Urban Meyer, Dabo Swinney and the other coaches set to lead their college football teams into the College Football Playoff—Alabama's Nick Saban and Washington's Chris Peterson—met with assembled media at a press conference on Thursday at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
The Home Depot College Football Awards Show is set to take place at the Hall of Fame a little later on Thursday evening but Ohio State's head coach sat alongside Swinney, Saban and Peterson to address his team's New Year's Eve Fiesta Bowl matchup with the Tigers, among other topics.
- After five questions—three to Saban—a reporter finally posed one to the three coaches that had been in the Playoff before on their previous experiences. Meyer reiterated his past thoughts on players' families getting their travel paid for: “I was very concerned about their parents being able to go visit the games but pleased to see that changed after the Sugar Bowl.
- “You start putting a conference championship, a [semifinal] playoff game and title game, you're talking about $15,000 for some. I'm glad to see that worked out,” he continued. “The way they did their business and retreated, was over the top. I was very skeptical when it started but am happy it worked out.”
- Asked about Texas head coach Tom Herman, Meyer called his former offensive coordinator "very smart" and a "great person": “He did a wonderful job ... I'm glad he went to Houston because of the great players there. He was looking at some other places and I kept discouraging him because you have to be able to recruit.”
- More Meyer on Herman: “I think he’s ready for the task and I know he’s always felt very strongly about Texas.”
- Meyer said he isn't shocked to see Clemson's continued success after losing to the Tigers in the Orange Bowl to end the 2013 season: "We had a hard time stopping them. Sammy Watkins and Tajh Boyd ... and great players on defense too. I'm not surprised at all.”
- Meyer said waiting on Sunday to learn if Ohio State was in or out was "hard" because his team didn't get to play in the conference title game: “I had a grandson born at 5:30 a.m., so I watched the show in the maternity ward. Then once I heard we were in, that was a day you put in the in the win column. That was a good day.”
- Meyer noted that Ohio State's and Clemson's offenses are similar: “The differences are obviously that athlete [quarterback Deshaun Watson]. Rarely you find a guy that's that big and fast and can throw. We'll have those conversations this weekend, how we'll play Deshaun and those three receivers as well.”
- A reporter asked all four coaches if summer camps have allowed the talent disparity between top college programs and mid-majors to close. Meyer: “I'd like to pass on that. I'm just worried about my own team and who we're going to play. I hate to be ignorant but I just haven't watched a lot of football to be able to say. I'm sorry, I'm not sure how to answer that question.”