Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer met with the media after the off week to discuss preparations for the Rutgers game in Ohio Stadium. What follows are bullet point updates from his Monday press conference.
Meyer opens with some commentary on his team, saying it's a young team that's getting older, which isn't necessarily what always happens. He's seeing maturity and seeing freshmen step up.
As for getting past the open week and keeping momentum, he said he would have a team meeting on that subject today.
"I like our team. We're not near where we'll end up as we keep improving but we're a much better team than we were two weeks ago."
Is this the vision on offense that he wants? He didn't mind what they had last year because they had good, quality players, but this year they are "using skill." He likes having fast guys that can go down the field, and he's seeing people like Elliott, Marshall and Wilson improve and add a different perspective.
What Rutgers did vs. Michigan "caught their eye," he said of the Scarlet Knights' win over the Wolverines. Said the Knights have the team's attention this week.
Meyer said he voted Mississippi State No. 1 this week after watching them this weekend. "Wow. Three top-10 wins." Talked to Dan Mullen this weekend.
Meyer wants more freshmen to play this year than have played, even though it's more than last year. One guy who is really close right now is Sam Hubbard. "It's just pulling the trigger and putting him in the game. He could help us but you don't want him to play a handful of snaps."
Meyer is concerned about the red zone struggles that Blake wrote about last week. Said teams are playing OSU differently now and not getting fooled by tempo like they used to be.
Meyer points to guys like Nick Vannett and Mike Thomas as guys stepping up this year who were "nonfactors" last year. They had to with Braxton Miller and Jeff Heuerman out earlier this year.
"That's a good sign for the future," Meyer says when asked about how young the Buckeyes are and how many underclassmen are producing. Compares it to his '07 team at Florida that was rather young.
Meyer points out the team isn't quite getting as many big plays as the past because Barrett is a move the chains kind of QB, not a big play guy. "We kind of are (getting there)." Says they're starting to hit some of those big plays.
OSU should get Curtis Samuel back this week as well.
On the pass defense, they're not going to throw out everything because it's not broken, just need to keep working at signals and things like that.
On Rod Smith: "He was out of the gate in the spring." Just didn't think he'd have him for this year as he struggled with academics and with production. "He's been a great guy to coach," Meyer said of this year.