Urban Meyer Presser Recap: Cal

By Kyle Rowland on September 9, 2013 at 12:00p
Urban Meyer holds court.

Ohio State will be making its first trip to California since beating Oregon in the 2010 Rose Bowl behind a strong effort from Terrelle Pryor. Athleticism from the quarterback was one of the difference makers that New Year’s Day in Pasadena. It’s something the Buckeyes hope to repeat in Berkeley.

Braxton Miller suffered a sprained knee ligament early in the first quarter Saturday and never returned. On Monday, head coach Urban Meyer said Miller will be a day-to-day decision for Saturday's game with Cal. He was a little stiff today and feeling the effects of a sprained MCL, but Meyer said if he's ready to go, he will go, saying, "We're not holding anything back."

CHAMPIONS: Jack Mewhort, Jeff Heuerman, Philly Brown, Evan Spencer, Kenny Guiton, C.J. Barnett, Bradley Roby, Michael Bennett and Ryan Shazier.

PLAYERS of the GAME: Guiton (offense), Bennett/Shazier (defense), Armani Reeves (special teams).

SCHEDULING NOTE: Ohio State-Florida A&M will be a noon kick next week.

Quick bits from Meyer's Monday press conference:

  • The kickoff team continues to earn raves from Meyer: "One of the best performances I've seen."
  • Meyer said "there's a lot of respect for Kenny Guiton." He mentioned that he was one of the leading vote-getters during captain voting and said he was unsure if a backup quarterback had ever been elected captain anywhere before.
  • Ohio State used a little more six- and seven-man protection and it worked. Meyer was really pleased with the protection.
  • Meyer: "The defensive line is playing at a really high level right now. I don't want to jinx them, though." Meyer credited Mike Vrabel, saying the group played like Vrabel coaches.
  • Barnett graded out at 95, Roby at 99 for the SDSU game.
  • Lot of things to fix on defense: "We were too soft on zone coverage."
  • Meyer on Cal: "I hear the new stadium is incredible. Jeff Tedford is one of my closest friends and he's been talking to me about it for years. It's going to be a great atmosphere."
  • Meyer said Braxton Miller was a day-to-day decision, confirming its an MCL sprain of the left knee. He said he met with Braxton today and he's a little stiff. "If he's healthy to go, he'll certainly go. We're not saving anything."
  • Miller was called "fearless" by Meyer. He said he was injured on a play that was a pass "all the way." Meyer said Miller wanted back in the game and wants to go Saturday, but they'll know more tomorrow morning, mentioning the first 48 hours are huge for an injury like this.
  • The team will leave Friday morning and stay in Oakland to prep for Saturday's game.
  • Meyer on the drop in the polls: "It doesn't impact us and I can't explain it." Said in the end, everything works out and the best teams will be up there.
  • If something should happen to Guiton, Meyer said Cardale Jones would be the guy at quarterback. On J.T. Barrett: "He has made progress."
  • Cal's defensive coordinator was at Wisconsin last season, so he'll be plenty familiar with Ohio State's offense.
  • Cal's offense: "The ball comes out so quickly on screens and quick passes, so how do you get to the quarterback?" Meyer mentioned the rotation of defensive linemen being the key because the Cal offense will wear them out.
  • Meyer on Philly Brown as a high school running back and his evolution as a wide receiver at Ohio State: "I bet he was a terrible running back and you can tell him I said that." Also: "I'm a big Philly Brown guy right now and I wasn't." Meyer mentioned how Brown is doing all of the little things, including work ethic and leadership.
  • Meyer called the four receiver bunch that led to Guiton's 44-yard touchdown run the "Aztec formation." Meyer again mentioned it giving other teams something to prepare for, taking time away from core prep work.
  • On Cal RB Brendan Bigelow's huge day against Ohio State last year, Meyer called the tackling "horrific" and praised Luke Fickell and Everett Withers for their fundamental work on tackling work with the team.

Updates from Co-Defensive Coordinator and Safeties Coach Everett Withers

  • Withers points out that the Cal offense is completely different from last season – personnel, scheme, etc.
  • The Ohio State defense has watched a lot of Louisiana Tech tape, because new Cal coach Sonny Dykes had the nation's top offense at Tech last season.
  • Withers said freshman Vonn Bell continues to grow, but that Tyvis Powell remains way ahead of him.
  • Saying that, Ohio State may use two players at Star Saturday, due to Cal's offense and the fact that Ohio State wants to develop the depth and talent at the position.
  • As he did at Louisiana Tech, Dyke runs a jumbo wishbone a few times per game, so the defense is looking at that package.

