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Current Football News Archive

Urban Meyer's top 6 moments of 2012: Ohio State football Year in Review
December 26, 2012 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - Urban Meyer hasn't won a coach of the year award yet. Not at Ohio State.

Penn State's Bill O'Brien took home the Big Ten awards from the media and his fellow coaches. Notre Dame's Brian Kelly was named the national coach of the year by the Associated Press and the Football Writers Association of America.

Meyer could still win the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year. He's one of six finalists, with the winner announced on Jan. 17. And he's one of 10 finalists for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year, with the winner announced on Jan. 7.

But he shouldn't hold his breath.

Or worry about it. Meyer won all his games, so he doesn't need an award to show that his first season at Ohio State went better than anyone could have expected. And OSU fans don't need an award to prove that there's no better coach in the country for Ohio State than this two-time national champ with roots in the Buckeye state.

If fans knew it when he was hired after the 2011 season, they really know it now.

Looking back before moving on, here are my six best Meyer moments from his 12-0 2012.

With his offense and his resume, we all knew Meyer could devise a scheme and make adjustments, and it's obvious that he can recruit. So for this season with this team, many of these moments are about emotion. For a program that was on an emotional downturn when he took over, his ability to lead, and get his players to follow, was more important than anything else he did in 2012.

1. Pumping up the crowd after the overtime win against Purdue: This 29-22 win on Oct. 20 was the closest the Buckeyes came to losing this season, and frankly, they should have lost. The Boilermakers blew it and it helped cost coach Danny Hope his job. Ohio State backup quarterback Kenny Guiton became a legend for a week by leading a game-tying drive in regulation and game-winning drive in overtime.

But the win wasn't complete until Meyer celebrated it, joining his players for Carmen Ohio but first jumping out of line to pump his fist at the chanting and cheering student section in a moment of unscripted excitement. And his players jumped forward right with him.

“It's pretty cool to have your head coach act just like one of us,” safety C.J. Barnett said. “He doesn't shy away from showing his true feelings or emotions and energy, and that carries over to our team.”

“He's awesome,” right tackle Reid Fragel said. “Everyone on the team would say the same thing. Just seeing him after that win, as ugly as it was, at the end of the day to see him pump up the student section is pretty sweet. Just seeing that type of stuff throughout the season is really cool to see. And he kind of feels like one of us in those moments, and that's awesome.”

Here's the video of the moment captured by Tony Gerdeman of the-ozone.net:

2. Michigan makes him swear: Meyer spoke to a gathering of fans the Friday before the Michigan game at Earle Bruce's Beat Michigan Tailgate to benefit Alzheimer's research. Maybe fired up by the presence of his mentor, Meyer cut to the heart of the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry a little over 24 hours before he prepared to lead a team into the game for the first time, ending his talk by saying “let's beat the (snot) out of Michigan.”

That's the kind of thing that goes over well with Buckeye fans.

After beating the Wolverines 26-21 to finish off a perfect season, Meyer was reluctant to make a proclamation about his team, realizing what he'd said Friday morning.

“Just trying to picture the headline here,” Meyer said. “Enough headlines. I don't need anymore. They got me all excited at a pep rally the other day and that was a headline.”

But he wasn't afraid to put his team up again anyone.

“The quote I'd like out there is I think this team could play and compete with any team in the United States of America as of now,” Meyer said.

The other quote was better. Here's the not-safe-for-work or young ears version of Meyer's talk.

3. Taking a defensive stand: After the Buckeyes nearly gave away their 52-49 win at Indiana, surrendering 15 points in the final two minutes, Meyer made a decision. He was going to spend more time with his defense, because that type of defense wasn't cutting it. And he made that clear at the next team meeting for that side of the ball.

“It was just shocking,” senior cornerback Travis Howard said, “because everybody knows what we are capable of doing. And him just coming in there showed that we didn't do so great on Saturday. We definitely need to change and go out there and prove ourselves and practice like the Silver Bullet defense. Once we saw him, we knew it was a big deal. … Of course he was upset. In his voice, he was very unsatisfied with what we did out there.”

After allowing 38 and 49 points in the previous two games, the Buckeyes didn't surrender more than 23 in a game the rest of the season. Most of that credit goes to defensive coordinator Luke Fickell and the defensive staff and defensive players like linebacker Ryan Shazier, who turned it around in the second half of the season.

