Big Ten Teleconference Recap: Urban Meyer Discusses Ohio State's Pass Rush, How To Boost The Run Game And Pete Werner's “Incredible Future”

By Colin Hass-Hill on October 9, 2018 at 1:57 pm
Urban Meyer

Indiana hung around on Saturday, but Ohio State held the Hoosiers off and pulled away in the second half for a 49-26 win. Following is team's sixth win of the season and four days before the Buckeyes will take on Minnesota, Urban Meyer joined the Big Ten coaches teleconference to discuss Ohio State.

Here are some notes from what Meyer discussed on Tuesday's teleconference.

Urban Meyer, Ohio State
  • On Pete Werner: "He's an elite player, elite person. He's very gifted. Very talented guy. Big, fast, extremely smart. Says he has an "incredible future."
  • About Dwayne Haskins: "He does a lot of work with setting protecting and directing traffic and he's done a really good job of that."
  • "I don't feel the depth like other people say we have. We're dealing with injuries, et cetera." 
  • Says Minnesota's defense is one of the best teams in the country at stopping big plays, and says Ohio State is a big-play offense, which he believes is biggest challenge.
  • On penalties: "It's always a concern. I'm not one of those guys that goes crazy on penalties, especially when you're playing aggressive. But that's far too many." Says the penalties on the kicking game drive him crazy.
  • Doesn't foresee changes on the offensive line when Brady Taylor returns, but Taylor will be a boost to the lacking depth. Says Wyatt Davis, Nicholas Petit-Frere and Joshua Alabi are "coming on," but Ohio State needs more depth up front.
  • Says the issue in the run game is defenses are packed the box. Meyer says possible solutions include throwing the ball a little more or getting on the edge with runs a little more.
  • No update on Brian Snead's status.
  • On the pass rush: "Chase (Young) has been really good. (Jonathon Cooper has) been pretty good. Dre'Mont (Jones), we need a little bit more. Says the pass rush is "Not what we've expected" without Nick Bosa, but it's "getting close."
  • On Denzel Ward: "I saw Sam Hubbard had a great day as well. Denzel, he's one of our all-time favorites here."
  • On Malik Barrow: "He's still rehabbing and working his tail to get back." Says he's still on the roster.
  • Says Thayer Munford is "incredible" and is a "hell of a player for us."

Here are some highlights from the other Big Ten coaches during Tuesday's teleconference.

