Big Ten Teleconference Recap: Urban Meyer Speaks on the Buckeye Defense, Terry McLaurin Playing Like an Ohioan, and Ed Warinner's Coaching Acumen

By Kevin Harrish on November 20, 2018 at 1:46 pm
Urban Meyer

We're inside of a week away from the season's biggest game in the Big Ten, and both Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh hopped on the weekly Big Ten coaches teleconference to talk about the rivalry game.

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

Urban Meyer, Ohio State

  • Can you fix the defense in one week's time: "We're attempting to." Urban Meyer notes that Baron Browning is back, and this is the healthiest they've been.
  • Could Ohio State win an offensive shootout: "We never really take that. You have to do what we have to do."
  • "There's never been a mindset of 'We're not going to play well on one side of the ball.'"
  • "He's an excellent coach and you can see his personality and what he believes in with how they play on the offensive line."
  • "His football acumen is outstanding," Meyer said of Ed Warinner.
  • "It's a great rivalry, and you show your respect by preparing the 
  • Do you see the possibility of personnel changes this week: "We are looking at a variety of things."
  • Meyer notes that Terry McLaurin impressed him in recruitment with how he listened to coaching and genuinely worked on what the coaches said he needed to improve.
  • "He doesn't know how to not go hard," Meyer said on Terry McLaurin.
  • How good is Michigan on defense: "Oh, they're that good. They're a very good group of players that play hard."
  • Meyer said "I think we're good to go" in terms of injuries.
  • What's the best thing about the Ohio State Michigan rivalry: "I guess it's the respect."
  • Is there time to enjoy being a part of the rivalry: "There's only time to enjoy it if you win after the game."

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan

  • On what makes Don Brown special: "One of the things that stands out most is how he can adjust to something that's happening on the field in real time."
  • On the challenges of Ohio State's offense: "A lot. Great running game, great passing game. Both of those things, are really, really great."
  • On how big this game is: "It's big. It's big now, and it always will be."
  • Is playing or coaching in the game more difficult: "Well, it's physically more demanding to play in the game."
  • On Karan Higdon's confidence and his guarantee: "I didn't think much of the way the interviewer was interviewing him. What Karan was saying that he's confident, he believes in his team, and he believes in his teammates and his coaches. I thought the reporter was pretty silly."
  • On Ohio State's defense: It starts with the defensive line. They're tremendous. Yeah, they're the best d-line we've played. Really well coaches. The entire defense – this is a great football team."
  • On Ed Warinner: "Ed has been just phenomenal. He's a great teacher, he's got each of our linemen playing their best football."
  • He notes his first experience with the rivalry came when he was nine-and-a-half: "From then on, it was the highlight of the year. It was even better than Christmas."
  • On Shea Patterson: "He's been tremendous. In all ways, he gets it done. Whatever you ask him to do, he executes it and does it at a really high level."

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

Chris Ash, Rutgers
  • Ash said he does not regret starting Artur Sitkowski over Giovanni Rescigno to start the season and he doesn't yet know who will start this Saturday.
  • Asked if the rebuild was harder than he expected: "No, I knew this was going to take a lot of effort and time."
  • On the state of the program: "Where we're at is not where we're going to stay."
  • Ash said he has been encouraged with the team's improvement behind the scenes even if it hasn't led to any more wins just yet. He said the development of the players as individuals comes first, and he's proud of how far they've come.
Paul Chryst, Wisconsin 
  • On having the team touch Paul Bunyan's ax before the game: "It has been something we've done traditionally. We'll try to spend a lot of time talking about it."
  • On if he has to get his players motivated: "Not at all. That's what's great about rivalry games – you know you've got to be ready."
Scott Frost, Nebraska
  • On Iowa's talent: "Their record probably should be better than it is."
  • Frost praised Iowa's defense, calling it one of the best in the country both statistically and observationally, and said their offense has also been explosive this season.
  • On Iowa's tight ends: "Both those tight ends are as good as i've seen on tape. And they've got two of them, which presents a bunch of problems ... There's not too many teams you're gameplaning for and have to worry so much about tight ends."
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
  • He does not get any questions.
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
  • Kirk Ferentz said it's good to end the season on a positive note with a win.
  • On Nebraska: "There's no way to predict what's going to happen. They've been playing really good football right now, and really have been for the past five, six or seven weeks."
  • On getting junior fullback Brady Roberts back from injury: "It's not going to make national news to get a fullback back in the lineup," but Ferentz notes he's an integral part of the team.
P.J. Fleck, Minnesota
  • P.J. Fleck said they'll talk about the rivalry game on Wednesday to educate 
  • On playing for bowl eligibility: "If you win, you're in. If you lose, you're out."
  • Fleck said he has been coaching this game as if it's a one-game playoff. With a win, Minnesota gets to play a a bowl game.
  • "It's got to be our best game."
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern
  • Pat Fitzgerald begins by thanking all the media and wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving.
  • Fitzgerald credits the support from his administration and the coaching staff for the successful season.
  • A reporter asks if tackling is a lost art, with the targeting rule and limited padded practices. Fitzgerald says they still practice tackling pretty rigorously.
  • Fitzgerald says Illinois being down lately doesn't really impact their recruiting.
Lovie Smith, Illinois
  • Lovie Smith, like Pat Fitzgerald, says that while the rules don't allow you to spend as much time tackling, he wouldn't go as far as to call it a "lost art."
Matt Canada, Maryland
  • "We had a tough loss on Saturday. Our guys played very, very well. Unfortunately we came up just a bit short."
  • A reporter once again asks if tackling has become a lost art, and Canada says he doesn't believe tackling is a lost art. He says they still spend a lot of time tackling and that the targeting rule helps protect players.
Jeff Brohm, Purdue
  • On David Blough's commitment to serving others off the field: "When he's not doing football, his goal is to serve others. He lives exactly how he preaches."
  • Jeff Brohm also does not think that tackling has become a lost art, but you just have to change how you teach it a little bit.
James Franklin, Penn State
  • James Franklin's call consisted of one heated interaction with one reporter.
  • Reporter: "Are you going to be the head coach at Penn State next season?"
  • Franklin: "Excuse me?"
  • Reporter: "Are you going to be the head coach at Penn State next season?"
  • " This doesn't surprise me, David. Like I said in the press conference, speculation is crazy this time of year."
  • Franklin said he was just focused on Maryland and would answer any questions about the game.
  • The reporter pointed out there would be a lot less speculation if Franklin just answered the question.
  • Franklin: "Like I said, I answered your question."
  • Reporter: "No, you didn't."
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