Urban Meyer, Buckeye

Urban Meyer, Buckeye


November 29, 2011
Urban Meyer has at least one thing in common with Brady Hoke . . .

Well, the persistent rumors that had been buzzing for weeks finally came to fruition on Monday morning.  It was reported that Urban Meyer – former head coach at Bowling Green State University, Utah, and Florida – has accepted the head coaching job at Ohio State.  The fate of interim coach Luke Fickell, who went 6-6 in place of Jim Tressel, seems unclear right now.

Meyer went 17-6 in two seasons at BGSU, 22-2 in two seasons at Utah, and 65-15 in six seasons at Florida; that gives him a combined 104-23 record (nearly 82% winning percentage).  He also produced first round draft pick Alex Smith (San Francisco 49ers), Heisman winner Tim Tebow, and two national championships in Gainesville (2006, 2008).

Many Michigan fans seem to be bemoaning Meyer’s hiring in Columbus, as if this will instantly relegate Michigan to also-ran status.

News flash: Ohio State will be good.  How that changes the rivalry is beyond me.  The Buckeyes were good under Tressel, John Cooper, Earle Bruce, and Woody Hayes, too.  Ohio State is a good program and almost always has been.  But Brady Hoke, Al Borges, and Greg Mattison have proven to be pretty good coaches, too.  And speaking of Mattison, he used to be Meyer’s defensive coordinator at Florida.  So was Charlie Strong, who’s now the head coach at Louisville.  Dan Mullen was his offensive coordinator, and he’s the head coach at Mississippi State.  Meyer can’t do it all by himself, and he’ll need to hire good coordinators to get the job done.

One of those coordinators might be Fickell.  I’m not a fan of Luke Fickell, but I think he did a decent job with the hand that was dealt to him this season.  He had a freshman quarterback, star players who were suspended for large chunks of the season, and obvious distractions.  There were slip-ups here or there, but when your star quarterback, star running back, and star wide receiver miss the whole season, half the season, and most of the season, respectively, I think expectations should be lowered.  Fickell was a defensive coach for the Buckeyes prior to being elevated to head coach and he’s also an Ohio State alum.  I think it would be the right thing to do for Meyer to keep Fickell on as defensive coordinator.

Meyer’s hiring in Columbus will undoubtedly affect the recruiting landscape in the midwest, but not to an alarming degree.  The fact is that the state of Ohio produces tons of talent and Meyer will likely try to mine his old recruiting grounds in the south, too.  Michigan will still be able to poach some players from Ohio who could succeed in any system.  The interesting dynamic here is that now Ohio State and Michigan have flipped roles; unlike Rich Rodriguez in Ann Arbor and Jim Tressel in Columbus, now Brady Hoke will be recruiting pro-style players and Urban Meyer will be searching for spread-type players on offense.  Class of 2012 running back Bri’onte Dunn has already stated that he doesn’t want to play in the spread offense, and Meyer did a pretty poor job of developing running backs and wide receivers, with the exception of Percy Harvin.  That opens the door for bigger backs, pro-style receivers, and pro-style quarterbacks from the state of Ohio to come to Michigan.  Conversely, dual-threat quarterbacks and slot receiver types will be more drawn to Ohio State.

It will be interesting to see how the story plays out in Columbus, where the dolts who run the university and the athletic department still seem clueless about how tarnished their program might be when the NCAA decides how to punish them.  There could be a loss of scholarships and probation, which might very well affect how quickly Meyer finds success.  But considering Meyer’s achievements, he will most likely produce anywhere from a good to great program and they will be challenging for Big Ten titles for several years to come.  And that’s the way it should be.

16 comments

  1. Comments: 21558
    Anonymous
    Nov 29, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    Great points!
    I prefer when both programs are competitive, makes the games better. Is there a date when Ohio is suppose to know the results of the Investigation?

  2. Comments: 21558
    Nov 29, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    @ Anonymous 9:02 a.m.

    The results should be released within the next couple weeks.

  3. Comments: 21558
    Anonymous
    Nov 29, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    If Hoke can secure the 2012 class, and can produce a top 10 class in 2013, while filling in obvious holes in the roster, Meyer's arrival at OSU shouldn't hurt too badly. Once Michigan proves itself to be back on the national stage, the talent will come, and the rivalry will return.

    It is looking like the old Woody vs. Bo days may be returning. Meyer is a HUGE jerk when it comes to rivalry games (i.e. his treatment/statements of UGA while at UF), and isn't afraid to run up the score, or make "bulletin board" type statements about his rivals. I don't think Hoke is the type of guy to back down either! This could be the beginning of a renewed hatred in the UM vs. OSU rivalry!

  4. Comments: 21558
    Nick.
    Nov 29, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    The hiring of Urban Meyer is a bit of a quandry. There are multiple things here that could lead to success or monumental failure.

    1. Just as Greg Mattison can say he is a great coach and has been so at multiple levels, Urban can say he has won 2 National Championships. So he does have a resume on paper that will get him in the door with a lot of potential recruits.

