Urban Meyer on B1G Teleconference: “We Have to be More Creative on Offense”

By James Grega on September 12, 2017 at 1:59 pm
Urban Meyer

Following Ohio State's loss to Oklahoma, Urban Meyer faced plenty of questions concerning his offense during Tuesday's Big Ten coaches teleconference. 

When asked about J.T. Barrett and his ability to push the ball downfield more often, Meyer said he would not discuss his conversations between head coach and quarterback. 

"There are areas of offense that we all have to get better at," Meyer said. "We have conversations, but I won't share those things. But I think as an offense, we have to be more creative and take more chances, but you have to be educated about it."

What follows are the remaining takeaways from Meyer's weekly appearance on the teleconference.

Additional Meyer notes:

  • Meyer said Army's 3-4 defense and triple-option offense are "very hard to prepare for." 
  • "We are playing hard, but maybe not playing smart," Meyer said about Ohio State's defensive play. 
  • Meyer said he has confidence in J.T. Barrett's leadership. "Without question I do," he added. 
  • Meyer said he has taken a high percentage of his coaching philosophies from the United State's military. Ohio State's "Power of the Unit" ideology is derived from the U.S. military. 
  • "There is always going to be an element of it," Meyer said of Ohio State's zone read option game. Added the Buckeyes have to get better in that area. 

The Big Ten put together a solid opening week, with Michigan routing Florida and Maryland defeating Texas, but the second week did not go as well. 

After showing promise in a 30-14 loss to nationally ranked Washington, Rutgers fell to Eastern Michigan at home, and Northwestern was rocked by Duke on the road. 

Heading into Week 3, running the football was the theme on the Big Ten coaches teleconference. Both Ohio State and Michigan are preparing for triple-option attacks against Army and Air Force, while Michigan State's quarterback Brian Lewerke is the Spartans leading rusher. 

Just three Big Ten teams are preparing for road games in Week 3 as Wisconsin is set to travel to BYU, Illinois is set to travel to South Florida and Purdue is scheduled to travel to Missouri. What follows are the main takeaways from the other 13 coaches on the teleconference. 

Chris Ash (Rutgers)

  • Ash started by saying Jerry Kill is healthy enough to coach. "No concerns at all," after Kill suffered a another health scare on Saturday against Eastern Michigan. Kill is back at work according to Ash.
  • Ash said he is concerned about his depth at defensive line. "We are banged up a little bit up front," Ash said. He added tight end Myles Nash will continue to play both ways for Rutgers. 

Jim Harbaugh (Michigan)

  • Harbaugh said he believes his defense has the ability to have a special season. 
  • After studying film, Harbaugh said he is impressed with upcoming opponent, Air Force. He said putting together a game plan for the Falcons is his only focus right now. 
  • Harbaugh said he has been pleased with the improvement of his wide receivers, particularly generating big plays. 

Paul Chyst (Wisconsin)

  • Chryst said the recruitment of running back Jonathon Taylor was an important signing for them. As a freshman, Taylor leads the Big Ten in rushing with 310 yards on just 35 carries. "The moment hasn't seemed too big for him," Chryst said. 
  • Chryst said the families of his players from Florida are all safe. The Badgers have eight players on its roster from Florida, which has been hit hard by Hurricane Irma. 

Mike Riley (Nebraska)

  • Riley said he didn't see the productivity in his offense against Oregon. The Huskers ran for 109 yards and threw for 252 in a 42-35 loss, but quarterback Tanner Lee threw four interceptions. 
  • Riley said he has been pleased with the individual blocking from his offensive line. Said his front five is improved from last season. 

Mark Dantonio (Michigan State)

  • Dantonio said the Spartans are diving into preparation for its matchup against Notre Dame during its bye week. Michigan State is set to take on the Fighting Irish on Sept. 23. 
  • Dantonio said he has been pleased with the progress of Lewerke. Added he would like to see better ball security from his signal caller. Lewerke has just one interception this season.
  • Despite Lewerke leading the team in rushing, Dantonio said he is content with the distribution of carries between his running backs. 

Kirk Ferentz (Iowa)

  • Ferentz said his defense did not play as well from Week 1 to Week 2, but added the challenge was tougher in the second game. Iowa allowed just three points to Wyoming in the season opener, but gave up 41 points to Iowa State in Week 2. 
  • Ferentz said the Hawkeyes were "fortunate to win," against Iowa State after turning the ball over four times. 

P.J. Fleck (Minnesota)

  • Fleck was not asked a question on this weeks teleconference. The Golden Gophers are set to host Middle Tennessee on Saturday at 3:30 in Minneapolis. 

Lovie Smith (Illinois)

  • Smith said his players from the state of Florida have been able to contact their families and everyone is safe. 
  • Smith said despite South Florida having played just two games with a new coaching staff, Illinois has enough tape to go off of and what to prepare for. 
  • Smith brushed off a question about returning to Tampa for a game. "This is a business trip," Smith said. He was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two seasons from 2014-15. 

DJ Durkin (Maryland)

  • Durkin said preparation for UCF has not changed despite the Knights having not played last weekend due to Hurricane Irma. The Terps are off this week before hosting UCF on Sept. 23. 
  • Durkin is pleased with the way his running backs have played and how it has taken the pressure off of freshman quarterback Kasim Hill. The Terps rushed for 367 yards against Towson in a Week 2, 63-17 victory. 

Jeff Brohm (Purdue)

  • Brohm said he had a long talk with quarterback David Blough after a Week 1 loss to Louisville. Said Blough looked much more comfortable in Week 2 against Ohio, where he completed 11-of-13 passes for 235 yards and three scores. 
  • Purdue is 9-for-9 in the red zone so far this season, and Brohm said he attributes the Boilermakers aggressiveness as part of their success in that area. 

James Franklin (Penn State)

  • Franklin said the win over Pittsburgh was just as important as the Week 1 win over Akron. "We try not to make things more than they are," he added. 
  • Franklin called Trace McSorely one of the best quarterbacks in the country at executing the run-pass option plays. 

Tom Allen (Indiana)

  • Allen said he was pleased with Indiana's ability to bounce back and collect its first victory of the season against Virginia in Week 2. 
  • Allen on Indiana's game against FIU being cancelled this week due to Hurricane Irma: "It is not ideal, but we have a plan to be effective." Added he would like to make the game up during Indiana's bye week. 

Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern) 

  • Fitzgerald said it usually takes about a month to determine what kind of football team he will have moving into the heart of the season. Northwestern is coming off of a 41-17 loss to Duke in its second game of the season.
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