How Urban Meyer has transformed Ohio State in the last six years

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  1. BMF

    BMF Bad Mother....
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    This is a good read on Meyer's tenure at OSU. It makes me sick thinking of the last 8 years of disaster we've watched since he left. I hope Mullen consults w/ him regularly! Read about his philosophy on taking Ohio HS kids (bolded below) and ask if the last 2 kids that committed to Mullen (at Junior Day) are "takes":

    Taver Johnson returns to a ‘brand new’ Ohio State: A look at how Urban Meyer has transformed the program in the last six years

    https://theathletic.com/261761/2018...ransformed-the-program-in-the-last-six-years/

    Standing in the back of the team meeting room in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center last week as he awaited his introductory news conference, Taver Johnson found his eyes wandering up and down the walls as he attempted to add up everything that's different about the building with which he was once so familiar.

    The walls are now filled with inspirational quotes and Urban Meyer's mantras — “4-to-6, A-to-B” and “competitive excellence” and “power of the unit” — and there's a wooden lectern with the red “Block O” perfectly carved into the middle that faces a sea of black leather seats with the Ohio State logo sewn into the backrests.

    “Really different,” Johnson said. “It feels brand new.”

    Six years is an eternity in the current world of college football where renovations to facilities are never-ending, but the newly updated walls of the Woody are just a reminder that this place isn't what it was when Johnson was a defensive assistant for Jim Tressel from 2007-11. Imagine what Johnson thought when he saw the waterfall in the locker room. ‌‌‌

    The Ohio State that Johnson left in 2011 was a Big Ten power and a national program. That's always been the case, and it always will be.

    But the Ohio State to which Johnson returned is Alabama North.

    This Ohio State has a superstar head coach who constantly demands excellence from his assistants. It has a national recruiting philosophy that requires assistants to live on airplanes and in hotel rooms and, as a result, has produced in the unprecedented accumulation of talent that comes from coast to coast. It has the first-ever national championship in the College Football Playoff era. And it is coming off a season in which it won the Big Ten championship and beat USC in the Cotton Bowl, yet a large portion of the fan base feels as if the season were a letdown.

    Johnson knows Ohio State. He knows what this place is. But even he'd tell you there's a learning curve before completely understanding what it means to be a Buckeyes assistant in 2018. This isn't Tressel's Ohio State anymore.

    To borrow Johnson's words, it is brand new.

    Here's how:

    1. Meyer's relentless nature: Co-defensive coordinator Alex Grinch and Johnson were both formally introduced last week, and they echoed each other's statements when asked what strikes them about Meyer.

    “When you walk in the door every day you’re going 100 miles an hour,” Johnson said. “We were able to do some really good things when I was here with coach Tressel. … But the ongoing (pace) of everything we do at such a high rate and high expectations every day is constant. It’s good. It challenges you as a person and as a coach. The last (few weeks) I’ve been here has already made me better overall.”

    This isn't to say Tressel's leadership style was ineffective. Far from it. Tressel won a national title in 2002 and six Big Ten championships in his decadelong run, but the standard just feels different. It's just more intense.

    Meyer drove himself crazy at Florida with his “nothing is enough” approach, which led to health issues and his eventual downfall in Gainesville, so before leaving his cushy ESPN gig to take the Ohio State job, he vowed to his family that he'd be better at balancing his personal and professional life. Meyer has evidently done that — and it was still clear as recently as December with how he viewed Ohio State being left out of the College Football Playoff — but that doesn't mean his nonstop approach to building a college football power has wavered. He just goes about it differently now. How?

    At Florida, Meyer would push his body to the brink by personally handling every single task that came across his desk. That's exhausting and impossible. At Ohio State, Meyer has taken more of a CEO-type role, which means more delegation to assistants and thus more expectation for results. Maybe it was hard for Meyer to let go of handling everything with his hands, but his intense personality has pushed assistant coaches all the way to their limits — which is likely why Buckeyes assistants are always very attractive candidates for other jobs.

    There's one thing about Meyer that's undeniable: Whoever steps in his presence — whether it's one of his assistants or a teenager at one of Ohio State's instructional summer camps — everyone wants to be their best version of themselves. It's a remarkable, innate aura, one that breeds success and results.

