Here's a Scary Thought: Urban Meyer is One Year Ahead of Schedule

By Kyle Rowland on December 4, 2012 at 10:00a

Few jobs in the country come with as much pressure as being the head football coach at Ohio State. Stress is an everyday part of the job. It is applied from a fan base that wants a high quantity of wins and indirectly from the university in the form of a multi-million dollar contract. 

Boren's leadership was an asset for Meyer during 2012.

By nature, coaches are perfectionists and also expect no miscues from themselves. Add it all up and being a head coach isn’t as glamorous as many might think. It isn’t being in charge of your favorite team, showing up on Saturday and golfing in the summer.

Hours upon hours are spent at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center game-planning, whether it’s October or March, and months are spent in hotel rooms, airports and the living rooms of high school kids.

Factor in all the variables and one better understands why coaches cherish successful seasons.

For Urban Meyer, Year One at Ohio State was supposed to be a rebuilding season. Sure, there were immense expectations the day he was hired. After all, Meyer had two national championships to his credit and is widely considered to be one of the best coaches in the country. But the Buckeyes were a 6-7 mistake-prone football team in 2011 and Meyer had a long history of achieving greatness in Year Two.

At his introductory press conference, though, Meyer spoke of the win now perception. And suddenly, a year meant to act as a bridge to the future instead became a year for Ohio State to reestablish its superiority.

“You’ve got to go win,” Meyer said. “And momentum is such a key in recruiting and your program. If you lose it, it’s hard to get it back. You don’t have four years to go build a program. You’ve got to go win some games right away. Year Two is kind of a definitive year.”

With Ohio State being the fourth head coaching job of Meyer’s career, he’s well in tune with what goes into constructing a football behemoth. At Bowling Green, Utah and Florida, modest first seasons were precursors to second seasons that offered, in some cases, unprecedented results.

Bowling Green followed up an 8-3 season with a 9-3 record, while Utah went from 10-2 to 12-0, becoming the first non-BCS school to crash the party. But it was at Florida where Meyer made an even bigger leap, going from 9-3 to 13-1 and national champions.

The bump in the road never came during his first season at Ohio State. The Buckeyes finished a 12-0 season that included a Leaders Division championship with a win over archrival Michigan. It has Meyer worried about next season, the year that his teams usually find the path of least resistance.

“My concern here is complacency and we have to make sure that doesn’t take place,” Meyer said. “We need an angry team next year. If we have to manufacture that, we will. If something was taken from you, we’re going to use that. We’re going to use a lot of things, but we’re going to try to push that to get an angry team.”

Without a ban, Meyer may have hoisted the crystal football.

Angry is a word Meyer uses frequently. It’s how he describes that 2006 Florida team that pasted Ohio State in the desert to win the national title.

What Meyer ran into with the Buckeyes was not anger but senior leadership. The 2008 recruiting class was headlined by the likes of Terrelle Pryor, Mike Brewster, Mike Adams, JB Shugarts and DeVier Posey. But it was an unheralded group that included Garrett Goebel, Travis Howard, Orhian Johnson, Etienne Sabino, Jake Stoneburner and Nathan Williams that ended up being the heart of the class.

When combined with the 2009 group that included Zach Boren, Reid Fragel and John Simon, the 2012 Buckeyes molded into, in Meyer’s words, the most selfless group he’s been around.

“This is a tremendous senior class,” Simon said. “It might seem cliché, but when you go through workouts with these guys, you don’t want to let these guys down. We are playing for each other. As a senior class, we really want to set the foundation for Meyer’s program.”

Saying they accomplished what they set out on doesn’t do justice to the jumpstart Ohio State achieved in Meyer’s first season. But it wasn’t just the seniors that provided the glue.

The Buckeyes’ freshman class, especially defenders Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington, played critical minutes, the sophomores comprised most of Ohio State’s skill players and the juniors were the nuts and bolts. And it’s a good thing all three were involved, because of Ohio State’s five senior captains, only one – Zach Boren – played every game. And even he switched positions.

The two-headed monster of Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde also helped Meyer and the Buckeyes’ cause. Not only is Miller a perfectly blended talent for Meyer’s up-tempo spread offense, but Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman also fit the system for Hyde. 

