“Those players didn’t choose me. I chose them,” it was towards the end of Urban Meyer’s introductory press conference as the 24th head football coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes. A profound vote of confidence for this team and where he thinks they could go.
It was a sentiment that was reiterated by Meyer several times during his press conference. An expectation to bring this team back to prominence.
Instead of being introduced to the media, Meyer said that his true highlight of the day was meeting freshman quarterback Braxton Miller. Earlier today, former Buckeye quarterback and ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit said that Miller is the biggest winner in this entire situation based on what he will be able to do in the style of offense that Meyer runs.
There were obvious questions about the status of Luke Fickell and his health. Meyer left Florida two years ago for his health reasons, and returned after a short leave of absence.
Meyer made every indication that he is going to be extremely aggressive in trying to put together as good a coaching staff as there is in America. He made reference to some of his former disciples from previous coaching jobs who have gone on to have success across the country. He said that he has been overwhelmed by interest from coaches from around the nation.
A really interesting statement Meyer made pertained to whether not he would call his own offensive plays. While he said that he is going to have input in play calling, he is also going to hire an offensive coordinator. Reading between the lines, it seemed clear as to one person who that offensive coordinator would not be: Jim Bollman, the team’s current offensive coordinator.
Fickell will remain on staff. Meyer discussed a great deal of research he had done into Fickell as a defensive coach, as well as discussions he’s had with other colleagues. Last night, the two coaches (and their wives) met and talked for almost four hours. Again this morning the two had coffee, and Meyer said he had “no doubt” that he wanted to keep Fickell as a part of this coaching staff.
What a difference a year makes
A year ago at this time, the team was finishing up a stellar regular season in which they had won their sixth consecutive conference championship and getting ready to play their eighth BCS Bowl in nine years. Jim Tressel was still very much in his prime. It’s crazy to think about how this past year has gone. A year ago was before we were even aware of the “Tattoo Gate.”
The odds that the sequence of events that occurred to bring Urban Meyer to Ohio State on the 28th day of November in 2011 seemed astronomical.
A similar question was asked today by a reporter. Meyer said he had “Absolutely zero thought” that he would be the head coach of the team this year. He was disappointed with the state of college football, and talks about how he had become too much of a micro manager and a perfectionist by the time he left Florida compared to how he managed the program when he first came to the helm.
More than once, Meyer was welcome home. As is commonly known, Meyer and his wife are from Ohio. Being an Ohio native, he discussed this job always being a dream and talked about his great respect for great Buckeye coaches Earle Bruce and Woody Hayes.
In Meyer’s opening remarks before reporters even stared asking questions, he talked about his great respect for Bruce, stating that the only man who had a greater impact on the life of Meyer was his own father. Meyer’s father, Urban Meyer, Senior died earlier this month. One of the speaker’s at his funeral: Earle Bruce.
Meyer also admitted to always keeping a framed picture of Woody Hayes in his home and related the anecdote of the only time in which he was able to meet the legendary Buckeye coach, in the late 1980s, while Meyer was a graduate assistant with the football program.
Meyer said that for this upcoming season, Ohio State was the only coaching job for which he would have returned.
Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith and Meyer both stated that the meetings and discussions about Meyer becoming the head coach as well as the formal offer for him to be the head coach all happened few days.
And Pete Rose never gambled on baseball.
Perhaps it’s true that there weren’t any direct discussions between Meyer and Smith. Like a couple of middle schoolers who ask each other “out” through third parties.
Finally getting a dream job like Ohio State just a couple of weeks after the passing of his father, it was probably a bit bitter sweet today.