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Football: Urban Meyer views himself as game manager in his first Big Ten Coaches Teleconference

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer answers questions during his first press conference back from suspension. Credit: Amal Saeed | Assistant Photo Editor

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer made his return to the Big Ten Coaches Teleconference Tuesday. With much of the conversations in Monday’s press conference focusing on his suspension and former wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Zach Smith, Meyer focused more on football Tuesday as the Buckeyes prepare to take on Tulane at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

With that, Meyer said, even though he is returning, he will not try and disrupt the offensive momentum that Ohio State has had through the first three games of the season under offensive coordinator Ryan Day.

Meyer said Tuesday he will be more of a “game manager” on the sideline while Day, who will be on the sideline with the head coach, and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson run the offense.

“Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson have done such a great job. I’m going to be more of a game manager,” Meyer said. “Obviously, I’ll be involved, but I’ll be more of a game manager at this point.”

Meyer said the focus on the offense moving forward has to be on taking care of the ball, pointing out the multiple drops made by the receivers last Saturday against TCU, despite him saying the receivers catch the ball pretty well.

For the rest of the offense, Meyer said the goal is to continue to do what it has been doing. He said the offensive line has protected the quarterback well and he would like to see more consistency from his running back room.

Meyer also shared that freshman running back Brian Snead is back with the team after failing to make the trip to Arlington, Texas, for the game against TCU due to disciplinary reasons.

Haskins runs different offense with same concepts

When asked about the offense, Meyer said redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins has been running a different style of offense compared to what former Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett ran in his tenure, but with many of the same ideas.

When it comes to Haskins not using the quarterback run as much as Barrett did, Meyer said that yardage will have to come elsewhere.

“Those are lost yardage and, obviously, statistically and production wise he has been great,” Meyer said. “But the lost yardage is the Q-run, the Q-draw, etc. and the Q-read plays. You have to pick up that yardage somewhere else.”

Meyer said that Haskins has been very accurate and the receivers and running backs have helped him pick up that yardage lost.

Defense has to eliminate big plays

Through the first three games of the season, Meyer said one of the main differences he needs to see from the Ohio State defense is eliminating the big plays.

“On defense, too many big plays, and that’s just obvious,” Meyer said. “Get aligned and get the guy down if he makes the second level.”

Even with a young group of linebackers in the middle, Meyer said the group has been progressing well, saying that the linebackers did have a bit of trouble with the tempo against TCU on Saturday, but have progressed well with three new linebackers playing on a regular basis including sophomore Baron Browning at middle linebacker and junior Malik Harrison, who he said has been “great.”

Meyer also said the play of junior defensive end Nick Bosa has been exceptional.

“He’s one of the best players I have ever been around and even a better person,” Meyer said. “Just an elite player.”

Meyer said Bosa’s future status will be updated midweek. He announced Monday that Bosa will not play against Tulane on Saturday due to an abdominal/groin injury.

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