Urban Meyer's Fast and Furious Philosophy

By Kyle Rowland on February 10, 2014 at 9:15a
72 Comments

The goals for Urban Meyer haven’t changed. Assemble the best recruiting classes and win national championships. He’s never hidden his desire to compete and be the greatest.

Prompted on signing day about why it’s important to have a highly ranked class, Meyer responded, “As long as you're keeping score, we’re going to try to win. I’m disappointed we weren’t the No. 1 class in the country, and our staff knows we’re disappointed about that.”

What he isn’t disappointed about is following a plan that formed one of the winningest stretches in college football history at Florida. In Gainesville, Meyer realized it took speed and athleticism at the skill positions and in the defensive front seven.

Take one glance at his recruiting haul at Ohio State and you’ll notice a trend. Meyer is building an SEC North team in Columbus by using the same philosophy that built the Gators into a juggernaut. Names like Dontre Wilson, Noah Spence, Raekwon McMillan and Joey Bosa could mirror Percy Harvin, Derrick Harvey, Brandon Spikes and Jarvis Moss.

“They’re building the team from the inside out,” ESPN national recruiting director Tom Luginbill said.

It’s not just Florida that discovered the formula. Throughout the SEC’s seven-year win streak – and Florida State’s championship last season – the route to a title became more and more obvious. When the Buckeyes surrendered 115 points in its final three games, losing two, it became obvious their route to a title was paved with landmines.

“Where I think they’ve had a bit of a leg up is they’ve been able to mask their weaknesses to some degree that have manifested themselves on defense by having superior skill players on offense that have been able to create mismatches and get them ahead of the curve as they continue to build the defensive side of the football,” Luginbill said.

He broadcasted a game featuring the Buckeyes last fall and said the “lack of depth and ideal talent that Urban Meyer would like to have was pretty apparent.”

So Meyer went on the recruiting trail and plucked the necessary pieces needed to return to the sport’s apex. McMillan, Johnnie Dixon, Jalyn Holmes, Curtis Samuel, Kyle Berger, Dante Booker, Darius Slade, Parris Campbell and Noah Brown fit the bill. Study this year’s top-10 recruiting classes and one team stands out for its location – Ohio State.

“He brings speed to our backfield that I don’t believe we've had since I’ve been here.”– Stan Drayton

SEC speed is mentioned as often as touchdowns and interceptions during game telecasts. But the notion that only the south or the SEC plays a fast brand of football is uneducated at best.

“Some of the guys with great speed, like Paris Campbell, aren’t from the south. So I think the SEC speed argument is overblown,” J.C. Shurburtt, national recruiting director for 247Sports, told Eleven Warriors. “Sometimes you’ll look at the SEC and there will be a kid from Pennsylvania outrunning everybody else.”

While most men Meyer’s age fancy fast cars, he covets fast football players. In his initial head-coaching position at Bowling Green, Meyer knew faster players often meant a better team which translated into more wins.

“At Florida, he wanted to have the fastest team in college football. I’m sure having the fastest team in college football at Ohio State is a goal, and they’re getting there,” Shurburtt said.

Said Meyer: “We’re getting close. We need a couple more. But from where it was two years ago to where it is now is much different.”

Shurburtt believes the Big Ten East could resemble the SEC West in the near future, possibly becoming the toughest division in college football. The team armed with the most athletes and speed at skill positions and in the front seven is almost certain to have the upper hand. Where the Buckeyes still lag behind the nation’s elite teams is linebacker. They possess a difference-making quarterback, skilled wide receivers and a nimble defensive line.

Luginbill believes McMillan will step in and perform immediately. It’d be a boon for a unit short on depth that just lost former five-star recruit Mike Mitchell. Dixon, another early enrollee, is also drawing positive reviews. Creating mismatches is space is Meyer’s objective, and Dixon certainly has that type of playmaking ability. 

But Samuel, who’s listed as a wide receiver and running back, is the player earning the Wilson treatment of 2014, even Meyer’s join the growing chorus, referring to the Brooklyn native as “electric.” He’s run a 4.47 laser-timed 40 multiple times.

“He brings speed to our backfield that I don’t believe we've had since I’ve been here,” running backs coach Stan Drayton said. “What we don’t know about Curtis Samuel right now is, how is he going to respond when he’s in the ‘Shoe with 108,000 people looking at him.”

