With a reportedly larger than normal national media contingency in the house, Urban Meyer spoke to the media gathered at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center to address Ohio State's 55-14 win over Illinois from over the weekend, the huge week ahead, and the Buckeyes' game of the year in East Lansing this coming weekend.
Amongst the highlights from Monday late morning's press conference:
-- Meyer said Eli Apple is improving weekly and graded a champion
-- Added that Curtis Grant was the defensive player of the game and played his best game as a Buckeye.
-- Taylor Decker, Evan Spencer, Ezekiel Elliott, Dontre Wilson and Jalin Marshall and Jacoby Boren were champions, the latter two the players of the game
-- "Obviously a big week ... The most prepared team will win."
-- "Oh, I don't know, we're just working on third downs ... That's a good idea [on banning green things from the team facilities]"
-- "I would love our players to have a very clear understanding of rivalry games ... To say this is a rivalry game? No. That would diminish the rivalry we've had for a hundred years. We have one rival here."
-- "What was the difference [last year]? It came down to a few plays... I thought our pass defense hurt us last year."
-- "I think it's probably real ... It's not a shock to us now. I think it does help that we've had some night games to prepare for this."
-- "Well, we've seen it all this year. The one thing about their coach and their coaching staff is they're pretty set in what they do, and they're really good at it."
-- "Two things, I think, you know, we had a big back last year that ran through some tackles. I think our backs are pretty good and they're going to get more physical as they get better, but they've been pretty good. Also, teams have given us some tough looks to run through ... The personnel on defenses are so good in those situations; that's something we're going to sink a lot of time into."
-- "Devin Smith is the best gunner [on punt coverage] in America. He's also our downfield threat and does a very good job at that."
-- Michigan State has 7 fifth-year starters. Meyer says that will be a "huge factor".
-- "We've all seen horror stories of teams that don't show up for bowl games because they're devastated ... We didn't win the [Orange Bowl] game but we played our tails off."
-- On MSU: "Good players in a good scheme" "This [Michigan State] team can play in any conference on any level anywhere."
-- "The one thing [J.T. Barrett] does even better than Braxton [Miller] is when something's not there, he gets us to 2nd-and-4, 2nd-and-5. Those were not designed runs, but sometimes things don't work out the way you envision them."