Cotton Bowl: Five highlights from Meyer, Helton press conference

Helton: Ohio State ‘most complete team we’ve faced’


Highlights

Meyer says Ezekiel Elliott will be with team Friday.

Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Southern California’s Clay Helton posed for the traditional, awkward trophy photo Thursday at the Omni Dallas Hotel, shaking hands with the Cotton Bowl trophy in between them as cameras clicked.

With that, more than three weeks of talk about the game ended. Meyer’s Ohio State Buckeyes and Helton’s USC Trojans play at 8:30 p.m. Friday at AT&T Stadium. This was their last press conference before the game. Here are five highlights from the coaches’ comments:

» PREVIEW: What you need to know about Cotton Bowl

1. Scouting report: Helton gave his impressions of the Buckeyes, a team USC hasn’t played since 2009.

“Without question, the most complete team we’ve faced,” Helton said. “Extremely well coached on both sides of the football. Defensively, the number of opportunities you get are few because they’re able to get off the field, only giving up about 290 yards a game and 19 points. The depth is what stands out, especially on the defensive front. To be able to have a guy coming off the bench in (Nick) Bosa and leading your team in sacks is beyond impressive. Offensively, so many weapons across the field. It starts with the quarterback. Being a quarterbacks coach by trade, I’m just so impressed by J.T. (Barrett), his experience and leadership and dynamic charisma on the field are just evident.”

» RELATED: Buckeyes don’t shy away from expectations

2. Expanded playoff: Ohio State and USC would have made the playoff it was an eight-team playoff, but Meyer doesn’t see an expansion of the field coming.

“I’ve been a part of those conversations when we were in the playoff,” Meyer said. “The thing to always keep in mind is one group and that’s the players. You start extending this thing, and you’re starting to talk about adding one more game, and it’s not just another game. It’s two sledgehammers going at each other. I don’t see where the calendar would work.”

3. Great class: The Cotton Bowl will be the last game for the fifth-year seniors — quarterback J.T. Barrett and center Billy Price among them — who were members of Ohio State’s 2013 recruiting class. That group includes a number of players already in the NFL: Joey Bosa and Ezekiel Elliott, for example.

“I remember at my introductory press conference talking about my home state and making the great state of Ohio proud in everything we do on and off the field, and they have,” Meyer said. “They haven’t been perfect, but they’ve been close.”

4. Special guest: Meyer confirmed Elliott, who returns to action for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday in Philadelphia, will be with the team on Friday. Elliott starred in Ohio State’s last game at AT&T Stadium, leading the Buckeyes to a victory against Oregon in the national championship in 2015.

5. Bowl prep: Meyer shot down the idea of using the extra practices before the bowl as a way to develop young players. While coaches might stay late to work with those players, Ohio State’s practices in December were all about the Cotton Bowl.

“It’s all about going to win a game,” Meyer said. “That’s what we do.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Fort Loramie lands former Wapak assistant as football coach
Fort Loramie lands former Wapak assistant as football coach

Fort Loramie has named Spencer Wells to succeed Whit Parks as the Redskins head football coach. It’s the first head coaching position for Wells, who last season was the quarterbacks coach at Wapakoneta. He also has been an assistant at Marion Local, Celina and Allen East. Wells is a Delphos St. John’s graduate and played on the Blue Jays&rsquo...
WATCH: 5-year-old dancer steals the show at Cavs-Warriors’ game
WATCH: 5-year-old dancer steals the show at Cavs-Warriors’ game

The halftime show of Monday night’s game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors featured a dancing 5-year-old whose moves amazed thousands of NBA fans around the world.  With the Cavaliers’ Scream Team in the background, young Tavaris Jones danced to the song “Rolex” by Ayo and Teo, according...
Bengals long snapper headed to Pro Bowl
Bengals long snapper headed to Pro Bowl

A third Cincinnati Bengals player has been named to the Pro Bowl after long snapper tweeted that the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff extended the invitation to him Tuesday afternoon. Harris joins defensive tackle Geno Atkins and wide receiver A.J. Green as Pro Bowl selections of the Bengals, although Green will not be playing due to an undisclosed...
Bolivar will return for second season as Dragons manager
Bolivar will return for second season as Dragons manager

Returning as the Dayton Dragons manager was a given for Luis Bolivar, although it wasn’t official until the parent-club Cincinnati Reds made that announcement on Tuesday. His Dragons roots run deep, first as a player, then hitting coach and finally as manager. This will be his second season as the Dragons’ main man and there are many reasons...
Bengals defensive end makes all-rookie team
Bengals defensive end makes all-rookie team

Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carl Lawson has been voted to the Pro Football Writer Association All-Rookie Team. A fourth-round pick out of Auburn, Lawson recorded 8.5 sacks, which were just a half sack shy of the team lead despite playing just 41.6 percent of the defensive snaps. The other three defensive lineman on the all-rookie team —...
More Stories