COLUMBUS, Ohio — Every Tuesday throughout the season, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer participates in the Big Ten coaches conference call. Nearly every Tuesday, he turns down the chance to make an opening statement and instead turned straight to questions from those on the call.
This Tuesday was no exception, and with No. 8 Wisconsin on deck this weekend, there was plenty to talk about:
- On how he focused on his time at Utah amid rumors of him taking the job at Florida, and whether he had to compartmentalize at all during the season: “It didn’t consume any thoughts whatsoever.”
- On replacing Ezekiel Elliott: “(the running back situation is) a work in progress,” adding he is very pleased with the run game and that Curtis Samuel has assumed a pivotal role in the offense.
- On his assistants, Meyer says associate head coach / defensive coordinator Greg Schiano has been “fantastic” and that he and defensive coordinator / linebackers coach Luke Fickell have a special relationship because they’re very close to one another. The change to Schiano has been very positive, adding that Schiano’s history as an “expert” is a critical part of the success the back end of the defense has experienced.
- Meyer said the perception of his offense has changed tremendously since his arrival at Ohio State, and much of that credit goes to running backs. He particularly noted the great history and recent success of Carlos Hyde and Ezekiel Elliott as a major part of that, and that it has “certainly helped us in recruiting.”
- On not having any seniors starting on defense, Meyer he hasn’t given it any thought. He also noted that he only has only on senior starting on offense because his juniors — guys like Raekwon McMillan and J.T. Barrett — are especially talented and that’s where it starts.
- Asked about comparing this year’s team to others, Meyer says he likes his team’s work-ethic and attitude. He doubled-down on his previous assertions that this year’s squad may be his most talented: “I think so.”
- Meyer said he doesn’t recall any players on this team who he needed to push harder because of having to wait so long to play while sitting behind the stars of last season’s team. He said the culture at Ohio State has been created and that the leaders are upholding it.
The No. 2 Buckeyes (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) travel to Madison to take on the Badgers (4-1, 1-1) at 8 p.m. ET this Saturday.