But Meyer may have helped the group find focus at its lowest point.

“When he challenged us, when he challenged the entire defense, I think we knew we weren't satisfied,” Fickell said after the season of Meyer's effect on the defensive change. “Not that we made big changes but we made some changes, we got back to basics and we grew as a staff, too. We had some growing to do.”

4. Zach Boren to defense: By the end of the season, Meyer was actually asking someone to write a book about Zach Boren's switch from fullback to linebacker.

“Talk about Zach Boren. You want someone to write a book on, wow, that would be good if you go write a book on Zach Boren,” Meyer said.

Sure, some may have written a story during the 2011 season that moving Boren to linebacker might be a good idea (OK, it was me), but it took Meyer to make the decision. With injuries tearing the position apart, Meyer flipped Boren from offense to defense during a Tuesday practice, and by the end of the season, Boren looked like he'd been playing there his whole career, and it showed in the defense as a whole.

“Zach Boren on a Tuesday before Indiana steps in and plays. Four periods later, 20 minutes later he's a starting linebacker, middle linebacker at Ohio State,” Meyer said. “One of the great stories, in my mind, in college football and certainly in Ohio State history. What he's done ... the selfless approach and what he would do for this team is extraordinary. Incredible human being.”

It was Meyer who made the call that put that all in motion.

5. Time with his family after Michigan State: The first game of the Big Ten season, on the road at the Michigan State, is the game when Meyer knew the Buckeyes had a shot at something. By the end of the year, Meyer was pointing to the exact moment, at 11:22 a..m. on Sept. 29.

“We had a meeting in a ballroom in East Lansing. Very intense, very emotional meeting. And what's when I saw it,” Meyer said. “Up until then I didn't think we had them, to be honest with you. They weren't playing like it. And they weren't acting like it.”

But Meyer saw it in that meeting and saw it as the Buckeyes held on to beat the Spartans 17-16. He celebrated it first in a loud and boisterous locker room with his team, his joy obvious to his players. And then, after talking with reporters, in a quiet moment with his wife, Shelley, and son Nate.

And at that moment, seeing Meyer enjoy a win that the Buckeyes had to earn against a good team on the road, it was clear that the Buckeyes had him.

“Sometimes I say, 'Why are we doing this again?' But we just can't get away from these kids,” Shelley Meyer told The Plain Dealer after that win and that family moment. “It's a great atmosphere. It's fun. Everyone is good. Urban is good. He handled this very well. It was very stressful, but he did great. And he just loves this team so much. That one point is all you need. We knew how hard this would be. It's the first conference game and we haven't been playing perfect, so it's a huge, huge win.”

And for her, that kind of win and that kind of moment, made her husband's return to coaching “all worth it.”

6. Not enough: After a perfect season led by a sophomore quarterback who would be named the Big Ten's Offensive Player of the Year, and with a new coaching staff that included an offensive coordinator who is one of the brightest young minds in the game, Meyer made it clear he … wasn't satisfied.

And that moment in his wrapup to his first year let you know how year one came to be and what year two should be like.

Because Braxton Miller and Tom Herman, two of the brightest spots on the Buckeyes, weren't bright enough.

“Our quarterback wasn't the best quarterback fundamentally in America, so Tom Herman and I are going to have a chat. Why didn't that happen?” Meyer asked. “This is big boy football. That's your job. He did great work in other areas. Tom Herman did a fabulous job. But Tom Herman and Braxton Miller understand they have to get better. And Braxton fundamentally, if he becomes fundamentally the best quarterback in American, I think he will be the best quarterback in America. I think it'll be comical what he'll do. But he's not there yet.”

After moments like these, it's a good bet that Miller, with Meyer's help, will get there eventually.

Braxton Miller Soph Season at Ohio State 2012. Footage ABC/ESPN Big Ten Network
Song: My Body (Young The Giant) Source: GneptuneProductions

On December 13, 2012, TOSTITOS partnered with the Pat Tillman Foundation and Got Your 6 to throw a surprise Homecoming Party Bowl for our troops at Cerritos Community College. Watch the video to see the extended version of the surprise unfold. Urban Meyer coaches his team to victory ove Bobby Bowden's team, the victory saved by Owen Wilson who earlier Meyer asked Wilson, "Who are you?"

