Eleven Warriors and SportsbyBrooks have reported that Urban Meyer will indeed be the next coach at Ohio State, apparently confirming rumors that have been swirling all season long.
Meyer, who enjoyed great success at Bowling Green, Utah, and Florida before retiring for health reasons, publicly denied these reports on Saturday as he provided color commentary on the Nebraska-Michigan game.
Urban Meyer was photographed talking to OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith in Spetember
This denial is to be expected; even the reports themselves admit that no contract is in place. Meyer hasn’t been to campus to officially discuss the position, and with two significant games remaining for interim head coach Luke Fickell, Meyer has every reason to demur.
His denials don’t mean much, given the current situation. And while his future employment in Columbus is no sure thing, there are good reasons to think that this match will eventually happen.
According the Eleven Warriors, Meyer has agreed in principle to take the job, though no paperwork will come into play until after the NCAA makes its final ruling on sanctions against the program.
If true, this begs the question of who Meyer would bring with him to the Buckeyes’ staff. Current speculation is that Fickell would remain with the team. If so, a role as defensive coordinator might be the best fit. LSU offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa, who worked with Meyer at Bowling Green, has been mentioned as a possibility for a lateral move.
Studrawa and Meyer are both Ohio natives, and Meyer played defensive back for the University of Cincinnati.
Another native Buckeye, former OSU quarterback Kirk Herbstreit, has been linked to Meyer as well. Unnamed sources suggest that Herbstreit, who currently works for ESPN, could become the next QB coach.
On a personal note, I’d like to see new linebackers coach Mike Vrabel stay on board as well.
If– and this is still a big if– any or all of this talk proves factual in the end, it would be a coup for Ohio State. Since losing Jim Tressel as a casualty to the ongoing NCAA investigation, the school and its fans have had the future weighing heavily on their minds. Though a talented coach in his own right, Luke Fickell is probably in over his head trying to manage a program of this caliber as his first head coaching experience. He would be better served gaining additional experience under a mind like Meyer’s.
Should Meyer accept the position, he could put to rest any concern over the next few seasons.
One of the game’s most talented strategists, Meyer would immediately return credibility to a program in the midst of a rebuild. With his knowledge of the state and of the Midwest in general, Meyer would be able to make great use of the talent funneling through Columbus.
To say that this would be a great hire is both obvious and an understatement; fans can only sit and hope that the reports are borne out.
Meyer would likely bring the spread offense to Columbus, and that should be an excellent match to the team’s existing talent. Freshman QB Braxton Miller has the skill set to run an Urban Meyer offense to perfection, particularly if he’s able to improve as a passer.
Although Dan Herron and DeVier Posey, who returns this week against Penn State, will be gone after this senior season, tailbacks Jordan Hall, Carlos Hyde, and Rod Smith form a complementary stable of runners that would make Miller an even more dangerous weapon.
The Buckeyes young receiving corps lacks experience, but that might be a good thing if Meyer comes in to shake up the offensive scheme. With less to “unlearn”, the young wideouts might well pick up his system more quickly.
Sources not yet named speculate that Luke Fickell would remain on staff at OSU (Ohio State Athletics)
Meanwhile, Fickell has spent 2011 demonstrating a commitment to defense, and with the exception of a few breakdowns, the Buckeyes have been stout on that side of the ball. If indeed Fickell does remain with the team, it would provide some much needed continuity while keeping defense as a primary focus.
Prior to the Nebraska-Michigan game, Meyer the analyst expounded on the importance of solid defensive play, pointing out that championship teams must have strong defenses if they expect to win. So while Meyer may be renown as an offensive guru, fans should have no fear about the future of the Buckeyes’ D.
In short, these are reports that we should all want to be true. This would be a crucial hire for a program in turmoil, one that would keep the Buckeyes competitive in the Big Ten. Further, it would be a boon to recruiting in addition to on-field play.
Two huge games remain this season, and with a whole lot of help, the Buckeyes still have a slim mathematical chance of getting to the Big Ten title game (Wisconsin was losing to Illinois at the time of this post). But it’s good to know that after 2011 is done, fans may have a very bright 2012 to look forward to.
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