    2. Urban has a great gift at surrounding himself with Coordinators that get the job done. He had Kyle Willingham at Utah, Steve Addazio, Dan Mullen, Charlie Strong, Greg Mattison……..how much of their knowledge lead to is success? We will soon find out.

    3. He is taking over a program that is at or near the bottom with regards to being an upstanding university. There are problems all over that school starting from the President down the AD. There has been a lack of control that caused Saint Tressel to leave, players to go the NFL, and the NCAA to open an investigation. He is no stranger to controversy and off the field problems either. 30 arrests involving 27 players is a bit excessive….even for Pacman Jones standards. You can't pretend to be a Saint when you are just a Crook in disguise. I really don't expect the NCAA to really do much to Ohio. Even if they do, there will be an appeal and no immediate effect….ala USC.

    4. The Spread. He is sadly mistaken if he believes that he can effectively use ths spread better than Rich Rodriguez or Ron Zook. Both have tried the spread offense in the Big Ten, and failed. They did put up a lot of points at times, but when it came to conference play they really struggled, both of them. He is going to have to use a Hybrid offense that allows for size and speed. Again……he better have good trust in his coordinators.

    5. Then there is his "health" and "family". His stressed reached Epic proportions when he realized that his Offensive and Defensive Coordinators who made him a great coach had left. He felt as though he did not have the personnel to do everything and began micro managing. This will lead to his downfall physically if it happens at Ohio. As for family……in the last year his kids have all said he would not take this job, but he did. There is the rumor of his wife forcing his retirement due to marital problems, which would be a disaster for him to divorce while the head coach. He didn't sound real confident yesterday that he was "all in" for Ohio. This could get intereting.

    Not sure he will be a long term coach at OSU, but hopefully we can keep the games competitive. Wish him luck, and hope he is doing it for the right reasons.

  5. Comments: 21558
    Anonymous
    Nov 29, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    Fickell is being retained on the coaching staff. If I were Fickell, and I just took that shit storm for OSU, I would probably want to head elsewhere.

    Meyer is being paid the most of any college coach ever to pull OSU out of this hole. My only worry is that OSU will not be punished for all of Tressel's scheisster games.

    I mean even now, when Tressel is not supposed to have contact with his players, he had a meeting with them before The Game. This is showing how little OSU respects the NCAA…

    This, in my opinion, is worse than USC, blatantly showing how they are above the law, and can do what they want because they know they pull in a lot of revenue for the NCAA. There shouldn't be a slap on the wrists, there should be consequences. 10 scholarships less/year for 3 years, and no bowl games for 2-3 years seems appropriate to me.

  6. Comments: 21558
    bada bing
    Nov 29, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    "4. The Spread. He is sadly mistaken if he believes that he can effectively use ths spread better than Rich Rodriguez or Ron Zook. Both have tried the spread offense in the Big Ten, and failed. They did put up a lot of points at times, but when it came to conference play they really struggled, both of them. He is going to have to use a Hybrid offense that allows for size and speed. Again……he better have good trust in his coordinators."

    Well, I figured all Michigan football fans watched the game last Saturday. I guess I was wrong.

  7. Comments: 21558
    Nov 29, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    I posted this elsewhere but did it strike anyone else as bizarre that Meyer talked about that it wasn't his job to police anything and it was just his job to coach? This is a guy that is being introduced as head coach of a school currently facing a failure to monitor charge. One of his main points is "I am just going to coach and turn a blind eye to all of the compliance issues that might occur around me!" That approach seems very stupid but I guess playing dumb has worked so far for OSU in dealing with the NCAA. Seems like Meyer, OSU and the NCAA will all turn a blind eye to compliance issues.

  8. Comments: 21558
    Anonymous
    Nov 29, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    bada bing said…

    "Well, I figured all Michigan football fans watched the game last Saturday. I guess I was wrong."

    Interestingly, Rodriguez's version of the spread DID suck in B1G play. It took Al Borges, a West Coast disciple, and Brady "Manball" Hoke to run an effective spread in conference play…at least against teams with a pulse.

    Funny old world, now, ain't it?

  9. Comments: 21558
    Anonymous
    Nov 29, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    You mean the Rodriguez spread that never had anything but a first year starter at QB for 3 years? An offense that was always starting from their 20 because the defense couldn't get any stops? An offense that felt the pressure to score a touchdown every possession because they couldn't make a FG and if they punted the other team was going to score 75% of the time?

    The offense wasn't the problem at all, and anyone who thinks that the "spread won't work in the Big10" is as dumb as the blowhards who write for ESPN.

  10. Comments: 21558
    Nov 29, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    @Anon 11:43am

    "Interestingly, Rodriguez's version of the spread DID suck in B1G play. "

    O RLY? Outside of the 2010 Ohio game, point to another B1G game that season where the offense "sucked."

  11. Comments: 21558
    Nick.
    Nov 29, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    @ bada bing & Anon 12:27

    You take the Illinois game out for last year and the Michigan teams from 2008-2010 were horrible against Big Ten teams. I am not saying we didn't run some spread this season…..we did and it actually worked when meshed together with a West Coast Offense and some "Manball" added in for good measure. That is why I called it a Hybrid offense.

