The mood in the postgame press conference room following No. 6 Ohio State’s 55-24 loss to Iowa last Saturday was noticeably down. Head coach Urban Meyer and the two players — center Billy Price and defensive end Tyquan Lewis — were both clearly emotional about the loss they suffered that could prove to be the loss that wipes out its playoff hopes.
Meyer spoke on the Big Ten coaches teleconference Tuesday about what he said to the team after the game as he attempted to keep the morale up in the locker room. The message to the whole team — players and coaches alike — was simple.
“Move forward,” Meyer said. “We have great trust, great confidence. I just had that discussion with our staff yesterday where we gave up an incredible amount of rushing yards and the week before we shut down Saquon Barkley, arguably the best back in the league or in the country. And then J.T. was 13-for-13 or 16-for-16, or whatever it was, and then it’s athletics and you’ve got to rebound and put that one behind you, which is hard, but you’ve got to move forward.”
Meyer said his team knows what is at stake in the upcoming matchup against Michigan State and that the team still has plenty left for which to play.
“They understand, they’re a very smart team, understand what’s at stake,” Meyer said. “Come back home and play against the other team that’s tied with us for first place. I’ll know more today, obviously we haven’t seen them yet. These meetings start here in a few minutes.”
Here are some more topics he discussed Tuesday.
Meyer on Michigan State’s improved season: “Their quarterback’s really starting to play well. Threw for 800 yards the last two games. Defense, they’re No. 1 in the league in rush defense. Playing typical Michigan State, very good defense. So they’ve just got some momentum right now.”
Meyer on the linebackers’ performance this season: “This past week was not good at all. To this point, they’ve been playing very solid, at times very good. Especially when you have some new guys in there. Jerome Baker is really the only returning starter. At times, they’ve played very well. And like the week before, they played very, very well. And this week we did not.”
Meyer on balancing quarterback and tailback rush attempts: “A lot of those are, when you run the read game, they’re a couple defenses that really tried to take the tailback out of the game. So we’ve been working on that hard this week.”
Meyer on whether the inconsistent play is the result of a lack of leadership: “No I think this is one of the better groups that I’ve had. It’s perplexing at times because I know they care so much. The two ejections, one was a mistake by the official and one was in the heat of the moment, there wasn’t a purpose or intent to it.”
Meyer on safety Damon Webb’s career and 2017 season: “A very good career. Obviously it remains to be seen how he plays these last few games out, but he’s a very good player for us. Good person … He’s done a pretty good job [this season]. Obviously, the taste in your mouth from last weekend was not good, but before that he’s been playing pretty good.”