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3 notes from Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference

Redshirt senior H-back Braxton Miller (1) carries the ball while being hit by a Hawaii defender during a game at Ohio Stadium on Sept. 12. OSU won, 38-0. Credit: Muyao Shen / Asst. Photo Editor

Redshirt senior H-back Braxton Miller (1) carries the ball while being hit by a Hawaii defender during a game at Ohio Stadium on Sept. 12. OSU won, 38-0. Credit: Muyao Shen / Asst. Photo Editor

Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer addressed the media on Monday afternoon to discuss the Buckeyes’ victory over Hawaii on Saturday as well as to discuss their upcoming matchup against Northern Illinois.

Here are highlights from Meyer’s press conference:

Gameday champions

After each game, Meyer and his staff evaluate the performances of players and name the game’s best performers “champions.”

Meyer announced those Buckeyes that obtained those honors against Hawaii.

For the defense, which pitched a shutout against the Rainbow Warriors, the champions were rather abundant.

Redshirt sophomore cornerbacks Eli Apple and Gareon Conley, as well as redshirt junior safety Tyvis Powell, were evaluated as champions for their performances in the 38-0 win.

“Our secondary is playing at very, very high level,” Meyer said.

A pair of linebackers, senior Joshua Perry and sophomore Raekwon McMillan, graded out as champions. Redshirt sophomore defensive end Tyquan Lewis also was named, making it six Scarlet and Gray defenders.

As for the offense, which Meyer said “didn’t play very well,” there were only two players who graded out as champions: junior tailback Ezekiel Elliott and sophomore H-back Curtis Samuel.

He added that Elliott, who rushed for 101 yards and three touchdowns, was the offensive player of the game for the Buckeyes.

An update on the quarterback battle

Meyer confirmed that redshirt junior Cardale Jones is still the team’s starter, for now.

“He’s the starting quarterback. I met with him yesterday,” Meyer said.

Redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett, who quarterbacked the final eight minutes of the first half after a shaky start for Jones, continues to get reps in practice.

Meyer said Barrett “has not beaten (Jones) out yet” but that he will keep getting opportunities to do that.

As for the quarterbacks’ performances against the Rainbow Warriors, Meyer wouldn’t say he was disappointed but he wasn’t overjoyed.

“I think we have two excellent quarterbacks, and I expect them to play very well. Neither of them played very well Saturday,” he said.

The use of direct snaps

So far in their opening two games, the Buckeyes have run a lot of direct snaps to players who aren’t quarterbacks, especially redshirt senior H-back Braxton Miller.

Against Hawaii, the two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year had the ball snapped directly to him eight times.

Meyer offered some insight as to the decision to run these types of plays with players like Miller, junior H-back Dontre Wilson, redshirt sophomore Jalin Marshall or even Percy Harvin from his time at the University of Florida.

“It’s hard to get receivers the ball. If they roll up on you or double you, you can’t get them the ball,” he said. “It’s not real hard — if you want to really give them the ball, put them behind center five yards and snap it to them.”

Running those wildcat-like plays works at times, but Meyer said it’s “a little more complicated when people know you’re not going to throw.”

However with Miller, a former quarterback, the possibility to throw does exist, but the question was if the shoulder he injured in August 2014 would be healed enough to pass.

Meyer all but answered that question on Monday.

“The good thing is Braxton can throw and will throw,” he said.

Up next

The Buckeyes are scheduled to be back in action on Saturday, against Northern Illinois. Kick off is set for 3:30 p.m. at Ohio Stadium.

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