RecruitingspacerOhio State recruiting: State Secrets, 12/31
December 31, 2012 Source: Land-Grant Holy Grant - It's time to settle some rumors down, ladies and gentlemen. Yesterday, word got out that '13 WR James Quick was favoring Ohio State and that Quick would choose the Buckeyes over Louisville on Saturday, the 5th of January. While Quick is in fact making his choice between Ohio State and Louisville on Saturday, it's unclear whether or not Quick was just pulling some legs when he told reporters that Ohio State was in the lead:

@MarcGivlerBG Could you clear up the confusion regarding Quick? Was he joking when he told Mike OSU leads and did he tell hembolt we led?

Marc Givler@MarcGivlerBG
@bgpsych2 He told two of our guys OSU leads. He told me nobody leads. Get ready for six days of suspense on this one.

For now, we'll take Marc's word for it, as he's one of the more trusted Ohio State-related news guys out there. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for any more information regarding Quick, because I'm sure there will be plenty of it.

It's not a secret that Ohio State and Coach Meyer have been putting on a full assault to try to get '13 S Vonn Bell to commit to the Buckeyes. Bell's commitment would give Ohio State a little breathing room in the secondary, where the Buckeyes are currently thin. Bill Greene, another trusted source, announced that he was ready to put Ohio State as the favorite to land Bell. The Buckeyes have trailed Alabama up to this point, but now things are looking up for the end of the 2013 class:

Bill Greene@BillBankGreene
After talking to people at Under Armour I'm ready to put Ohio State as the favorite to land five-star safety Vonn Bell.

Rivals.com @Rivals
4 star #Rivals250 WR Tony Stevens said he will pick from Ohio State, Florida State & Texas A&M at the #ArmyBowl ($) ow.ly/grmum

Staying on the topic of the class of 2013, Ohio State was recently named a finalist in '13 WR Tony Stevens' top three schools, including Florida State and Texas A&M. Not much attention has been put on Stevens, at least, not as much as '13 WR James Quick or '13 WR Shelton Gibson but don't be surprised to see Stevens seriously think about becoming a Buckeye.

'14 DT Elisha Shaw has picked up an offer from Ohio State after a disappointing junior year where he was kept off of the field due to being academically ineligible. Without getting a Shelton Gibson flash, Shaw has already soothed the minds of Buckeye fans by stating that his grade situation is now under control. The 4-star defensive tackles holds offers from Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and Florida State.

Two weeks ago '14 QB Deshaun Watson wrapped up his junior campaign with the Red Elephants by earning a state title over Ware County, 49-13. He also became the all-time leading passer in Georgia state history on his way to finishing the season a champion.While he is committed to Clemson, Watson makes it no secret that he is very interested in the Ohio State Buckeyes. Watson currently has Ohio State trailing Clemson but is still open to being recruited.

Finally, '14 ATH Myles Autry named the Ohio State Buckeyes his leader on December 28th. This comes despite having over 20 scholarship offers from other schools including Florida, Florida State, Georgia, South Carolina and Oklahoma. Standing 5'9", 175-pounds, Autry, who plays running back and returner for a Norcross team that just won a state title in Georgia's largest classification, says the Buckeyes are his clear-cut favorite. He plans to visit Columbus sometime in 2013, but didn't specify where. We'll be sure to keep an eye on this kid in the future.


Dec. 30 Recruiting Rundown – All-Star Season
December 30, 2012 Source: The Ozone - Mike Mitchell (6-4, 215, LB, TX) 90%
As Michael reported last week, things are looking better and better for Mitchell to become a Buckeye as we draw closer to National Signing Day. The 5-star LB out of Plano, Texas was considered to be a Texas A&M lean at one point, but now it would be surprising to see him end up anywhere but Ohio State. He is currently down in San Antonio at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which is where he will be making his public announcement on Jan. 5th. There are four future Buckeyes in San Antonio with Mitchell, and he recently told Rivals.com that is picking a school where he can come in and compete for a starting spot right away. That certainly sounds like Ohio State, where the Buckeyes have no clear replacement for Zach Boren at middle linebacker.