“He can run through some arm tackles and turn three-yard gains into six-yard gains and seven-yard gains,” said Herman, about Hyde’s physical downhill style. “It’s pretty cool. I don’t know any other way to say it.”

The cool thing for Buckeye Nation is how it lost a legendary head coach but swapped him out for someone who might be even better. The 2013 Buckeyes are primed not only for an unbeaten regular season but an actual postseason.

An offense that clicked in the first year of a new system will return nine starters. Despite significant losses on the defensive side of the ball, Ohio State isn't overly concerned, other than at the linebacker position. For one, backups at most other positions have proven they can play and secondly, Ohio State might be good enough to outscore all 12 opponents.

At Meyer’s previous three stops, each team scored at least 10 more points per game in his second season as head coach. Who wants to bet that remains the case at Ohio State?

“It sets the standard pretty high,” Stoneburner said. “I don't think anyone thought Coach Meyer would come in and turn it around like he did. It’s crazy to think we went undefeated.”

If the past is any indication, the best is yet to come. 


Comments Show All Comments

Jack Fu's picture

What the hell is scary about that? I popped like 16 boners.

gwalther's picture


Class of 2008

gwalther's picture

Guarantee the person who down voted didnt get the joke. Haha.

Class of 2008

Larryp713's picture

I love how Coach Meyer refers to Miller's potential next year - heard him say it could be absurd. Is it August yet?!?!?!



kgratz's picture

I'm pretty sure he used the word comical if I'm not mistaken. if urban Meyer is describing somebody's playing abilities as comical... I don't think we can even imagine. remember this guy coached Percy harvin and Tim tebow..

How Firm Thy Friendship

cinserious's picture

Remember, Urban refered to the offensive line unit in the spring of 2012 as "a clown show". All they did was beast-out the entire schedule as maybe the most dominant and turned around position group on the team. So expect the same kind of turn-around from Braxton Miller's 'comical' 2012 performance.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

kgratz's picture

no comical in a good way.  urban said what miller would do in 2013 is comical.  like 'hahaha holy s*** he just did it agian"

How Firm Thy Friendship

acBuckeye's picture

I love our guys and highly respect Coach Meyer, however the only thing that concerns me with his emphasis on an "angry team" is how that has translated to so many dumb penalties this past season. I understand being aggressive and going for your opponent's jugular, but you also have to be smart. Multiple times this past season, I found myself muttering "this can be a really stupid football team sometimes." I don't really recall ever having that feeling under Tressel, although the LSU game does stick out.
I love having swagger and confidence, but I love smarts and precise execution even more. I hope Urbz remembers this when he's talking to his guys about being angry this offseason. I also hope the unit he's in charge of, special teams, gets much more consistent in making plays for themselves, and not making so many plays for the other team.
Having said all of this, I still find it remarkable how Meyer turned this team around to 12-0, although I knew we had the pieces to do it. The pressure on this team to win every game next year will be immense, especially with what looks like an easier road to travel.

bassplayer7770's picture

I'm glad you brought this up.  I also sometimes thought that this angry team committed too many "stupid" penalties.  However, I can't imagine Coach Meyer or his staff was okay with that, and I do recall Coach Meyer mentioning some of these penalties and how they needed to stop.  I have faith these things will get sorted out.
Play hard, play angry, and play smart!

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

Yeah, it got to the point last year when I fairly expected one or two of those penalties a game. Still, I think that Urban looks at them individually. With Shazier, it was almost always overzealous energy and I think the staff will work with this while appreciating the effort.
In the Wisky game, though, Michael Thomas's boneheaded takedown got him yanked and clearly frustrated Meyer. An "angry" team can still be a "smart" team and when they achieve this co-existence, they'll be the team that I imagine Meyer envisions.

sir rickithda3rd's picture

didnt reynolds choke sorgi under the tressel regime?

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

AirForceNUT's picture

Yes he did.  I'm not sure why you were downvoted because of that statement.  So i countered against it!

faux_maestro's picture

It was also the Mark Dantonio regime so take it for what it's worth.