“Samuel, in my opinion, can serve the offense in a very similar fashion to what Dontre Wilson did a year ago as a true freshman,” Luginbill opined. “Maybe he’s a true running back on certain downs, maybe he’s split out wide on other downs, maybe he’s in the slot and utilized in the jet sweep.”

Shurburtt offered the same hypothesis, but expanded on his hard-hitting ways at safety.

“Curtis Samuel will come up and knock you into next week,” Shurburtt said. “But he could also play receiver or wing back. So there’s a guy that could help on offense or help on defense.

“As far as the guts of this class, I love the versatility. There are four or five guys that could end up playing two or three different positions, and do so at a high level. Those guys are high-level athletes, and the common denominator is they all can run. They all have great speed.”

For Meyer, that trumps having the nation’s top-ranked class.

72 Comments

Comments

buckeye4life050233's picture

Can't wait to see the newbies and the next guys up that we didn't get to see last year due to injuries and redshirts..... 

-14 HS
OSUStu's picture

Would you please stop repetitively spamming the board with the same tweets?

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

+16 HS
The Urban Legend's picture

You beat me to it

The Legend continues

+4 HS
buckeye4life050233's picture

My bad.  I got a little carried away.  I will control the tweeting the same message across the message boards.

+10 HS
Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

How about killing it altogether? You have eight C&P tweets in today's skull session alone.

I already have a twitter feed, I don't need a second one.

+6 HS
buckeye4life050233's picture

Sorry, I like stuff like that but obviously others don't so I will tone it way down

+5 HS
Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

For the record when I said 'kill it altogether' that was a bit hyperbolic.

If you come across something that is new information and more importantly relevant to the topic of the thread then by all means post it, but random tweets from everyone on random Buckeye or sports tangents gets old fast.

 

 

Nicholas Jervey's picture

It's alright to embed tweets in comments, but like others have said it's best not to overdo it.

If there are several tweets you want to let other people know about, it's better to contain them all to one comment than to leave a bunch of comments in a row. If there's more than one tweet you want to reference, you should probably embed one and link to the rest.

Most important is adding your own thoughts when referencing tweets. We love to see Dubbers' commentary in comments!

Ceci n'est pas une signature.

buckeye4life050233's picture

I tried doing them all in one but it would just post one on top of the other.  Or I couldn't get a new type box to show up to allow me to put in another embed code.  I'm new to embedding and sorta just figuring it out

+5 HS
Nicholas Jervey's picture

What I mean is that you should embed a maximum of one and hyperlink the rest. For example, taking Vico's Twitter feed:

There's one tweet embedded. If you want to reference other tweets, hyperlink them like this.

Ceci n'est pas une signature.

buckeye4life050233's picture

Thanks for the help.  Others went straight to the downvote lol.  Is there a button for hyperlinking????

+9 HS
AndyVance's picture

Moderation in all things, young grasshopper.

+2 HS
buckeye4life050233's picture

I did go back and add comments to most of the tweets.  Hopefully that curbs the massive downvoting.  Doubt it though bc I obviously made some people angry.  Just won't do that again I can guarantee lol

+16 HS
AndyVance's picture

Here's an upvote for your efforts. I'll admit that before I read your comments here, I was convinced you were a serial thread-spammer. Glad you took the message the community sent. Sharing Tweets is great, particularly since several members openly avoid Twitter. Posting 12 Tweets in a single thread without commentary - and sharing the same Tweet in six or seven threads - just looks like spamming. Sounds like you're back on the straight and narrow now, though, so all's well that ends well.

+1 HS
buckeye4life050233's picture

You are about the only person.  I seriously lost like 50 helmet stickers.  it will only get worse too bc the text I went back and added is now faded bc of the negative stickers.  lol I put myself in a serious hole today

+18 HS
AndyVance's picture

Learn from the mistake, go forth and sin no more. Or, alternately: create more gooder content, and Live Long and Prosper.

I've spotted you a couple as encouragement.