Trey Johnson (6-1, 220, LB, GA) 90%
Along with Mitchell, Johnson might be the single most coveted player in the 2013 class for the Buckeyes when it comes to uncommitted prospects still on the board. That says a lot about where things are at for Ohio State when it comes to the linebacker position, but this former Auburn commit has been linked to Meyer and the Buckeyes since the moment he de-committed from the Tigers. Meyer’s former team, the Florida Gators, loom large here, but all signs point to Johnson picking the Buckeyes at the Under Armour All-American game on Jan. 4 (5 p.m. ET). As Michael pointed out last week, Johnson never made it to Gainesville before all-star season, and Rivals.com analyst Mike Farrell is making it sound like Johnson is all but locked in for the Buckeyes.

Chris Worley (6-2, 185, ATH, OH) 90%
We already figured it was only a matter of time before Worley pulled the trigger for Ohio State, but an early commitment from 2014 teammate Marcelys Jones should all but put this one to rest. He recently received some good news with his ACT scores, and it seems like the only thing Worley is waiting for at this point is picking the right time to make his announcement. Glenville kids have a history of waiting until the very end to make their decisions public, but it’s never done until it’s done.

Shelton Gibson (6-1, 175, WR, OH) 80%
Gibson is another high school all-star who is in San Antonio for the big U.S. Army game this week, and Michael will have a chance to catch up with him at some point to find out where things stand with Ohio State. The good news for the Buckeyes is that Gibson showed up in Texas wearing his black Ohio State winter cap and it seems like the only thing that could stop this wideout from becoming a Buckeye is grades. Make no mistake about it, Gibson is a dominant player and an excellent talent at a position of need for the Buckeyes, but eligibility concerns stand between him and an opportunity reunite with former HS teammate Kyle Dodson in Columbus. He will be on campus on Jan. 11 for a big visit with some other big name players, including Vonn Bell, when the Buckeyes host Michigan at Value City Arena. He is officially still considering West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee along with Ohio State.

James Quick (6-1, 180, WR, KY) 50%
This one continues to be one of the more interesting recruitments of the 2013 season, at least for Ohio State fans. The speedy wideout from Louisville seems like a perfect fit in Meyer’s new offense in Columbus, but for the longest time it has looked like he was only going to tease the Buckeyes before sticking with his hometown Louisville football program. Charlie Strong’s decision to stay appeared to be the clincher for Quick to end up with the Cardinals, but we’re hearing this one is neck and neck as they make the turn down the home stretch. Strong certainly has the inside track, but it’s hard to completely discount Meyer’s ability to close in these situations. Quick will make his announcement on Saturday during the U.S. Army All-American game, and is expected to pick between Louisville and Ohio State, though he says Oregon also remains in the mix. He recently told Rivals.com that Ohio State is his slight leader heading into the big decision, but he will sit down with his parents before making a final choice.

Vonn Bell (6-1, 190, DB, GA) 50%
What once looked like a long-shot is becoming more and more of a reality for Meyer and the Buckeyes, who could really shock the world with another incredible close to the recruiting season. Meyer reportedly made a tremendous impact on Bell when he showed up in Atlanta for the state championship game earlier this month, and now Scout.com insiders are reporting that Ohio State may, in fact, have the lead over Alabama heading into the Under Armour All-American game. Bell was a Tennessee fan growing up, and he still has the Volunteers in his final three, but this probably going to come down to a battle between Nick Saban and Urban Meyer. He is not going to announce this week, but instead will take visits to Columbus (Jan. 11), Tuscaloosa (Jan. 18) and Knoxville (Jan. 25) before making his final decision.

James Hearns (6-3, 230, LB, FL) 10%
Hearns has been on Ohio State’ radar for a while, and Meyer wasn’t afraid to go after a kid who was committed to his former school down in Gainesville. He told the-Ozone he plans to visit Columbus for that big recruiting weekend on Jan. 11, along with Vonn Bell and Shelton Gibson, but it seems unlikely he will end up anywhere but Florida. He recently tweeted that the next time he puts on a helmet it will be with the Gators. Sounds like he’s already made up his mind, but who knows what a trip to Columbus could do to shake things up.

