Urban Meyer Presser Recap: Northwestern

By Kyle Rowland on September 30, 2013 at 12:48p
Urban Meyer is still broken up over Bryant's injury.

It’s been more than a decade since an Ohio State-Northwestern game garnered this much hype, and 18 years since College GameDay set up in the humble northern Chicago suburb of Evanston. But come Saturday, all eyes will be trained on the picturesque Northwestern campus – GameDay in the morning and a football game in primetime on ABC.

Both schools are undefeated and ranked in the top 16. The Wildcats entered the season as an under-the-radar pick to steal the Legends Division. But just four games into their season, they’ve already shot to favorite status. For Ohio State, Saturday night is about a continuation of the previous week – defeating a ranked opponent and staying on the path to Pasadena.

The defense will attempt to corral a high-powered Northwestern offense that features one of the best backfields in the Big Ten with quarterback Kain Colter and Venric Mark. The Buckeyes will do so without its biggest leader on the unit – Christian Bryant. The senior safety and captain suffered a gruesome broken ankle injury on the penultimate play of Ohio State’s 31-24 win over Wisconsin.

It will take a week of practice for Everett Withers to come to a decision on who will replace Bryant. For the first time in weeks, zero questions surround the quarterback situation. Braxton Miller razzled and dazzled the third-largest crowd in Ohio Stadium history.

Believe it or not, it will take another A-game performance for the Chase to march on.

Urban Meyer

  • Offensive champions: Marcus Hall, Devin Smith, Evan Spencer. Co-players of the week were Philly Brown and Jack Mewhort.
  • Defensive champions: Adolphus Washington, Michael Bennett, CJ Barnett and Ryan Shazier (player of the week)
  • Special teams player of the game: Devin Smith
  • Meyer said the wide receiver position is the area that's improved the most on the team, dating to last season.
  • “Very pleased with the effort. We had a shot to our team losing Christian Bryant, but the sign of a good team is how do we respond… I can’t say enough good things about Christian Bryant.”
  • Tommy Schutt is still a couple weeks away. Other than Schutt and Bryant, Meyer said Ohio State is healthy. 
  • Meyer doesn't believe there's a possibility Bryant could return next year, but he added that he's going to look into the sitation. 
  • Pittsburgh Brown, Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell are the next guy's up. Kerry Coombs said as of now, Brown will be the starter. 
  • Meyer said it's difficult to replace Bryant, a guy who's a good player and valued leader. "That’s where I trust the assistant coaches. I have great confidence in them this year. This week we face a very complicated offense. Last week we had errors in checks and communications and we can’t have that. That’s where Pitt Brown has an advantage."
  • In practice last week, Meyer said Braxton Miller performed as well he ever has. "I thought his accuracy on the deep ball was excellent. I thought he did well."
  • Meyer said Roby didn't play up to "Roby standards" Saturday, adding that the he was put on an island because Ohio State keyed on stopping the run so much. 
  • One of the biggest wins of Meyer's career at Bowling Green came at Northwestern in 2001. It helped jump-start his career and remains one of the top wins in BGSU history. Meyer went on a couple minute spiel, reliving nearly every detail of the game. He said the Falcons celebrated in the locker room for more than two hours after the game. 
  • “We have to get Hall more involved, those are our top 2 backs and that’s what we’re working on – we need to get Jordan more involved.”
  • “It’s awesome [to have multiple running backs]. What's difficult is when you don’t have the pieces you’d like. It’s hard when you’ve got a kid who works hard and does everything right not getting the ball. That’s why we worked so hard to get Spencer the ball a couple of weeks ago.”
  • Meyer said the only way Ohio State was going to lose the game once it staked a 17-point fourth-quarter lead was turning the ball over, hence the conservative play-calling.
  • Philly Brown is the leader in the wide receivers meeting room, according to Meyer. He said there's a reason Brown and Smith constantly grade out as champions. Meyer said at this time last year Brown didn't have much of a future at Ohio State. Now, he's become the biggest turnaround on the team.
  • “Our kids can get open and we can complete the deep ball. That’s a big part of who we are. We have more explosive pass plays than I think I can remember ever.”
  • Cameron Johnston had not allowed a return yard until Saturday night. Still, Meyer said he was only a C-, in his opinion. That changed after he pinned Wisconsin inside the 20 six times. His last punt made the Badgers have to drive 90 yards to tie the game. They gained six yards. 

Tom Herman

  • "He's probably the closest thing we have to a rah-rah guy." -Tom Herman on Philly Brown.
  • Brown didn’t take his work in the classroom or on the field too seriously last year, Herman said. He said he was only 75 percent in.
  • Herman said there were justifiable reasons for the offense slowing down with a 17-point fourth-quarter lead.
  • There was never a doubt Carlos Hyde’s carries were going to increase, Herman said. But he didn’t plan on Jordan Hall to only get one carry. Herman said it was his fault that Hall only received one carry. Said he fell back into some old habits as a play-caller.
  • "We failed him a little bit. It certainly wasn't by design." -Herman on Hall.
  • Miller’s big-time throw to end the first half never would have happened last season, Herman said, because Miller did not trust himself. "He worked his as...tail off to correct himself." Still, Miller didn’t grade out particularly well. Herman said there were too many mistakes.
  • Herman says Guiton is one of the most amazing human beings he's ever met. He proceeded to tell all employers to hire Guiton.
  • Herman said message boards exist for fans to discuss things that will never, ever be talked about by coaches in meeting rooms.

Kerry Coombs

  • Said he is encouraged by Cameron Johnston's progression. Coombs said it's tough to come into foreign environment and perform.
  • “He had a great game on Saturday, but I believe there are better days ahead for him. He can kick it a mile, but it’s not our philosophy. Hang time is critical, and he is getting much better at that.
  • “Obviously, we look through Ohio for all of our players first. But we had to find the best one we could. Urban said go find a punter. We had film coming in from everywhere. For some reason, punters from Australia have had success. This kid happened to already be 21 and also have played Australian Rules football. We brought him here and had to figure out if he could handle a rush.  But I really like the kid.  We put a great amount of pressure on these kids but he is hard to crack.  It was against the rules to watch him punt in person.
  • Coombs said Bradley Roby had 27 production points in Saturday's game before some points were taken away. “You have to understand the context of our defensive strategies. It’s not unrealistic to expect him to shut guys down. We put him on an island and accomplished what we needed to accomplish – stop the run.”

Comments Show All Comments

BlockO's picture

The best thing about going 5-0 is the chance to go 6-0....Go Bucks!!!!!

"faith seeking understanding” (fides quaerens intellectum)

SilverState's picture

"Meyer said the only way Ohio State was going to lose the game once it staked a 17-point fourth-quarter lead was turning the ball over, hence the conservative play-calling."

Explains a lot.

holtzy's picture

On one hand I understand this.  But on the other hand, if we keep the petal down there would not have been an onside kick to try and tie the game.

FitzBuck's picture

I will take a close win vs. Trying for style points 

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

holtzy's picture

I'm just talking about getting the win.  If Roby didn't tip that kick out of bounds...who knows.  It is probably just the pessimist in me.  Just by nature I can't relax unless we are up by 4 touchdowns.

joel121270's picture

I agree, not sure why the let up and thought Tressell was on the side lines. Keep hammering...was really disappointed about the second half. Glad they won but why go away from what you do well? Just sayn

Sgt. Elias's picture

"I agree with that assessment"

"Okay -- I've got an El Camino full of rampage here." 

Hovenaut's picture

Just as I scroll down when thinking I don't miss JT at the podium.....there he is.

Toilrt Paper's picture

I can't believe everyone didn't understand what Urban was doing as the game was coming to a conclusion or immediately after the game.

osupolo's picture

I think if Bert were still there instead of Anderson, Myer would have been less apt to taking foot off the pedal.

MassiveAttack's picture

Good to hear about the team's overall health.  Now Fickell and crew need to work on stopping the dink and dunk short passes that have been a problem since 2006.  Northwestern has an offense mostly based on those types of passes.

The Ohio State University - "Haters love us!"

Him1stftballl8er's picture

My heart and prayers go out to Christian Bryant and his family. I hope he has a perfect recovery, and is blessed for years to come hopefully playing football on Sundays. 
I think we'd all like to see Vonn Bell, and I'm sure we will in dime and penny. Big shoes to fill in Bryant though. 

The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the promotion of fools. 

One Bad Buckeye's picture

My wife and I are going to be in section 113 for this game.  We're pretty pumped to contribute to this version of a "Scarlet Out" road game! 
Go Buckeyes!

"I'm One Bad Buckeye, and I approve this message."

Wesleyburgess1's picture

I still don't care for the conservative play calling

Wesleyburgess1's picture

One of the things I like most about our staff is the aggressive nature and play calling. I just wish they would try to score as much as possible.

ejoceans's picture

I felt the same way. I don't think this would have been close at all if we kept the peddle to the medal on those guys!  The 3 runs and a punt put Wisky back into this game and made us look bad at the same time. All I hear is how OSU could barely hold on to win(not the case if you watched the game).  But still unnecessary close game!  Please put your foot on NW neck and don't let up this weekend or it might not turn out the same way. PLEASE!!! O  H

Lets do this Brutus

AC1972's picture

Pedal to the Metal.
C'mon guys - like your car accelerator being stomped down to the metal floor of the car...
Sorry if I have to go all Aaron Craft on some folks.

CALPOPPY's picture

I don't know, AC. Have you ever tried to sell something to an award you wear around your neck? It really does take relentless, all-out effort, to peddle to the medal.

