Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer spoke Tuesday for the first time since his Buckeyes were shellacked at Purdue on Saturday night.
Topics included the health of a significant player, the reaction of the team after the loss to the Boilermakers and the potential for big changes to come out of it.
He also addressed a report regarding “friction” between leaders in Columbus:
- Junior receiver Austin Mack is out indefinitely after having foot surgery. “That’s a big loss. He had surgery yesterday. We don’t know yet. There’s a chance he’ll be back for the bowl game.”
- Asked about strength coach Mickey Marotti, Meyer said, “He’s the No. 2. He’s as close a confidant that I have. He’s a guy I count on and this whole program counts on. He’s extremely close to the players in terms of their toughness and their physical well-being.”
- Yes, the bye week gives the coaches a chance to take a longer look at what they are doing and how it could be different schematically.
- “It’s glaringly obvious what the issues are,” he said before noting he had the coordinators in all day Monday to talk about the. “Red zone on offense, the ability to run the ball when you have to run it and then on defense it’s those damn big plays.”
- The problems with the big plays are hard to pinpoint in 20 seconds “You can’t do that. It’s more complicated than that, and that’s what we’re working on.”
- Meyer acknowledged managing players has changed over the years. “In certain ways you do. I think social media is the part. Coaches used to always talk about the noise and then noise would be a parent or I used to call ‘em the third uncle. Now all of a sudden the noise is when you walk into that room everybody is staring at their phones. We have very good people, very good young men, but it is different.”
- He was preparing for an afternoon meeting with the team but wasn’t sure yet what his message would be. “The one thing you never do is start blaming. We don’t do that here. We’ve got to come together and fix it. This is not the first game we’ve lost. We’ve got to somehow regroup and get going.”
- He said they spent at least 12 hours Monday working on taking advantage of quarterback Dwayne Haskins’ strengths as a passer while still being able to run the ball. “That is a focus of the next two weeks and that has to happen, take advantage of our two backs and our backs have got to run through some tackles a little more aggressively. That’s something that has to happen.”
- On top of that: “You can’t really have the scheme conversation during the year, during the season, because you only have two days of practice then you go play a game. This gives us a chance to evaluate and if we want to work on things work on them obviously this week and next week.”
- Does he foresee dramatic changes? “I think that’s not been determined yet. We’re gonna practice some things and then we’ll know more. I can’t give you that right off the top.”
- He said the mood of team “was strong after the game.” and the players had been off the last two days.
- Regarding red zone woes: “Very complicated just with personnel and with what we’re seeing. I’ll know more. Now we’re going to work on red zone for the next three days straight.”
- As far as a FootballScoop.com report about issues between Meyer and his boss, Gene Smith, the coach said, “Yeah there is no tension. I probably talk and work with Gene darn near on a daily basis. There’s zero tension there.”
- As far as the coaching staff, “Well I mean there are things that need to be fixed. I wouldn’t call it tension. I would call it day to day going to work and working on your weaknesses and getting them fixed. So no there’s no tension. Urgency I’d call it.”
- They are looking into linebackers being too close to the line of scrimmage and that causing problems for the unit as a whole. (Purdue coach Jeff Brohm mentioned this was something they saw on film and though they could exploit. They did.)
- Regarding the Purdue game: “I’m disappointed. A couple penalties that were just bad penalties and then from what our opponent gave us… 7-3 with a minute and some change left, that was a big part of the game. Four red zone opportunities and have two field goals. It’s a good team. We knew that going into it. They were hitting stride. We had a chance to score some points in the first half and didn’t do it. We had a chance to get out of the first half (only down) 7-3 and that didn’t happen.”
The Buckeyes will be back in action next Saturday when Nebraska comes to down for a noon kickoff.
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