Updates from Co-Offensive Coordinator and OL Coach Ed Warinner

  • Warinner said he's working hard to establish depth on the offensive line, saying any chance the second-team guys can rotate in, he wants them in.
  • The game plan doesn't change when Kenny Guiton enters the game, according to Warinner. He mentioned the run Guiton scored on being designed for Braxton.
  • Warinner said center Corey Linsley is now 100% and that although he wanted to play more in both games, the score didn't warrant it. He could have played more if needed.
  • The staff is happy with backup center Jacoby Boren's development, but he lacks the experience of Linsley.
  • Warinner said Billy Price's move to the offensive line has been smooth, calling him a "natural." Warinner also said it would be ideal to redshirt Price at center, putting a year between him and Boren.
  • Taylor Decker struggled in the opener (to be fair, Khalil Mack was on the field) but Warinner praised him for bouncing back against San Diego State.

Comments Show All Comments

Stinson's picture


"The height of human desire is what wins, whether it's on Normandy Beach or in Ohio Stadium." -Wayne Woodrow Hayes

BuckTheWorld's picture

Beat cal by 40

An Angry Fan

sfgoody's picture

"Praised Fickell and Everett Withers....' and 'the group played like Vrabel coaches'. Tell you what, Urban is a straight shooter and make no mistake, he likes this defensive staff, critics or no. No way he says that if he doesn't feel that way.


fanatibuck's picture

hmmm.............and to think I have been calling for Fickell's head since he has been DC. I just don't see it. I guess that is why I am not the headcoach and I am usually somewhere in AA, A, B deck, Southstands, or somewhere watching on tv and not on the sidelines with headsets.
Doesn't look like Urban is close to terminating Luke at this juncture. We fans skeptikal of Luke's lack of coordinator coaching experience will just have to trust in URBAN!! 


carence's picture

I have been calling for it and I still am but considering the team hasn't lost, Urban really can't be mad.

Larryp713's picture

I personally think the coaches have done great with such an inexperienced yet talented group on defense. I am impressed with how much better the tackling is through two games this year compared to last year. They are not perfect, but you can see the potential. It seems like a couple guys (Bennett, Miller, Reeves) played so much faster this week than last week. If they keep progressing, this might be a defense that can compete with anybody in the country. This week vs Cal is a real test.



wojodta's picture

I don't see how any true fan can be calling for Luke's head. The D has been pretty solid. They got a lot of young guys and they've only had 2 games so far. You can't expect a shutout every single week. With the way offenses are today, you're going to give up some points.

Toilrt Paper's picture

Haters gotta have someone to hate.

fanatibuck's picture

Not hatin. Just observing what many Buckeye fans have observed. It would be nice if we had a championship caliber DC by bowl season to help schematically devise a plan for a possible SEC opponent.


fanatibuck's picture

Not hatin. Just observing what many Buckeye fans have observed. It would be nice if we had a championship caliber DC by bowl season to help schematically devise a plan for a possible SEC opponent.


fanatibuck's picture

It also appears like fans questioning Braxton's toughness don't know what they are talking about either. According to coach Meryer he is a Warrior!! No pun intended!! :)


Rkayjay02's picture

Wonder how many caught that one.....Wayne High School Warriors!!!!!!  slick I tell you

Friends don't let friends root for TTUN...Buckeye4Life

fanatibuck's picture

LOL, not only was I referencing his high school Warriors, but also the name of this site. LOL!


Toilrt Paper's picture

Which means he asked to go back into the game. No one knows what would have happened the next Tim Braxton would have gotten hit.

vitaminB's picture

Tim Braxton would never have gotten hit.  I heard he moves so fast humming birds can't see him.

whobdis's picture

I think Urban 'likes' Luke but I don't think he likes the D that Luke cut his teeth on. It's a learning process..you can see Luke will at times revert back to the bend/no break D. Honestly..I hate the DB's playing 10 yards back when the opposing offense is inside the 20. It reminds me of Snyders' D. One time Saturday the D went with a 3 man rush giving the QB all kinds of time and they completed a 3rd down play..you could see Urban yank off his headset and look down Luke's way. He didn't say anything but he doesn't care for it imo

fanatibuck's picture

Your entire post is my concern and pet peeve.


droessl's picture

SDSU must have good kick returners, b/c after the first couple kicks, they got some better runbacks than I cared to see. 