+5 HS
buckeye4life050233's picture

And I have spotted you some right back lol.  I definitely did learn. The people of 11w spoke loud and clear  

+14 HS
OSUStu's picture

Didn't mean to cause a tidal wave of DVs for you B4L.  I'll give you a few upvotes here for taking this in stride and not flying off the handle like some members have in the past.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

+4 HS
buckeye4life050233's picture

It's fine man lol.  It's like a pack mentality thing haha.  I will not post another tweet without a comment attached

+7 HS
countrybuckeye's picture

Like moi.  (I am a non-tweeter)

TresselourgodUrbanoursavior's picture

Great article. I'm wondering whether Samuel's 4.36 40 was laser timed. 

cpewster's picture

His 4.36 was at the opening on ESecPN. I don't know how they time it but it's what they use on the player's page.

Si vis pacem parabellum.

cpewster's picture

His 4.36 was at the opening on ESecPN. I don't know how they time it but it's what they use on the player's page.

Si vis pacem parabellum.

The Urban Legend's picture

I love how Urban is never satisfied. 

The Legend continues

buckeye4life050233's picture
+4 HS
OSUStu's picture

I would also like to see some size at the offensive skill positions that can create physical mismatches mixed in with all this offensive speed.  Hopefully Jeff Greene will be able to provide some of that.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

+3 HS
buckeye4life050233's picture

Noah Brown can help with that too and Marcus Baugh if he stays and gets out of Meyer's doghouse for his stupid mistakes this past year

+7 HS
buckeye4life050233's picture

I really hope we use Jeff Greene's size to create mis-matches like TTUN did with Funchess.  It's all good to have a power running game the way we did with El Guapo but teams found a way to show base coverage and sneak 2 extra guys towards the run once Braxton or Herman made the decision.  Really need to start opening up the playbook and invent some creative ways to get Dontre and the speedsters the ball in space much like how St. Louis used Tavon Austin this past year in the NFL and how Percy Harvin was used at Seattle albeit sparingly this past year bc of injuries

+4 HS
CC's picture

I thought Bama looked big and slow against OU.  In reality I think the most important thing to the SEC wins and MSU/FSU's to some degree is having a punishing/demoralizing D, a solid run game and a semblence of a passing game.  I beleive we are on pace to get there.

+2 HS
MN Buckeye's picture

Or watch the replay of the Auburn kick return against Alabama that won the game.

+2 HS
dan_isaacs's picture

Heh, Auburn had their return team on the field  (DBs, LBs, WRs, RBs, TEs) just in case it was short.  Bama had their field goal team out, 7 OL, 2TE, holder, Kicker.

The delta in speed was a function of the position players on the field.  Not recruiting or overall team speed.

Dan Isaacs

+3 HS
countrybuckeye's picture

@CC --- "... having a punishing/demoralizing D ..."

 

Buy this fan a beer!  ;-)

FROMTHE18's picture

Im starting to think speed can only get you so far on defense. We have been horrendous at over-running plays, missing tackles, and being completely lost on assignments, specifically in the secondary and this is against B1G offenses, including the lackluster O's of Michigan and Michigan State. In searching for the main issue on defense, I think it really does come down to strategy and from there teaching sound technique to work within that scheme. We have speed all over the field, but if we can't get the mental parts of the game down, being fast won't matter, as we have seen this past season, particularly late in the year. 

+7 HS
Buckeyeneer's picture

Agreed. Hopefully we can get some of our defensive woes addressed. If we simply become average in our defensive backfield it will be an improvement.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

+2 HS
Run_Fido_Run's picture

Having dynamic, fast athletes is a necessary but insufficient requirement of an elite defense. A defense can be good to very good without having many fast athletes, while a defense loaded with fast athletes can be porous if plays unsoundly. But an elite defense will be stocked with athletes AND will play good sound fundamental football.

+2 HS
cinserious's picture

 

 I think it really does come down to strategy and from there teaching sound technique to work within that scheme

I agree FROMTHE18, and now that we have coaches like Larry Johnson and Chris Ash in the mix, those fundamentals will not be ignored. Hopefully Fickell can focus on mostly coaching up the LBrs now that Ash is here to help with scheme and playcalling.

Gone ham, be back soon...

+2 HS
countrybuckeye's picture

Think "downhill" and "team pursuit to the ball" when you visualize "UFM Speed Ball"

MN Buckeye's picture

Really like Curtis Samuel; it was clear that he was a top priority for Urban during the last recruiting cycle.

We are bringing in the speed, now it is up to the staff to get everyone in top shape and get them playing at a National Championship-caliber level.

