Following Ohio State's first win of the season, Urban Meyer stopped by 97.1 The Fan for his first weekly call-in show to talk about beating Virginia Tech and preparing for their home-opener against Hawaii.
The quarterback competition is finally over, with Cardale Jones taking the season's first snap under center. There could be a new starter each week, Meyer is not pigeon-holing the starting quarterback position for the whole season.
"J.T. will play, absolutely, he will play," confirmed Meyer.
One of the reasons he chose Cardale Jones was the strength of Virginia Tech's defensive front; Jones is a little bigger than Barrett and was able to stay in the pocket and throw over their heads, which happened a few times.
Meyer talked about the "nasty" offensive line for the Buckeyes and how they've grown since 2014. The freshman class includes a lot of young players with talent, and Meyer lauds Coach Warinner and his effort to build the line.
The Buckeyes will return several suspended players in Week 2, and when asked how Meyer integrates those players, "we should get four guys back." He went on to elaborate that these suspended players have to practice well and earn back playing time. Joey Bosa has been great, but for the other players, Curtis Samuel and Braxton Miller will play so they will need to wiggle into the lineup.
Parris Campbell made his collegiate debut and was successful on punt and kick returns specifically. He had the one dropped pass early on and Meyer admits, "eventually you have to catch that one," but Meyer respects Campbell's work ethic and speed, noting he was raised right and he's a great kid.
In hindsight, Meyer would have liked to target Braxton Miller a few more times, but Virginia Tech's secondary was tough and played a good defensive scheme to limit those opportunities.
When asked about VT's atmosphere, Meyer said, "I appreciate great fan bases, and great coaches who build fan bases." The head coach was happy that there were no penalties or issues due to noise, but respects Frank Beamer's program and Top 10 game environment.
Looking ahead to Hawaii, Meyer notes, "they had a big win, a big big win, and they are rested." Hawaii is coming off a 10-day prep whereas the Buckeyes only have four days in between. Meyer is familiar with Hawaii's game play having played there at least 3 times, back when he coached for Colorado State and Notre Dame, he has a lot of respect for the program, noting one of their biggest strengths is having momentum.
They don't have the depth Ohio State has, so they instead run a unique Baylor-like offense; Hawaii has a very good quarterback who transferred from USC and several receivers who could've played anywhere in the country. On the other side of the ball, Coach Warinner has to prepare the Buckeye offensive line to face a 3-4 defense after months of preparing for VT's bear defense.
On Ezekiel Elliott's blocking, Meyer didn't hesitate, "he's the best I've ever been around, he's incredible without the ball." He made two blocks during Miller's long touchdown run.
One of the team's weak spot is admittedly at tight end, with Meyer calling it "a mess". Ohio State only took two tight ends to Blacksburg, and admits its one of the positions they need to recruit better. Marcus Baugh had his best week of practices since Week 1 and will see more playing time moving forward. Nick Vannett "didn't play very good," but Meyer verifies that he had a great camp and will certainly turn things around.
It's no secret that Urban Meyer puts a lot of importance on special teams, and when asked about the performance of starting kicker Jack Willoughby, Meyer's succinct reply, "he missed a field goal." The team's starting kicker for Hawaii will be decided at Thursday's practice; whoever kicks best, will start.
Dontre Wilson and Curtis Samuel will likely be returning kicks on Saturday, but Ohio State hasn't finalized who will be the designated returner for the season.
Playing at home is always something Meyer loves. The players "can not wait" to see all the students and fans, especially players like Marshon Lattimore, Cleveland native.
Meyer hopes to get some freshman in the game against Hawaii, and let the younger guys start gaining experience.
No major injuries out of the Virginia Tech game aside for some bumps and bruises. Having a few less days than normal to recover from the team's first game is their only issue ahead of Hawaii.