B1G Teleconference: Is Ohio State Where Urban Meyer Thought It Would Be? 'I Think We're Fine'

By Tim Shoemaker on September 29, 2015 at 2:40 pm
Urban Meyer strolls the sidelines.

Things were a bit uneasy around Columbus following back-to-back sluggish performances in games against Hawai'i and Northern Illinois. With expectations at an all-time high, those kinds of things can happen when everything doesn't go perfect.

But Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer isn't alarmed with anything he's seen thus far, and Ohio State is simply trying to improve prior to Saturday's matchup at undefeated Indiana to open up Big Ten play.

“I’m just trying to go day-to-day, but I think we’re fine," Meyer said Tuesday on the Big Ten coaches weekly teleconference. "I think we’re preparing to play an undefeated team on the road and we’re trying to be better tomorrow than we were today and better today than we were yesterday. I think we’re doing that."

There are still improvements to be made, obviously, as Ohio State's run defense got off to a shaky start and quarterback Cardale Jones missed on several deep balls downfield that likely would have resulted in touchdowns had they been completed.

Meyer said all of those things are being addressed as the Buckeyes prep for the Hoosiers and last Saturday's 38-12 win over Western Michigan was a step in the right direction after those poor performances the two weeks prior.

“I think it was a good week," Meyer said. "I think it was a week that we prepared for basically what we saw and you’re getting to that point in the year where you’ll see minor wrinkles but not complete overhauls."

Ohio State takes on Indiana 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Additional Meyer notes: 

  • On those deep underthrows by Jones, Meyer said, “I don’t think anything is an easy fix. Certainly he has the capability and that was one of his strengths last year. That’s something we’re going to work really hard."
  • Meyer on senior defensive tackle Adolphus Washington's growth over his career: "He’s got a future in football and it’s not at defensive end, it’s as an inside guy. He knew that. He really loves this football team and at the time, that was his best opportunity to help our team.”
  • On versatile sophomore offensive weapon Jalin Marshall, Meyer said, "He’s starting to really grow through the immaturity that he experienced when he first got here so I like the trajectory he’s on right now and I’m very pleased with the way he’s working.”
  • Meyer has known Indiana coach Kevin Wilson for quite some time. "We’re friends and I admire him as a coach and I think he’s doing a great job,” Meyer said.
  • Meyer's philosophy on playing road games: "Of course it doesn’t compare to being at home, but there is something special about going on someone’s turf and playing well.”
  • Meyer on his recruiting philosophy: "We want people that have a complete, absolute distaste for losing. I’ll take a step slower, an inch shorter of someone that is so competitive whether it be in racquetball or ping pong or whatever.

The Big Ten went 12-2 in Week 4 as the only two schools to come away with losses were Purdue (35-28 vs. Bowling Green) and Maryland (45-6 vs. West Virginia). Twelve schools will open up Big Ten play Saturday. Penn State and Rutgers are the only two teams which have already played a league game.

In addition to Meyer, the league's other 13 coaches joined the Big Ten teleconference Tuesday for their weekly obligations. Check out some highlights of what each had to say below.

Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern): 

  • On the Big Ten West, Fitzgerald said, "I'd love to be able to give you a comment on that with some education behind it, but I haven't been able to pay much attention to everyone else. But I've seen everyone's record and it looks like it's wide open."
  • "Fun time of the year. Here we go."
  • Fitzgerald on what gives him confidence Northwestern will keep rolling after September: "The focus of this team is probably what gives me the most pleasure to work. They've been working hard to develop some strong relationships."
  • On the challenges of running the ball going forward, Fitzgerald said, "I think it's going to get harder in October, no question."

Jim Harbaugh (Michigan): 

  • On what's made Michigan's run defense stout thus far, Harbaugh said, "Players playing good. ... Individual play up front has been very good. Our defensive line has been playing outstanding."
  • Harbaugh said the secondary might be Michigan's most-improved unit.
  • On Michigan's matchup this weekend with Maryland: "They beat us at our stadium last year. Very explosive team, very good defensive system, well-coached."
  • Harbaugh said he "hasn't decided yet" if he likes NFL or NCAA policy of reporting injuries better.
  • On the depth of the Big Ten, Harbaugh said, "I've seen some of the other teams and seen how well they're doing."

