The Miami University football team holds its weekly press conferences on Tuesday. This week it will be held at 10 a.m. at Yager Stadium. I'll give you the highlights by mid-day tomorrow, but tonight I bring you some interesting tidbits from Urban Meyer's first game-week presser at The Ohio State University. The RedHawks open the 2012 season against the Buckeyes Saturday at noon. The game can be seen on the BigTen Network.
Meyer opened the press conference talking about how he wants a hungry team with a chip on its shoulder and how he's excited and honored to be back coaching in "the great state of Ohio." He also talked about Miami, but was very vague and careful not to use any of the players' names.
"Miami, Ohio, I know Miami very well," he said. "I coached in the MAC conference for two years. I have a great deal of respect for them as a university. Like I said, I know them very well. I know the history and tradition. And I also know their coach and I know their quarterback. I've been watching them play, and their receiver. So it's going to be a good challenge for us. On behalf of our players, I can tell you this: Our guys are ready to go play. They're ready to go play on Saturday."
Meyer was complementary about Miami's spread offense, but he did say that the spread he's running at OSU is completely different, as they would like to run the ball more than pass.
"It's completely different than our spread," he said about Miami's offense. "They're a spread that throws it. We're a spread that probably, at the end of the day we might be 50/50 or 60/40 run pass. But we're a line up and come rocking off the ball type of spread offense. They're more of a drop back pass. With that quarterback, tremendous player. And that receiver is really good. Those two kids can play anywhere in America."
Meyer also commented on his quarterback, sophomore Braxton Miller, who led the Buckeyes in passing and rushing last season with 997 yards through the air, completing 67 of 134 passes, and rushing for 695 yards on 144 carries. He had 18 total touchdowns.
"First, Braxton has come a million miles," Meyer said. "I think he's fairly comfortable. Our goal is to make him not an athlete playing quarterback, but a quarterback that's very athletic."
Meyer said the one thing Miller has improved the most is his leadership and his sense of urgency.
"I actually watched him last year quite a bit with ESPN," the coach said. "When we first got him there wasn't a whole lot of urgency. I think the no huddle up-tempo makes the quarterback... you have to be urgent. I think he's becoming a pro at what he does. And he's a quarterback of an offense that's counting on him every play. I think that's the urgency and the way he attacks the game. Not attacks the game. But attacks the preparation for the game. Much better."
Meyer also compared Miller to former University of Florida player Chris Leake saying, "Chris Leak is a guy that was not asked to... he just didn't lead very much. When we got down there, just finished his sophomore year. Very good passer. Not a very good leader. Chris will tell you that. Became a good leader, won a national championship. So I would say Braxton Miller, this is not throwing Braxton underneath the bus, it's just what I saw."
Other than Miller, Meyer was also asked what players jumped out at him? This was his response.
"I would have to say Corey Linsley would be on offense," he said. "The guy that's made the biggest jump, gone from nobody to the apex of our offense. That's the center, which in any offense, but particularly this one, the way we do things, that center's got to be a grown man. I love Corey. I love who he is. I love the seriousness. I love the fact that he was honest about his it wasn't a blame game. He didn't come and blame the previous coaching staff. He blamed himself for his lack of production. So he's without question, in my mind, the number one most improved guy.
Meyer continued, "Carlos Hyde would probably be running a close second. And then Philly Brown is a guy that's come on. So those guys are on offense. On defense, just from what I expect of Garrett Goebel, I had no idea who he was. He's a captain. And really playing very, very good football for us. Travis Howard is a much better player than he was. Those are the two on defense that really stand out to me that have made monumental, from my impressions of them, then to now, those are the guys that really stick out."