+2 HS
countrybuckeye's picture

And remember to 'engage their brains'

deddy214's picture

I love that he's bringing in guys with the capability to make instant impact whether that be actually playing or simply competing to make the two deep on a consistent basis. We need playmakers on both sides of the ball and he keeps bringing them in.

Seattle Linga's picture

With Ash on board - Urban focusing on defense more this off-season - the crop of STUDS coming in - I have a feeling we will be much stronger this year defensively. 

+7 HS
Furious George 27's picture

Definately seems like we have more LBs to push for playing time this year.
 

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

+3 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Agreed FG - it'll be a nice problem to have

+1 HS
m5987usus's picture

The defensive line depth we have is ridiculous holy crap

O-H!

+2 HS
OSUpawn's picture

I know its not the same but when I recruit on NCAA I would try to get the fastest guy.  With speed you can be in positions that no one else can.  Hopefully with the new coaching they will use fundamentals to make the tackles and not over pursue the plays.

I believe the SEC players put their pants on one leg at a time like we do.

Killer nuts's picture

I'm of the same mindset. I recruit speed at skill positions more than anything else in that game. In real life I enjoy a skill set along with the speed but as long as they can catch, block, and make smart plays then the faster the better

hit_the_couch's picture

Building an SEC north team?

They act like tOSU has never had talent or good teams before when it's the 3rd biggest NFL producing school ever. If what we've seen is building an 'SEC north' defense, whatever an SEC north team or defense is, than I and many don't want it.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

+6 HS
Furious George 27's picture

When he was hired he finshed the class with some top DL recruits and I believe that unit was #2 in the country in sacks last year... The LBs & DBs playing last 2 years were not his recruits. I would say that so far the players he has recruited have been very good.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

+1 HS
hit_the_couch's picture

That makes absolutely no sense. He took over UF, Utah, and Bowling Green with other peoples' recruits and had solid D.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

+1 HS
Buckeye419er's picture

That doesn't mean they weren't better than what he was left with on the field and in the staff when he came to tOSU. A holier than though approach will get the team no where fast. Yes I agree that tOSU has had some great teams and great talent over the years but lately it's been spotty at best. Urban is building a team, not a couple positions. That's the difference from what I can tell between teams in the BIG and teams in the SEC. 

cuttyrock's picture

I dislike that SEC up North moniker. We are The Ohio State University and we are second place to no one yet alone a whole conference. We will one day soon be unquestionably number one again. O-H!!!

+1 HS
Go1Bucks's picture

Absolutely agree with you on the unneeded SEC North statement, OSU and the B1G have had speed before and Urban is just changing the dynamics to where it is more of a priority than in recent years

Go Bucks!

InvertMyVeer's picture

"I’m sure having the fasted team in college football at Ohio State is a goal, and they’re getting there”

So they were being literal when talking about being a hungry team??? 

Football is complicated...

+3 HS
I_Run_The_Dave's picture

This is part of Meyer's strategy to defeat Michigan every year.  We just give them all our food on Friday's and Saturday mornings.  Unfortunately, Brady Hoke takes all of his own player's food 7 days a week, so they are more fasted and hungry than we can ever be.  That's how they nearly beat us this past year.

+5 HS
InvertMyVeer's picture

Ahhh okay, that also explains the 'feed me' thing Gardner and Robinson used to always do -- It wasn't a celebration, it was a cry for help!

Football is complicated...

+7 HS
Barnsey69's picture

UFB knows recruiting, he probably considers it to be the most important play in football...well just behind punting of course.

I am a modern-art masterpiece.

Nick's picture

Tress's most important play is the punt, Meyer's is blocking the punt.

+3 HS
Chief B1G Dump's picture

“As long as you're keeping score, we’re going to try to win. I’m disappointed we weren’t the No. 1 class in the country, and our staff knows we’re disappointed about that.”

No mention of a reduced scholarship excuse.  Urban not only always has guns blazing, he has them blazing Rambo style.

 

As for the SEC speed myth, I remember the early stages of this when we played UF in the title game.  There was a chart posting overall 40 times top to bottom, and we had a faster team.  Now that example isnt the best, in that we got smoked, but its more to the style of play...not individuals sprint times.  They were not playing road grating, ground and pound, football...they were ahead of the curve in the spread em out and get the ball to speedy players on the edge.  Back in the olden days, I used to love to travel down south and talk smack that SEC football was nothing more than a bunch of thugs running fly routes.  Anyhow, I get very burnt out on the SEC speed thing, like only the SEC schools have fast players...not it at all, nor even close to true.  Conversely, I do enjoy Urban Meyers 1 man mission to destroy them at their own game.  Urban is assembling the most dynamic playmakers to where we can adapt and shred to any style, condition, advantage that we can possibly face.  World domination is near...

