After Wednesday afternoon’s practice, Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer addressed the gaggle of assembled media to discuss his team’s preparations for its first major test of the 2016 season. On Saturday, the No. 3 Buckeyes travel to Norman, OK to take on the No. 14 Oklahoma Sooners, who are looking to revive their season after a 33-23 opening week loss to Houston.
Coming off of two lopsided victories, the Buckeyes will be stepping up in competition, taking on one of the most storied and successful programs in college football history.
Linebacker Dante Booker’s been downgraded to questionable for Saturday’s game (MCL sprain), and Jerome Baker has practiced well in the OLB position in his place.
The week of practice
When asked about how he thinks that the week of practice has gone, Meyer said, “I love it. Our effort’s been outstanding.” He added that they will need it on Saturday, because of how talented and well-coached Oklahoma is.
Meyer mentioned that he has yet to see enough from his wide receivers to determine who the top playmakers are, but he did stress that J.T. Barrett has a number of good targets at WR.
Thoughts on Oklahoma
Meyer reiterated that Houston didn’t run the ball well against OU, but he did say that it was helpful to see a similar offense play the Sooners to get an idea as to how they will line up in certain situations.
Meyer noted that OU gives QB Baker Mayfield a lot of responsibility, “He knows that offense very well, you can tell... He’s had some outstanding plays... when nothing’s there. It’s tough to bring him down.”
Meyer said that Barrett will audible this weekend completely with hand signals, which should make changing the play in a hostile environment much easier than it otherwise would be.
When asked what he liked about Sooners’ head coach Bob Stoops, Meyer said, “I like that he’s from Ohio, and Northeast Ohio specifically.” He also notes that they have similar family and childhood backgrounds. He went on to credit Stoops with being one of the first successful head coaches to show him that having a healthy work-life balance is possible.
Meyer said that to win this Saturday’s game the Buckeyes must have toughness. “This is going to be one of those prize fights.”
Mental health interview
When asked about his recent Bleacher Report interview about battling mental health issues, Meyer said that he was convinced to do it when the reporter said, “I think we can help some people.”