Tony Stevens (6-3, 175, WR, FL) 10%
Another guy who was high on Ohio State at one point but seems to have cooled recently is Stevens, a WR out of Orlando. The former Florida State commit will pick between OSU, Florida State and Texas A&M on Saturday during the U.S. Army All-American game, but it looks like the Buckeyes are just about out of this one. He showed up wearing an Aggies hat in Texas, but insiders have him heading back to Tallahassee...

spacerSimon’s legacy with OSU secure
December 16, 2012 Source: Columbus Dispatch - John Simon is starting to run again.

The swollen bursa sac in the right knee of the Ohio State defensive end that kept him out of the Michigan game is healing.

“I’m still rehabbing all the time,” Simon said on Thursday after finishing final exams. “I’ll be ready to go for the Senior Bowl.”

Simon’s career at Ohio State is over, but it was one that, if coach Urban Meyer has anything to say about it, will join the pantheon of legendary careers in Buckeyes history. Meyer revered Simon for his work ethic and selfless personality that set the tone for the Buckeyes’ 12-0 season.

“One of the all-time greats to put on a scarlet-and-gray jersey,” Meyer said when introducing Simon at last week’s celebratory rally at St. John Arena.

For the first time, Simon spoke in detail about having to miss the Michigan game because of the bursa sac. He said the issue developed early in the season. He aggravated it during the Wisconsin game, though it didn’t prevent him from getting four sacks.

Simon was able to keep playing against the Badgers because “all the swelling hadn’t coagulated yet. It was still fresh. I had full movement. It was just a pain issue, which usually isn’t that big an issue for a football player.”

But after the game, the knee stiffened. Simon spent the next week in intensive rehab, but medical personnel could not work magic.

“We did some drastic stuff on game day to try to make it work — believe me — and it just wasn’t going to work,” he said.

Although it was reported well before the game that Simon had been ruled out, he said he gave up hope only shortly before kickoff.

“I made that decision 15 minutes before kickoff,” Simon said. “It was probably one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make.”

But he didn’t really have a choice.

“I could barely walk, let alone get in a stance,” he said. “I would have been a detriment to the team. That’s the last thing I wanted to do.”

He said it helped that his teammates bucked him up. It helped even more that the Buckeyes defeated their rival.

“It was amazing,” he said. “I’ve never been more proud of a bunch of guys.”

Simon played through a series of injuries in 2012. He always downplayed them to the media, even neglecting to tell coaches early in the year how injured he was. It started in training camp, when he rolled an ankle. A minor groin injury followed.

“Then I had some ribs that kept popping out of place,” Simon said. “They’d snap out of place and the cartilage would pull them right back in.”

Such an injury would have forced out most players. Simon kept plowing through.

“It was more of a pain thing,” he said. “It was hard to breathe at times, but it never got to a point where I thought I would miss anything.”

But when he suffered a shoulder injury against Central Florida, it looked like he might miss the California game.

“I couldn’t really move it at all besides an inch or two to the left or right,” Simon said.

But he gutted it out. Afterward, he gave an impassioned postgame speech that Meyer credited with being the turning point of the season. Simon said he couldn’t remember exactly what he said.

“That’s within the family, anyway,” he said. “I just told the truth and told them it meant the world to go out and play with them week in and week out.”

Despite the injuries, Simon was so impressive that he was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. He finished the season with 141/2 tackles for loss, including a conference-leading nine sacks.

“It’s a great honor, but it’s definitely a team award,” he said. “I couldn’t have gotten the production I got without the guys up front taking on double-teams and the guys covering on the back end to give us extra time to get to the quarterback.”

Simon is now headed to the NFL, but his legacy at Ohio State is secure.

“We’re probably never going to have another like him, exactly like him,” defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said. “You can’t compare him to anybody. The humility … It has nothing to do with the player (he is). It’s the type of person he is, the work ethic he shows, the example he shows. He’s a special person.”

spacerLife in the balance for Urban Meyer
November 30, 2012 Source: Columbus Dispatch - Urban Meyer knew he had to get there, red lights or not.

The Urban Meyer of a few years ago wouldn’t have bothered to leave his job to catch his teenage son’s football game. His job was all-consuming.

But this was the new Urban Meyer — still ultra-intense and hard-driving but one who recognizes that work isn’t all there is in life.

That message was at the heart of his daughter

Nicki’s now-public pink “family-contract” letter that he had to sign before all of the Meyers gave their blessing for him to accept the Ohio State job.