+2 HS
buckeyedude's picture

I love your analogy Chief. But I see Urban more of a smooth killer, like a young Clint Eastwood, a la "The Outlaw Josey Wales." Rambo was a little nutso. Josey Wales(Clint Eastwood) would steal your girlfriend, and you'd be OK it.

 

 

+1 HS
iamcbs's picture

The SEC Speed thing has been way overblown. Who's any faster than Oregon or USC? Texas has great speed. Alabama isn't now and during it's Championship Run never had a plethora of speed, neither did LSU and is Georgia going to frighten anyone with it's speed. It's all about scheme and putting your players in the position to do what they do best. The Oakland Raiders for years always drafted the fastest players at the NFL Combine, because Al Davis coveted speed, how's that working out now?

I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep, I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion~Alexander the Great

+4 HS
Run_Fido_Run's picture

I agree that the SEC speeeeed thing has been overblown - in the sense that SEC teams weren't way faster, or even a little faster, compared to some non-SEC teams. 

That said, I'm not sure your examples hold up well. Every team in the NFL is loaded with speed. Rarely do slow guys with a "high football IQ" make it in the NFL. That the Raiders would draft a "track guy" every so often doesn't mean that they had a relatively fast team overall compared to other NFL teams.

Conversely, Bama and LSU are relatively fast teams compared to typical college teams. Maybe they're not one of top 3 fastest (who knows?), but you're underselling how fast they are. When they're competing for national championships, though, they combine speed with dominant line play (which was absent for Bama in 2013 and has been the last two years for LSU).

And if good-to-elite speed is not as ubiquitous in the college game, maybe that makes it even more important for a program to stockpile dynamic, fast athletes.Take Ted Ginn, for example. As a college player, he ran mediocre routes and was never confused with being a "well rounded" player, yet he dominated college football on pure speed and athleticism alone.

+1 HS
cinserious's picture

LSU actually is a speed based team, and it usually results in a loss to the more plodding Alabama style. IMO, its best to have a combination of both to use when necessary. I feel the future of OSU football looks somewhat like an Oregon offense and an Alabama/LSU/Auburn defense. We will see this materialize in the next couple of years and consistently be in the top 5 on both offense and defense.

Gone ham, be back soon...

+2 HS
countrybuckeye's picture

@Cinserious --- what I see UFM doing is taking our tradition of power smash-mouth ball and getting all the players grooved into "4-5 seconds of maximum, angry effort."  Coupled with enough studs to platoon everywhere except QB and kicker-dudes, we can overwhelm 99% of the teams with fresh legs.  I LOVE it. 

johnblairgobucks's picture

Here's to hoping the offensive play calling gets more confident in using the increased speed. I felt last year, that Dontre was under utilized and stretching the field with our wr's wasn't tried enough.

+2 HS
Nick's picture

It was hard to give Wilson more carries when you have Miller, Hyde, and Brown being so effective.

+1 HS
Nick's picture

It was hard to give Wilson more carries when you have Miller, Hyde, and Brown being so effective.

+2 HS
buckeyedude's picture

You can say that again!

 

 

+3 HS
CarolinaBuck's picture

 I'm kinda getting tired of everything we do somehow being tied in with the SEC and Florida.

+6 HS
CowCat's picture

Yeah, totally.

At least you're in SEC country LOL.   Here in Washington State people say things like "It's great that you got that coach from Florida".   Aaaarrggggghhhh.  He's always been a Buckeye, dammit.   :)

 

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

+2 HS
CowCat's picture

Not being a nitpicker, but there are a LOT of spelling and grammar errors in this article, e.g. "fasted team". 

Maybe it was an autotext issue?

 

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

+1 HS
Silver Bullet 10's picture

I'm so pumped that we're building an SEC defense and not a Buckeye defense. The best SEC defense gave up 400-something rushing yards to a slow, one-dimensional, mediocre FCS school, and the second best SEC defense surrendered 45 points to the worst Oklahoma offense in 20+ years.

+5 HS