These are the highlights gleaned from the Urban Meyer call-in radio show on 97.1 TheFan on Thursday, including a bonus anecdote near the end of Meyer reflecting not so fondly on taking his Utah team to Las Vegas time to take on UNLV in 2003:
Meyer on the difficulties of going against Army’s triple option last week: “I remember after we played Navy in Baltimore, you have a personnel advantage but you also realize if you don’t cover your bases you’re going to be embarrassed.”
Meyer again thanked the scout team led by freshmen Tate Martell and Wyatt Davis for the prep work it gave the defense last week in anticipation of the triple option.
Meyer said his son Nate made a point to walk out on field after the game to see the cadets, and Meyer thought “Job well done” in terms of appreciation for Army and what it means to the country, that the sight of the Black Knights saluting during national anthem gave him “chills.”
Meanwhile, he said the OSU defensive linemen won’t miss the legal cut blocks aimed “at their kneecaps” from that offense.
He also said he gave cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs good-natured grief for three corners grading champions against the wishbone, but “our eye discipline was fantastic” in terms of the defense keeping up with what was going on in the triple option.
Question from fan: Fourth different game time in four weeks, this time at noon, how does it affect preparation – Meyer said “Certainly it impacts how we do our business … it’s a science” in preparation, and he credited performance director Mickey Marotti with being good at it.
“At the end of the day it’s our job to make sure when foot hits the ball at noon we’re at full capacity,” and he said the program is “right on top” of the science of it all.
On hydration getting ready for hot game day, “today is the big day, today and tomorrow, to make sure they are fully hydrated” getting to Saturday.
On running back Mike Weber, Meyer said “he’s getting better and better” coming back from hamstring strain.
He said Demario McCall had a hamstring flareup again in practice Wednesday.
Running back J.K. Dobbins showed up at OSU as a “grown man,” Meyer said, and the freshman is providing energy.
On progress of offensive line, said there’s been too many misses from some of the recent classes and that “we should have more depth” than they do, but he likes the way the first team in playing.
Kickoff coverage is “struggling,” Meyer said, and added it’s been a combo of the actual kicks and occasionally the coverage. “We’re going to get that done.”
Meyer said the theme this week is looking for “extreme competitors” and that goes for the players and the coaching staff.
He said, for example, hybrid backs and kick returners Parris Campbell and K.J. Hill fall into the high end of the competitor category, Campbell being a five (the ultimate) and Hill close to being a five.
Meyer on UNLV – “Very good offensive team,” haven’t played great defensive teams “so moving ball somewhat at will.”
On UNLV defense, he said among other things “We feel like we have an athletic advantage once we get guys like K.J. in space.”
Meyer said linebacker Tuf Borland’s first name fits him, that he has been his ace on kick teams before, and now at middle linebacker in place of Chris Worley (foot sprain), he “handles his business.”
Backup linebacker Justin Hilliard “is playing really hard” now, Meyer said, and freshman “Baron Browning is a star in the making.”
Black stripe removal is symbolic of “you are officially a Buckeye.” Said, for example, freshman receiver Jaylen Harris “was lost in the weeds for a while,” but has come along recently.
Question on hosting recruits during big game Saturdays – Meyer said “it’s insanity” meeting with prospects and also coaching the game.
Meyer said Dwayne Haskins “did very well” in his debut as backup quarterback in late going of win over Army.
He said the Buckeyes obviously overmatched Army, personnel wise, but that “We have to continue to grow so when (the opposition) becomes equated we’re ready to go.”
On whether he’d like to see a service academy as a regular on the schedule: “Not my future. I think after the fact it’s so awesome” but it takes so much to prepare for the triple option teams and he’d rather spend that “development” time on regular stuff. The Buckeyes spent about 700 reps preparing for the option.
Meyer said before his Utah team played at UNLV way back when, and he was upset with his program coordinator because the team wound up staying at a hotel on The Strip. The night before the game he said that while on an elevator he had beer “spilled all over me” on him by an intoxicated man. “It’s a good thing I wasn’t in a Vegas penitentiary for two weeks after that; I was ready to uncoil,” Meyer said. “So that’s all I remember about visiting Vegas to go play – we did it one time.”
Commenting on UNLV coach Tony Sanchez being a former high school coach, Meyer said a high school background is good for people on a staff because that’s true coaching. He added that he considers Ohio State to be “a glorified high school program” in terms of approach. He said he likes his coaches being close to the players and their families, and that it’s far from the atmosphere for an NFL team.
Senior defensive end Jalyn Holmes was the bonus guest, and he said “I try to forget” going against cut blocks all day from Army. “You just have to stay disciplined the whole time and try not to get cut.”
Holmes said he went through some growing pains in his early years at OSU but “it made me the man I am today,” and he tries to help young fellows deal with things because of that.
He said defensive tackle Tracy Sprinkle is good at picking up little tips of offensive linemen while watching video.
Holmes said the rotation of the defensive linemen pays off in fourth quarters, and that the group likes to work out together.
He said the linemen can “just look at each other” on a field and deliver messages without talking.
Holmes said defensive line coach Larry Johnson, “He’s on me every day. …. Just letting us know the little things are the most important things,” and has helped him grow on and off the field.”
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