Silverbuck8's picture

seems as if they want basil to kick it short of the end zone as well.

droessl's picture

I think that if we can get good coverage, combined with touchbacks going to the 25, that kicking the ball inside the 5 is a good option anymore. 

cajunbuckeye's picture

There are quite a few positives to take away from Urbans' statements. The defensive line is making great strides. Guy's are embracing roles as leaders. Cardale is getting it together at the QB position. If there was a Heisman type award for the best back-up, Kenny G. would be a clear leader at this point in the season. Go Buckeyes! Beat Cal!

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

sir rickithda3rd's picture

the defense did look incredible against sdsu... hopefully they keep it up against cal

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

pjtobin's picture

That Aztec formation was a breath of fresh air. Three guys wide right. One guy wide left. Middle was wide open. My bro and I were debating pass or run. It was sweet watching it live. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

d5k's picture

It was actually a 4 man diamond right.  I'm guessing the 3 base options are screen right, QB draw and maybe even a vertical route of some sort left if coverage is completely rotated to the right and it is 1 on 1.

Young_Turk's picture

On the verge of a witticism regarding the Aztek tomb.  Called for delay of game.  
So I guess the Aztek was a different formation then the diamond?  1-2-1 formation staggered on the right.  


toad1204's picture

Cant wait for Mr. Fulton to dissect it. 

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

BBell601's picture

The defense is gonna have to be very disruptive up front to slow down and ultimately stop Cal's offense. I gotta believe that we have a better front 7 than Nothwestern. They were disruptive at times and it caused turnovers, 2 of which sealed the win for them!

tennbuckeye19's picture

Or OSU's D can simply fake injuries, like Cal's coach accused Northwestern of doing, to slow their offense down.

Earle's picture

Cramps are easy to fake, and it certainly would be believable after Buffalo.  Not that I would condone that sort of thing.  It's not like this is soccer or the NBA.

Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

fanatibuck's picture



fanatibuck's picture

Exactly 601. It is must. If Fickells plays these soft zones for any length of time without applying any pressure we are going to be in trouble. They are going to put lighting up the air even with a frosh qb. 


Citrus's picture

"Aztec formation" I love it!

Seems like Herman is expanding the tape each week. However, he isn't showing any of the possibilities. We simply show a new formation and run something vanilla from it. This makes preparation more difficult because opponents need to imagine the possibilities from that formation and prepare. Herman is more effectively concealing by showing. 

Once big games roll around, I bet Wilson is going to get the ball much more. His production per touch is absurd. 

d5k's picture

Yea, we have shown different personnel packages but haven't really done a lot of the next level stuff like using the jet sweep motion as a decoy or read.
I don't know about getting the ball more for Wilson but I think he will at least be used as a decoy more.  When we have Hyde back I expect to see a lot of packages with him and Hall on the field as outside of Philly Brown those are our most dependable workhorse playmakers.
Has there been any report of Adolphus Washington's lower body injury?

CC's picture

Biggest surprise of the article - Tedford is one of Urban's closest friends.  Never would have guessed that.

GoBucksOSU's picture

Urban said that before last year's Cal game too.

Toilrt Paper's picture

He said that last year when Cal played at the Shoe.

Earle's picture

Just out of curiosity, did Braxton ever grade out as a champion last year (or this)?  I distinctly remember him not making it several times that he had big games, but I don't specifically recall if he ever earned that distinction.

Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

Jason Priestas's picture

Would have to dig to see if Braxton graded out as a champion last year, but I know he hasn't this season. Philly Brown is two-for-two, however.

Earle's picture

Thanks, I just found it interesting that Kenny G earned it, and I couldn't remember Braxton doing it even after some great performances last year. 
I have to say that even though Kenny made some throws that weren't great, I don't remember a single obvious bad decision or missed read, which I'm sure has a lot more to do with the grading of a QB than the spectacular plays that we've come to expect with Miller.

Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

vitaminB's picture

Does the coaching staff post the grades somewhere?

airbuckeye's picture

What does worry me a little bit is the second half of both games right now and i they are keeping it vinilla right now as to not show anything. But even keeping it that way in the second half after having good lead they should still be able to score more than they have in these last two games.
I think that's why they have dropped in the poll's a spot each of the last two poll's and not because the Clem. or OR. so much played better teams than tOSU but because they have not off the gas in the second half of their games. Ill give them Clemson to a point against Ga but then again the Voters always put 4 to 7 SEC team in their preseason polls somewhere in the top 15.
That's why the SEC can always clam they are playing tougher games every year but most people don't look at it from that point of view.

hit_the_couch's picture

Give Miller the week off; gotta make sure he's healthy for the games that matter. 
I know Cal usually has some good athletes, but i'm thinking tOSU will be OK with a little smooth jazz.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

fanatibuck's picture

Besides Northwestern and scUM this Cal game has always scared me on this season's schedule. It is always tough for us Midwestern teams to make trips out to the West Coast. Hope the boys have their heads on straight. That atmosphere in Berkely will be festive and this will be their superbowl. 


