News & Notes: Ohio State at B1G Media Days

By Chad Peltier on July 26, 2012 at 5:00p
9 Comments
Sorry to have you relive this Don't worry: Urban is on our side now! 

S-E-C! S-E-C!

It’s no secret that the Southeastern Conference is the superior force in college football. When you win six straight national championships, bragging comes easy. So, too, does venom from the rest of the country.

A major sticking point for not only Big Ten fans, but fans of teams from every other conference is the SEC speed conversation. Some say speed is a factor when Big Ten and SEC schools play, other vehemently deny it. Urban Meyer believes it all starts with the defensive front seven.

“I think that, and I also think just overall team speed right now,” Meyer said “We're addressing that.  I notice it on special teams. So I just think overall athleticism right now we're a little bit behind.  But we're recruiting with that motive, with that intention and I'm real proud to say it's going very well. 

“But I think without question I'm not the only one that says that. The defensive front seven in that conference, in the SEC, is the difference-maker right now. But it's a little bit deeper than that.”

It was noticeable in both national championship games Ohio State lost against SEC schools. Florida’s Derrick Harvey and LSU’s Glenn Dorsey and Ricky Jean-Francois made mincemeat out of the Ohio State offensive line, greatly contributing to humbling defeats.

The shift toward the importance of speed has since contributed to wide-ranging offensive changes across the conference.

“I watched a lot of Big Ten as we got ready to play in bowl games in recent years,” Meyer said. “I've seen the Big Ten change dramatically. Eight of the 12 teams are running some sort of spread offense right now. And then there are two option offenses and two traditional pro-set offenses. That's obviously a dramatic change.”

Still, in the national championship department and on the national respect meter, the Big Ten lags far behind the SEC.

“The one thing about college football is that it's very cyclical,” Meyer said. “The Big Ten, for many, many years, was the number one conference in America. Right now, we're not. But there are a lot of coaches and players intent on making it the best conference in America.

“(The Big Ten has) to win. They have to go win some bowl games. The bottom line is go win. However, how far are we from doing that? Coaches that have been in the conference for a while will know better than I do. When you ask me at this time next year, I'll know a lot better. I know one thing, I know there are some very, very good teams in this conference, and so I anticipate winning is not that far off.”

KNOWING YOUR NEIGHBOR

It took less than a minute for Meyer to talk about Ohio State’s intensity and passion. And it came with a wide smile across his face.

“I like our players,” Meyer said. “I like our team. We had a conditioning test that our players are telling me about. And the energy level is real high right now in Columbus with our football team. So I'm anxious to get going.”
The one problem, however, is the foreign nature of the opponents. Meyer’s only stint as Big Ten coach came when he was a graduate assistant at Ohio State in the 1980s. He faced Big Ten teams in bowl games while he coached at Florida, but Meyer is still venturing into the land of the unknown, much like Bo Pelini and Nebraska did a season ago. 

We'll win next year..The Game is always the most important game 

“The thing I don't understand and really have a complete grasp of is our opposition, of our opponents, because I don't know the conference very well,” Meyer said. “So the job is to see who plays a big part of it. As far as our football team, I like where we're at and anxious to get going.”

Fall camp commences a week from Friday.

THE GAME

The Ohio State-Michigan rivalry, arguably the biggest in all of sports, has hit a snag since the epic No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in 2006.

The Rich Rodriguez era never got off the ground, resulting in three consecutive blowouts in favor of Ohio State. Then, the Buckeyes had their troubles last season, leading to Michigan being a clear favorite. “The Game” looks to be back and better than ever now.

Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer both understand the rivalry and have injected a much-needed dose of adrenaline. With both teams back among the elite in the Big Ten and Ohio State’s bowl ban in effect, the 2012 edition is already highly anticipated by fans on both sides.

“I don't know if you can add any more to it,” Meyer said. “And the big reason is hopefully by the end of the season there's going to be two really good football teams that are going to go play each other.

