Meyer Gives Players State Of The Union

Updates from Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, who spoke to the media after Wednesday's practice.

After a wild week in college football that featured a slew of upsets, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer gave his players his annual talk regarding the rankings and what the team stands to achieve this season should it keep winning.

“We do that every year this time of year,” Meyer said. “I just show the rankings, because they’re going to hear it and I don’t want to hear much about it at all after our conversation. When you look at it, everything is wide open. College football, this is a pretty open year.

“We had a, I’d say, five-minute discussion because I know I can hear it probably walking around campus or watching TV and so why not address it? So we address it and move on.”

Meyer obviously doesn’t get to watch many games given the nature of his job, but as a voter in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, he didn’t need to do any extra research before talking to his players.

“I vote every week,” he said. “My assistant Fernando (Lovo, OSU’s football operations coordinator) and I do the voting. He always brings in the top 25 from the previous week. I had a chance to watch some football last week and saw a lot of upsets.”

Other updates from Meyer’s post-practice press conference are as follows:

- Meyer declined to say which team he voted No. 1 in the most recent poll, saying he couldn’t remember. Florida State was floated out there by a reporter as a possibility, and Meyer said that’s probably who it was.

- When asked what the team is working on during the open week, Meyer said he wants his team to get better with execution, especially in red zone opportunities. He also mentioned they’ve starting getting ready for Rutgers, and noted that the Scarlet Knights recently beat “our rival.” Meyer said overall, the emphasis has been on getting better and the Buckeyes have had two good days of practice.

- On Steve Miller: “He’s played OK this year. He played his best game, no question, against Maryland. He didn’t have to play his best game before because he didn’t play much. I really like Steve, and everyone likes him academically because he’s a grinder, he’s a worker and he’s a good kid. But he did have his best game.”

- When asked if the staff was taking steps to lessen the amount of contact quarterback J.T. Barrett takes, Meyer said he couldn’t remember any particularly violent hits Barrett had taken and didn’t think he was being hit at an irregular rate.

- Meyer declined to speculate on whether linebacker Trey Johnson might redshirt just as Bri’onte Dunn and Michael Thomas did last fall, but he did note that Johnson missing much of training camp with an injury made that possibility more likely.

- Meyer couldn’t have been happier to see the first open week but doesn’t feel that way this time. Said that it feels “uncomfortable” and he’s not used to having two open weeks in one season.

- The open week practices are structured different this time than last time. Players like Jalyn Holmes are getting “a million reps,” while guys like Michael Bennett and Joey Bosa are being rested more than usual.

- When asked if it’s even possible to play lights-out defense these days, Meyer noted that he’s definitely seen a rise in scoring and competency in the passing game. Said that the ability for coaches to work with players over the summer may have made a difference.

- Meyer on whether he’s using the upsets of last week as a message of hope: “We’re not really clinging to it. I don’t want to act like we spent a lot of time on this. We’ve got a team that sees themselves getting much better. We’re getting much more confident. We have a lot of confidence in our quarterback and skill players, and we’re seeing the defense be where it’s supposed to be right now.”

- Ohio State won’t practice Sunday night because it will allow players from far away to go home. Meyer cited Raekwon McMillan, saying he was going back to Georgia and has earned the chance to see his mom. If players aren’t with their families this weekend, Meyer would prefer they be around assistant coaches.

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