Big Ten Championship Game Teleconference: Urban Meyer Addresses J.T. Barrett's Injury, Dwayne Haskins' Development and More

By Dan Hope on November 26, 2017 at 3:06 pm
Urban Meyer

Less than 24 hours following the conclusion of his team's 31-20 win over Michigan, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer spent 30 minutes answering questions from the media again on Sunday's Big Ten Championship Game coaches' teleconference, as the Buckeyes begin their preparation for playing Wisconsin.

Meyer said he is expecting a tough challenge from the Badgers in Saturday's game, which kicks off at 8 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and will be televised on Fox.

"We're very pleased with the resiliency of our players and staff, and look forward to playing a great Wisconsin team," Meyer said.

Meyer addressed a myriad of other topics of Sunday's teleconference, including the latest on injured starting quarterback J.T. Barrett, the play of backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins and the rumored departure at the time of defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, who was set to become Tennessee's head coach before the Volunteers backed out of the deal on Sunday night.

Here's what you need to know:

  • On J.T. Barrett's status: "We won't know for a couple days."
  • On Dwayne Haskins: "His poise and accuracy was outstanding."
  • On Greg Schiano rumors: "I know he was contacted, and that's all I know at this point."
  • Meyer has been "very pleased" with Haskins' maturity and the way he has grown up.
  • On why he was mad at himself in regards to Barrett's injury: "Everything's my blame with this program."
  • On freshman running back J.K. Dobbins: "He's awesome. He's one of those guys that supplies energy. It's very rare to have a guy that's so young that supplies that for you." Meyer said fellow running back Mike Weber brings the same qualities to Ohio State's offense. 
  • Meyer said he will make the determination whether Barrett is healthy enough to play on Saturday, but Barrett and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day will also be in the middle of that conversation.
  • Meyer said the work week does not change from usual for the Big Ten Championship Game, even though Wisconsin is a "great football team."
  • Barrett has had to get treatment on his knee throughout the season, but nothing to the extent with that which he dealt with Saturday.
  • Should success from past seasons be considered in the playoff conversation? "I have no idea."
  • Meyer says Wisconsin continues to play a similar brand of football to that which it played when Barry Alvarez was coach. "I think they have their niche, and they do it as well as anybody in the country."
  • Meyer said he believes the timeline of coaching changes has been accelerated this year because of the early signing period for recruiting.
  • Junior cornerback Denzel Ward has been a "very valuable member of our team" on both defense and special teams. 
  • On the potential distraction of the playoff conversation: "The laser focus is on Wisconsin and nothing else."
  • On Greg Schiano: "Greg's been a close friend for 20-plus years. He's an elite person, elite father and elite husband, and that carries over into the way he handles his players. Excellent coach, excellent person."
  • On Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst: "I think he's fantastic. I actually get along with him very well."
  • With J.T. Barrett being injured against Michigan, does this feel like 2014? "That feels like 25 years ago. This is a different year, different team." 
  • It's hard to hold a quarterback competition during the season, which is why Dwayne Haskins has been firmly established as the No. 2 quarterback ahead of Joe Burrow after Burrow was injured in training camp. Meyer is pleased with the way Burrow has continued to prepare in practice in case his number is called.
  • Austin Mack has fought through injuries this season but is a "great kid who's got an awesome future here."
  • Meyer said wide receiver Terry McLaurin is "one of our best players."
  • What would be the message to the team if Greg Schiano leaves? "Just beat Wisconsin."
  • On Ohio State's ability to cause turnovers on defense: "We're not as dynamic in that area as we were a year ago ... We're not satisfied exactly with where we're at." Said the Buckeyes won't play any extra emphasis on that area this week, though, because it's always a point of emphasis.
  • Meyer said he will not spend any effort or energy on researching the potential College Football Playoff scenarios, keeping his focus entirely on preparing for the Big Ten Championship Game.

Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst also held court with the media on Sunday's Big Ten Championship Game coaches' teleconference. A sampling of what he had to say:

  • Chryst described Ohio State as “a very talented and well-coached football team” but said the Badgers’ preparation this week will not change.
  • On Ohio State’s defense: “They’ve got great players, and a heck of a scheme. They challenge you in so many different areas. It’s a heck of a defense.”
  • On Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano: “He obviously knows the talent that he has and how to use it … He’s obviously done a really good job. He’s, for a long time, been a well-respected coach, and I think you’re seeing a really good defense right now.”
  • On the Buckeyes’ 59-0 win over Wisconsin in 2014: “That was a heck of a game by Ohio State.”
  • On Ohio State's offense: "There's no question, it's a heck of an offense, led by arguably one of the best players in the conference ... Our defense has to have a great week of preparation."
  • Chryst said the Badgers are "going to prepare for Ohio State's best" regardless of whether Barrett or Haskins starts at quarterback. "We're not going to play a guessing game. We believe he's going to play," Chryst said regarding Barrett.
  • Does Chryst feel like Wisconsin is not getting the respect it should as an undefeated team? Chryst said all the Badgers' "focus and energy" is on preparing to play Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game.
  • On Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook: "He'll do whatever he can to be the best quarterback for this team ... he's done some really good things."
  • Chryst said his team has done a good job of being in the moment and each individual focusing on how he can get better, which has been key to his team's consistent success in going 12-0 in the regular season.
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