Urban Meyer, Brian Kelly Bracing Ohio State, Notre Dame for Fiesta Bowl; Coaches Seek an Edge in Final Hours

By Eric Seger on December 31, 2015 at 10:46 am

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Friday marks the final game of Ohio State's 2015 season, an odd 11 a.m. local kickoff against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Urban Meyer and Brian Kelly met with a roomful of reporters one final time before their teams do battle on the gridiron New Year's Day.


  • Kelly opened the press conference with a lighthearted joke about Fiesta Bowl sponsor, Battlefrog. A day earlier, Kelly mistakenly called the game the "Bullfrog Fiesta Bowl." He then said what all are thinking: "I think its that time where Urban would agree, it's time to play some football."
  • Meyer began speaking in a similar light, first joking with the media and thanking it for "coming to yet another press conference. Meyer then said he and Ohio State are eager to "put on a good show for the country to watch" Friday.
  • Asked about what fifth-year senior H-back and former quarterback Braxton Miller has meant to him and the program, Meyer diverted and instead spoke of the seniors as whole. He again noted of the class's chance to win its 50th game in their careers Friday: "They mean a lot to us."
  • Further on Miller, Meyer was candid: "Personally, his journey is a unique journey. He's done so much on the field, but the one thing I always admire is he's a guy that did it the right way. Lot of respect for Braxton."
  • Of the impressive amount of NFL talent set to suit up in the Fiesta Bowl — for both teams — Kelly noted how the "most important thing" is how both programs have developed players into NFL-caliber talent over the years.
  • Kelly on the resiliency of not only his team but also Ohio State: "The biggest thing about playing Ohio State, when you a play a team that's won so much you don't notice the resolve. You're gonna play they kind of team tomorrow, and that's the biggest challenge. We think we have some of that, too — and we are going to need it. It's not just about skill, size and speed."
  • Asked about the thought process behind suspending defensive tackle Adolphus Washington for the Fiesta Bowl but not star running back Ezekiel Elliott for separate run-ins with the law, Meyer was brief: "One was a traffic citation, one was more serious. I'm not going to get into more than that. Completely different situations."
  • After a reporter broached the topic of coaching in the NFL, both coaches stared for a few moments, not wanting to take the first shot at answering. Finally, Kelly did: "The NFL isn't tempting at all, we are so focused on what we do on a day-to-day basis. We are coaching and teaching 18-, 19- and 20-year old college kids. That takes up a lot of our time and effort."
  • Meyer followed: "I could quote Coach Kelly with the same thing. I've never really spent much time thinking about it. Move on."
  • Meyer confirmed three Buckeyes have filed their paperwork to enter the 2016 NFL Draft: Joey Bosa, Cardale Jones and Elliott.
  • Meyer: "It's a very good senior class. I know the pressures that are out there have been tough on them, tough on us. A lot of decisions haven't been made (regarding early entrants). We all agreed to be pros and represent Ohio State in the bowl game first."
  • Meyer said starting tight end Nick Vannett and starting corner back Gareon Conley have colds, but should be fine for the Fiesta Bowl. Neither attended media day and each missed a day of practice this week.
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