Urban renewal project begins at Ohio St.
A move that everyone has known about for some time has finally become official. Yesterday, as has been widely speculated, Ohio State announced that Urban Meyer will be their next football coach.
What Meyer brings to the table is an incredible winning pedigree, In his career thus far he has two national championships and a coach of the year title. He also became one of only three coaches in history to win at least 100 games in his first ten years. His record is a staggering 104-23 and is 7-1 in bowl games.
After a year away from the game, the 47-year old Meyer returns to the program where his coaching career began. A native of Ashtabula, Ohio; he grew up as a fan of the Buckeyes. Meyer got his first sideline experience as a Graduate Assistant in 1986, under Earle Bruce. His coaching idol is famed Buckeye coach Woody Hayes, and he has referred to his new position as his dream job.
“If not for the coaching position at Ohio State, I would not have coached this year,” he said in his press conference.
He had left Florida after the 2010 season citing health concerns and a desire to spend more time with his family. During his season away from coaching, he worked as an analyst for ESPN. While he might have spent time away, his desire to coach never left. He is said to have told his wife that he missed being on the sideline only two months into his hiatus.
Well now the hiatus is over, but one can’t help but wonder how effective he will be. In his final year with Florida, the team had a mediocre 8-5 record that included three straight losses. Many speculated that the real reason he left was that the talent remaining on the roster was questionable and he didn’t want to damage his legacy with a dismal 2011 season. He also has health concerns (which he says are behind him) and a desire to spend time with his family that could possibly serve as a distraction.
He will also be operating without the services of Tim Tebow. Tebow, who many regard as the best college player of all-time, was under center for both of Meyer’s championships. When he won coach of the year after leading Utah to a perfect season, he had the highly regarded Alex Smith. Ohio State, has the promising freshman Braxton Miller, but in losing starters at receiver and on the offensive lines, there are definitely questions.
There are also pending sanctions from the NCAA. These stem from the allegations that Ohio St. Players received improper benefits and then coach Jim Tressel knowingly did nothing. This will most definitely cost scholarships, and perhaps even bowl eligibility. These sanctions could hurt their ability to recruit top-end players, and delay the Buckeye’s return to the upper-echelon of college teams.
The one saving grace could be the young QB Miller. He plays a very similar style to Tim Tebow, whom Meyer had his most successful years with. He is big, competitive, loves to run and shows some leadership intangibles. In Miller, Meyer might have the key to installing a dominating spread-offense. As shown in Michigan and Wisconsin, the spread works in the Big-10, and Meyer is considered the man who runs it best.
Ohio State’s future can’t be predicted until after the sanctions are laid down. Many questions still remain, but if anyone can turn around the program quickly it’s Meyer. I would look for the Buckeyes to be championship contenders within three years.
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