Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer met with the media this morning to preview the upcoming clash at No. 6 Michigan State. We have bullet points with the Ohio State mentor with video and more from the Woody Hayes Center to follow.
Champions for the Illinois game on defense: Eli Apple, Doran Grant, Joshua Perry, Darron Lee, Steve Miller, Joey Bosa. Player of the Game: Curtis Grant
Offense: Spencer, WIlson, Heuerman, Elliott, Samuel, Decker, POG: Marshall and Boren
Erick Smith: Special Teams POG
"We have one rival here." Meyer said he's not taking anything away from MSU, said he wants to make clear to his players they have one rival and doesn't want to diminish it.
Meyer is asked about finally taking on a team that is even: "I think we've beat a bunch of really good teams, but they're the king of the hill right now and you have to dethrone them." The difference last year was a couple of days. "Offense had the ball at the end of the game and we didn't execute to win the game," but it was two very good teams playing each other. Plus the pass defense hurt.
Meyer is asked how much he uses his psychology degree this week. "You don't have to be too creative this week." It's more about the day to day plan this week, which today means getting rest, then practices the rest of the week.
As far as MSU having an extra week of prep, Meyer doesn't expect that to be a big deal because their defense plays the same each week "and is very good at it." They'll have some wrinkles but that's it.
On short yardage issues, Meyer points out OSU doesn't have a big back like Carlos Hyde right now. Teams are also giving them strong looks to run into. "That's certainly an area we're going to take a look at, and obviously we had a play last year against them we didn't succeed with."
Meyer is asked about MSU being a veteran team vs. OSU's youth: "That certainly is a factor" but there's nothing you can do about that.
Meyer calls Devin Smith the best gunner in America on punts, plus he's a very good downfiled threat. "His role or value hasn't changed," OSU just has more guys in the receivers room to utilize.
The coach says the Penn State comeback in OT is a moment he's never going to forget. "It was the offensive line and the quarterback." Not sure that will translate vs. MSU though.
Meyer is reminded the 2012 win was a turning point win for his program. When asked if this is a chance for OSU to get national respect back, he says, "I think so. To get the respect Ohio State deserves and has had in the past," the Buckeyes have to win.
What gave OSU offense the most problems last year from the MSU defense: "Good players. This is a rugged game." Calls the MSU team a sledgehammer. "This team can play at any level, any conference, anywhere, and I'd like to think the Ohio State Buckeyes can too." Guys have to be ready at 8 p.m.
As for Barrett being ready to make the plays needed, "When something is not there, he puts his foot in the ground and gets us to second-and-4, second-and-5. ... Sometimes things don't work out the way you envision them," and he makes something of it. Maybe is better than Braxton there.