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Meyer ready to move forward at Ohio State

December 5, 2011
Times Leader

WHEN THE NCAA finally opens the "doors" to reveal final sanctions, Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer doesn't expect a ferocious tiger or its equivalent to leap out.

No one at Ohio State apparently knows what's behind the NCAA's doors so Meyer is a little bit like the prisoner faced with two doors in ancient times, according to the short story, "The Lady or the Tiger." The prisoner in an arena was to open one of two doors, but he didn't know which concealed the lady or the tiger.

Asked about NCAA's final sanctions, Meyer said he had trust and faith in the athletic director and college president and then noted he had done some research on his own. He added, "But at the end of the day, I asked the same question you did: Is there anything behind Door No. 2, 3, 4, and I feel very confident and have great trust that there's not.

"We'll have to deal with the scholarship issue, and I have great trust that we will and we'll move forward."

Since the door to be opened might not let a tiger escape, possibly the outcome instead would involve a lady - Lady Luck - meaning any sanction won't be too hard on OSU, especially since there's a lot to be done in the coming months regarding the football program.

Luke Fickell, who has served as head coach for this season, will continue to be the coach for the bowl game. In the meantime, Meyer is forming his staff and putting together the organizational structure that fits his leadership style as well as recruiting.

Meyer already knows the formula he plans to use at OSU. In his initial press conference, he said he wants to recruit some really good players and surround them with the best coaches in the country. In doing this, he added that "you usually find a way to win a few games. That's the formula we're going to use here, and we're going to go really, really hard."

The new coach also said that he wants to put together "a fantastic recruiting class."

As to assistant coaches, Meyer said some will be on this staff and some will be from anywhere in the country.

Meyer and Fickell along with their wives recently talked for nearly four hours. The next morning, he met with Fickell for coffee.

He said he and his wife, Shelley, prayed and talked about it. Then, he commented, "And there's no doubt I wanted him (Fickell) to be a part of this team. And he was very open and shook my hand, a big smile on this face. ... And it was a very good moment for Ohio State."

He also said Fickell will have a significant title and a significant position on the OSU staff.

At another point, Meyer described OSU quarterback Braxton Miller as "a difference-maker." Miller was named Wednesday as the Big Ten Conference's Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year.

Meyer didn't want to get too detailed about players overall until he's more familiar with them.

Although the SEC currently is dominating college football, Meyer indicated that he doesn't think the Big Ten is far behind. He went on to point out how changes occur all the time and noted there was a time when the Big 12 was pushing the SEC for who had the best team.

Meyer, who became Ohio State's 24th head football coach, signed a six-year contract which will result in his receiving around $4.4 million a year, not counting bonuses and incentives.

The new coach, however, regards a contract signed prior to the one with OSU as being "tougher than any other contract I've signed in my life." It came from his three children, and Meyer had to promise he wouldn't work too hard and would take care of himself this time.

"I don't want to spend all day talking about that, but I feel very blessed to be able to stand here, to know where I was and where I don't want to go again," he said.

Meyer stepped down as coach of the Florida Gators in 2010 in order to spend more time with his family and amid reports of health concerns. More recently, he has worked for ESPN as a college football analyst.

Considering the rumors that have been swirling around about the possibility of Meyer's selection as OSU coach, his record is no secret, and it's hard to match.

During 10 years of coaching at Bowling Green State University, the University of Utah and the University of Florida, he compiled a 104-23 record. He had five 10-win seasons, two BCS titles with the Gators and a 7-1 record in bowl games from 2001-10.

The Ashtabula native said that his objective is simple: "It's to make the state of Ohio proud; recruit student-athletes that will win in the classroom and win on the field."

Pokas can be reached at bettypokas@yahoo.com.

 
 

 

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