Paul Chryst (Wisconsin): 

  • Chryst on what quarterback Joel Stave has learned throughout his up-and-down career: "I think we all learn and grow from our experiences and Joel's experienced it all, I think. Who he is, his family, his character has helped him through it."
  • On the matchup with Iowa this weekend, Chryst said, "I think they're playing really well. I think they have a great balance to their offense and I think they can hurt you, beat you running the ball as well as throwing the ball."
  • Chryst said he hasn't spent a lot of time analyzing the landscape of the Big Ten West yet.

Mike Riley (Nebraska): 

  • Riley on the traveling fans Nebraska has: "I think that's kind of the Nebraska way. Our players are very appreciative of it."
  • On the depth of the Big Ten, Riley said, "It appears to be that the whole ship is rising."

Mark Dantonio (Michigan State): 

  • Dantonio on challenges of giving multiple guys offensive touches: "I think we've developed a culture here where we do have good chemistry. We're going to try and give people the ball as their play on the practice field warrants. ... It's a good problem, I can tell you that."
  • "Every team in the Big Ten conference has players who can make plays."
  • Dantonio on how success has impacted recruiting: "I think among the places on the Midwest, this is one of the places you're going to visit."
  • On the Big Ten as a whole: "Lot of depth in this conference. There's outstanding coaching, everybody's got players. Anybody can win at any given time."

Kirk Ferentz (Iowa): 

  • On similarities between Iowa and Wisconsin over the years: "We both play a similar style of football. It's not exactly alike, but there are some similarities."
  • On the Big Ten West, Ferentz said, "There's a handful of teams out there that we all know are very good. After that,  you just never know what's going to happen."

Jerry Kill (Minnesota): 

  • Kill said Minnesota has been "decimated by injuries, but our kids have hung in there."
  • Kill on freshman running back Shannon Brooks: "He played an outstanding game, he’s a very physical runner, great balance; great vision; he’s a great spark."

Norries Wilson (Rutgers): 

  • Rutgers is on a bye week, and Wilson said it's huge for recruiting. "I'm out on the road right now pulled over so I can't go into the school I'm about to head into."
  • On the Rutgers passing attack, Wilson said, "The offensive line, we rebounded from the five-sack performance we had at Penn State. They gave the quarterback some time to make some throws."
  • Wilson says he addresses off-field issues with recruits should they come up. "I just answer any questions that they may have about what's going on and I just answer them honestly."

Bill Cubit (Illinois): 

  • On quarterback Wes Lunt, Cubit said, "I think we're protecting him a lot better because last year he was really getting hit a lot. ... That gets a little old and frustrating, so I think you see a much more confident quarterback."

Randy Edsall (Maryland): 

  • Edsall: "I've been very impressed watching Michigan on film this week. They're playing very, very well in all three phases."
  • On a report by the Baltimore Sun saying Maryland had a player's only meeting Tuesday morning: "That's news to me. I don't think we had a player's only meeting at all."
  • Edsall said he will be sticking with Caleb Rowe as his starting quarterback Saturday.

Darrell Hazell (Purdue): 

  • Hazell on Michigan State: "There's a reason why they're No. 2 in the country and it's because they're so well-coached and they've got good players."

James Franklin (Penn State): 

  • Franklin noted Penn State has played 18 freshmen so far. "We're starting to build some of the depth that we need to to compete at the level that we want to compete at."
  • Franklin said Penn State will be honoring service members Saturday when it hosts Army. "Over 10,000 fans and alumni have donated tickets to service members."

Kevin Wilson (Indiana): 

  • Wilson on this weekend's matchup with Ohio State: "A tremendous team. A great challenge for our guys on Saturday."
  • Wilson on keeping team balanced after 4-0 start: "If we don't have a good performance this week, it won't be because we're getting ahead of ourselves. We're very blessed to be 4-0, but we've got a lot of improvement to make."
  • Wilson on Ohio State's Jalin Marshall: "Very talented, well-rounded, all-around player. Dynamic guy. The problem is there's a bunch of guys like that."
  • Wilson: "Coach Meyer and his coaches are awesome. Their team is talented."
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