Three days removed from Ohio State’s 49-20 loss Saturday at Purdue, Urban Meyer made his first and only media appearance of the off week when he answered questions Tuesday on the Big Ten coaches teleconference. As the Buckeyes (7-1, 4-1) hit the reset button in practice with coaches on the trail for recruiting, below is a bullet-point recap with quotes from the head coach.
- Meyer confirmed Tuesday’s report of foot surgery for junior wide receiver Austin Mack after he left the Purdue game in the third quarter and exited Ross-Ade Stadium with a walking boot on his left foot. Mack had the procedure done Monday, but Meyer said the receiver’s status is unknown for the rest of the season.
- “Yeah, that’s a big loss,” Meyer said of Mack. “He had surgery (Monday) and we don’t know (of his return). There’s a chance he’ll be back for the bowl game.”
- Ohio State’s struggles with its red-zone offense, run-game production and big-play defense were exposed against Purdue. While most of his coaching staff was on the road for recruiting at the start of the off week, Meyer said he kept coordinators on both sides of the ball in Columbus in an attempt to correct the issues.
- “Well, this (off) week’s going to give us an opportunity to evaluate some schemes that, obviously, we’re having,” Meyer said. “There’s other things we do very well and then there’s things that we don’t, and that’s glaringly obvious what the issues are. Actually, kept the coordinators in (Columbus on Monday) and spent all day (correcting the issues). They’re glaring, and that’s red zone on offense and ability to run the ball when you have to run it and then defense is the defense is a damn big play. To pinpoint the issue with you in a 20-second (response), you can’t do that. It’s more complicated than that and that’s what we’re working on.”
- After the loss, Ohio State returns for a lighter practice schedule during the off week and aims to turn the page before returning to action Nov. 3 vs. Nebraska at Ohio Stadium. Meyer said the team was slated to have a team meeting Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.
- “It depends on the team,” Meyer said. “It’s a very mature team, as opposed to immature, so we’re still — that’s something I’m working through. We’re going to have a team meeting at 2:30 and there’ll be some things brought up, but the one thing you never want to do is start blaming. There’s not (any blame). We don’t do that around here. We’ve got to come together and fix it. We’ve had (adversity before). This is not the first game we’ve lost. You’ve got to somehow regroup and keep going.”
- With issues between the run game and the red zone, Ohio State has relied heavily on sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Meyer said he and his coordinators spent almost all Monday with the focus on how to get sophomore J.K. Dobbins and junior Mike Weber more production at running back.
- “I’d have to say we spent at least 12 hours on that (Monday),” Meyer said. “That’s something that’s the focus for the next two weeks. That has to happen, take advantage of our backs and our backs have go to run through some tackles a little more aggressively. We’ve got to. That’s something that has to happen.”
- In the same timeframe, Meyer said another part of what he and his coordinators prioritized was big plays allowed on defense. Asked about schematic solutions, Meyer said there has been more of an opportunity for open discussion because of the off week as opposed to the normal schedule leading up to a game.
- “The same 12 hours were spent (Monday) doing that and having those conversations and working through that, and you can’t really have any scheme conversation during the year (or) during the season because you have practice Tuesday and Wednesday and then you go play the game,” Meyer said. “So this gives us a chance to evaluate and if we want to work on things, work on it, obviously, this weekend, next week.”