With the steamy Columbus air sitting outside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center Sunday, Urban Meyer met with a room brimming with both national and local reporters to provide updates on the 2015 version of the Ohio State Buckeyes at his team's annual media day.
The Buckeyes finished their first two-a-day practice one day earlier, getting a break from the drudgery that is fall camp.
- Meyer opens by saying, "We've got a lot of work to do."
- Dontre Wilson had an aggravation of his broken foot this week, Meyer said. Marshon Lattimore is also dealing with another pulled hamstring: "We hope to get them both back next week."
- Meyer is disappointed the team is not practicing at Ackerman Road fields due to construction: "Those were my favorite fields over there." The team is still working out at Coffey Road Park instead.
- "It's not survival mode yet, but by the time you hit Tuesday, Wednesday it's full survival mode." — Urban Meyer
- Meyer said Torrance Gibson approached him saying "I want to play" and the coach gave him options, among them including playing wide receiver. "He's a team first guy, which I really appreciate. Has he moved to receiver? No." Also added that wildcat, punt return and kick return are options.
- Meyer said "all he's thinking about" is sticking to the plan of getting the team better while staying healthy despite pushing the players to their limits.
- On Duke transfer kicker Jack Willoughby, Meyer said right now he is the kickoff specialist.
- Asked about Braxton Miller's switch to wide receiver, Meyer brought up how the former quarterback's gone through "some muscle tightness" because of how much he's had to run during practice: "Wide receivers tape their ankles and then they run for two hours." He said Miller is fine, though.
- As far as protection for Miller's body and shoulder, Meyer said this coming week "is a big week for him." He said they wanted to run a double pass the other day in practice, but are remaining cautious.
- Meyer said Ed Warinner has been "very good" in his transition to offensive coordinator, but the importance for him to stick to his guns and keep the offensive linemen ready to go: "That has to be the best coached unit on the team."
- Meyer said he's going to meet Sunday afternoon with Tim Beck to review the quarterback analytics between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones from the first week of fall camp: "They're both working their tails off and it's one of the most refreshing competitions I've ever witnessed."
- Meyer said again that the starting cornerbacks are Gareon Conley and Eli Apple. For Virginia Tech, either Jalyn Holmes or Sam Hubbard are the frontrunners to start at defensive end opposite of Tyquan Lewis.
- There is "zero conversation" about defending the national title, Meyer said.
- In recruiting, Meyer said he purposely wanted someone young on staff like Zach Smith who can relate to the pop culture and things going on in the news that high schoolers are interested in.
- Meyer said one of the oddest memories he has from a situation with a younger guy in recruiting like Smith is when Jalyn Holmes was on FaceTime with Smith's kids: "I'm like, what are you doing?"
- Meyer said the No. 1 thing this coming week is keeping the team healthy. The second most important thing is keeping the tight-knit comfort with the players battling through the grind of practice: "This is a tough week. Tough week."
- On Jones and Barrett, Meyer called the situation "very unique" because of the way they care for each other even though they're pushing each other: "This is genuine. This is unique."
- Meyer said he did not really explore other teams who have tried to repeat as national champions. He said one person he does talk to often, though, is Lou Holtz: "We just want to be nine units strong."
- On all the pressure of trying to win again after getting to the top of the sport, Meyer said there hasn't been much conversation about dealing with it.
- Barrett went to an arm strengthening specialist a few years ago, Meyer said. "His arm strength is no issue."
- On the suspended players, Meyer said "every case is different" with how they respond but it's the staff's job to stay on them.
- Meyer said he spoke to Chic Harley and Archie Griffin about the potential of Justin Hilliard wearing No. 47, which is a retired number at Ohio State. He said Hilliard's mindset and responsible nature was there from the get go.
- "It's a friggin' grind, right now. At this point in time, there's not much balance, no," Meyer said with a smile when prompted with how he's dealing with coming back after winning a national title. "It is what it is. We're not playing Muirfield right now, I'll tell you that much."