    Johnson is learning that expectations are astronomically high, and if they're met, the bar raises. That goes for coaching and development of the current roster, but it manifests the most in the world of recruiting.

    2. Recruiting philosophy: If Meyer and Tressel both were to explain their recruiting philosophies at Ohio State, the two would probably say similar things. Start in Ohio, take the best in the state, then branch out nationally to get elite-level players to round out the recruiting class. Both would be telling the truth.

    But that doesn't mean the recruiting philosophies are the same.

    They are actually quite different.

    If you go back and look at Tressel's 10 recruiting classes between 2002-11, he averaged 12.2 Ohio prospects per class. In Meyer's first seven classes between 2012-18, he averaged 8.9 Ohio prospects per class. That might not seem significant, but it's dramatic to sign, on average, three fewer players from Ohio per year. That means there is an average of 12 fewer scholarship players from Ohio on any given roster, which is roughly 15 percent of the 85-player scholarship allotment.

    Also, take into account these two things:

    1. Meyer was forced to sign 16 Ohioans in 2012 when he came in late and took over a program dealing with NCAA issues. Recruiting nationally wasn't going to work on such a late start, especially in the face of concern that the Buckeyes were going to face penalties for the tattoo scandal that led to Tressel's demise.

    2. Ohio State's recruiting classes are bigger now because roster turnover — mainly because of early entries into the NFL draft — is happening at a more accelerated rate.

    In the 2018 class, Ohio State signed only five prospects from Ohio. In 2017, it was six. Meyer has signed 10 or more prospects from Ohio only twice in his first seven recruiting classes. Again, it's significant. It's up to you to decide whether you think that's good or bad for the program.

    The numbers say it's good. Meyer just got done signing the No. 2 classes in consecutive years, classes that are among the best assembled in the history of modern-day recruiting. Since 2012, Ohio State has finished with a class outside of the top five nationally only once.

    The recruiting standard is different now, and it impacts Ohio. Tressel was much more willing to take three-star development projects in the state of Ohio with the hopes they'd turn out to be eventual starters — and maybe NFL draft picks — by the time they were juniors. In Meyer's recruiting philosophy, he only accepts early commitments from the best of the best in Ohio, then branches out and recruits the most elite players in every other state. At the end of the recruiting cycle, Meyer might take a waiver on a fringe Ohio kid late because he has a spot to fill, but the standard for an Ohio prospect getting an Ohio State offer is astronomically different.

    For assistants, that means more phone calls, more texts, more Twitter direct messages, more recruiting graphics, more airplanes, more hotels and more relationships. Meyer wants his assistants to know the receptionist's name from a high school in Southern California. That's the reality.

    (continues....)
     
    • BMF

      BMF Bad Mother....
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      (continued):


      3. Talent: Tressel won a national championship in 2002 with one of the most talented teams in the history of the program, and the numbers back it up. In the three years between 2002 and 2004, Ohio State had 27 players selected in the NFL draft. That's a lot of skill.

      But toward the end of Tressel's tenure, Ohio State was taking care of its business in the Big Ten and getting beaten on the national scale — starting with the loss in 2006 to Meyer's Florida team in the national title game, then to LSU in the title game the following year. Then the Buckeyes lost games to Texas and twice to USC in back-to-back years, some of which in embarrassing blowout fashion. That left Ohio State fans wondering why the Buckeyes were coming up short on the national scale.

      The answer: The talent, though vast for Big Ten standards, wasn't enough to compete with the national powerhouses of the early 2000s. Maybe that was the case because you can't be a college football dynasty by relying that heavily on talent from your home state. (Note: Perhaps Tressel would have broken out of that funk had he been able to see through the 2008 “Brew Crew” recruiting class that featured Terrelle Pryor, Michael Brewster and others, but that was the class that led to the tattoo scandal that ended Tressel's tenure.)

      Now, talent is the least of Ohio State's concerns. The Buckeyes, along with Alabama and Clemson, are unquestionably in a league of their own in terms of talent in the sport. And that's all based on dominant results in recruiting. Johnson hasn't yet coached a practice here, but he can already tell the talent on this roster — from top to bottom — is deeper than it ever was when he was here under Tressel.

