Urban Meyer Talks Jordan Hall, Playoffs

By Kyle Rowland on July 5, 2012 at 3:08p
Urban Meyer remains confident.

The honeymoon in Columbus is getting a little rockier. After a recruiting haul reminiscent of a 49er during the Gold Rush and a successful spring practice, Urban Meyer’s Ohio State Buckeyes have been snake bitten this summer.

First, Jake Stoneburner and Jack Mewhort ran afoul of the law on June 2. Each has been suspended, stripped of their scholarships and sentenced to performing an array of tasks before reinstatement be considered, though both are expected to rejoin the team for fall practice.

Then came Jordan Hall’s freak injury last week – stepping on a piece of glass. He received stitches and also had to undergo surgery for a cut tendon. His prognosis is a full recovery, but it could take up to 10 weeks before he is cleared to play football. His absence leaves a giant void for the hybrid running back-receiver position.

“That was a tough injury, especially for a guy who’s turned the corner academically,” Meyer said Thursday on a conference call for the American Century Championship golf tournament. “He had a 3.4 GPA last quarter and a 3.0 our first quarter together, he’s on my leadership committee, he’s come forever – the guy’s tremendous. We’re not exactly loaded at that position right now– offensive skill. Some guys will have to step up and play.

“Who’s going to take his place, I don’t know. We’re not loaded at that spot. I hope Philly Brown continues to improve, but he got banged up in the spring. He has some minor injuries issues, but he should be fine. I don’t know. That’s one of our dilemmas right now.”

Since the injury occurred, Meyer has had some sleepless nights, and rightfully so. Hall was a bona fide big play threat – one of the few Ohio State has on the roster. Not only is he eliminated, but an entire set of plays could be in jeopardy.

“I spend almost all my time thinking of that,” Meyer said of Hall’s inability to suit up. “I was so excited because I thought (Hall) had an excellent spring practice. He has a lot of the skills we’re looking for in that hybrid position. I was really anxious, we actually started the mental part of it this summer, studying some plays and working with Braxton Miller, so that was a shot.”

Meyer said Hall’s toughness could allow him to come back sooner than expected, but the 10-week window is probably safe for an estimate.

“I’ve been in this long enough,” Meyer said, “(Hall’s) the kind of warrior who will come back rather quickly if he can. We’re moving on. I’m planning on him coming back for the season, or certainly after the first couple games.”

That wasn’t the only shockwave to go through the football program. Another sent the entire college football universe on its head – the announcement of a four-team playoff. Meyer has been an outspoken supporter of the Bowl Championship Series for years and it’s easy to tell why.

He was the first BCS Buster in 2004, when Utah stormed through the regular season undefeated and followed it up with a thrashing of Big East champion Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl. The Utes finished 12-0 and No. 4 in the final AP poll. He followed that season up with two national championships at Florida, one at the expense of Ohio State. Now, though, Meyer has adapted to the inevitable change across the sport’s landscape. 

“I’m excited about it,” he said. “I kind of liked the old (system) the way it was. But the more I hear about the way it’s going to work in the bowl system, (the more I like). My biggest concern is I still don’t know the logistics of it for the players or coaches. If we play in the Rose Bowl or the Sugar, Fiesta or Orange, all of a sudden the games over and we have one more.

“How much time is there to prepare and how much class are they going to miss? And for the coaching staff it’s going to be a tremendous grind. I’m anxious to see how it all finishes up. But I’m excited for college football. It’s great. The fans wanted it, and we got it.”

The 2014 regular season, Miller’s senior year, will be the first the playoff is in use. The signal caller has morphed into the traditional Meyer QB – dual-threat, physical and smart. From Josh Harris all the way to Miller, Meyer has been able to get every last ounce out of his quarterbacks. The passion and confidence that flows so freely from Meyer often ends up running through the veins of his quarterback.  

“With Coach Meyer, I think the thing I learned pretty quickly, and I liked it, obviously he’s going to push you,” former Utah quarterback Alex Smith said on the conference call. “When he came into Utah, he really changed the attitude around there – the entire team, the work ethic the practice habits. The first year he pushes you to points, maybe, where you are a little uncomfortable. For me, he pushed me in different ways. All of a sudden I’m running the football and running for 1,000 yards. If you would’ve asked me that before Coach Meyer came, I would’ve laughed at you if you said I’d run for 1,000 yards. Now that’s one of my strengths.

Smith stressed, though, that Miller can’t just be a good player or act like a leader, it all has to come together in Ohio Stadium or wherever the Buckeyes might be playing that day.