Your mom told me she wants a Dicken Cidar.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

When Urbz says that he wants an "angry team," I'm sure that he's envisioning more of a controlled/channeled aggresson than reckless fury. It's just as easy for a team to take stupid or "chippy" penalties when they're playing lackadaisically - and therefore take offense when the other team plays hard - than if they're playing dirty football in a deliberate, premeditated fashion. 
That said, I suspect that Urbz is willing to tolerate a few penalties resulting from over-aggression (e.g., running into the kicker).
I bring up the following example not because I condone it, but merely to illustrate a point: in the 1991 Cotton Bowl (1990 cfb season), the Miami Hurricanes infamously committed 16 penalties for 202 yards, including numerous personal fouls. The penalty yards did not keep Miami from brutally destroying the 3rd ranked Texas Longhorns 46-3. Indeed, many observers believed that Miami's "as nasty as they wannabe" approach multiplied their intimidation factor.
Again, I'd never want to see the Buckeyes act like those old Hurricanes teams; however, when a team can assert its will over the opponent, it more than compensates for some penalty yards here and there.   

acBuckeye's picture

I understand and you make great points. However, isn't it just as intimidating, if not moreso, when an opponent knows that a team won't beat themselves with dumb mistakes, and instead that team executes their gameplan to perfection every week, all the while the opponent knows they have no prayer in stopping it?
I can't understand any coach being ok with running into a kicker when the defense just busted their asses to get off the field. To me, a penalty like that inexcusable. Those penalties, and personal fouls (i mean legit foul penalties, not the sissy crap they call half the time) and similar penalties are the result of one single player losing focus/cool, and letting all the other 80+ guys on his team down. I understand penalties are going to happen to anyone, its just some can be tolerated while others should never be. Last year's team was highly penalized, and it can't continue that way.
I remember watching that Cotton Bowl game. I grew up in Austin.

jarheadbuckeyefan's picture

I think a lot of the dumb penalties were attributable to overexcitement/youthful inexperience

"The only meaningful statistic is number of games won."~ Woody Hayes

gobucks5413's picture

Is it August 31 yet?
My only fear is that our schedule is soooooo weak that we get left out...I talk myself into thinking that won't happen because it has to be impossible to leave out a team that would have won 25 games in a row.

chicagobuckeye's picture

It won't happen.  If the any BIG team goes undefeated it will appear in the NCG unless there are other undefeated teams who have looked better.  We would have been in the NCG this year IMO, but pollsters had the out of sight, out of mind issue of the possibility of having a split national title.

Jack Fu's picture

My only fear is that our schedule is soooooo weak that we get left out...

Let's not put the cart before the horse here. Our schedule was incredibly weak this year and it took some clutch plays and lucky bounces to get to 12-0. My primary fear going into next year is that going undefeated is really damned hard. Any concerns about schedule strength are wayyyyyy behind that.

buckeye76BHop's picture

Regardless of a weak schedule...if OSU would have not been sanctioned, then they'd be playing ND in the NC game.  A 13-0 team that beat Nebraska twice (even though we now know they're just SLIGHTLY overrated) would have passed a one loss SEC team to play in the NC.  If it wouldn't have happened then everyone would be screaming for a play off.  Trust me...there's a reason why Brad Edwards and others aren't commenting a whole bunch about the "what ifs" if OSU wasn't sanctioned.  IMO of course and I'm sure others will say different and that it's not happening so why speculate.  My answer to that what happens next year...despite the cart before the horse idioms.  

"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 

osubuck57's picture

Scary as in,how scary good our are teams gonna be in years 2,3 and 4.Angry is good.Rather get some dumb penalties because we were too aggresive,in stead of coming in with a lull and getting upset.You see it all the time.How in the world did that team come in and beat the hell out of this team,complacency and oh we should put 40 on this team ,no problem,over-confidence,which won't be our problem.Urbs will have them ready to play whether we face #1 or #140 ranked teams.HUGE chip on their shoulders next year.If we're not favored by 20+ every game,that will be a disappointment. And no offense to Tressel,but our teams with him never would have come from behind to win games,often.Teams just weren't built for that,2 yards and a cloud of dust.With Urbans' offense,we'll gas the other teams out!!


