Before Ohio State plays Illinois this weekend, head coach Urban Meyer met with reporters Wednesday after practice. Here’s what he had to say:
- Meyer said J.T. Barrett, who suffered an MCL sprain against Penn State last weekend, is healing nicely: “He went — I wouldn’t say quite full — but he’ll be full tomorrow. He did good, real good.” Barrett is expected to play against Illinois Saturday.
- Last season, Braxton Miller suffered a similar injury to his MCL and missed two games because of it: “Everyone’s built differently, I guess,” Meyer said. “Once again, I’m not a doctor.”
- Meyer said he caught last night’s unveiling of the first set of College Football Playoff rankings: “I did, just real briefly.”
- Meyer said he addressed the matter with his team: “Not so much the playoff, but the ultimate objective is to be competing for championships in November and when you look on the calendar, that’s really close to now. We had a little extra motivation for Wednesday practice in late October. I just talked about those kind of things … There’s a lot of football left.”
- After senior running back Rod Smith was ousted, Meyer said no other players are facing disciplinary action. “No.”
- Meyer said freshman Curtis Samuel is the backup running back behind sophomore Ezekiel Elliott. Redshirt sophomore Warren Ball is listed at third string. Bri'onte Dunn still "isn't ready yet" after suffering an upper leg injury two weeks ago, Meyer said.
- Meyer on former assistant and head coach of No. 1 Mississippi State Dan Mullen: “I’m just really fired up for him. He’s a very good coach and took over a program — I remember when we just won the SEC Championship Game and he asked if he could go interview at Mississippi State, I said, ‘Dan: You’re from New Hampshire.’ And he looked at me and I said, ‘Do what you gotta do.’ I’ve known him forever. He was a GA for me at Notre Dame back whenever. I’m real proud. He’s a heck of a coach.”
- Meyer said he's been talking to Barrett about making "proper reads and playing with authority" after a shaky effort passing the ball against Penn State last weekend. "He didn't play great. He played with a lot of heart, he didn't play with a lot of smarts are something. But that happens, you don't want to take credit away from a good team we played ... but he's just got to play smarter. I guess he made a few freshman mistakes." Barrett completed 12-of-19 for 74 yards and two interceptions against the Nittany Lions, but rushed for 75 yards and two touchdowns.
- With a bout against Michigan State looming in two weekends, Meyer said he has little concern over Ohio State overlooking the 4-4 Fighting Illini. In the past, though, Meyer's had to use tactics when put in a similar situation: "It depends on who you're playing, that's a great question. If they're a really bad team or, you know, on videotape they're awful you've got to be creative and I've done that where we didn't even show film, you just kind of chew them out or something like that and coach them a little harder ... the issue is not talent with Illinois. They have talent and you can see them on videotape."