With no Big Ten Championship Game or bowl game to prepare for, Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer held his season-ending press conference on Monday. Among the highlights:
- He said his lasting memory of the Buckeyes perfect 2012 season is the complete selflessness of the team. Meyer said the team has incredible character, determination, and genuine love for each other. He “saw a team that had holes and filled those holes.” Meyer added that there will be a wall at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center dedicated to the 2012 Buckeyes, along with showing future players the selfless approach the approach this year’s team took to the game of football.
- Meyer knew the exact moment when his team ‘bought in’: September 29 at 11:22 am in a pregame team meeting prior to playing Michigan State. Said the team wasn’t “playing like or acting like” they were buying into what the coaches were saying before that moment.
- Meyer reiterated his post-Michigan game comments that Ohio State can play with any team in the country. Says that couldn’t be said five weeks ago; cited improvement in tackling and the punt game as examples.
On the offense:
- Liked the development of the offensive line, says it has a chance to become very good in 2013. Meyer also like the chemistry formed at running back and their ability to run the ball, saying the Buckeyes ran downhill as good as any team in the country.
- Gave the passing game a grade of C, C-. Up from a year ago, but still not in the same “hemisphere” where the coaching staff would like it to be. Meyer said “that has to change and change fast.”
On QB Braxton Miller:
- Says Braxton Miller will get better. Feels he has improved his accuracy and pocket awareness, but still has a long way to go; wants him to get the ball out quicker. Meyer says he still can’t even see Miller’s ceiling-he’s got that much further to go.
- As athletic as Miller is, Meyer feels he’s not a scrambler. Said if he becomes the best fundamental quarterback in America, he’ll be the best quarterback in America. “It will be comical what he can do…but he’s not there yet.” Says it’s his job as the head coach to find out why that hasn’t happened consistently. Will make sure that Miller and co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tom Herman both have a chip on their shoulder.
On the defense:
- Had the same concerns everybody else did earlier this season. Praised the work by the defensive coaches in the Silver Bullets improvement the second half of the season.
- With Etienne Sabino, Zach Boren, and Storm Klein graduating, Meyer feels linebackers is the weakest area of the team heading into 2013. However, he called Ryan Shazier a big-time linebacker from the Purdue game on. Meyer credited co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Luke Fickell with changing Shazier from “an out of control player to and under control, all-Big Ten linebacker.”
- Happy with the quality of young players returning on the defensive line, but worries about filling the void left from a guy like John Simon.
- Continued to sing the praises of fullback-turned-linebacker Zach Boren, saying he became the ultimate team guy.
- Says he won’t make any changes to his coaching staff, nor does he anticipate any staff changes this offseason.
- In Meyer’s second year at Utah (2004) the Utes finished undefeated. In his second year at Florida (2006), the Gators won the National Championship. Going into his second year at Ohio State, one of his biggest concerns is to make sure players aren’t complacent. He wants an angry team, one with a chip on its shoulder and plays with an edge, otherwise a team is “average as dirt.”
- Revealed that he got a couple of speeding tickets after he would hurry to leave the football offices to make it to his son’s football game on Sundays. Says that wouldn’t have happened in years past (him rushing to leave the football offices, not necessarily the speeding tickets.) One of the ways he’s changed since returning to coaching.