Presser Bullets: Ohio State's Urban Meyer, Greg Schiano and Gene Smith Meet the Media on National Signing Day

By Dan Hope on February 7, 2018 at 12:12 pm

It was a busy morning at the Woody Hayes Athletic Day on Wednesday, as Urban Meyer met with the media to discuss Ohio State's recruiting class of 2018 at his National Signing Day press conference, just minutes after five-star offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere announced he was signing with the Buckeyes and Ohio State finalized a recruiting class of 26 players.

Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano also met with the media, confirming he was staying with the Buckeyes for the 2018 season, while Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith confirmed Meyer would soon sign a two-year contract extension.

Here's what you need to know from all three's meetings with the media:

Urban Meyer:

  • "The one thing I've made clear, you can't coach here unless you're a great recruiter," Meyer said.
  • J.K. Dobbins telling Nicholas Petit-Frere about his relationship with Mickey Marotti was a big selling point in Petit-Frere's decision to sign with Ohio State.
  • "It's a much different approach right now," Meyer said of recruiting in January after the Early Signing Period.
  • On Petit-Frere: "Those body types are hard to find." Also pointed out the five-star recruit's 3.8 grade-point average. The Buckeyes needed to add another offensive tackle in this class, even after already signing Max Wray. Meyer called Petit-Frere "the most thorough evaluator" of schools that he has ever recruited.
  • "That took my breath away a little bit," Meyer said of Kerry Coombs' departure. "I was shocked when he did that, but he's a friend, and we obviously wish him all the very best."
  • Meyer expects to have a replacement for Coombs in the next week or so.
  • On Alex Grinch: "He's an Ohio guy that wanted to be here." Grinch had several other offers on top of the offer to join Ohio State.
  • On the goal of signing the No. 1 recruiting class every year: "I have fun with the No. 1 class. I don't want people to think that what's we recruit for. It's not at all."
  • Defensive line coach Larry Johnson has had "an offer from everybody" after being asked about coaches receiving offers from NFL teams, but Johnson has chosen to stick around at Ohio State.
  • Meyer doesn't expect much to change in the dynamic between Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson. While Day was a co-offensive coordinator last year, Meyer said he already took leadership of the offensive staff along with Wilson and was involved in play calling.
  • Schiano has filled in as the coaching staff's first point of contact for the cornerbacks since Coombs' departure. While Grinch has experience working with defensive backs, Meyer said he still expects Coombs' replacement to be a cornerbacks coach, though that has not been finalized.
  • Ohio State has extended an offer to him for a contract extension that he expects to sign soon.
  • Early enrollee defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson Jr. had surgery to take a piece of bone out of his foot, but should be back for spring practice.
  • Will Haskins have the lead in the quarterback battle entering this spring? "I have no idea."

Greg Schiano:

  • Schiano has said the time will come for him to talk about what happened with the Tennessee job. He said that time will still come, but that time is not today, as today is about Ohio State's new recruiting class.
  • Schiano is excited about the opportunity to work with Grinch, describing him as a "great hire."
  • The Buckeyes are still working through how his role will be balanced with Grinch, whose background is also a defensive coordinator and safeties coach.
  • The balance of the Buckeyes having five offensive assistant coaches and five defensive assistants is "perfect," Schiano said. Says the Buckeyes focus on finding the best coaches they can and then find a way to fit the pieces together and make it work.
  • "I respect and really enjoyed working with Kerry Coombs," Schiano said. "He is a man's man ... and he's become a real close friend. He's an excellent coach, so he's going to be hard to replace. He's an excellent recruiter, so he's going to be even harder to replace." 
  • Schiano "loves working with cornerbacks," so has enjoyed having the opportunity to work with them on an interim basis until Coombs' replacement is hired.
  • On Petit-Frere, whom Schiano personally recruited and has known since he was a volunteer coach at Berkeley Prep: "I think he's incredibly athletic for a man of his size, and he plays with the kind of 4-to-6, A-to-B attitude that we preach here all the time."

Gene Smith:

  • Smith confirmed Meyer's contract extension will be for two years, keeping him under contract with Ohio State for five years.
  • Smith says an Ohio State assistant coach (presumably Schiano) will break the $1 million mark for the first time.
  • Following up on his previous comments, Smith confirms Meyer's contract will not be in the same realm as Jimbo Fisher's contract at Texas A&M and Nick Saban's contract at Alabama. Smith said he does not believe in 10-year contracts.
  • It became a priority to secure a contract extension with Meyer because he had "south of four years" left on his deal.
  • On the men's basketball team's success in Chris Holtmann's first season: "His coaching and his teaching has been phenomenal. His transition, I can't speak enough about how well he managed that transition in ... I can go on and on about how masterful he's executed his job."

Check back with Eleven Warriors throughout the day for much more coverage from the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, where early enrollees Matthew Baldwin, Master Teague III, Matthew Jones, Max Wray, Antwuan Jackson Jr., Tommy Togiai, Dallas Gant, Sevyn Banks and Tyreke Johnson also met with the media on Wednesday morning.

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