Presser Bullets: What You Need to Know From Urban Meyer's Navy Press Conference

By Patrick Maks on August 25, 2014 at 2:04p

In five days, Ohio State will plunge into its 2014 campaign with a band of new faces and without star quarterback Braxton Miller, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury last week.

Rather than a crushing blow to its Big Ten and national championship aspirations, the No. 5 Buckeyes insist his absence has become a rallying point. Head coach Urban Meyer met with the media Monday. Here’s what you need to know.

1. Ohio State likes to talk about its team-wide depth, but has yet to name starters at a bevy of positions including left guard, center and cornerback. And on an offense that’ll charge forward without the talent and experience of Miller, the back-to-back Big Ten Player of the Year, that might be additional cause for concern. Meyer said it’s not.

“If they're bad players, you've got a problem,” he said. “If they're good players then they're just battling, battling, battling because they both can play and that's kind of normal this kind of year.”

Billy Price, Joel Hale, Antonio Underwood find themselves in a scrum for left guard while Jacoby Boren and Alabama transfer Chad Lindsay tussle at center. “It's not because of ability,” Meyer said, “it's just we haven't found a guy that's separated himself.”

The second cornerback position across the field from senior Doran Grant is between Eli Apple and Gareon Conley. “They haven't separated themselves either,” Meyer said. “They'll both play.”

Ezekiel Ellliot, who Meyer said is fully healthy after wrist surgery during fall camp, will take reps at running back along with Rod Smith, Bri'onte Dunn and Curtis Samuel. Warren Ball has missed practice with a concussion. At wide receiver, Meyer said the group "six-deep" in who will see playing time (notably, Devin Smith, Evan Spencer, Jalin Marshall, Michael Thomas and Corey Smith). 

2. J.T. Barrett is Ohio State’s top choice to replace Braxton Miller, but don’t overestimate the gap between him and Cardale Jones.

“It's pretty close, it was thrust upon us rather quickly,” Meyer said. “In my heart, I thought Braxton would be ready to go -- I didn't envision this. And so I thought, man, this is going to be a really close battle for the backup spot … J.T. is the starting quarterback, but there’s not big separation. ” It’s why Meyer won’t rule out using Jones – a 6--foot-5, 250-pounder with a cannon for an arm – as a complement to Barrett.

3. Speaking of Miller, Meyer confirmed the senior will have shoulder surgery Tuesday and renowned sports surgeon Dr. James Andrews will perform the procedure. Meyer added Miller will not travel with the team to Baltimore.

4. Meyer’s favorite word to describe Barrett? “Guiton-ish.” But to be sure, we don’t really have an idea of what Ohio State’s getting with Barrett until Saturday.

“We all know what's coming down the barrel,” Meyer said, “but he's handled (the pressure) very well.”  Added Meyer: “He’s a calm guy that had a very good practice today. (He’s) very business-like about his approach. He's not somebody I have to watch to see the demeanor because it's the same as it was two weeks ago.

5. Jeff Heuerman is less than 100 percent after foot surgery sidelined him for part of spring ball. Meyer expects the senior tight end and captain to be ready to go against the Midshipmen. “It's just volume (of reps), that's what we're dealing with right now.”


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Hovenaut's picture

Appreciate the follow-up to UFM's presser - brings clarity to some of the remaining questions heading into Baltimore.

Even with the loss of the most important player on the team, I still get the vibe this team is ready to go.

+5 HS
camodog's picture

4 days 20 hrs 47 min 23 sec but who is counting?

+9 HS
brglr14's picture

everyone of us!

I dont know karate but i do know crazy and i'm not afraid to use it.


+3 HS
BeijingBucks's picture

and  itchyagain still sucks!

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

+1 HS
mtgerken's picture

Friday night is going to be like Christmas, I doubt I will be able to get much sleep. 

"Because I couldn't go for three!"


BucksfanXC's picture

Won't be surprised to see lots of Cardale. In a situation like this, starter isn't necessarially the end all be all.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

+3 HS
TUNBUCK89's picture

Let's go win a football game !!!

osu07asu10's picture

Feels like one of those seasons where the pieces will either come together, or it could be a long bumpy road.

It might not seem like it, but I think the defense IS and was always going to need to be the strength of this team. With the inexperience all over the offense,,,we'll need the defense to provide short fields and plenty of opportunities a long the way.

I feel good about the season!

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

+2 HS
biggy84's picture

I'm really hoping Warren Ball gets some playing time this year. Love the fact that he never wavered on his commitment when the sky was falling. Go Bucks!!

+8 HS
N3t's picture

would be very surprised to see much of Cardale.  too slow and lumbering to run Meyer's offense.  JT will have to really not show up to lose meaningful snaps

-1 HS
Mean Mr Mustard's picture

I could see Cardale in the offense, if they want to run more of an inverted veer base.

