Liz Young / Asst. sports editor
Urban Meyer spoke at the 82nd annual Ohio State Football Coaches Clinic Friday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, sharing with fellow football coaches and players the lessons he has learned during his time at OSU.
Pushing players hard
Meyer said that because he took over one season, coached by Luke Fickell, after former OSU coach Jim Tressel, who captured a national and six Big Ten championships, there was inevitable pressure to duplicate such success.
“If you take over from a lousy coach … you say jump, and they say how high,” Meyer said. “You take over from a great coach … you have to go in with eyes wide open.”
He went on to briefly discuss the demands the coaching staff has put on the team and joked that the lifting exercises the coaching staff has assigned the team are “illegal in 40 states,” because they’re so difficult.
Meyer added that “when you’re not evaluating, you’re playing,” meaning coaches need to be pushing their players to the next level at all possible times.
The machinery of football
Meyer likened a football program to a “machine” and said it needs to be well-maintained and issues need to be worked out promptly.
“When a team isn’t performing well, it’s not because of the players, it’s not because of the coach,” Meyer said. “It’s because something is wrong.”
OSU’s Mickey Marotti is Meyer’s “right-hand man”
Meyer said that it’s important as a coach to have other coaches who can interact with the players more and give feedback.
“You as the coach are the principal at times… (you) need someone on the ground floor that are constantly (listening to problems and concerns),” Meyer said. “My right hand man is our strength coach.”
Meyer said Marotti, whose official title is the assistant athletic director of football sports performance, tells him things from the “ground floor” that he might not always want to hear but is ultimately glad he does.
Buckeyes take advice from a former player
Within a few days after OSU’s 35-28 win against California on Sept. 15, Meyer said former Buckeye running back Butler By’not’e spoke to the team about a concept that Meyer said what they all needed to hear: love.
“If you truly love something … there’s three components involved or it’s really not true,” Meyer said.
Meyer explained the first pillar is a lack of choice in making decisions, the second is a need for sacrifice and the third is timing.
A redesigned offensive line
Meyer said that the OSU offensive line used to be among the “worst in the country” but is now among the best and is one of the leading components of the team right now.
He said he’s seen a lot of “development” go into making it what it is now.
He added that the most important thing to get from each team meeting and conversation is a “nugget” that can be used to better future coaching.