COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer met with reporters on Monday in preparation for Saturday’s game against Michigan. The winner will earn a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game against Northwestern. Meyer provided updates on his team, including a rundown of who is and isn’t healthy. He also answered several questions about the rivalry and what this game means for his team. Here are the highlights.
+ Much respect to the Maryland players and coaches and fans for what they have gone through this season. Also thanked Buckeye fans for traveling as always.
+ Meyer started off with naming Champions and Players of the Game.
+ The offensive line played 105 plays. Josh Alabi came in and played hard.
+ Great to see Demario McCall earning a Champion’s grade on offense.
+ Just can’t say enough about JK Dobbins.
+ Josh Proctor also played well on special teams.
+ Meyer talked to the players about tough punting decisions inside the opponent’s 40-yard line. If Drue Chrisman wasn’t so good, they’d probably go for more of those.
+ Defensively, a bunch of things happened. “It was very alarming to see.” “Obviously it was not good.” Whether it’s missed tackles, misalignments, scheme, they’re not a blame program, so it’s all of it. There were eight missed tackles.
+ The quarterback position is the most unique position in sports. Everybody is relying on you and looking at you. They have to make all kinds of decisions within 2 seconds, and they have to be a tough guy. They have to lead. “Dwayne really took a step, none more important than they last play of the game.” Ryan Day has been talking to Haskins about moving the team by any means necessary. That has been missing from the offense this season. The tougher the opponent, you have to be able to get those yards.
+ Thayer Munford is doing good and is probable. Should practice tomorrow. There is no practice today.
+ The tempo was effective on Saturday for the Buckeye offense. Those are game management decisions as the game is going.
+ The conversations with the defensive staff have been “uncomfortable” and “direct.”
+ Mike Weber is good to play this weekend. Baron Browning too.
+ Whenever you face an elite defense, the personnel stands out. It’s also a very well thought out scheme.
+ The message to the team when they are an underdog doesn’t really exist. The most prepared team will win the game. If people are worried about who is favored that’s not what they should be thinking about. Meyer doesn’t expect to use who is favored in his preparation. He wasn’t even aware they were an underdog.
+ The red zone offense has gotten better and the balance has improved.
+ Meyer says the talent differential between OSU and Michigan in his time at Ohio State is always very close. Sometimes those games require more risk in order to score and move the ball.
+ Meyer met Woody Hayes several times. “I grew up admiring him.”
+ Can a coach get away with Woody’s methods today? “Zero chance.” Meyer said things have changed, but he is sure that Woody would have as well. “He’s a brilliant person that would have adjusted.”
+ There is absolutely incredible respect for Michigan and this rivalry. You work hard to do your very best in that game.
+ When seeing Michigan games while preparing for crossover games you store those thoughts that you pick up from watching the Wolverines and you compile them for preparation later in the season.
+ It’s frustrating to see Ohio players succeeding at other schools. Some of the players never even reach his desk. The recruiting timeline has sped up so much and kids are being offered so early by other schools and accepting those commitments before Meyer can even see a kid as a senior.
+ Ohio kids have a much better understanding of this rivalry than out-of-state players. “Absolutely.”
+ The amount of time and effort that you put into these games, absolutely there is pressure there, but you have to make sure the players are confident that they are being put into the right positions. If a coach shows the pressure is getting to him, that could impact the players so you have to watch those tendencies.
+ Josh Alabi’s performance was big. “That’s been coming.” Five weeks ago there was no depth, but they have that now. Branden Bowen is ready to go right now as well.
+ Isaiah Prince is up to the task this week. He’s played against Michigan before and played well against them. He has worked as hard as any lineman Meyer has ever had.
+ In 1986 he experienced the Michigan game for the first time with Earle Bruce. They 1987 game is one that he thinks about quite often.