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Urban Meyer: Redshirt philosophy unchanged; health key to winning in November

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With just one win — or a Michigan State loss — in the way of Ohio State and a ticket to the Big Ten Championship Game, coach Urban Meyer said staying healthy is the key to winning late in the season.

Meyer spoke on the Big Ten teleconference Tuesday afternoon and addressed OSU’s goal of clinching a spot in the conference title game, the development of junior offensive lineman Taylor Decker and his unwavering stance on redshirting players. He also talked about the upcoming matchup with Indiana and reiterated praise for one Hoosier offensive weapon.

  • Meyer said he hopes his players understand that “they clinch a spot in the championship game with a win.”
  • Meyer said the Buckeyes had probably their best Sunday practice of the season this week.
  • He said Decker is a “model citizen for a team and program … he’s a much better player too.”
  • Meyer on Decker: “I can’t say enough about how much he’s grown in two years.”
  • Meyer said he “probably should have played” freshman defensive lineman Sam Hubbard earlier this season because “he’s doing really, really good.” Meyer added that it’s too hard to burn a year of eligibility by putting a player on the field this late in the season.
  • Meyer said he still doesn’t intend to redshirt players off the bat. “If you’re not good enough, you won’t play or if you’re hurt, you won’t play,” he said. “If you’re recruiting a good player, play him.”
  • He singled out redshirt-freshman cornerback Eli Apple and redshirt-freshman linebacker Darron Lee as two players who benefited from sitting out a season.
  • Meyer said he doesn’t expect Apple to be at OSU for five years. “My guess is, if he continues to improve, that they move on,” he said.
  • On what the key to winning in November is, Meyer said: “Without question, it’s the health of your team and managing practice.”
  • He singled out freshman linebacker Dante Booker and freshman safety Erick Smith as two young players who are excelling late in the season after developing throughout the year.
  • Meyer said Indiana junior running back Tevin Coleman is “ridiculous.” Coleman ran for 307 yards in a loss to Rutgers last week.
  • He added that Coleman is “definitely an NFL running back.”
  • Meyer said sophomore punter Cameron Johnston had his “worst day this year” against Minnesota last Saturday.
  • He said current Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith had a similar impact at Utah that redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett has had in place of senior Braxton Miller this season.

The Buckeyes are scheduled to take on Indiana on Saturday at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for noon.

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