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

fear_the_nut70's picture

You think that right up to the moment the QB fires an interception or two and/or gets stripped unexpectedly and the other teams uses that to beat you.  Frank knows how to win football games and we won--I refuse to let the national mantra of "OSU needs to kill everyone if they want to play for a MNC" to be used to bait us into losing a game because of unnecessary chances.

BuckeyeinExile's picture

I think most of us would have wished for some conservative runs a few years ago at Nebraska when Bauserman literally threw away the game there instead of us running out the clock and getting the win.

Toilrt Paper's picture

You forgot.......and be 100% sure of winning the game.

bigbill992001's picture

I understand the nature of playcalling when you're playing not to lose.   However, as distasteful as it is, style points are gonna be big for us.    If we're gonna have a shot at the NC, this may be the year.   Remember that we lose almost our entire O-line for next yr. and there will be no KG for backup QB.   And, we know that Brax will have to sit parts/all of some games.   No knock on Cardale, or whoever is backup next yr., but they are not gonna be KG.   I know that Urb knows these things also and seems to be unconcerned about it.   Maybe he's expecting that Ore and Clem are gonna lose somewhere along the road, but I wouldnt beat on it.   Should be and interesting B1G season.
On another subject, am I the only one that would have liked to have seen KG and JHall get a series or two?   Just to see what KG would have done against a good D.

BSTP DeCon's picture

I would've loved to have seen KG and Hall run a couple series together too. Personally, I feel like if we were to have KG in a couple series a game, he would at least get us another TD. I say this because of how he runs the option and just skill set opposite of Braxton. If teams are preparing for Miller and all of a sudden he gets yanked out and now a new skill set of an offense is coming in, they would undoubtedly be kept off guard. They couldn't possibly have enough practice time in the week to fully learn how to defend against both QBs...

osubuck57's picture

Never let your foot off the gas. Could come back to bite them one day.If your offense is in a flow, why slow it down?? Guess that's why I'm not a head football coach. They definitely need to get Hall more involved, if nothing else for a change of pace to the battering ram, that Hyde is.


Toilrt Paper's picture

Never let a pass turn into an intercepted and lose a game.
Never let important seconds not come off the game clock due to incomplete passes, that allows the opponent more plays at the end of a game.

CC's picture

Is there video of the presser?  Would love to hear Urban discussing the BGSU / NW game.

CC's picture

Cameron Johnston had not allowed a return yard until Saturday night. Still, Meyer said he was only a C-, in his opinion. That changed after he pinned Wisconsin inside the 20 six times. His last punt made the Badgers have to drive 90 yards to tie the game. They gained six yards.

Does this mean he was a C- after the game or before?  I thought he played really well, not sure I ever remember a punter kicking a team inside the 20, 6 times.

BuckeyeinExile's picture

I think they meant before, I don't see how he could grade bad for Saturday Night - guy is a stud!

nfischer's picture

I personally don't understand the C- unless that is simply Urb's psychological motivation at work.

jfunk's picture

Exactly! The guy had zero return yards before last night. And even then it was, what, six yards? Maybe not even that...What more can you ask from a guy? If Tress was still coach he'd probably be building statues of him in the locker room by now!

Scotch: It may be too early to drink it, yes; but people it is never to early to think about it.

GoBucksOSU's picture

Looking forward to seeing OSU play NW. On another note Wisconsin fans should be happy, OSU just saved them from losing a 4th straight Rose Bowl.

RedStorm45's picture

Philly Brown a champion?  Dude had a couple drops and one of the dumbest mistakes you will ever see fielding a punt.  I've been less than impressed with him as the PR.

lippertini's picture

Special teams is scored separately.  I agree that we should look at Hall or someone else back there.  

rkylet83's picture

I agree.  Philly has had way too many close calls fielding punts.  Hall has had a good track record at fielding punts if I recall correctly.

Toilrt Paper's picture

Guys who want to score more points being conservative by not wanting your best shot at a long punt return or TD.

BullCityBuckeye's picture

Agree 100%.  Perhaps because Wisconsin bailed him out (via illegal formation penalty?), that play didn't "count".  Still, that was a poor, poor decision on his part.

SPreston2001's picture

OMG I thought I was the only one who thought Philly has been pretty bad in the PR game!! I cringe everytime he fields a punt!! Not to mention he hasnt really lit it up in returns...

FormerBuck's picture

I think part of the conservative play calling was due to Urban's respect for Wisconsin's coach.  If it was still Bielema I think the pedal is all the way to the floor the entire game

BuckeyeinExile's picture

I agree completely, I think we could have scored more for sure if we wanted, or at least been more aggressive about our play calling to get us into position to score more. It will be interesting to see if we put the hammer down this week if we are given the opportunity to do so. I don't know of anyone that doesn't respect Fitzgerald, he may be the classiest coach in college football. Are we respectful to him for that or do we try to please the polls and really stick them given the chance?

nfischer's picture

I respectfully disagree. Either he thought the game plan was the right decision to win the game or not.  I would hope he wouldn't change his game plan for winning base on friendship. That (IMO) is a recipe for disaster.

SPreston2001's picture

I completely agree. Friendships mean nothing on the gridiron!!

Buckeye419er's picture

I know the secondary might seem "thin" with the loss of Bryant, however, I have this strange gut feeling that this is going to be one of those high pressure moments that forges a boy into a man. Look for Bryant's replacement to really step up and answer the call. 
On a side note, although I feel the agony of a majority of fans discontent in playing conservatively with the lead (see Tressel) , I completely understand the logic behind it. It was a big game. Not only was it a big game but it was a game that could have easily flip flopped had there been a turnover or two late in the game. Braxton looked great because they utilized him at the right times with the correct play calling, not because they gambled and won. 

There can be only one

kyletp2's picture

Yes and considering they almost backdoor covered on me!!! 

You are lame if you tweet!

fear_the_nut70's picture

Sure, you say this and get two up votes.  I say it, and get a down vote.  :-)

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Herman said message boards exist for fans to discuss things that will never, ever be talked about by coaches in meeting rooms.

So they never talked about why Hall only got 1 carry? lol

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Wilkins78's picture

Your logic is flawed.  Think Venn diagram.  :)

SeattleBuckeye's picture

Herman is right.  These comments represent such a colossal waste of time and energy.  Are they anything beyond verbal masturbation?  Self-loathing?  Sniping at the ether?  Ugh, I'm sick of it.  This is my last post.  Over and out.

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Could not locate the audio portion of your post to assess the extent of your "verbal" self satisfying.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

yrro's picture

I'd love to see a study on whether putting your foot down or playing Tresselball wins more games. I have a feeling I know the answer, and fans don't like it.
To me the Sugar Bowl was the perfect example. *Everything* went wrong for OSU in the second half, despite us trying to play relatively conservatively. Fumbles, injuries, amazing punting from their side, and a blocked punt on ours. And OSU still won, because it's nearly impossible to come back from that kind of deficit if the other team is killing the clock.
I am starting to think that playing with a lead is more stressful as a fan than losing, though. If you lose because you failed to come from behind... you kind of feel like you got outplayed. No matter what you do, if you blow a lead you feel like you choked.

cbusbuckeye's picture

We all saw how successful Tresselball was, sound fundamental football wins games, it's the same reason Urban makes a point to note that even as a spread team OSU is still power run focused(the formula to win is largely the same).
i think you're exactly right. And as much as I love high scoring games and lots of offense, I'll take the win any day!

OSUNEA1986's picture

Absolutely agree! Tresselball is about limiting risk. Aggressive offense is high risk football. Defense is low risk. As Woody said a long time ago: only 3 things happen when you pass and 2 of them are bad. The basic strategy of the game hasn't changed, the players and talent have. OSU vs Oregon was evidence that "all offense" doesn't win championships. Tressell sooo proved all the pundits wrong in that one game. It was my fear that the Urban Era was going to be SEC football: all offense, score high and hope that the other team simply can't score as much as you. The defense in the SEC (with the exception of the top tier) is horrible. Defense in the Big has been pretty consistently tough over the years. I find the SEC laughable as there is very limited defense. OSU fans may have to adapt to a similar "style": just score more and don't worry about how much the opponent scores.

SPreston2001's picture

And we also saw how Tressellball could fail miserably....

Toilrt Paper's picture

If Urban felt he couldn't beat Wisconsin my 30 something. It become, be 100% certain of winning the game, regardless of the score. 

Jrome82's picture

And, don't forget, a number of folks from Northwestern were at the game Sat night, so I'm sure we're not going to show all of our cards as to what we can do.


SPreston2001's picture

I highly doubt we would limit our play calling simply because we dont want to show our cards for next week. Wisconsin is a quality opponent and you use every wrinkle in your playbook to win. If we were playing FAMU I could see your logic but not against a team like Wisky...

Seattle Linga's picture

Just once and I mean JUST ONCE I really want to see Cameron Kick the living crap out of the ball. When the game is in hand and we are backed up in our own end zone I want to see that ball sail over the returners head while he's standing on mid-field. WHAT THE .................

Adambob's picture

Why can't  Bryant get a medical red shirt this year? Can someone explain? Gardener got a redshirt last year and played in every game.

brylee's picture

Herman said message boards exist for fans to discuss things that will never, ever be talked about by coaches in meeting rooms.


teddyballgame's picture

That game just became too close for comfort.  One touchdown away in the 4th.
Sometimes you have more confidence in your ability to maintain a lead than increase it.  To put the ball in the air that late would have been pretty risky...