Urban Meyer spoke to a sizable gathered press corp at Day 2 of the 2016 Big Ten Media Days. As per usual, there was a palpable buzz surrounding the Ohio State head man and the excitement surrounding the greenest team in his tenure in Columbus, one that despite relative inexperience was picked by the media to win the conference this fall.
With the Buckeyes’ three captains, QB J.T. Barrett, LB Raekwon McMillan, and C Pat Elflein in tow, Meyer and co. made the media rounds for the second of two straight days before Meyer took the microphone himself to talk all things 2016 Buckeye football.
Here were the highlights from Meyer’s 10+ minute press session in Chicago:
-Meyer began by offering thoughts and prayers to the Sadler and Foltz families after the tragic death of the former Michigan State and Nebraska punters over the weekend.
-Meyer called the team “very young” but “very talented” and again pointed out that the Buckeyes have 44 scholarship players who have freshman eligibility.
-Meyer confirmed there was “no chance” Bri’onte Dunn would be welcomed back after his dismissal. Said Demario McCall, Antonio Williams, and Mike Weber as the traditional running backs is a bit of a depth concern and the coaches will have to manage their repetitions accordingly during camp.
-The OSU coach confirmed he “thinks” Mike Weber will be the Buckeyes’ starting running back. “I love where he’s at physically.”
-”We want to play the freshmen as soon as we can.” He conceded it wasn’t necessarily realistic but he’d like to play as many as he can.
-Meyer added true freshman lineman Michael Jordan will probably also be a starter
-Meyer said he sees the potential for the team to be a Big Ten champion, College Football Playoff type team. “2014 was the template everyone wants. There’s a lot of pressure on the coaches ... to get them game ready.”
-”I don’t have any choice ... I’m not going to say I like it,” Meyer said about heading to Oklahoma with this inexperienced team. “It’s there. We know it’s coming. I’m glad we have two games to get our feet ready.”
-”That’s a long ways off,” Meyer said about the Ohio State-Michigan game. “It’s a rivalry and everyone knows how we treat that rivalry...It’s there every day.”
-Meyer denied negative recruiting Penn State. “Absolutely not ... I’ll address that with Coach Franklin if I have to.”
-”I can’t imagine going into this [season] without J.T. [Barrett] and the other guy, Pat Elflein. Elflein’s the best center in college football in my opinion.”
-Meyer said J.T. Barrett did not have a great camp last season for whatever reason and said he’s talked about it with him. Speculated perhaps Barrett having coming back from injury and all the distractions about who would start undermined this efforts some.
-Meyer said his preference is not to hire friends but Greg Schiano was an exception to the rule. Said they’re very close.
-Meyer singled out K.J. Hill as a player he’s excited to watch, added there’s many more. Said Noah Brown will be a starter like he was expected to be last year before an injury cost him his season.