Paulillo's picture

Totally agree. Cal always has good athletes and let's not forget how close last year's game was in Columbus. This game has me nervous.

causeicouldntgo43's picture

Relax - they don't have a Sugar Bar 2 out there, just lots of weed......

awlinBrutus's picture

great to hear we are building the 2 deep on the OL. How about Vrabel. he could be the best coach on the staff next to Herman. He'll be a great DC in a couple years.


kyletp2's picture

Play Braxton....but tell him to be a pocket passer. No runs!!! He needs the game experience....so I don't like the idea of sitting him the next 2 weeks. Can't have him rusty for Wisky!!!

You are lame if you tweet!

awlinBrutus's picture

If he can't run he can't play imo. Braxton needs to be 100% for the BIG.I think we can win with Guiton and our D. Our D played very well in the first half. The only drop off came when the 2nd & 3rd teamers were in. Its not like this is  his 1st year. I'd rather have Braxton playin but i think Guiton can get it done against Cal and A&M.


ejoceans's picture

Yes sir, I agree to maybe sit Miller this week just to be safe and give that leg more time to heal. Just thinking that this is a big deal and the team will need him later on down the road(like in two weeks).  I would hate to see something happen to him against Cal or UAB or something. Kenny G is well prepared and he will lead us to Big Ten play just fine if needed.  Don't rush him back!!! Don't get me wrong, I love the G man but I would rather play Kenny now against these teams rather than Northwestern, Wis, Penn St. and that team up north.  Lets keep it going bucks!!!

Lets do this Brutus

BuckeyeOfTheTiger's picture

I don't think you can sit a heisman-potential qb when it's absolutely necessary for us to go undefeated to get to the ncg.  If we get up a few td's early, sure, sit him and let kenny g go to town, but if we want to go all the way this year, there is just too much riding on every single game not to throw your best out there.


Rkayjay02's picture

Really don't pay any attention to polls until November.....actually appreciate the fact that Urban puts in the non starters to give them play time instead of running up the score....it will pay off in the long run

Friends don't let friends root for TTUN...Buckeye4Life

ejoceans's picture

If he is not %100 then you have to give the start to Kenny I say.  No way i would risk a season ending injury this early in a game that the G can win himself.

Lets do this Brutus

d5k's picture

If Braxton's throwing mechanics aren't affected by the injury and he is mobile enough to get his 5-10 yards and slide or get out of bounds I think you play him.  If he can't drive off his back foot or display balance and mobility in the pocket then play Kenny.

Toilrt Paper's picture

If no running plays are called for Braxton and if Braxton isn't a threat to scramble for 40yards then Guiton is the better QB.

kdogg72's picture

I would play braxton if he could go. He needs game reps before Wisconsin and needs the experience of playing in a hostile environment. Braxton has to get better at reading defenses and I believe the best way is game experience. I think we could win with Guiton but it would be detrimental to Braxton's growth

hetuck's picture

Notice that in each game, the offense tapered off after Linsley came out. Now that he's 100%, look out. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

CUBS's picture

I think Cal's offense will be pretty fantastic in a year or two when Goff gets more experience. If you guys can get a little pressure on him, Roby may get a pick 6 and I'd expect Shazier to end up with one as well on one of the short passes. In my opinion, in the NW game, they reminded me a lot of some of the Pac 10 offenses from about 5 years, pretty predictable but can be very efficient at what they do in the passing game. I think Dontre Wilson is due for a big game against the Cal defense is he can get the right touches. Right now I'd predict you guys to win by a couple TD's, maybe more. I wasn't wowed by Cal, so if Urban gets the boys ready this week, it should be an interesting game, but other for the first half and then OSU pulls away. Not many people seem to really view this as a measuring stick for OSU outside of Columbus, I definitely think this week's game will tell you a lot about your young team and where this season could be heading. Disregard Cal's performance against Portland State, theyll be ready and I'd expect OSU to be too.

saltybuck61's picture

These comments are very encouraging and back up what I have observed over these past two weeks. This team is good, and they look better than last year's team. Have to see if they show the mental toughness once the teams get tougher, but I like what I see.