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Urban Meyer Wisconsin week press conference: "This is an extremely close team"

Adversity is the word of the day for Ohio State as they prepare for Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Before the presser, an Ohio State spokesman said CPD is still investigating the cause of death for Kosta Karageorge, and as such, they can't offer additional comment, nipping that topic in the bud.

Meyer opened by thanking students and fans, and by pointing out that Ohio State lead the nation in attendance. "We're a student lead program", and that they want to make sure they don't forget students when evaluating needs from boosters, corporate sponsors. "The minute you quick being appreciative of the students, you lose them, and we don't want to lose them."

He also went out of his way to thank his seniors. "Respect isn't given around here, it's earned". He pointed out that they joined the program after losing seven games and had a losing record, and then also lost a bowl game. Now, they've won 24 straight Big Ten regular season games, won three division titles, and one of the most successful groups in college. Meyer also specifically mentioned that this group is missing a championship.

Meyer said he talked to J.T. Barrett last night, said his injury was very similar to Evan Spencer, who has recovered well. Meyer says he has an incredible amount of respect for J.T, says he's a "wonderful young man, and an incredible leader". He also indicated that he is a "Heisman candidate", and says that he absolutely should get a trip to New York. "A leader of one of the top five teams in America, and I hope he is invited to New York."

"Gary Andersen is a dear friend of mine and a great football coach", on Wisconsin. Meyer pointed out that they lost their front seven on defense last year, and they've reloaded again. Meyer added that they're aware they're facing another Heisman candidate in Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon.

When asked how he copes with all of the adversity over the last week, Meyer first noted that he disagreed with the ruling about Noah Spence, saying he made mistakes that "a lot of young people make", but credited Ohio State in doing the best they could to help in, in not turning their back. Then, Meyer added the tragedy with Karageorge and the Barrett injury, made it a tough week. "We believe in having a close team that leans on each other in tough times", and that people step up, like Mike Bennett.

"Every excuse is out there. This will be a real challenge."

"This is life lessons and so much deeper than lining up on the football field. But sometimes, adversity, if you have a real close group, can bring people together."

Meyer added that he sees lots of players around the offices, and that he loves a chance to build those relationships. "This helps get families through tough situations."

When asked how he, as a coach, helps players through this adversity, he added that he called Cris Carter, and he thankful for the support he gives to the players and to the program. Meyer said he's reached out to other before, and that there "isn't a page to deal with this in the coaching manual."

When asked how being a walk-on is different from how it used to be, Meyer singled out how great it is that he can feed his walk-ons. Couldn't do that before, saves kids $3,000 a year. Says he wants to take care of the walk-ons on special teams, says they deserve that shot.

Meyer added that there are scholarship guys on the team that don't love football, but that all of his walk-ons do it because they love it and they love Ohio State. Meyer said that Kosta loved being a walk-on as well.

After being asked about having a mental edge about being an underdog, Meyer said he didn't know they were underdogs in last year's Big Ten championship game, or that they were underdogs against Wisconsin. Also added that the Buckeyes haven't had a chance to watch extensive tape on Wisconsin yet.

When asked if they would burn the redshirt for Collier in case something happened to Cardale Jones, Meyer said that "hasn't been determined yet", and that Jalin Marshall would also be in that mix at QB.

When asked about Cardale Jones, Meyer said "it's going to be his first start, in a great environment, but he's taken snaps with the first team offense and understands our system."

"We expect our QBs to prepare on their own", and singled out J.T. Barrett for being exceptionally through in preparing on his own, calling him a "grinder". Is Cardale Jones that type? "I'll let you know". Meyer said Jones did a good job in the spring, and ran with the ones then.

Meyer said "this is the best group of medical people I've ever been around", when asked about his faith in the medical staff in handling concussions.

When asked if they're going to limit runs now that they have injuries at QB, Meyer added they're talking about that as a staff, but "we have to win this game", and they aren't saving anything.