acBuckeye's picture

But that's the thing..... how many times this last season did we REALLY come out of the gate and look like a prepared, disciplined football team that was ready to crush the opponent? Scoreless 1st quarter against Miami, could've easily lost to Cal, sleepwalked against UAB, were pretty lucky to escape Sparty with a -3 TO margin. Purdue? Should've lost in all honesty. Give up 49 to Indiana, talk all week about it, then go out and give up a one-play TD to the Boilers to start the game. We were even bumbling all over ourselves at the beginning of the Nebraska game. These dumb mistakes almost cost us The Game as well.
Tressel's teams never really had to come from behind b/c they usually didn't fall behind.
Look..... i'm not trying to be the eternal pessimist, or turn this into a Tressel vs. Meyer debate. I'm just pointing out areas that concern me going forward that I hope are being addressed and corrected. Urban will be the first guy to tell us that a football team ALWAYS has room to improve, no matter how successful they are. Football is a very difficult game to do well at every game, but I believe it is possible for a team to be aggressive, nasty, precise, and under control.

buckz4evr's picture

Tressel's teams never really had to come from behind b/c they usually didn't fall behind.

Tressel's record was 7-5 his first year.  His teams didn't become consistantly good until his 5th season.  How many wins did we eke out during his NC run? And let's not forget the games we lost that were embarrassing...Purdue, Northwestern, etc?  I think we tend to only remember the good through the Tressel years.  I do the same and was shocked when I saw we went 8-4 in 2004.  I had forgotten all about that. I'm hoping this starts another run of consistantly good teams.

onetwentyeight's picture

We also lost the 2003 Centennial M!chigan game under Tressel. Not blaming him or anything just that yea, even when it comes to TSUN Tressel wasn't PERFECT b/c nobody is. 
Except for Urban Meyer's record here. So far. 
/dreams about potentially going 26-0

painterlad's picture

You know that the other BIG coaches have to be worried about Meyer and the impending domination heading their way. Hoke looked seriously disappointed when The Game ended and not just because he lost but because he, like all Michigan fans, know deep down inside that the end is here. Winning that game was critical to his future success because beating the great Meyer and being up 2-0 on Ohio (State) could sway a lot of recruits. And now all the test of the BIG has is a rebuilding year in which OSU went 12-0.

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

toad1204's picture

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

Doc's picture


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The Official DDS of 11W

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Flounder is fat and winless against Urban... bwaaa haaa haaaa!!! 

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

buckeye76BHop's picture

Looks like he's about to slobber or something...

"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 

OSUNeedles's picture

This may have been my favorite moment of the game. I never went back to see if you could hear the booing on the TV broadcast. Awesome to have the whole stadium start booing at victory formation for the big face on the screen... When he realized what was going on, Hoke did crack a smile, though.

unknownmusketeer's picture

They finally found a way to capture life size images of him.

RBuck's picture

I hope Hoke isn't scared. If he starts shaking from fear, it might cause a major earthquake.

Long live the southend.

BUCKfutter's picture

Hoke is fat hahahahahahaha

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS


The expectations are going to be immense that's for sure. There are only 3 coaches who I genuinely believe can handle that level of pressure and deliver and we already have 1 of them. I always keep an even keel on my expectations. Even when the Buckeyes are supposed to be really good I'm always reserved but hopeful. I will continue to do the same during this offseason. Call me superstitious. Call me humble. You just never know what can happen these days in the winter and spring with potential arrests/suspensions, NCAA problems, ESPN BS, players transferring out, recruits going elsewhere, injuries and general drama that can suddenly affect the future win column. How many times have college teams had the same kind of optimism only to see it come crashing down?
However, I will express this bit of optimism: We all certainly feel a MILLION times better about the state of the program than we did this time last year. That feeling is priceless.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

causeicouldntgo43's picture

Good points - relative to your first paragraph, that's the kind of stuff that makes a head coach have esouphagal spasms. Let's hope that our athletic department has an extreme high level of viligence, demands accountability from players, and monitors effectively, which they should after the recent NCAA probes. Our house is hopefully clean and shiny for a while, and lets hope complacency does not set in. I have no concerns that Meyer and his coaches will do or tolerate anything unethical, so no worries there. You just never know when a "booster" or "hanger-on" will tempt a kid to do the wrong thing. Hopefully they will think twice and won't want to end up in Urban's doghouse.......

causeicouldntgo43's picture

I get so much happiness telling my Meeeshigan friends that we were just, you know, "rebuilding" this year. As Bob Uecker might say: "Juuuuuuuuuuuust a little rebuilding". Shwing. 
Brady's Bunch know last year's 11-2 record and Sugar Bowl win was just an illusion about the future. Yes, they will be better than under DickRod, but, as I read elsewhere, they were hoping for the second coming of Bo, but they ended up with Lloyd Carr.............and so forth 

brglr14's picture

hell loyd is better. hoke is just a ceo. which is fine i guess if you have great staff. outside of the d cord. who on that staff is really good or great?

