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Meyer praises OSU players

December 1, 2012
By BETTY J. POKAS , Times Leader

Selflessness isn't often used by a college football coach about a team with an undefeated season, but it was among the first things mentioned during Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer's wrap-up press conference

"The memory that I'll always have of this season ... is just the complete selflessness (of the players)," said Meyer who went on to describe it as "the best I've seen."

Meyer isn't the only one to refer the players' unselfish attitude. After the OSU-Michigan game, several Buckeyes commented about it.

OSU junior wide receiver Corey Brown said, "It's been our motto the whole season: to win as many games as possible for the seniors. We wanted to send them out the right way because they didn't deserve this bowl ban but they never complained about it. They came every day and worked at practice, and that's why coach Meyer calls them the most unselfish group."

Meyer also said the team is incredible, mentioning the players' "character, determination and genuine love for one another. ... It's real, I witnessed it. I saw it.

"I saw a team that had holes and they filled the holes."

Now the team and coaches are moving forward to next season, and there's work to be done with the remaining players as well as with motivating younger players.

Meyer said the greatest form of teaching for football specific drills is video rather than just yelling about what should be done. Mentioning there will be a wall dedicated to this team, he went on to say, "There will be a multitude of ways I'm still working on, being as creative as we can on showing them (younger players) the selfless approach to this great game."

In addition to admiring the players' attitude, the coach also commented, "This team has grown to the point where it can play anybody in the country."

He said the weakest area of the team right now is linebacker and added, "I'm not talking about Ryan Shazier. I think he's an excellent linebacker."

Shazier, according to the coach, has become a big-time linebacker, and he made the turnaround during the OSU-Purdue game. "I think Luke Fickell did a really good job with him."

Meyer said he's worrying "about the corner a little bit."

The coach referred to the quarterback as "the most unique position in all sports." He indicated it was comparable to a center in volleyball, a position that his daughter plays.

After noting the "quarterback has to run the show," he said that wasn't done by Buckeye QB Braxton Miller a year ago and not earlier this year.

The coach said Miller's accuracy in passing and accuracy in the pocket also have shown improvement, but still have a long way to go.

Noting Miller had called the team together, he added, "His growth has been experiential."

Later in the press conference, he said, "I think Braxton will become the best quarterback in America," but he's not there yet.

As he looked forward to next football season, Meyer said his concern is complacency, and it's important to make sure that doesn't take place.

"We need an angry team," he said. "We're going to try to push their buttons to get an angry team."

The press conference wasn't without humor. At one point, Meyer interrupted to jokingly remark about an individual in the crowd who was wearing a blue shirt.

He also told of his contract with his three children about attending their activities and taking care of his health while coaching. In fulfilling part of the contract, he received two tickets for running red lights. The action was caught on traffic camera and when notified about the matter, he thought a staffer who had used his car had been responsible for the tickets. He then realized the incidents occurred when he was on his way to his son's football game.

Meyer's wife had sent texts - "You'd better get here." He was late, but he saw the game.

BETTY'S BANTER

MILLER is the only quarterback from the Big Ten Conference and the only sophomore among 10 candidates to be a finalist for the Manning Award created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in honor of the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning.

The only quarterback in the nation who is 12-0 as a starter this year, he is the Big Ten Conference's Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year and is the Big Ten recipient of the Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year award in addition to being a Heisman Trophy candidate and one of three finalists for the Davey O'Brien national quarterback award. Miller also is one of the Walter Camp Award's 15 "players to watch."...

OSU SENIOR defensive end John Simon was named the Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year by the Big Ten Conference, and senior linebacker Zach Boren, who selflessly switched positions just past midseason from starting fullback to starting linebacker received the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.

Simon and Boren also received special praise from Meyer who said they were "incredible people," and "I'm a much better human being for being around them."

They were two of seven Buckeyes named first-team all-Big Ten and another eight players were either second-team or honorable mention all-Big Ten. ...

Pokas can be reached at bettypokas@yahoo.com.

 
 

 

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