      “There is a different level. There’s no doubt about it,” Johnson said. “I think we’ve gotten here recently; coach Meyer and his staff have done a great job of getting more of the talent. I don’t know with coach Tressel the first time if he had the numbers of guys that were this talented. We had some talented guys who developed, but (now) I think the guys come here talented and also get developed, which is why this place has gone through the roof.”

      Though there have been ongoing discussions about whether Meyer has gotten enough out of his teams — the 2015 team that featured eight eventual first-round and five eventual second-round draft picks had no business missing the playoff — the talent is unparalleled. It's the reason the Buckeyes are in the national title picture every single year, regardless of turnover.

      Ohio State had 19 players selected in the past two drafts and just sent 11 more to the NFL scouting combine this past weekend. It's a machine right now.



      4. The standard of development: Johnson had the chance to stay on as part of Meyer's staff in 2012, but he decided to take a job as a defensive backs coach at Arkansas instead.

      “That’s always the No. 1 question: 'What made you leave?' ” Johnson said. “At that time, it just felt like I needed to venture out. I was trying to get to a different stage at that point in my career, and that’s what I felt. Was it right? Was it wrong? It was a great learning experience, and I wouldn’t take it away for anything in the world. There were some bumps and bruises, but that’s what allowed me to continue on with my career and actually get back here.”

      As Johnson coached in the SEC before stops at Purdue from 2014-16 and Temple last year — where he was the Owls' defensive coordinator — Ohio State was arguably the best program in the country for defensive back development under the guidance of Kerry Coombs. Since 2014, Ohio State has had at least one defensive back selected in the NFL draft, and the numbers have been off the charts in recent years. Eli Apple was selected in the first round in the 2016 draft before the Buckeyes had three — three! — defensive backs selected in the first round in 2017. That tradition is going to continue this year when Denzel Ward becomes a first-round draft pick.

      Five defensive backs selected in the first round in three years? That's Ohio State's new standard of development, which is a major responsibility for Johnson — especially considering the Buckeyes signed six standout defensive backs in the 2017 recruiting class, which included names like Jeffrey Okudah and Shaun Wade.

      “Intimidating? No. Pressure? Always,” Johnson said. “Kerry has done a great job and the whole staff has done an outstanding job, not just producing the first-rounders but quality young men who come through these doors. I told the guys and I already know that I have some big shoes to fill. I have accepted that challenge and I’m excited about it. That’s the one thing about Ohio State and coach Meyer, for sure, not just talent but the people who come into the program are really, really great people. He attracts those kinds of people from the staff to the players, and I’m thankful to be here to do that.”

      Johnson has big shoes to fill, indeed.

      And the expectations are bigger than they ever have been at Meyer's brand new Ohio State.
       
      • aka

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        The bigger they are....
         
        • MidwestChomp

          MidwestChomp Fun was the goal and we hit the bullseye
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          • Okeechobee Joe

            Okeechobee Joe Lost Ball in High Grass
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            Nick Saban and Urban Meyer are the two best coaches in the business. They strive to be the best. It was so much so in Meyer's case that he burned himself out at Florida. The SEC, as big as it is, wasn't big enough for both of them. They were like two deadly snakes who fought each other in a battle to the death. One prevailed. One had to slither off and leave town.
             
            • BMF

              BMF Bad Mother....
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              No mention of the quote from the article on his philosophy on taking Ohio kids (lower ranked kids). I think this should be Mullen's approach. It may take him another year, but why not now? Mullen just took two very low ranked kids, very early in the process (one is ranked in the 500's and the other is ranked 73rd in the state of Florida). Here's the part of the article I'm talking about:


              The recruiting standard is different now, and it impacts Ohio. Tressel was much more willing to take three-star development projects in the state of Ohio with the hopes they'd turn out to be eventual starters — and maybe NFL draft picks — by the time they were juniors. In Meyer's recruiting philosophy, he only accepts early commitments from the best of the best in Ohio, then branches out and recruits the most elite players in every other state. At the end of the recruiting cycle, Meyer might take a waiver on a fringe Ohio kid late because he has a spot to fill, but the standard for an Ohio prospect getting an Ohio State offer is astronomically different.
               
            • deuce

              deuce Mentally Challenged
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              The thing about Meyer and Saban, I respect but hate both!
               