Chris Ash, Rutgers 
  • "Second half of the season begins this weekend. We didn't expect to be here with a 1-5 record, but we definitely don't intend to stay here."
  • He says people on the outside of the football program are focused on the negatives of the situation, but the Rutgers players and coaches are focused on improving.
  • "We haven't changed our goals. Our goal right now is just to get better every single day." He says he doesn't think the team is "that far off," but it just needs to be more consistent, which is what it works on every day.
Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
  • Asked about Tru Wilson's blocks: "The play you're describing, he effectively blocked two people on the same play. Came back the next play and broke a long run, caught a pass out of the backfield. He's been very effective. He's doing a great job."
  • On what impresses him about a Paul Chryst-coached team: "Very impressed just how sound they are in all phases. A team that does not beat themselves, does not give up big plays People are not out of position. They don't turn the ball over. They make themselves very tough to beat, so that's the sign of a well-coaches team and a great program."
Paul Chryst, Wisconsin
  • "Looking forward to having a great week of preparation and have our team ready to go over and play a talented, well-coached Michigan team."
  • On Chase Winovich: "He's a heck of a football player. Got a lot of respect for him. He's talented. He plays the game with great energy. He's tough to block. He's a heck of a player. When you go against him, you've got to be great in your technique and you've also got to be great in your effort. He's a heck of a football player."
  • On the challenge of Devin Bush: "I think their whole defense is really talented and Bush is obviously a heck of a football player. Any time you face a defense that's talented and well coached, I think they have great confidence and knowledge in their scheme, they play fast. So, I think the strength of their defense is they've got a number of players."
  • On Jim Harbaugh: "I've ben fortunate. I've known Jim for a long time and we've all kind of, throughout that, we've both been in different roles. He's a guy I have a tremendous amount of respect for as a person, as a player, as a coach." 
  • Asked about Shea Patterson: "I think obviously he's a talented quarterback. And yet, kind of like we were talking about with Michigan's defense, it's not just him. And he's good, I'm not trying to minimize him."
Scott Frost, Nebraska
  • Says Nebraska needs more talent in the program and in the spring, the defense will get more reps against the offenses of the team's opponents. 
  • He says almost every week, the team is preparing in practice at least one trick play, but have up to three trick plays. 
  • I don't think you really have to balance it too much because most of the time, the best thing you can do for your young players is win right now." Says sometimes if a position battle is even, the younger players  
  • "We're certainly not going to sacrifice anything right now for the future," but says you have to have an eye for the future.
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
  • Says Trace McSorley stands out on Penn State's offense. "He can make a bad play a good one." Calls him an "outstanding football player" and notes both his toughness and ability to run.
  • He says the goal for the defense is to hold opponents to five yards or less per pass attempt, which has been accomplished three times this year.
  • Calls trick plays "feast or famine" and says the library of trick plays are usually designed in the summer and pulled from in the fall.
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
  • "We were thrilled to get the win. It was our first road game of the season." Says he thought Iowa did a "lot of good things" in a tough environment at Minnesota.
  • Says teams don't run trick plays very often in practice, but they just try to keep them polished up.
P.J. Fleck, Minnesota
  • Calls Pete Werner an active, instinctual linebacker. Says being instinctual is the best quality in a player.
  • Asked about Urban Meyer calling Minnesota's defense outstanding: "When you give up 90 points in the last two games, I wouldn't consider it outstanding right now." Says the front seven is playing well, despite being young. The back end of the defense hurt Minnesota against Iowa.
  • On Ohio State's run game: "They're very talented. Just because you don't see the stats doesn't mean they're not very good. When they run the football, they're very, very good at it. They're just so good in the past game. And when you're a head football coach and you're designing what you're doing, you're going with what's working, and the quarterback's playing at an extremely high level. He's throwing for 72 percent. So, you can get a completion 72 percent of the time or run the football over and over and sometimes you get two, sometimes you get six, sometimes you get one, sometimes you get eight. They have such great receivers and the quarterback's so dynamic that he can run the football plus throw the football, it gives you the ability to maybe lean one way over the other. I think both their run game and pass game is incredibly balanced."
  • Says Shannon Brooks, who has dealt with a lower leg injury, has been practicing. "Chomping at the bit I think is a bit of an understatement for him."
  • Says the team will go to Ohio Stadium on Friday with the 33 freshmen who will see the "biggest stadium they've ever seen in their life" in order to get them used to the venue.
  • Says Ohio State has depth everywhere, is big, strong and fast, but also has "incredible discipline."  
  • "We've got to be able to take care of the football. We've got to get takeaways as best as we possibly can. We've got to figure out a way to get some explosive plays and limit their explosive plays as best we possibly can. And we've got to tackle really well."
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern
  • Says "you have to go where the players are" in terms of recruiting, in terms of social media platforms and texting.
  • On recruiting: "I think there's a fine line between building a genuine relationship and becoming a creepy adult. I think if you're texting these kids 'good morning,' 'have a great lunch,' 'good night sunshine,' you've got problems, man. I think it's about building genuine relationships with young men and their families, educating them on your program from A to Z and hopefully being the right fit for them. The other stuff is just smoke and mirrors and a bunch of nonsense."
Lovie Smith, Illinois
  • Says it was good to be back from the bye week and now there's more pressure to get another win after beating Rutgers.
  • On playing many freshmen last year: "I guess it would be a better story if we said, 'Hey, this what we're going to do, we're going to play all the young guys and look toward the future.' That just wasn't the case." Says the freshmen were the best options at the time and they have become bigger, stronger, faster and more knowledgeable about football.
Matt Canada, Maryland
  • Says the team is of the mindset that "they're playing for each other" and is proud to represent the university and their families. 
Jeff Brohm, Purdue
  • Says Illinois is playing well and has two losses when the Illini led in the second half. 
  • "I think our team understands after three losses in a row we have to do all the small things."
  • Says it's not too different playing in Illinois, where he coached before, but he's looking forward to going there.
James Franklin, Penn State
  • He says the players were able to go home during the bye week and coaches were able to go on the road to recruit. The team also did workshops and utilized sports psychology during the week, then got a head start on Michigan State.
Tom Allen, Indiana
  • On Dwayne Haskins: "I thought this was the best Ohio State team we'd faced since I'd been here, and really the reason was because of him."
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