“It has to be real,” Smith said. “It all happens on the field. You can talk about it and be as rah-rah as you want. But if you don’t go out there and prove it and prove with your actions and the way you play, no one is going to believe you. That matches up with Coach Meyer. You have to put in the time, you have to put in the work, and your teammates have to see that; that’s where leadership comes from. I don’t care what kind of speeches you give or how vocal you are, if you aren’t putting in the time, no one’s buying it.”

Miller’s first real audition comes Sept. 1 in the Horseshoe.


Comments Show All Comments

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I find it funny that anytime a story is written about Urban's National Championships, including 11W, it always contains a reference that one was against Ohio State!  I really don't think there is anybody on this site that isn't aware of that!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

doodah_man's picture

We lost that game?...dang!!!!
/sorry had to be said

Jim "DooDah" Day

"If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” --Wilbur Wright, 1910

tennbuckeye19's picture

At least the final score wasn't mentioned. 

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

HA - that is a step in the right direction.   I also notice that every single time Jim Tressel is mentioned in articles outside of 11W - they ALWAYS send the next 3 or 4 sentences on detailing how he use to be the coach of OSU but was fired.....

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Tim's picture

I agree with Alex Smith's comments about putting in time and work being more important than giving speeches and being really vocal.  Miller can be an effective leader without having to scream about everything like Tebow does all the time because everyone can see how hard Miller works and the results on the field.

tennbuckeye19's picture

I know he wasn't a great fit for Urban's system, but I'm guessing Florida fans might debate if Meyer got 'every last ounce' out of John Brantley.

millertime2011's picture

I dunno, Tenn. If you look, he was terrible under muschamp too. 

AugustaBuckeye's picture

You may want to change this:
The signal caller has dwarfed into the traditional Meyer QB – dual-threat, physical and smart.
Better options would be "morphed" or "transformed"

Buckeye in Augusta, GA...

Hence the very original name

Kyle Rowland's picture

Noted - thanks. 

toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

If Coach Meyer is concerned about how much class time the students will miss during playoffs, he should contact a coach in D-I (FCS), II or III. Larry Kehres at Mount Union is a good one for getting advice on playoffs and missing classroom time. His teams are always in the playoffs, including the D-III title game every year.

Jpfbuck's picture

I love Mt Union but the comparison is just not the same, they play only 10 regular season games and with the playoffs even going to the finals eveyr year, they play only 15, with 4 of the first 5 playoff games always at home due ot their history and crowd support. and it's all done by mid December. and finally as recently as 2003 there were only 4 rounds in the Div 3 playoffs

Joe Beale's picture

In my mind, it would be worth going to a 10-game regular season if we could get a 16-team playoff plus bowl games as part of the deal.

Bucksfan's picture

You know, I'm just not that worried about this.  I realize that Meyer and everyone involved are in it to win every time they step on the field.  But 2012 is all-exhibition for us.  We're playing for fun.  Hopefully we beat everyone, but it really doesn't matter in the slightest except ruining the rest of the B1G's seasons.  Ohio State football's situation is like changing your golf swing.  You're not going to read Hogan's Five Lessons and then suddenly go out there and shoot even par.  Thre are going to be setbacks and a lot of adversity.  It takes probably a year to get it all down to a comfortable level.  So, your expectations are lowered to the point where any positive gain is reason for celebration.
I'm just excited to watch a style of football that we haven't really seen at Ohio State before (well, the running attack is a lot like what Woody ran, but not the passing game...of course, I wasn't alive when Woody was coach, so it's all new to me).  We're not going to have a walrus-style HAL-9000 radio down to the Senator with "Good morning...Dave" every other play.  Whether it's Hall or Hyde or Smith or whatever combination, it's going to be fun regardless.
Plus, I'm more concerned with the speed of our LB's, and the depth at WR than we are at RB.  There are a host of other issues that losing Tress and a year of no-man's-land football that has to be undone.

AC1972's picture

^ 2001 Space Odyssey reference. Love it.

Maestro's picture

I understand that Hall is a tough kid, but tendons are tendons.  They are slow healers because they don't have good blood supply.  There really isn't a whole lot that can be done to augment the healing.  Surgical technique certainly helps early on, but it mostly just takes time.  Certainly it is to his benefit that he is healthy, will be getting daily therapy treatment, and has something motivating him to do get back to 100%.  I would be pretty shocked to see him at full speed before the start of conference play.  The worst thing he could do is come back too soon and rupture the repair.  If that were to happen his season would be over for certain.

vacuuming sucks

CowCat's picture

So true.  I'm recovering from tendonitis in my shoulder and strained achilles' tendons.
It's taking forever.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer