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Meyer high on freshmen specialty players

September 14, 2012
By SETH STASKEY - Buckeye Blitz ( , Times Leader

Any football coach you talk to wants to be solid in all three facets of the game.

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer gets a lot of credit for the offenses at his previous coaching stops.

However, the area that Meyer really coaches up himself is the special teams units.

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FRESHMAN Najee Murray has been impressive at Ohio State thus far. The former Steubenville Big Red player has continually drawn high praise from head coach Urban Meyer and starts on the OSU Kickoff Team.

And thus far this year, it's the special teams which have been the most complete in each of the first two weeks as the No. 12 Buckeyes are now 2-0 and await a Saturday afternoon visit from California.

"The one area of our team that is playing very, very well is our kickoff team," Meyer said at his weekly press conference.

Meyer spoke a lot during the pre-season about the aggressive style he coaches his special teams to play with. Against Miami, the punt team scored a touchdown and last week against Central Florida, the kickoff coverage team put forth a champions effort.

"We have a saying around here: 'be the best in the country at what you do and they are trying to be the best at what they do,'" Meyer said.

Included on the kickoff coverage unit is former Steubenville Big Red standout Najee Murray, who had two solo tackles against the RedHawks in week one.

Meyer singled Murray, Jamal Marcus and David Perkins out this week in his press conference for their efforts on special teams.

"We held a good return team (UFC) inside of its 20 yard line three times last week, which is good," Meyer said.

Also drawing high praise thus far for their play on special teams have been Adam Griffin, Jamie Woods, Devan Bogard and Taylor Rice.

"We've got some really cool guys around there," Meyer smiled. "(Working with those guys) is my favorite 10 minutes of the day."

Drew Basil has played well and each week Meyer makes a determination on whether or not he wants the opposing team to be allowed to return the kickoffs or if they have an impressive return man, he may elect for Basil to kick it through the end zone.

"It's a week-to-week thing," Meyer said. "I got confidence in what we are doing right now.

While it's playing well, Meyer - the ultimate perfectionist - still sees plenty of ways to go.

"We were OK, but this is really one of the few times that I can remember in years and years is that it really didn't have much of an impact," Meyer said.


"I think Coach Knight is a master motivator," Meyer said.

"I love the guy. I invited him down to speak to my football team when I was at Florida.

"He does it the right way. He doesn't cheat. Maybe he goes about things a little different, but that's not my job to judge.

"Before I was fortunate to hire him on my staff, I was a big fan of Mike Vrabel," Meyer continued. "And not just because he's from Walsh Jesuit and I knew all about him. I watched the way he worked and trained when I used to go visit New England, and my friend Bill Belichick."

"(Jeff) is one my great friends," Meyer said. "I've known him for a long time. I've studied football with him back when I was at Bowling Green and still to this day utilize some of his pass concepts. I have a lot of respect for him as a coach."



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