5 things Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said about Wisconsin

Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst and Ohio State's Urban Meyer talk a day before the 2017 Big Ten Championship game.
Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst and Ohio State's Urban Meyer talk a day before the 2017 Big Ten Championship game.

Urban Meyer talked about more than J.T. Barrett in his press conference previewing the Big Ten Championship game.

Here are five other things to know prior to the game:

1. Ohio State has a more diverse offense than the last two years. 

The Buckeyes return to the place where their offense took flight on a three-game odyssey not quite like anything seen before — or since.

A 59-0 drubbing of Wisconsin featured lots of deep throws from Cardale Jones and long runs by Ezekiel Elliott, setting up playoff wins over Alabama and Oregon that were similar.

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Ohio State has rarely looked the same since, at least not against elite opposition, but Meyer sounded confident in what he has.

“I think I related back to the 2014 year when we were very balanced. Our goal was to be 250/250 (yards rushing and yards passing), and we're close to that. The last couple of years we were not. And so that's just something I've always wanted to be and strive to be. And put a lot of pressure on our staff to make sure that we're always -- you can't be one dimensional. And I like where we're at.”

2. Meyer is really high on his receivers. 

A team can’t be balanced without strong receiver play, and that is something Ohio State has had most of the time this season.

"We're in a very good situation,” Meyer said. "We're six strong at receiver. And that's rare. And the six guys I can't say enough good things about them because they're selfless. Johnnie Dixon, I don't believe, had a ball caught last week but he graded a champion because we needed him in certain situations, and he performed.

"And then Terry McLaurin is one of our aces on special teams. And Austin Mack does everything for us. So I can't say enough about those guys."

3. The coach of the Buckeyes has a lot of respect for how his counterpart does things for the Badgers. 

"I know a Paul Chryst team and I know Wisconsin football,” Meyer said. “And I have a lot of respect for just the way they do their business. I go back to my good friend (former Wisconsin coach) Barry Alvarez. I think he's put a template together and has hired remarkable coaches to follow that template.

“And this might be the best of all of them. Coach Chryst does an amazing job. And his staff. And they just keep plugging. They recruit and develop players as good as anybody.”

4. That starts with the defense. 

The Badgers, who are 12-0 for the first time, enter the game No. 1 in the nation in total defense and No. 2 in points allowed.

“It's great football players, and they base out of a 3-4 most of the time. And the linebackers are outstanding. And just when you saw the Watt kid and some of these other kids go to the NFL, they pump them back in there and you've got them again.

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“And I think a common theme is they're tough and they play so darned hard and they understand their defense. They don't do a lot. You'll face defenses that do a lot and sometimes they'll blow coverages, et cetera, because they're doing too much.

But these guys are -- you know, you're going to get what you think you're going to get. But they're so well schooled and they understand their defense so well.”

5. Meanwhile, Ohio State’s defense will have to deal with Wisconsin’s talented tight ends. 

Big Ten tight end of the year Troy Fumagali leads a group that could give Ohio State some problems given the struggles the Buckeyes have had against that position earlier this season.

Meyer acknowledged it's something the Buckeyes have worked on, but he didn't exactly hint there are any grand new plans.

“Well, the offenses that are a hard-core, downhill runs and then have the play action off of it, that's what's hard to defend. And there's one way to improve on that, that's work at it. But also that's a very effective tool for them. And that's something we've worked hard all week on.”

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