I dont know karate but i do know crazy and i'm not afraid to use it.


causeicouldntgo43's picture

I understand they have a waterboy who can really dial up "some high quality H20".....

ziplock007's picture

Seems like OSU fans are counting unhatched eggs.
Yay, OSU went 12-0.  That's amazing.  Remember how difficult it was?  Remember half the wins were by a TD or less?  Remember how Braxton missed parts of several games from big hits?  Remember Purdue getting Guitoned?  Remember how the team's 2nd best Linbacker was the fullback?  Remember half of OSU's wins were by a TD or less?  Remember horrificly terrible UAB down by 6 in the 4th quarter driving the ball down the field?
All I gotta say is going undefeated is hard, even with a softer schedule.
Yes, the offense will be better next year but the defense must reload.  Hopefully Braxton stays healthy, hopefully there isn't another Purdue effort, hopefully they beat UM in a rematch for the B1G title (let's face it, UM's division sucks).
Even if (and it's still an if) the Bucks are undefeated I can hear the media now: "soft schedule."  The SEC gets an automatic berth (practically), so Hopefully there isn't an undefeated Pac12 or Big12 at the end of next year too or it'll be Rose Bowl.

brglr14's picture

i agree its hard to run the table. especially on the road at times. but theres no way if they run the table they get left out. there going to start the year ranked to high for that to happen

I dont know karate but i do know crazy and i'm not afraid to use it.


chitown buckeye's picture

Hopefully the BIG title games helps us with strength of schedule. Although, more so then anything I hope we wouldnt lay n egg in that game. The Michigan game takes alot of emotion and usually ends the season. Hopefully, we wouldnt have a let down in the championship game. This is a big fear of mine. Its also tough to beat any team twice.

"I'm having a heart attack!"

Doc's picture

I know we squeaked past some teams this year, but it seem we always have a team or two that we need to squeak past.  It is the nature of the beast.  Notre Lame barely beat Purdont and AACC, before a near miss with Pitt.  I have all the confidence in the world that the guys will work their tails off this off season and come out even more prepared for 2013.
The B1G sucks, and will continue to suck for years to come.  We need to prepare for SEC teams, and guess what?  We have a coach that knows how to do just that.

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

Buckeye1036's picture

The two-headed monster of Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde should be called Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

buckeye76BHop's picture

I just hope we can still continue to see that two headed monster next year....Hyde has been rumored to be leaving early.  I really hope that doesn't happen...

"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 

Buckeye1036's picture

I 100% agree.  He's fantastic, but would really love it if he came back next year.

misterbulbous's picture

I really liked the personal relationship he appeared to have with a few key players.  If you watch the final snap of the Michigan game, you'll see Boren literally running from the field over to Meyer; where he gives him a big hug.

Boxley's picture

I am seriously in need of some good recruiting news, or expansion talk.
Arghhhhhhh. it is going to be a loooooooooong offseason. 

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

avail31678's picture

Me too!  But I just want recruiting news.

buckeye76BHop's picture

Great article Kyle.  I really worry about next year for three reasons and some that Urban brought up:
1.  Complacency-it's going to be difficult to build on an undefeated season...unless they use post season play as the goal...just look how well they did this year with "nothing" to look forward to.
2.  Senior leadership-this was second to none this year with Boren, Simon, Williams, and Sabino (Hope Hall, Roby, and others step up big time).
3.  How well the defense does after finishing the year on a high note.  This I really have no worries about...personally...IMO of course.

"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 

timdogdad's picture

the picture of flounder on the jumbotron is outstanding!
i hope we don't cash in our good luck chip this year with a 12-0 record.  every team has a close call or two to make it to 12-0.  what will counter that is only having one bad qtr against a purdue and then getting a comfortable lead.   by the way, we are at purdue next year!  
i hate to say it but i almost feel better about away games than home. at home we relax, we do stupid things, we let teams stay in the game. we need the metality that evey game next year is at happy valley or camp randall.  lets not start off the year playing down to the opponents level.