Asked about the contract during the season, Meyer usually deflected the question. It’s hard to answer a question about perspective while immersed in a job as demanding as head football coach at Ohio State.

On Monday, though, he was willing to address it. The Buckeyes had just finished an unbeaten season, and Meyer had emerged with his health and mental well-being intact.

spacer“I’ll give you an example,” he said. “Every Sunday I busted out of here at noon and watched my son play football. That would have never happened (before).

“I missed one game, and I think it was because we got back late — I can’t remember why. That’s just an example. I knew there’d be heck to pay if it got back to some people (that he didn’t get to the game). I got two running-stoplight tickets because I was late for one.”

The violations were detected on camera, so Meyer didn’t realize immediately that he had been caught.

“I let guys use my car and I thought, ‘That son-of-a-gun got a ticket and didn’t tell me about it,’” he said. “Then I looked, and it was September whatever-it-was on a Sunday at 12:30 when I was 15 minutes late and getting texts from my wife — ‘You better get here!’ So I went through a couple of red lights. That’s $50.”

Meyer can afford the fines, but he might not have been able to afford missing son Nate’s game. With family playing its role, Meyer was sure at season’s end that it had helped his life overall.

“I felt great.”

It would be premature to declare a permanent victory for Meyer in his quest for greater balance in his life. It’s easier to be well-adjusted during an undefeated season — however imperfect the Buckeyes might have been at times.

His players, he said, deserve a lot of credit for inspiring him. He speaks of John Simon and Zach Boren almost as sons and lauds the whole senior class for its leadership, especially in the face of a postseason ban.

“I’m a much better human being from being around them.”

Meyer said that when he would awake in the morning, “I don’t want to say I didn’t like what I saw, but it makes you really self-evaluate. You see what some of these kids do, and it’s amazing.”

Ohio State’s 12-0 record marks only the second perfect season for a Meyer-coached team. Meyer won two national championships at Florida, but neither squad went undefeated.

When his Utah team went unbeaten in 2004, he had the advantage of being under the radar in a conference without an automatic bid to a Bowl Championship Series game with a talented team and a still-new spread offense that overwhelmed defenses.

spacerWith the Buckeyes, he inherited a team that had lost seven games for the first time since the 1800s and a roster recruited by coach Jim Tressel to run a different scheme.

Yet, like most other successful coaches, Meyer adapted his system to the strengths of his players.

Big-bodied power runner Carlos Hyde, for example, isn’t the prototypical back for Meyer’s offense. But when the fast-and-versatile Jordan Hall, who does fit the Meyer mold, suffered a season-ending injury, Hyde became a highly effective runner as Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman ran plays suited to both Hyde and the offensive line.

With his defense, Meyer didn’t pretend to be a guru, but he stepped in when needed.

Recognizing that cornerbacks Bradley Roby and Travis Howard could handle more man-to-man coverage, he urged his defensive coaches to be more aggressive with pass rushing and, in the second half of the season, OSU became an effective blitzing team.

The 2012 season was supposed to be a foundation-builder for the Buckeyes, but it became much more.

Next year, with the postseason ban behind them, Meyer and the Buckeyes will face high expectations. OSU figures to be near the top of the preseason polls next year.

The 2013 schedule is even weaker than the maligned schedule of 2012: The Buckeyes will play Northwestern and Iowa instead of Michigan State and Nebraska; California and San Diego State are the best on an unimposing non-conference slate.

Meyer did wonders a year ago in saving Ohio State’s recruiting class with limited time, and the class of 2013 ranks among the best in the country.

The seniors who set the standard this year have no doubt that their accomplishments are only a prelude to a new era of glory.

“I don’t think anyone really expected coach Meyer to come in and turn it around like he did,” receiver Jake Stoneburner said. “For anybody who wants to be a Buckeye or is a Buckeye right now, there’s no better place to be.

spacer“For coach Meyer to come in and take a program that had lost the most games ever and go undefeated shows how good our coaches are. It’s crazy to think we went undefeated. Who would have thought that?”

It would be premature to declare a permanent victory for Meyer in his quest for greater balance in his life. It’s easier to be well-adjusted during an undefeated season — however imperfect the Buckeyes might have been at times.

From now on, nobody will think that such a season for Ohio State under Meyer is inconceivable.

No one questions his ability as a coach.

