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Urban Meyer’s comfortable with Ohio State’s improvement in first Game Week press conference

“As much depth as we’ve had” at WR as the Buckeyes prepare to open up against Indiana.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Media Days Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Tamanini Matt Tamanini is the co-managing editor of Land-Grant Holy Land having joined the site in 2016.

At his first game-week press conference of the 2017 season, Urban Meyer talked about his team’s progression during the fall training camp as they prepare to open up the season with a Big Ten Conference tilt against the Indiana Hoosiers.

In addition to the season-opener taking on the extra significance of being a conference game, Ohio State’s new offensive coordinator, Kevin Wilson, was Indiana’s from 2011-2016, before being let go last December over concerns about player safety. He was officially hired at OSU in January.

Meyer opened up the press conference talking about the horrific aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston. He said that he has reached out to recruit Kendall Sheffield, whose family was impacted by the super storm, and is continuing to keep in touch with them throughout the ordeal.

Meyer said that he is comfortable with the progress that his team has made during camp, coming off of the 31-0 loss against Clemson in the College Football Playoff.

Indiana Gameplan

  • Meyer said that it is much different preparing for a conference opponent in Week One, because there is a large portion of the team that is new to B1G action.
  • Meyer also said that Tate Martell will definitely be one of the true freshmen that makes this week’s travel roster.

Position Battles

  • Urban Meyer said that at the wide receiver position, it’s “as much depth as we’ve had.” He said that six players will rotate in at the WR positions.
  • The head coach said that the tradition of calling parents when a player is named a starter began when his daughters played college sports, and he got a similar call. “That’s one of the coolest things.”
  • Meyer talked about the challenges coming from replacing so many NFL-level talents.
  • He added that Branden Bowen is one of the most improved players on the team, and he won the starting position by a considerable margin. He added that word came through the strength coaches that something clicked for Bowen in early June, and he has been improving ever since.
  • Meyer also said that despite Bowen beating out more experienced players like Demetrius Knox and Matthew Burrell, “No one is counting anyone out. This is a long season.” He went on to discuss the history of players who have continued to fight for playing time after initially being beaten out.
  • The head coach said that J.T. Barrett has made improvements on his accuracy and his timing, trust, and relationships with the team’s wide receivers. Meyer believes that Barrett has long had full control and understanding of the offense, and that continued cohesion with the WRs is his next step.

Injury Updates

  • Meyer declined to elaborate on the suspension of defensive tackle Mike Hill, but that he will update the media at some point in the future.
  • Meyer said that Mike Weber is close to being 100% healthy, and that he doesn’t think that they are at a position where his ability to start is in question.

Other Bits

  • When asked why the program decided to select nine captains this season, Meyer said that a few years ago, Mike Vrabel mentioned that he was never a captain during his time at OSU, and that surprised Meyer. So, he decided that in his program that everyone who deserved to be a captain would be.
  • While Meyer says that his staff keeps in close contact with high school coaches for recruits and commits, he said that he has never intervened in asking a high school coach to not play a player on both sides of the ball. However, he does make sure that players committed to OSU are continuing to live up to expectations.

The second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will open up the first full weekend of the 2017 college football season in Bloomington, IN this Thursday, Aug. 31, at 8/7c. In addition to the Big Ten matchup being host for the first on-site “College GameDay,” of the season the game will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks with their Megacast treatment.