            • BMF

              BMF Bad Mother....
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              True. They are the best coaches ever (imo). They completely changed the off-field "little" things that make a program dominant. Saban invented "analysts" and "quality control" jobs. Bama gave him a blank check to do whatever he wanted and he made college football similar to the NFL.
               
            • Homer J

              Homer J Senior Member
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              Meyer was living the Bobby Bowden lifestyle. He is living off his reputation in what was an easy conference.

              Then, Michigan got a guy who likes to make noise and Penn State got a guy who can recruit and COACH. Michigan State has the best coach in the B1G. Can you imagine if he had Meyer's talented roster.

              I see ohio 3rd or 4th in the B1G this year. Michigan State should win it. They have 19 starters coming back from a 10-3 team.
               
              • -THE DUDE-

                -THE DUDE- This is the year!!!

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                Very questionable indeed with these takes. I guess time will tell where they end up in the rankings but it would require a huge jump. Florida does produce better athletes than Ohio so normally taking a reach on a Florida kid is better than taking a reach on a Ohio kid. Still though we need to take the best of what we can get from Florida and then go outside the state like Meyer did...he hit GA, NC, VA, and MD hard and we have gotten some ridiculous talent from those states that without we don't win NC's.
                 
                • BMF

                  BMF Bad Mother....
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                  Agree. We can't take the 547th ranked player while UGA takes a kid at the same position who is ranked 80th. We need to go head-to-head, apples vs. apples. Sure, an occasional 3-star becomes a super-star. But more often than not, the higher ranked kids pan out (see Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, and UGA recruiting). If this was late January and we were trying to fill the class, sure - add a project. But what bothers me about it is it's March - we have 8+ months til the early signing period - and we took a kid w/ an offer to Jackson State and another kid ranked 73rd in the state of Florida. Hopefully they move up and/or get washed out because we get better players wanting to come here.
                   
                  • oxrageous

                    oxrageous It's Good to be King
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                    You're honestly telling us that Mark Dantonio is a better coach than Urban Meyer? The guy that went 3-9 (including 1-8 in an "easy" conference) just two years ago?

                    :drunk2:

                    And after reading that article, you're still under the opinion that Meyer is just loafing it like Blobby in an easy conference? I understand people like yourself hate him for leaving, but that is preposterous.

                    Ohio State had a "down" year last year, and still won the conference over all the other coaches you mentioned.
                     
                    • -THE DUDE-

                      -THE DUDE- This is the year!!!

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                      :lol:
                       
                    • oxrageous

                      oxrageous It's Good to be King
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                      A reminder about last year's Ohio State/Michigan State game:

                      OSU 48
                      MSU 3
                       
                    • CGgater

                      CGgater Gainesville Native

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                      Compare the reputation of um when he arrived at osu vs DM now. When it comes to recruiting clout, it’s no contest. Not saying DM can or can’t accumulate the same talent level, but he’ll likely need a little more time than um to get it done.

                      DM has the blueprint and appears to have the leadership, drive and possibly recruiting chops, too. Time will tell if he can (re)build the program.
                       
                    • BMF

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                      Agree....but it's March and he accepted commits from two VERY low rated recruits (one who had an offer from Jackson State - true story). Nobody should be that desperate in March (and it was actually February when those two kids committed). Again, they MAY turn out to be stars at UF....but there's a higher probability that a higher ranked kid will become a star.
                       
                      • ATXGator

                        ATXGator Austin Gator
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                        I agree with this... we should be focused on getting highly rated recruits to commit... that is how you gain momentum and build a top class. Neither of the guys we just got will be the key for this class becoming great. I hope they turn out to be great players, but we need superstars not more McElwain specials.
                         
                        • lagator

                          lagator Senior Member
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                          He has won the Big Ten conference championship twice, so how was last year a down year?
                           
                        • oxrageous

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                          The Bucknut fans considered a "down" year because they were left out of the playoffs. Hell, a bunch of them were calling for his firing. That's how high he sets the bar.

                          If Meyer was to take the Michigan or Michigan State jobs, he would win a NC within 3 years.
                           
                        • lagator

                          lagator Senior Member
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                          Maybe, but he probably won't win another at pOSU. Could just be wishful thinking, but I think he has already peaked there, and the losses and expectations are taking their toll.
                           

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