The challenge for him might come in whether he continues to find time to watch his son play on Sundays, even if an occasional traffic ticket is the consequence.

Urban Meyer Two Red Light Tickets

VideoOhio State QB Braxton Miller December 1, 2012 Source: ESPN
Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller talks about the season, a potential Heisman Trophy invite to New York and what's next for the Buckeyes.

RecruitingspacerOhio State recruiting: State Secrets, 12/18
December 18, 2012 Source: Land Grant Holy Grant - We begin with Tommy Sanders, a target of a few dispatches from the past week. First there was rumors he was committing to Ohio State, then there was chatter he didn't have an offer at all, then he had an offer ($) but he hadn't made up his mind and still wanted to take a visit to South Carolina.

That visit happened ($) and unfortunately for Ohio State fans hoping to have resolution sooner rather than later, he not only by all evidence appeared to have a great time, but was also put up by South Carolina all-everything defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

In the same light, the good news is now that Sanders still isn't any closer to offering up his decision. While he's indicating that South Carolina is on his short list, he's still weighing offers from Texas A&M, Ohio State, and Mississippi State, and won't announce a decision until Wednesday at the earliest. And for those worrying that a Sanders commitment would mean the end of the recruitment of Mike Mitchell, Christopher Worley, and/or Trey Johnson, worry not. Particularly given new departures along the lines of Verlon Reed, Ohio State should have more than enough room to accomodate all of those guys (and what a good problem it'd be to have all four of them wanting to commit).

Meanwhile, in a world where Ohio State and Ohio are the same thing:...

Leave it to Brady Hoke to troll offer an Ohio State basketball recruit in an attempt to get under the skin of Buckeyes everywhere. To Hoke (and Jae'Sean Tate)'s credit, Tate played half a season of high impact high school football this past fall, and fielded inquiries from multiple Big Ten programs on his interest in potentially pursuing football in lieu of basketball. And while by all accords Tate is sold on both Ohio State and the Ohio State basketball program, there's still a chance yet he might try his hand at being the first memorable two sport star in recent Buckeye memory. From this past November:...

And staying with prospective signees for February 2014's signing day (so not this coming one but the one after), Ohio State may be getting their first verbal commitment of the class of 2014 at the end of this week:...

Lonnie Johnson is a 3-star according to 247sports, the only major recruiting service that's evaluated him. None the less, the 6'3 wide out from Gary, Indiana could be Meyer's first for '14.

Finally, on the Vonn Bell watch front, it sounds as though Bell will in fact be taking an official visit to Ohio State after all along with checking out Tennessee and Alabama one last time. Alabama still has to be considered in the driver's seat, but if Bell does wind up making it to Columbus January 11th (which would be the weekend of the Michigan game), you have to expect Urban Meyer and Luke Fickell will put on the full court press to not let him leave Columbus without his word he'll be playing football for them next fall...


Taking a Closer Look at OSU's In-State Commits and Prospects Offense
December 18, 2012 Source: The Ozone - We've already talked about the in-state defensive prospects that the Buckeyes have landed or offered to this point, so now it's time to look at the other side of the ball. There isn't a large number of in-state prospects on offense with offers yet, but there is certainly some elite talent in the next few classes according to John McCallister. Things are still very early for the 2014 class, so there will be more names added to these lists in the coming months...

RecruitingspacerOhio State recruiting: State Secrets, 12/17
December 17, 2012 Source: Land Grant Holy Grant - Leading off for today is the news that '14 QB DeShaun Watson went 27/35 for 304 yards in a state championship game win. What's even more impressive is that Watson set the new state career passing record with a 10-yard pass to teammate Tray Harrison in the first quarter. Watson threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more as Gainesville became Hall County's first state champion in the Georgia High School Association. Here's more from the article, including a blurb from one of his teammates:

As far as high school players go, he's the total package. Now, as the first state championship quarterback in school history, he is also the pride of an entire community.

"Deshaun's probably the best high school player in the state, maybe the entire nation," Gainesville linebacker Devan Stringer said.

High praise for the young gunslinger, but Ohio State and Coach Meyer must feel the same as Watson is the only quarterback in the class of '14 to hold an offer. While Watson is currently committed to Clemson, Coach Meyer feels fairly confident they can sway his interest.

