In the Ohio Union on Tuesday evening, Urban Meyer held his first town hall meeting with nearly 800 Ohio State students. Like last month when he invited them to watch practice one morning, it was all part of his effort to reach out to the student body and grant them another peek behind the football curtain.
As he previously said, "what's every student want? They want ownership and access. We're going to give it to them."
At the 90-minute long event, Meyer was joined by his wife Shelley, Luke and Amy Fickell, Mike and Jen Vrabel, and Mickey Marotti, who led the crowd, along with Zach Boren and Brutus, in a high energy drill. The team already performs the drill before practice to get themselves in the right mindset, and once the season starts, the students will also participate:
"Right before we go back into the locker room, I'm going to bring the whole football team and coach (Marotti) right in front of the student body," Meyer said. "We are going to teach the students (the drill) and that is going to be our new tradition. You do that with your football team, we will go back in (to the locker room) and we will come back out and kick a little ass for you guys."
Later, Braxton Miller, Etienne Sabino, and John Simon made an appearance and appropriately closed out the affair with a rendition of "Carmen Ohio".
Much like a Comic Con panel except presumably no one was dressed as Wonder Woman or Inspector Spacetime, the purpose of the forum was to embrace the students and to build even more excitement for a much-anticipated season. The intent was not for the coaches to answer hard-hitting questions such as "Why did Jeremy Cash really transfer?" and "Vrabel, how badly did you want to punch Jim Bollman last season?"
Instead, they handled softballs about their preferred date night locations, which caused Vrabel to overshare as he replied, "If I have purses, shoes, or Mexican food, I'll have a good shot at the end of the night."1
If you are left wondering, "but where do the Meyers and Fickells like to dine? I MUST KNOW!", then I can help you with that particular cliffhanger, based on nothing but assumptions.
Other than what was reported in the articles linked above, I don't know for certain what else happened because I am no longer a student and when I was, Jim Tressel never organized a town hall of his own. Nevertheless, I can still offer my imagination.
Moderating the evening was student leader Jared Kamrass, and after The X-Factor portion2 and the introductions were over, he directed questions from the audience. Here's a selection of some that maybe possibly could have been posed and the exchanges that potentially might have followed, perhaps:
Jared: First up, we have Paul, a third-year marketing major.
Paul: Coach Meyer, what did it feel like when you first took the field for the spring game?
Urban: To coach for The Ohio State University? It was a moment I had been waiting for my entire life. Just magical. My father was a huge Buckeye fan and passed away right before I took the job, but I could feel his presence and I knew we were sharing this together. I was so overjoyed that I got a little choked up. It was sort of like when your kids are born...I'm guessing. I wasn't actually there for their births.
Shelley: He wasn't!
Urban: Recruiting never sleeps.
Jared: Next is Lisa, a first-year in communications.
Lisa: Coaches Vrabel and Fickell, do you two ever hit the recruiting trail together?
Fickell: Once in a while, but we usually go out on our own, thankfully. I can only listen to "Call Me Maybe" so many times in one road trip.
Vrabel: Hey, it's better than Taylor Swift! (to the audience) He's the one who really wanted to go to the concert last year, not his daughter.
Fickell: Well he only pretends to chew. It's actually just bubble gum.
Vrabel: He started Joe Bauserman at quarterback! More than once!
Fickell: HE MADE OUT WITH GREG BELLISARI'S GIRLFRIEND SOPHOMORE YEAR!
Vrabel: BRO CODE, BRO!
Amy and Jen, simultaneously: That's enough, boys.
Jared: Moving on to Isaac, a grad student in political science.
Isaac: Did Stan Drayton move to running backs coach because the wide receivers are so bad?
Urban: No, he was actually in charge of the running backs at Florida for a few seasons. It's a better fit for him. Besides, in my offense, running backs basically are wide receivers...wait, Bri'onte Dunn isn't here, is he?
Jared: Now it's time for a special guest caller from Georgia Tech.
Nicki: Hi, mom and dad. It's Nicki.
Shelley: Hi, sweetie!
Nicki: Your daughter, Nicki Meyer. You know that contract you signed? Well, I was wondering if you've eaten three meals today.
Urban: Yes, ma'am, I have. Thanks for checking...Nicki?
Nicki: Great. Bye, love you!
Urban, after she hangs up: I wasn't about to tell her, but all I had for lunch was some Bazooka I stole from Vrabel.
Jared: Next is Chance Frenlm. No year or major given.
Chance: What's so bad about corn syrup? It's natural. Corn's a fruit. Syrup comes from a bush.
Marotti: Well, sugar is sugar and too much of it leads to obesity—
Chance: We should eat ham and mayonnaise sandwiches. Ham and mayonnaise! Ham and mayonnaise! Ham and mayonnaise!
Marotti: Please stay away from Johnathan Hankins.
Jared: Speaking of food, Kevin, a second-year in psychology, has something to ask the head coach.
Kevin: Are you worried that Brady Hoke thinks your name is Oscar Mayer and will mistake you for a hot dog?
Urban: The only thing That Team Up North will be tasting this year is the salty tears of defeat.
Ten minutes later, after the cheers have finally subsided
Jared: Abby, a fourth-year engineering student, has a query for the men.
Abby: What's your opinion on Lena Dunham and Girls?
Urban: I don't understand the question and I won't respond to it.
Fickell: Is that the lady from 300?
Fickell: "Girls" is a pretty sweet jam, but "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" is my personal favorite.
Vrabel: R.I.P. MCA!
Jared: It's Lawrence's turn, a second-year in economics.
Lawrence: This is for the Mrs. Coaches: what's your husband's worst habit?
Shelley: I like John Simon. He's a wonderful young man, but sometimes Urban talks about him way too much. And if you thought ESPN never shut up about Tebow, you can't even imagine what I've had to deal with.
Amy: He's no help with decision-making. If I ask him, "should we paint the bathroom eggshell or cucumber" or "what do you want for dinner: meatloaf or spaghetti?", he just freezes up and won't give me an answer.
Jen: Mike still says "winning".
Jared: Here's Priya, a third-year in biology.
Priya: What do you really think about Bret Bielema?
Urban: I wouldn't let my daughter—
Urban: I wouldn't let my daughters within a 100 miles of him.
Jared: We have another special guest, this one via satellite. Please welcome cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs.
Coombs: HELLO EVERYONE!
Urban: Sorry, we wouldn't let him come in person because we were afraid that with the drill, there'd be enough energy in the room to make us all combust.
Coombs: EXCLAMATION POINT!
Jared: Well, coach, Mark, a fifth-year English major has a question for you.
Mark: What's it like going from Cincinnati to Ohio State?
Coombs: AWESOME!! IT'S A DREAM COME TRUE TO BE COACHING AT A REAL FOOTBALL SCHOOL! I LOVE OHIO STATE! GO BUCKS!!!
Vrabel: I have something to ask him, too. What's it like having a girl's name?
Coombs: YOUR MOM DIDN'T SEEM TO MIND IT LAST NIGHT!
Vrabel: Oh, you just wait until Fight Club meets again.
Fickell: First rule, dude!
And finally, resolution to the restaurant mystery:
Shelley: The last time we dined out, it was at Cheeseburger in Paradise. Urban only wanted to go there because it's the name of his favorite song.
Urban: The frickles were good, though.
Amy: Every once in a while, we like to eat dessert for dinner and Jeni's is, hands down, the best.
Fickell: Once Tom Herman tried to argue that Amy's in Texas is better. I like the name, but that's just ridiculous. I used the crossface cradle to pin him at that night's Fight Club.
Vrabel: First rule, dude!
Whether any of the above even came close to happening3 doesn't really matter. Urban Meyer has sought out ways to court the student body and allow them more access to his squad. For a football-crazy university like Ohio State, many students already felt like part of the team. Now, the relationship can only be stronger.
- 1 The subsequent fist bump from Fickell is implied.
- 2 I'm not making up the part about jump ropers, rappers, and a mandolin player.
- 3 I think it's safe to say that it did not.