“But I think that will be, I certainly imagine in our home stadium there will be a buzz about that. I've already heard it, and I haven't made that decision on how we're going to attack that game other than it's the biggest game of the year and we will get ready for it.”

Fear not, Ohio State and Michigan kickoff in 121 days.

Personnel changes in the Nickel Defense

Sabino mentioned that it's possible that he will slide over to Mike linebacker when the defense goes to nickel, though these defensive schemes will be decided further in fall camp.

This will be important to watch in fall camp - whether Sabino or Grant comes off the field when the defense adds a fifth defensive back.

Shazier will likely stay on the field at all times no matter the scheme, as his speed is necessary on the edge and in space. 

Michael Thomas, big expectations 

A we mentioned earlier, Urban compared Michael Thomas' work ethic to John Simon's. This has been a consistent theme since the spring.
The B1G released an updated depth chart today with the media guides, though Meyer was insistent that this two-deep "did not have my signature." However, this depth chart still has Michael Thomas behind Devin Smith.

Thomas has been one of the hardest working players on the team regardless of class. There's plenty of evidence of his hard work thanks to twitter. 

Meyer in the Broadcast Booth 

I'd like to point out that Meyer was a definite #swaggernaut today with the scarlet and gray-striped tie and scarlet pocket square. He must have picked up some style points from the ESPN broadcast guys. 

In regards to Urban's time in the broadcast booth, he has great respect for what the media does, but previously he was "paranoid about letting anyone in or out" at Florida.

He also noted that "I feel like I'm a better coach now" after visiting other programs. In particular, he felt like he learned a lot from Bob Stoops and Mack Brown.

9 Comments

Comments

Abe Froman's picture

The other day I prepared some ribs on the grill.  Used a steak rub first, then grilled for 45 min on 300F with BBQ sauce.  When they were done, we feasted like..... well, it was football season.  My wife event stated that they smelled of "football."  August.... here we come!

Basking in the wake of mediocrity.....

bedheadjc's picture

Nicely done. Did Meyer mention any specific thing he gleaned from time with Stoops and Brown?

Seabass1974's picture

The only markable advantage the SEC has over every other conference is Oversigning. When the NCAA comes down on them and hammers out some serious requirements that can't be exploited is when the SEC becomes just another conference. I gaurantee that.

The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender. - Woody Hayes

Irricoir's picture

They are making strides right now. When they put a cap on the attrition numbers across the board (number above an 85 man roster) then we will see equity. I still say the quality in each kid is better on average in the SEC than in the B1G. (Not necessarily better than Ohio State.)

I don't always take names when I kick ass but when I do, they most often belong to a Wolverine.

Catch 5's picture

The big difference is in the timing.  Teams that don't oversign have more attrition in Jan where teams that do announce theirs in the summer.  Attrition rates are comparable between both groups.  You are right though, about the SEC and their rules.  Much was made about Saban "pulling a scholarship" from two guys before NSD this year (they were offered greyshirts) because of the SEC's cap at 25.  Well, it turns out that Bama is going into the season with 82 scholarship players.  With early enrollees, there was room in this class for these guys under the NCAA rules, but because of the SEC rules, they ended up going somewhere else (Arkansas and Kentucky).  Some see that as a good thing, I see that as lost opportunity. 

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

buckeye76BHop's picture

Nice article Chad as usual.  Can't say as I'd rather see a graph than the one picture you chose at the top.  I remember that scene all too well as I'm sure Troy does (and everyone else).  Sacked Five times and rushed more than 10 times....YIKES!  As far as SEC in comparisons to OSU...we're not there yet, but I'm very confident UFM and the staff will have us competing and beating them very soon.  

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

dmurder's picture

talent vs talent will always win out.
You play nobodies then you play somebody and it's very noticeable.
The big ten desperatley needs Mich, Penn, Wisky, and Mich St to be good.

"We have always had the best damn band in the land, now we have the best damn team in the land"- Jim Tressel 1-03-03

Chad Peltier's picture

I'd also like to say that Kyle wrote a significant portion of this! Great times at the Big Ten Media Days - glad I could help bring you guys coverage.