+3 HS
GVerrilli92's picture

Cardale could very easily run the offense successfully. It would just be exactly that, all running.

It's a matter of preference really, JT gives us the best chance to quickly get the ball into playmakers' hands while Cardale would essentially be a FB in the triple option. Both offenses would work. We just have to choose one and go with it IMO

I got a gray kitty, white kitty, tabby too, and a little orange guy who puts snakes in my shoes. Got mad MC skills, that leave ya struck, and I roll with my kitties and I'm hard as f*ck.

+2 HS
904buckeye's picture

Ever heard of a guy named Tim Tebow!?


+4 HS
fear_the_nut70's picture

Never heard of 'em.

+1 HS
gumtape's picture

Slow enough to average 7 ypc last year?

High and tight boo boo

BGSUBucksFan's picture

The second cornerback position across the field from senior Doran Grant is between Eli Apple and Gareon Conley. 

Interesting that Reeves isn't mentioned.  He really frustrated me at times, even in the spring game, so this doesn't surprise me if true. 

+1 HS
Toolface4's picture

Thinks he's at nickel, no?

+1 HS
BGSUBucksFan's picture

Ah, I think you're right.  I vaguely remember seeing that in a past article.  Thanks for clarification.

kiester's picture

But, the 'new' defense will rarely use the nickel... so, its likely he wont see much playing time this year. 

+1 HS
Toolface4's picture

No mike Thomas mentioned at wr, figure him and Greene or Clark are the other two?

Toolface4's picture

Or Dixon? Very interested to see how WR playing time unfolds. We all know Spencer is a great blocker, but he lacks the explosiveness...

-1 HS
kiester's picture

Evan Spencer, Devin Smith, Mike Thomas, Corey Smith, Jalin Marshall, and Dontre Wilson are the six WRs that Urbz mentions by name in the presser.  

+2 HS
GVerrilli92's picture

And this is exactly what we'll see. All you Clark/Greene/Campbell/McLaurin enthusiasts are just gonna have to wait another year.

Dixon will show flashes, but I highly doubt he has more than 20 catches.

I got a gray kitty, white kitty, tabby too, and a little orange guy who puts snakes in my shoes. Got mad MC skills, that leave ya struck, and I roll with my kitties and I'm hard as f*ck.

904buckeye's picture

Never underestimate the importance of his experience and blocking! Blocking is a vital role for great receivers.


MN Buckeye's picture

Just ask Carlos!

Toolface4's picture

Not underestimating it, but without the legs of braxton and Hyde I think the playbook will be more wide open and require a different skill set then it did last year, not meant to be a dig on Spencer...

+1 HS
TheBadOwl's picture

I figure that the six guys at receiver are Devin Smith, Corey Smith, Evan Spencer, Jalin Marshall, Mike Thomas and Johnny Dixon. But James Clark should see some reps if he's fully recovered from last year's injury.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

ibuck's picture

Some youngsters might be lagging because they haven't learned the routes or aren't blocking well enough, or aren't hanging on to the ball when hit. This won't move them ahead of the other receivers.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

TheShookster's picture

If you listen to the presser I believe Mike Thomas is mentioned...and so is Jalin Marshall...but no Dixon

He ain't even stretch doe!!

HotSauceCommittee's picture

Random observation about Urban - dude's hair is always the same length in every picture.

+1 HS
OSUBias's picture

They do have a barbershop on site in the locker room. Probably gets his wig busted weekly. 

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

+1 HS
German Buckeye's picture

As do I - high and tight weekly.  Hooah!

+1 HS
chirobuck's picture

The receiver battle has me the most intrigued.....I'm really curious about Jalin Marshall such an athlete yet we haven't got to see anything at all from him due to injuries but he must be looking good in practice or he wouldn't be in the rotation......sigh......can it be Saturday please


^ best post ever ^

dubjayfootball90's picture

I was thinking "What about Cardale?" It seems like he was forgotten once Meyer said J.T. was the presumed 2nd stringer, even though the gap was pretty close. Just seemed like everyone discounted Cardale. I think we will be seeing more of Jones than we think. Not saying Barrett is going to flounder; I actually think he will do very well and I am hoping for him to rock sh*t out, but I can't see Cardale bowing out this early.

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

Nutinpa's picture

Agree.  Can you imagine a "smallish" Safety trying to take on Jones with Cardale coming at him with a full head of steam?  I can't....unless Jones is afraid of taking a hit ....and he doesn't seem that way.

+1 HS
whiskeyjuice's picture

I hope work makes this week fly by...........Can't wait to see this new hungry edition of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes!!

"Championships are not won on Saturdays in November. Championships are won on Tuesdays in August." -- Kerry Combs