Meyer Selling Ohio State, Offensive Excellence
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — If there is one thing Ohio State was known for under Jim Tressel it was excellence, both on the field and in the classroom.
If there is one thing it was not known for, it is consistent excellence on the offensive side of the ball.
New head coach Urban Meyer is ready to change that, but he has no plans to forget about the other things that make Ohio State one of the top destinations in the country for elite high school prospects.
“There is a perception out there that Ohio State is broken, and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Meyer said during his appearance on WBNS radio in Columbus this week.
“Ohio State had a great football coach in Jim Tressel, a bunch of good coaches, great facilities. Academically, we’re in fantastic shape. The GPA and APR are the two measurable statistics for academics.”
The Buckeyes are coming off a 6-6 regular season, but that hardly means Meyer is picking up the pieces of a once proud tradition.
Over the last decade, Ohio State won seven Big Ten titles, six BCS bowl games and one national championship. They played in two other BCS title games and held a 9-1 record over archrival Michigan before their latest defeat under interim head coach Luke Fickell.
Meyer and Fickell have now joined forces as head coach and defensive coordinator, but what they are selling to potential recruits is the same as it has always been: Ohio State, only with a fresh twist of Urban Meyer.
“The thing that is going to change is offense, if you say what’s going to change at Ohio State,” Meyer said.
“The impact we’re making is there’s excitement. There’s not a whole lot of things to fix, it’s still Ohio State and the kids know that.”
Even with all of the uncertainty surrounding the program since Tressel’s forced resignation back in May, little has changed in the school’s approach to recruiting.
“One thing that always gets said around here is that Ohio State is bigger than one person, one coach or one player,” sophomore guard Jack Mewhort said.
The University is bigger than Jim Tressel or Luke Fickell or even Urban Meyer, but that doesn’t mean Meyer is going to settle for Big Ten titles and 10-win seasons. His message to recruits has been clear: this is Ohio State and it always will be, but we are going to take the program to new heights never before seen in Columbus.
“My promise to them is that I’m going to try to hire the best football staff in America,” Meyer said.
“I think they believe that. I think there is a history there where they can look back and say the one thing he knows how to do is surround himself with big time, quality football coaches who can get them where they need to be.”
So far, Meyer has not exactly made a tremendous splash with the clout of his new hires—although plenty of high profile assistants have enjoyed raises and extensions thanks to him.
Meyer reportedly flirted with the idea of adding Mike Stoops and possibly even Tim Brewster to his staff at Ohio State, but fact remains that he is going to find coaches who mesh with is philosophies and who “coach with their hair on fire.”
The addition of new offensive coordinator Tom Herman didn’t exactly send tremors through the college football landscape, but the 35-year old has a reputation as one of the brighter young minds on the game.
It also appears as though Meyer will add former North Carolina defensive coordinator Everett Withers to his defensive staff, but where the former Florida coach seems to be making his biggest impact this month is on the recruiting trail.
After a big weekend of visits last week, Meyer landed a pair of verbal commitments from defensive linemen Tommy Schutt and Se’Von Pittman—two guys who were previously committed to other Big Ten schools.
The Buckeyes have another big recruiting weekend on tap this week, but Meyer knows better than to start counting his chickens before they hatch.
“It’s still too early to tell. Signing day is a long ways away,” he mentioned.
“Guys are flipping, flopping and that’s going to happen. In a month we’ll know. We’re jumping the gun if we say, boy we made a great impact.”
Either way, it’s hard to argue with the impact Meyer has made since taking over the program. He has brought comfort and stability to the locker room and he has returned confidence and conviction to the entire Ohio State fan base.
Whatever it is he’s selling, people are buying.
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