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Friday, December 6, 2013
Notes from Urban Meyer in Indy

By Brian Bennett

INDIANAPOLIS -- Ohio State coach Urban Meyer dropped the newsiest item of the Big Ten championship game coaches' press conferences when he told the media that offensive lineman Marcus Hall would not start Saturday night's game.

The Buckeyes' second-year coach also had some other interesting things to say on the eve of the title game. Here are some highlights from Meyer's session:

• Middle linebacker Curtis Grant played sparingly against Michigan and missed the previous two games because of ankle and back injuries. Meyer said Grant "still has a little bit of a wobble" but that he practiced all week and should play Saturday night.

Urban Meyer
Urban Meyer said Friday he was impressed with his defense's response to its performance vs. Michigan.
• Wide receiver Corey "Philly" Brown has a small stress fracture in his leg, which has contributed to him recording only two catches for six yards the past two games. Meyer said Brown is not 100 percent but should be close to it for Michigan State. Earlier this week, Brown tweeted a response to the Spartans' "No-Fly Zone" nickname for their secondary, saying, "We fly whenever we please."

• Meyer said he didn't see any ill aftereffects for his defense following the performance at Michigan in which the Buckeyes gave up 41 points and 603 total yards. Sunday, he said, was tough when players had to watch the film from that game. But he said nobody hung their head during the week, and "I saw a team that went to work. ... I was impressed with how our defense responded."

• For the first time in two years under Meyer, Ohio State is actually in position to play for the national title since the Buckeyes are ranked No. 2 in the BCS this week. Win Saturday, and there's a great chance they will be in the championship game. But Meyer said "there has not been one peep" from his team about the BCS title implications.

"You wish you could get your guys, like raising your children, put them away on a desert island until they're ready to make the right decisions and focus," he said. "On top of that, it's been finals week at Ohio State. A lot of things going on. I like the maturity of our team.  You lean on the coaches and the leaders on your team to stay focused. We'll see how we play. "

• How's this for respect: Meyer said Michigan State's defense is among the top three he's ever faced, including his time in the SEC.

Meyer said he and his coaching staff spent time studying the film of last year's 17-16 win in East Lansing even though it happened way back in September 2012. That was the fewest points the Buckeyes have scored in two years under Meyer. "We did not play great," he said. "We had two good drives. Other than that, it was not a very good performance by the Ohio State offense. "

• A reporter began his question noting that Meyer, who is 24-0 at Ohio State, would have to lose a game eventually. Meyer smiled and said, "[I] appreciate that."