COLUMBUS, Ohio – It’s Thursday afternoon, it’s football season and that means the best hour of the work week is here: Urban Meyer’s call-in radio show.
Meyer talks the Buckeyes upcoming opponent, occasionally dishes on things unrelated to football and then, the last half-hour or so, is dedicated to taking calls from Ohio State fans. Each week we’ll keep a live blog of the proceedings, so you can refresh the page or check back throughout the show.
As the Buckeyes prepare for what looks like their toughest road test of 2016, Meyer addressed a number of topics on his show.
Here’s what Ohio State’s fifth-year head coach, along with former Buckeye great Jim Lachey, discussed on Thursday:
- It’s 12:08 p.m. and Meyer has arrived.
- “The defense is playing great,” Meyer said.
- Michigan State lost to Indiana because of a lot of stuff happening in the fourth quarter, Ohio State didn’t want to let that happen.
- Meyer is very pleased with the rotation of Ohio State’s defensive line.
- Parris Campbell is a “great practice player” and he’s “big and fast” according to Meyer. Calls him a “big play waiting to happen.” Campbell was “very young, like 15 or 16” when he got to Ohio State and has finally matured physically Meyer said. (He had just turned 17.)
12:12 commercial break.
- The injuries for this weekend are the same as they’ve been: Dante Booker is questionable, Corey Smith is out as Meyer said Wednesday night.
- Tom in Napoleon gets the question of the week and wanted to know if there was ever a time Meyer could envision every game being played at night? “Oh, goodness, no.” Meyer cites the wear and tear on the players and recalled his time in the SEC and how many night games they played. Said that with four teams in the Top 10 people want to see Big Ten teams playing in national games and now the night games are becoming more necessary.
- Meyer said his team got to sleep in on Thursday because Ohio State is on fall break this weekend.
- The blocking on special teams is a point of pride and Meyer said he remembers a number of key players on Parris Campbell’s 91-yard kick return at the end of the first half against Indiana.
- Urban Meyer says he puts his best players at the gunner position on punt return, that it’s a “rite of passage” at Ohio State that began with Devin Smith.
- Thursday is a “really important day” according to Meyer, called it “Perfect Thursday” and that practice can’t have balls on the ground or any sloppy play.
- Meyer said the Buckeyes are one short at tailback, referencing Bri’onte Dunn’s dismissal over the summer. Demario McCall has done a great job, he says.
- Pass protection still has to be “firmer,” Meyer said. The Buckeyes need to continue to “grow” along the offensive line.
- Offensive lines love tough quarterbacks, and J.T. Barrett is that kind of player according to Meyer. He said the relationship Ohio State’s tailbacks have a similar relationship to the Slobs.
- Freshman Dwayne Haskins is “outstanding at throwing the ball,” Meyer said. He’s doing a great job on the Ohio State scout team.
- Freshman wide receiver Austin Mack has hit the freshman wall “a little bit” but has been key on special teams Meyer said, but Binjimen Victor has gone the opposite direction and really has begun to step up in practices. That’s why Ohio State played him against Rutgers.
12:23 commercial break.
- It’s time for AT&T’s insider access and the breakdown of Wisconsin.
- Meyer says the Badgers have a great culture, a very good offense and defense and they believe in their system. He said he hopes people think the same about Ohio State, that it recruits players who work with what they do.
- The offenses Wisconsin has faced so far have been more pro-style and “heavy sets” than what the Buckeyes will do.
- The Badgers have a “gigantic offensive line and another NFL running back.”
- Ohio State will try and spread out the Badgers a bit, Meyer said.
- Expect a lot of the jet-sweep from Wisconsin, Meyer recalled how good the Badgers ran it when Melvin Gordon was at UW.
- Meyer spoke on the remarkable nature of Wisconsin’s consistency over the years despite coaching changes.
- Rich from Baltimore asks about the chance for rough weather and Meyer said it’s something the Buckeyes will keep in mind but it won’t change much about what they do now.
- To win on the road, Meyer – 19-0 on the road – the credit goes to the players on his team who are “really committed to winning.” There’s “nothing better” than getting on the plane exhausted with a win.
- Demario McCall(er): “We’re excited about him,” Meyer says about the freshman from North Ridgeville. Says he’s going to be a “good player but he’s still a little light.”
- Meyer said stadiums are stadiums, locker rooms are locker rooms and there’s no reason to take guys into the stadium before the games.
- Armando in Columbus talks sports performance data and wonders how much analytic research goes into game planning: “We’re not over the top.” Meyer says he’s more about the flow of the game and that analytics sometimes take away the “toughness of the team.” Recalled a moment at Michigan years ago that analytics said don’t go for it on a fourth down but Ed Warinner and his guys believed they’d get it, and they did.
- Meyer also said that how Ohio State’s defense is playing helps him decide when to go for it on fourth downs, as opposed to getting too deep into the analytics.
12:36 commercial break.
We’re back. Thank goodness, I had broken out into a rash.
- Dre’Mont Jones is “so talented” and Meyer said he’s one of the more talented players on the football team. “What a great future he has.”
- Meyer said Robert Landers is quick-twitch guy and that he’s excited about the 6-foot-tall Landers facing off against the big Badgers offensive line.
- Looking back to the 59-0 win against Wisconsin in 2014, Meyer said he’s not sure if that was “15 or 16 years ago.” Says there’s a lot of different personnel and that early deep ball “hits” softened up the Badgers defense. Called it an “A-to-Z” game for the Buckeyes but that it has nothing to do with Saturday night’s game.
- Ohio State is preparing for Alex Hornibrook at quarterback.
- Chris from New Albany questioned Meyer about what he’s seeing on the sidelines on the game. Meyer said it depends on the situation and that he’s into the “play hard” and the energy and toughness. He said it is hard to see what’s going on schematically from the sideline.
- Meyer joked that Kerry Coombs would be dangling from the press box if he was forced to sit up in the booth and away from the energy of the field.
- Nate in Westerville wanted to know what Ohio State is doing to get ready for Wisconsin’s defense. Meyer said the Buckeyes will just “do what we do” and “go to work on it.” The Buckeyes see the defense they’ll face and go to work.
- Urban Meyer said if you want to buy stock in someone’s future, that Joe Burger is the kid to do it on. Also raved about transfer Jarrod Barnes, who is working on his Ph.D and playing on the football team.
- Malik Hooker has a “great knack for the ball” and Meyer says he just wishes he had been able to score on his fourth quarter interception against the Hoosiers.