Meyer overhauls defense, mentors Miller

CANTON, Ohio -- A 12-2 record is just not good enough for the Ohio State Buckeyes, that according to coach Urban Meyer, who described the changes he and the coaching staff have made this offseason during a speech at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club Monday.

One of Meyer's first orders of business was revamping a defense that gave up an average 268 passing yards per game and 31 touchdown passes to the opposition last season, including a season-worst showing in the Orange Bowl where wide receiver Sammy Watkins set Clemson and Orange Bowl records with 227 yards receiving on 16 receptions.

"The pass defense was poor, and it bit us last year when we played teams that could throw the ball," Meyer said, flatly. "It cost us a chance to play for the title, so we have to get much better.

"It's a complete overhaul of the terminology, the way we do our business over there, and I'm very involved. My job's not just to tell them what to do, but to make sure we're going about our business in a professional manner. I'll be disappointed if we don't have the best D-line in the Big Ten, if not America."

Meyer made two additions to his coaching staff with the design of improving the defense. He hired Larry Johnson to mentor the defensive line and serve as the assistant head coach, as well as Chris Ash to be the co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach.

"On defense, it's a complete overhaul," Meyer said. "It's the first time in my career I spent the entire spring on defense. I'm not an expert on defense, but I'm an expert on getting guys to go hard.

"We had an issue last year. We weren't very good on defense. You can't win championships without having a great defense. Ohio State, for years and years, has had arguably as good a defense as anyone in America."

Working with quarterback Braxton Miller was the other focus of Meyer's offseason.

While Miller suffered a shoulder injury in the Orange Bowl that required surgery and kept him out of the spring practices, he was at Meyer's side during the workouts in order to improve his ability to recognize opposing defenses.

"Braxton got caught in a really bad situation," Meyer said. "He was recruited to learn from another quarterback in Terrelle Pryor. Bad things happened, and the next thing you know, he was playing as a true freshman. He wasn't ready. Sometimes, with that position, playing a guy too early sets you back a year. That happened a little bit.

"I love Braxton. He's a three-point student. He does things right. There's no off-the-field or anything. He's a superstar. He can't walk into a restaurant, but he's very humble and he was raised the right way. His only issue that keeps him from being the best quarterback in America is just knowledge and work habits as far as keeping his eyes on the secondary.

"Even with a hurt shoulder, he stood back with me. Every practice, we're calling out coverages. Typical with a young quarterback, their eyes go to the pass rush, so we've got to keep our eyes downfield, and he's working very hard on that."


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment