CHICAGO — Following Urban Meyer’s turn at the coach’s podium for a 15-minute session with reporters, he was whisked away for an action-packed hour of questions and answers.
Kevin Wilson’s Input
Meyer said that he doesn’t hand over trust in the offense lightly, but that Kevin Wilson has earned that trust through his results. Meyer said that Wilson is good for what the offense has been lacking, which is tempo and efficiency. “That’s Kevin Wilson’s world.”
Meyer feels good about the combination of Wilson and Ryan Day. He said he even tried to hire Day in the past, but didn’t elaborate as to exactly when that occurred. The timing for both coaches to be available was “remarkable.”
Tyquan Lewis Can’t Lose
Meyer said Tyquan Lewis came back to improve his game for the next level. He could have left early, but he took the feedback he received from the NFL and has improved his overall game. Meyer said he likes to watch Lewis interact with defensive line coach Larry Johnson. They are incredibly close and it’s fun to watch how they operate together.
Calling All Seniors
The 2014 team was loaded with young talent. The number of second-year players who contributed to that team is well known. Names like Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, Billy Price, J.T. Barrett, Eli Apple, Darron Lee, and on and on and on. But without contributions from seniors like Evan Spencer, Darryl Baldwin, Curtis Grant, and Steven Miller, they wouldn’t have won it.
The interesting thing about those guys that Meyer pointed out is that those players really only had one great year, but they saved it for when it counted. Ohio State needs similar contributions this year from the established seniors, as well as those who haven’t played as much.
Demario McCall should make an impact on special teams in the return game. There will be questions about his durability until he proves himself. Meyer didn’t really answer whether McCall could be moving to H-back, but did mention him in the tailback discussion. When asked to list the pecking order, he had McCall behind freshman J.K. Dobbins. He said that Dobbins has proven that he can play at this level. He also said he hopes that Antonio Williams can get involved as well.
Regarding McCall, he said that he has seen what everybody else has seen, which is exciting.
Don’t Forget Parris
Meyer said that he believes Parris Campbell is ready for the responsibility of being the H-back in this offense. He said he will also see some time at running back. They just need to keep him healthy. He is one of two starters at receiver, with Terry McLaurin being the other right now.
Mike Weber has improved and matured. He has become a harder and better worker. He used to be in the “Blue”, which is bad, but now is bordering on “Gold”, which is where the great players are.
Meyer said that Weber just wasn’t as good last year as he is this year, and that he needed to pick his feet up last year. He’s dropped about seven pounds and is legitimately fast now. He is also a leader in the running back room. Tony Alford has done a great job with him.
It is a must for Ohio State that Weber becomes a great back this year. He wasn’t last year. He was good. Meyer gave him a B-grade. He’s been all A’s during the offseason, however.
Emptying the Notebook
+ Greg Schiano was offered two head coaching jobs over the offseason. “I’m gonna keep him as long as I can.” Meyer knows it won’t be too much longer, however.
+ He still talks to Luke Fickell, but they don’t talk shop. They talk about families and life and stuff like that.
+ Meyer expects Maryland to surprise. He always roots for D.J. Durkin except for when he’s playing him.
+ Having seven guys competing at right guard is too many. They need to narrow it down quickly because they’re not deep enough at tackle. Plus, you can’t get adequate reps for that many guys to even judge where they should be on the depth chart.
+ Meyer’s confidence in Billy Price is probably limitless. Those aren’t Meyer’s words, but that’s the impression he gives off.
+ Kendall Sheffield and Denzel Ward are two of the fastest players they’ve ever had. Sheffield has done well in the summer. He came in mature and has done nothing to disappoint. And they’re all learning from the best cornerbacks coach in America, per Meyer.
+ Why wasn’t J.T. Barrett at media days? Meyer said he’s done it before. “J.T. is like a part of our staff.” They asked him his thoughts on who should go and he suggested that other people go so that they could get the exposure and experience.
+ Barrett still has a ton of growth he can make.
+ Trevon Grimes will be brought along slowly, like Nick Bosa was last year, following ACL surgery last fall. He’s full speed now, but they’ll still go easy with him.
+ On the possibilities of five defensive linemen playing at the same time, Meyer said, “That’s real.” It will happen. He told Schiano and the defensive staff to get creative with the talent they have on hand.
+ Asked if it was possible to have too many defensive lineman, Meyer said, “No.”
+ “We’re already knee deep in” the 2019 recruiting class.
+ 70% of his job from January to August is recruiting.
+ When it comes to dealing with young quarterbacks buried on the depth chart, the communication lines always have to stay open and stay honest.
+ Binjimen Victor needs to continue getting stronger and more consistent.
+ “Johnnie Dixon is off the charts now.” He has had zero knee issues in the offseason. Meyer was genuinely excited about the prospects of Dixon this season.
+ Kicker Sean Nuernberger has had a great summer. Meyer said he’d be the kicker, but the competition is still open. He seems pretty confident about the situation. He also likes the talent that redshirt freshman punter Drue Chrisman possesses, but replacing Cameron Johnston is still going to be very difficult.
Urban Meyer said he has watched The Spot about 100 times. Here is footage of him watching it. pic.twitter.com/Xj7O9AWyz1
— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) July 24, 2017
+ Defensive end Darius Slade has transferred. Meyer believes he left for Arizona State. Defensive tackle Dylan Thompson is still not on scholarship, but he is with the team. He was academically ineligible last year.
+ Linebackers Baron Browning and Malik Harrison will be about 80% to start camp due to offseason shoulder surgeries, but they should be full go within the first 10 days.
+ Meyer had no real comments on Ezekiel Elliott’s constant presence in the news, but when asked if he was concerned, he answered, “Very much so.”
+ The freshmen who have enrolled this summer have been just as impressive as the group who enrolled early. Two straight classes of great kids, great students, and great athletes per Meyer.