Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and Indiana head coach Tom Allen took part in Tuesday’s Big Ten teleconference to preview their upcoming matchup. Here are the highlights from both coaches.
Urban Meyer Updates
+ Asked when he gets a feel for how good his team can be, Meyer said there’s no real answer to it. It depends on the youth of the team. The veteran teams you sort of know, but the young teams can have dramatic improvement. This team is a combination of both, so he’s expecting to have a good feel by the middle of the season. A tougher schedule at the outset speeds up that process, and that’s what Ohio State has this year.
+ There are two positions that Meyer likes to have hybrids, and that’s at H-back and the hybrid tight end that can flex and also block. They look for those guys constantly in recruiting. Teams all over try to do that because it’s hard to defend.
+ Meyer expects both Jordan Fuller and Erick Smith to play because there hasn’t been much separation in his mind.
+ Indiana has very good players, which is what concerns him most. Kevin Wilson has great respect for Indiana’s players and the Buckeyes do as well.
+ Meyer feels best about the defensive line and the veteran players, like Billy Price snapping to J.T. Barrett. Having four starters up front on the offensive line is comforting. What concerns him is the back end of the defense and the receivers. The receivers have had a great camp, but they’re unproven.
+ Joe Burrow “will be back before you know it.” Burrow thinks he’ll be back soon, but that’s just how tough he is. They won’t be overly protective of J.T. Barrett because they like the players behind him.
+ When Ohio State goes out to recruit, they tell players they’re not being recruiting to redshirt. They want them to come in and play. They make it clear that there is no seniority. The best players will play. “My wish and our wish is that they get on the field as soon as possible.”
+ Winning the game is the priority, they’ll worry about getting some snaps for Dwayne Haskins against some other opponent. “Zero conversations about that.”
Tom Allen Updates
+ This Thursday has been “a long time coming for our boys.” Excited to open against Ohio State. A challenge and an opportunity rolled into one. “We’re going to be ready.”
+ This has been a unique situation preparing for Ohio State’s offense. They watched old Indiana tapes on offense to get some ideas of what might be coming, as well as plenty of OSU film.
+ Allen feels very good about the experience on the back end. His concern is the front four. Offensively, the concerns are similar up front. They are still trying to find a running back who can emerge.
+ J.T. Barrett appears to have so much toughness and grit to him. You have to have respect for him. He recruited him at his previous stop. “He just makes plays when you need him to.” He finds a way to make things happen. “He’s what you want in a quarterback.”
+ The offensive line is a concern against Ohio State’s defensive line. “To me, that’s something that will keep you up at night.” It is an area that will be a big key to Indiana’s success.
+ The atmosphere and energy level in Bloomington is very, very high. “It’s a pretty neat thing to have on our campus.”
+ It has been a tough time for the Hoosiers from the Houston area. “Our guys are just trying to be strong here and support them as best they can.”
+ Allen expects to play four or five true freshman to play.
+ It can be difficult to plan for Ohio State with so many young players in the opener. They’ve gone back to watch high school tape on guys as well.