Urban Meyer Call-In Show: Virginia Tech

By DJ Byrnes on September 4, 2014 at 1:01p
Urban Meyer dishes knowledge at OSU's media day [Walt Keys, ElevenWarriors.com]

Ohio State is 1-0 after beating Navy last week, and as Urban always says, "The best part of being 1-0 is the chance to go 2-0."

Virginia Tech are on tap for a night banger at Ohio Stadium, and Urban Meyer took to 97.1's airwaves to talk Ohio State football, the win over Navy, and the challenge of the Hokies.

  • Urban says practice this week has been "good." 
  • "The good thing is [Ohio State's previously-inexperienced players] are all veterans now."
  • Urban said he was glad the Navy game "went that way. ... We had a chance to be challenged in the second half. ... Overall, it was a very good win for Ohio State."

A player from Ohio State's win that isn't talked about much, however, is freshman Sean Nuerenberger. 

  • "He's one of the most talented kickers I've been around."
  • Urban admits they almost punted, but brought Neuerenberger on to hit the first 47-yard field goal.

Jack in Austintown: Thoughts on the Notre Dame series?

  • Urban says he's experienced the rivalry on both sides.
  • "Two of the most tradition-laden programs in the country."
  • "Rabid fanbases on both sides."

The topic then turned to J.T. Barrett:

  • "It started out precarious... when the offensive line struggled." 
  • "I thought [JT] did well. He's a veteran quarterback now. .... I thought he handled himself well."
  • "I think in the second half he completed every pass he threw, including that 80-yarder."
  • "His demeanor is his strength."

On Jacoby Boren:

  • "Jacoby Boren is undersized," but he took every snap at center.
  • "The Boren family is tough and hard-nosed."

Urban then lists Ezekiel Elliott, Curtis Samuel, Rod Smith, Dontre Wilson and Jalin Marshall as guys that "have to touch the ball out of the backfield."

On Devin Smith:

  • Devin Smith has "true speed." His issue comes from "bump-and-run" coverage, but "he's getting better." 
  • "Consistency has been his career issue."
  • Devin Smith's average touchdown catch is 40 yards, which "has to be an NCAA record of some sort."

Urban then warns Virginia Tech brings a lot of bump-and-run coverage, so OSU will have to make "plenty of plays down the field."

On Virginia Tech's offense:

  • Virginia Tech "struggled" last year on offense. But, "they're a lot better this year."
  • "Their skill level is very good. Their quarterback is much improved."
  • Anticipating a 50/50 run/pass ratio.
  • Virginia Tech's offense features influences from the West Coast and the spread.

On Virginia Tech's defense:

  • Bud Foster runs "a unique style of defense," but it has "evolved in the last two years." Says Virginia Tech runs about 70-75% "man-free" which will be a challenge for Ohio State.
  • The linebackers will hug closer to the offensive line, allowing them to instantly penetrate whenever the opposing offensive line double-teams somebody. Urban says "this will be a challenge, but also an opportunity."

Mike from Toledo: "What makes Ohio State's home opener different from places you've coached in the past?"

  • The history of the stadium, the personal part of growing up in Ohio and the band are all factors Urban cites.
  • "I'm a big fan of the pageantry." 
  • "We have the No. 1 student body. 29,000 students will be there."

After reminiscing about Ohio State fans' performance in showing up at Cal last year, Urban says Ohio State didn't "practice noise" in preparation for the Navy game because "Buckeye Nation would be there." He was right.

Armando in Columbus: "Virginia Tech's Bud Foster compared your offense to Georgia Tech philosophically. ... Do you and coach Herman have any idea of what you'll be able to hang your hat on?"

  •  The offense is a "work in progress."
  • At the end of the year, "we want to be a 500-yard offense [a game] offense."
  • "Our skill level is better."
  • "A lot of [what the offense does] is dictated by what the defense does... but we'd like to be a bit more balanced than last year."

Jeff Heuerman is "still limited." He'll play, but Ohio State is hoping to have him back at full strength by Big Ten season. 

  • "We have a tight end dilemma right now."

Sasha from South Salem: "When might we expect to see 'the Shelley [Meyer] shovel pass in a game?'"

  • "I'm going to down there to have a talk about that," Urban says.
  • Ends with laughing and, "Go take care of your kids, Mrs. Meyer."

On Navy:

  • Urban says Mickey Marotti gave a "very intense" half-time talk against Navy.
  • Urban cites the fumble recovery and the defense's stand after Ohio State's 4th down failure as two turning points in the game.
  • "I know our defense gave up a lot of yards, but there's no question which side of the ball won that game."

On the safeties:

  • "We're three-deep at safety right now."
  • "Vonn Bell is going to get the start."
  • "Tyvis Powell graded out as a 'champion' this week."
  • Erick Smith will eventually be worked into the safety rotation.

On Adolphus Washigton:

  • "He's playing at a much higher level."
  • "His effort level hasn't always been there, and that's not because he's a bad guy. Larry Johnson Sr. has done a very good job with that."

On the linebackers:

  • "The guy that has to get into the game is Raekwon McMillan. He's earned that right. Last week's game just wasn't good for him."
  • "It will go to a more traditional [rotation] now."

On special teams.

  • "It was great."
  • "Punt coverage was outstanding." Punt return was "okay."

On renovated Ohio Stadium:

  • "I have not seen the final verdict."
  • "I remember looking at it during media days and thinking, 'I'm glad I'm not in charge of this.'"
  • "What a great way to open a renovated stadium... under the lights."
  • Says recruits will be able to take in the whole "experience."
  • Admits the weekend with recruits "will be big."

Urban admits sometimes he sits in his room at the Blackwell Hotel and watches the fans stream by. 

  • Chris Ash "did an excellent job" working with Luke Fickell. 
  • Ohio State had "very few 'first game penalties.' That's a good sign."

Practice notes and injuries:

  • Evan Lisle has a PCL injury and will be out six to seven weeks.
  • Marcelys Jones had a big scare in practice. His knee-brace snapped, and Jones feared he "lost his knee." But it turned out to just be a bone bruise.
  • Stephen Collier is the scout team quarterback.

On Ohio High School Football Championships coming to Ohio Stadium:

  • "I love it," but says he also likes going up to Massillon to watch title games as well. But having it in the Horseshoe is "good for us and good for the state of Ohio."

On Saturday's ceremony honoring the 40th anniversary of Archie Griffin's first Heisman:

  • "I wore Archie Griffin's number in high school because I was such a big fan."
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