Urban Meyer Coach's Show Recap: Scouting Army, J.T. Barrett's Struggles, and When We'll See Kevin Wilson's Offense

By D.J. Byrnes on September 14, 2017 at 12:05 pm
Urban Meyer Coach's Show: Army

After suffering the first loss of the 2017 campaign against Oklahoma, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer took to 97.1 The Fan's airwaves Thursday to discuss all things Buckeye football with Paul Keels and Jim Lachey.

Urban Meyer said players are more resilient than coaches and bounced back this week. 

Noted Navy put up "300 something yards" on Ohio State in 2014, and this Army team is better than that Navy team. "They shorten the game. The team they just played (Buffalo, a 21-17 win) only had 40 plays. Every possession will be a priority."

Tate Martell has been "running all over the field" while running scout team. 

Meyer said they grade every player on the roster during practice on a 1-5 scale. Martell, Josh Myers, and Wyatt Davis all earned fives on scout team.

Ohio State often runs the triple option, considering they have plays where J.T. Barrett can hand the ball off, pull it, or throw.

Coffee with the Coach Question from Jamie in Kirkland: With Army being the opponent this week, will active military members speak to the team on Real Life Wednesdays?

  • "We always do."
  • Meyer cited the love Ohio State has for the military going all the way back to Woody Hayes.

Meyer took his son, Nate, to West Point a few years back and they stayed in General Donald Blake's house. He allowed Nate to shoot some guns as well. "The history of West Point is phenomenal."

Would Meyer ever take his team to West Point for a game? "No. I'd take them there for a trip."

"I studied the wishbone when I first arrived at Bowling Green. The spread wasn't really around. I looked at our schedule and thought, 'How are we going to win games?'"

Meyer and offensive coordinator Dan Mullen (now of Mississippi State) had discussions about running the wishbone." Ultimately decided against it because, "It'd be hard to sell tickets."

On J.T. Barrett:

  • "He's an old veteran, he's been through it here."
  • "I'm the first one to say quarterbacks get far too much credit and far too much blame. ... It's the way it is."
  • "The best way to answer any issues is to play really well."
  • Noted he had a great week of practice. "He's a grinder."

"The big thing against Army is you can't have a bad possession because they’re so limited." Said they present a tough challenge considering how they control the ball and clock.

Meyer noted they no longer take players who can't hack it academically at Ohio State, where the average ACT score is 30. "There's no where to hide anymore."

"We take the old John Wooden approach. If you act like a man, you get treated like a man. If you act like a child, you get treated like a child." If players are still being told to study after two years, they're told to either change or leave. Noted the 2015 and '16 classes have been really good with academics. 

  • "We're playing fairly well against the run. It's the pass that's been hurting us."
  • "The linebackers have not been playing particularly well. They're going to keep grinding."
  • "We've got to play better, and we will."
  • Is it physical errors or mental errors? "Both."

Earl in Columbus: "I'm not too worried about the offense... but my worries are coming from the defensive side. ... How far have the secondary and linebackers grown?"

  • We're playing fairly well against the run. It's the pass that's been hurting us."
  •  "The linebackers have not been playing particularly well. They're going to keep grinding."
  • "We've got to play better, and we will."
  • Is it physical errors or mental errors? "Both."

Jay in Columbus: "We have an elite offensive coordinator here. When are we going to see his offense?"

  • "It's a work in progress."
  • "We're trying to mesh three offensive philosophies."
  • "We played some pretty good defense in those last three games. But we've got to play better."
  • On the offensive line: "They've been pretty good."

On Damon Arnette: "He's got a long ways to go... but he's a guy starting to surface and become one of our better players."

Middle linebacker Chris Worley is "a bit banged up." Noted he came in as a safety and now plays middle linebacker. "He's played okay... but that's not good enough."

Army tries to block punts and eschews returns. "They'll bring a boatload at you.” They’ve also tried six fake punts in four years, something Ohio State is working to defend.

On stopping the triple option: You must take away the fullback dive and go from there. "At Navy we defended it pretty well but they still had 300 plus yards on us."

Do you see the wishbone in high school recruiting? "You really don't. You see the Wing-T, which has a cult following. ... You really just see it from the academies." Meyer said it's because every young player wants to play in the NFL, and you can't get there playing the triple option.

Former linebacker Joshua Perry and former walk-on linebacker Craig Fada have been in Columbus this week, helping their players recover from the loss as they did in 2014 against Virginia Tech. Fada is preparing to take his MCAT.

Quarterback Joe Burrow is "getting close," but they're still not sure he's game ready. Running back Mike Weber is "getting healthy." Wide receiver Austin Mack should play this week.

[Full replay available at 97.1 The Fan]

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