    I was not throwing RR under the bus, you are correct that his teams were very young. Nonetheless we will never know what he would have accomplished in year 4, but we do know exactly what he did in the first three. We were consistently man handled by larger defensive lines.

    Two well known spread coaches have tried using it in the Big Ten and have both failed. Maybe not solely because of their offenses, but during conference play they were often outscored. There have been a couple variations of the spread option worked into offenses like this years team and some at Ohio, but they often relied on a power running game as well.

  12. Comments: 21558
    Nov 29, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    The spread offense can work in any conference. All systems can work in all conferences if they're run properly with the right personnel.

    Rodriguez didn't really have a chance to get his system going in Ann Arbor. I understand that's his own fault because of the horrible defense, but I refuse to believe that he couldn't have got the offense going once Denard Robinson and/or Devin Gardner got some experience. And Ron Zook coached at ILLINOIS. I don't think Zook was ever an expert at the spread, anyway, but the fact that he was at Illinois should give you some indication that any system is likely to be doomed.

    The teams that have run the spread in the Big Ten are Purdue, Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern, and Michigan. Purdue had a great deal of success offensively with Drew Brees running the spread. Illinois, Indiana, and Northwestern have had a little bit of success offensively, but they're behind the eight ball with subpar talent. Michigan got good talent but didn't have much time to implement it before Rodriguez was gone.

    With the talent that Michigan traditionally gets, they can run a pro-style offense, the spread, the triple option, whatever, and it will work once the right personnel are in place. The same will be true at Ohio State.

  13. Comments: 21558
    Nov 29, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    Nick,

    Magnus is right, and you're totally ignoring numbers and making a baseless assertion. The 2008 offense should not be counted. They would have been horrible regardless of system.

    How about you back up your argument with actual statistics rather than your opinion?

  14. Comments: 21558
    Anonymous
    Nov 29, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    Great comment Magnus @ 2:20 pm. Any offense can work in any conference with the right personal and coaching. I can't believe how hard it is for people to understand this simple idea.

  15. Comments: 21558
    Anonymous
    Nov 30, 2011 at 1:09 AM

    please stop making that argument. the spread worked at florida in the SEC. and SEC defenses are better than B1G defenses(no offense, fuck the $EC). so i have no idea why you would make such a random argument. the offense has DIPPED in production IMO this past season. the defense is obviously worlds better and that is the difference in your team. dont forget that toussaint was injured for a large portion of last year. so RRod did more with less. stop kicking RRod. he did some things wrong and he did some things right. at least give credit where credit is due.
    -horn

  16. Comments: 21558
    Nick.
    Nov 30, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    @ David and anyone else who needs to have someone else compile the numbers for them.

    2008:
    Avg Points scored against Non-Conference: 16.5
    Avg Points score within Conference: 22.125
    Avg Points given up against N/C: 19.75
    Avg Points given up against Conference: 33.5
    W/L Totals for N/C Opponents: 25-25 Win%: 50.00
    W/L Totals for Conf. Opponents: 62-40 Win%: 60.78

    2009:
    Avg Points scored against Non-Conference: 44.25
    Avg Points score within Conference: 22.125
    Avg Points given up against N/C: 16
    Avg Points given up against Conference: 33.25
    W/L Totals for N/C Opponents: 17-30 Win%: 36.17
    W/L Totals for Conf. Opponents: 57-35 Win%: 61.95

    2010:
    Avg Points scored against Non-Conference: 43.4
    Avg Points score within Conference: 29.0
    Avg Points given up against N/C: 28.8
    Avg Points given up against Conference: 39.25
    W/L Totals for N/C Opponents: 33-29 Win%: 53.22
    W/L Totals for Conf. Opponents: 65-37 Win%: 63.72

    2011:
    Avg Points scored against Non-Conference: 32
    Avg Points score within Conference: 35.25
    Avg Points given up against N/C: 12.75
    Avg Points given up against Conference: 19.375
    W/L Totals for N/C Opponents: 28-19 Win%: 59.57
    W/L Totals for Conf. Opponents: 53-43 Win%: 55.20

    As can be seen here…..2008 was a big let down on all fronts. We did tend to play better offensively during conference play, but gave up way too many points. 2009 and 2010 showed that we averaged almost double the points on offense in 2009 and similar in 2010 from Non-Conference to Conference foes.

    2011 showed our toughest OTC schedule over the last 4 years when you look at composite W/L records for the teams. We also scored fewer points (albeit a small amount) against our Non-Conference foes.

    To say the spread doesn't work I looked solely at the W/L record of our team. 2009 and 2010 put up some monster numbers scoring, but our W/L records were not in comparison with our output offensively. I understand that there are two sides to the ball and without a good defense we were often outscored. Out N/C schedule allowed us to put large numbers of points on the board and hold opponents to a smaller margin in 2009, 2010. However, our Conference schedule seen us drop significantly in offensive output and our defense gave up tons of points.

    This was not meant to be about RR or Michigan at all. I support whoever our coach is, and at all times. A head coach is ultimately in charge of the entire program. If there are poor hires for Coordinators then that falls squarely on the coaches shoulders.

    I do believe that the spread scores points, but in this case it did not lead to huge numbers of wins.

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