessen Hall's role, but it make make the distribution a bit different.
* Drayton said that they wanted to get the freshmen's feet wet last week, and both Wilson and Elliott passed the test, as well as Warren Ball, who got his first career carries as a redshirt freshman. On Wilson being a bit nervous, he said "that kid is not afraid of anything". He added that he would be disappointed if Wilson was not better this week.
* He said that he has to keep the RBs encouraged and "keep them on the grind". That message is given to each running back on the first day that they arrive.
Kerry Coombs Updates
* Coombs said that Philly Brown's bobbles on the punt returns were due to a high sky and bright sun. He wouldn't expect that to continue moving forward.
* He said that there isn't a day that goes by when the OSU staff isn't focused on recruiting and talking about recruiting. He said that Urban Meyer wants them immersed in it and to know everything about a kid, all the way down to the custodian of their high school.
* Coombs said that Armani Reeves was average last week, but his effort was fantastic. He played 68 plays on defense and 12 on special teams. His mistakes were all correctable.
* He said that the three penalties on special teams were all significant and have to be fixed. The kick return unit was dynamic and he expects to be very good there. The punt return unit will be more effective moving forward.
* Coombs said that their punter survived, and liked that there were no return yards, which is always the goal.
* Coombs said that Roby spent last week watching film on San Diego State.
* Asked if Dontre Wilson's fumble will cause them to lack confidence in him, Coombs said that they don't lack confidence in him, and that Wilson doesn't lack confidence in himself either.
Doran Grant Updates
* Grant said that he thinks he played okay on Saturday, but that there is always room for improvement. His 96% grade was a career best. Roby coming back won't change anything for him, he will continue to prepare as he always has.
* He said that they are ready for San Diego State's tempo, they just have to continue working on their tackling and their keys. He added that they've learned their lessons on the cramping issue as well, and they are working to avoid a repeat this week.
Christian Bryant Updates
* Bryant said that he watched film on Buffalo last week with Roby so that he could get input from Roby.
* He's excited to get Roby and Barnett back this week. "I know I'll feel a lot better with them out there."
* He said that he didn't even realize that once Ryan Shazier left the game with a cramp that he was the only returning starter from last year on the field.
* Bryant said that there was a time or two when he knew that he had to speak to the defense to rally the troops a bit. They responded well.
* He said they still need to eliminate the missed tackles. There were 10 or 11 last week, but the good thing is that they never went for big yards. Also, they kept leverage, which also negated any big plays.
* He said that he didn't think at all about the targeting penalty during the game, and added that a referee came in during the offseason and told him that all of his hits last year were fine.
* SDSU threw the ball 63 times last week. Asked how many times he'd like to see them throw it this week, he said, "Let's hope 63 so that we can go make some plays on the ball."
Chris Fields Updates
* Fields said that he likes his role, and his confidence has grown with his playing time. He never lost confidence in himself, but he has more now than he ever did before.
* He said that he always believed it was just a matter of time before he was a big part of this offense.
* Asked about players like him being overlooked, he said, "A lot of people sleep on people sometimes. That's okay. They're gonna wake up some day."
* He said they have to continue to improve their mental focus, because they were "half-stepping" it at times after the 23-0 start.
Jordan Hall Updates
* Hall said that he had a couple of good runs, but he still has to get better. On breaking free and having nothing but the endzone in front of him, he said, "It's a thrill you can't explain."
* He said that he isn't savoring his spot as RB1 right now because he's just playing football. He said that Carlos Hyde earned his rank, so when he comes back, it's just going to make a defense have to prepare for anything. Hall said that he'll play wherever, and he'll make plays while doing it.
* He said that they had to pick Bri'onte Dunn up a bit after the game because they could tell he was down about not getting to play on Saturday.
* Hall said that eventually expects to be at H-back, but your guess is as good as his on when that will eventually happen.
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