LOS ANGELES – With one day remaining until the Rose Bowl, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and Washington coach Chris Petersen met with the media in a joint press conference on Monday morning to preview their final game of the season.
In the final media availability of Rose Bowl week, Meyer and Petersen discussed what their teams' Rose Bowl week experience has been like and looked ahead to Tuesday's game, which will also be Meyer's final game in his seven-year tenure as Ohio State's coach.
A sampling of what Meyer and Petersen had to say:
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer
- "I'm honored to be here to represent the Big Ten conference and the great state of Ohio."
- Meyer recalled the story he has told several times this week that he was not allowed into the Rose Bowl stadium during a recruiting trip for Colorado State.
- "We're here to win a football game, and the best part of a bowl experience is to do your very best and go win in it." Said the Rose Bowl trip has been a great experience, and a bucket-list item for him, but the goal has been not to allow anything to distract from the goal of winning.
- Do you get nervous before games? "I don't think nervous is a strong enough term. I think deathly ill would be appropriate." Said he gets "very nervous" before games.
- Meyer finally saw the Rose Bowl for the first time on Sunday. Said he asked to be able to go in and see it, because he had never seen it before. "It was awesome. I wasn't able to completely see the mountains, but I'm sure we'll see that tomorrow."
- Meyer said he believes Ryan Day has done a "phenomenal" job handling the transition to becoming Ohio State's new head coach after the Rose Bowl. "Ryan's going to do exceptional. He's an elite coach."
- Meyer said he appreciates that Dre'Mont Jones and Mike Weber are playing in the Rose Bowl despite announcing they will declare for the 2019 NFL draft, but understands that it's a touchy situation. Said Denzel Ward and Nick Bosa are both like family members to him despite concluding their careers early to prepare for the NFL.
- Meyer said he expects to still be able to spend a lot of time around Ohio State's players in his new role. Said he wants to work with them to ensure they don't get "used by the system."
- On the Michigan game: "We work that game 365 (days a year). We've already been working it out here."
- Have you given any thought to your legacy and how you are going to be perceived? "With respect to our players, I think it's inappropriate to spend any time on that." Said he asked his players to "shut it down" this week with things that they might have to deal with outside of football, so it wouldn't be fair to them to spend any time worrying about that. But said it would be "untruthful" to say his legacy doesn't matter to him – this week just isn't the time to worry about it.
- On whether he believes there is a systemic problem that neither the Big Ten nor Pac-12 has made the playoff for the past two years: "I have strong opinions about those things," but wanted to be careful about what he said, and said that's not something he and his team are talking about. Knows that if the Buckeyes want to ensure they get a shot at the playoff, they can't lose a game.
- Meyer said the moment that stands out in his mind in the week leading up to this bowl game was the win over Michigan last month.
- Meyer said Thayer Munford is still a "game-time decision."
- On missing the College Football Playoff: "We're not embarrassed to say we're one of those programs that should be there."
- When you look back at your seven years here, are you happy with what the program has achieved? "My initial response is absolutely."
Washington coach Chris Petersen
- Petersen, first to arrive in the press conference room, quips: "Can I get my questions out of the way?"
- Petersen said it is "kind of ironic" to coach against Meyer in the Rose Bowl because of the notes he has shared with Meyer over the years and the respect he has for him.
- On his team's preparation: "They practiced hard, they practiced well. They're anxious to play."
- Asked if he has any trick plays ready for Tuesday's game, Petersen smiles and says "No. That's all I got."
- Petersen agreed with Meyer that if you want to ensure you make the playoff, you have to win all your games, and that's the goal.
Stay tuned with Eleven Warriors for more coverage from Southern California in advance of Tuesday's game, which is set to kick off at 5 p.m. ET from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.