Thomas Gray@ThomasGray43
Sitting three rows away from Urban Meyer...guess when you really want a recruit you sit beside his mom during the state championship game
15 Dec 12 Reply

Switching gears, the tweet above mentions Coach Meyer sitting next to a particular recruit's mother. That recruit is none other than '13 safety Vonn Bell. Meyer and a couple members of his staff were on hand to see Bell play in the state championship game. Things are looking extremely good for Ohio State's chances to land Bell, considering after this visit Bell is rumored to be having an official visit to Columbus on January 11th.

Speaking of state championships, '13 commit Joey Bosa and St. Thomas Aquinas won a state title over the weekend. Coach Meyer only recruits the very best and clearly, Bosa is one of those special talents. Check out the video from Joey Bosa:

Finally, '13 4-star LB Trey Johnson is high on Ohio State, and vice versa. Along with Mike Mitchell, the chances of landing Johnson are looking pretty favorable. Rumors are swirling that Johnson's head coach said Trey will be announcing at the upcoming Under Armour game, which is in the first week of January. It's certainly something to keep an eye on, as Johnson just recently decommitted from Auburn and might pull the trigger on a Buckeye commitment...


Receiver Reed leaving: Backup wide receiver Verlon Reed has left the Ohio State football team, an athletic department spokesman confirmed yesterday.

A third-year sophomore , Reed could not be reached for comment about possible transfer plans. The spokesman said coach Urban Meyer called it a mutual parting... December 17, 2012 Source: Columbus Dispatch


Taking a Closer Look at OSU's In-State Commits and Prospects Defense
December 17, 2012 Source: The Ozone - You've seen the star counts and read the hype. Now you can see what a real scout thinks of OSU's recruiting commitments and targets in the state of Ohio... ...


Ohio State 2013 Football Commits (19) Source: Bucknuts

Ohio State College Football Recruiting Commits 2013 (19) Source: BuckeyeSports.com

2013Ohio St. Football Commitment List (19) Source: BuckeyeGrove.com

Lost bowl practices a big deal to Meyer
December 13, 2012 Source: Columbus Dispatch - Ohio State has come to terms with its 2012 football season being over.

The next few weeks of bowl games will be tough to stomach for a team that could be playing for the national championship if not for NCAA sanctions for transgressions not committed by any current Buckeyes coach or player.

The only thing that could make it worse would be if the current penalties affect the Buckeyes’ chances for success in 2013.

That is coach Urban Meyer’s concern, because the bowl ban means that Ohio State won’t have the benefit of the 15 practices that the NCAA allows for teams in bowls.

Those practices are used not only as preparation for the bowl game, they are also an opportunity for backups to get much-needed work honing their skills. The lack of December practices has been on Meyer’s mind all season. He cringed whenever the subject was mentioned.

“Terrible,” he said the day after the season-ending victory over Michigan. “That’s a major concern.”

That’s why he had players who didn’t play against the Wolverines up for a 6 a.m. workout two days later with strength coach Mickey Marotti and his staff.

“Of all the concerns we have right now, recruiting is No. 1, and then how we develop this team for the future is No. 2,” Meyer said.

Knowing that the Buckeyes couldn’t practice once the Michigan game was over, Meyer found time during the season for extra work for his backups with Sunday practices.

“We’ll lose all that for the bowl practices,” Meyer said after the Illinois game on Nov. 3. “We’ll lose a minimum of 15 practices. That’s not right. That’s going to be hard for us to recoup that. You can’t just say those are gone. Somehow you’ve got to recoup them. That’s why I’m going so hard on Sunday with the young players.”

The Buckeyes have issues on both sides of the ball that Meyer would love the opportunity to work on, for vastly different reasons.

The only senior starters that Ohio State loses on offense are receiver Jake Stoneburner and right tackle Reid Fragel. The Buckeyes should be able to replace Stoneburner’s production with their returnees and recruits. As well as Fragel played, freshman Taylor Decker pushed him hard for the starting job in preseason camp and will be penciled in as the starter.

But the passing game, though improved, still needs a lot of work. Every practice rep is important, and the Buckeyes won’t have that this month.

On defense, the Buckeyes lose six senior starters, including Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year John Simon. Junior defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins is leaving early for the NFL draft, and third-year sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby might join him.

It’s possible the Buckeyes will have four new starters on the defensive line. For freshmen linemen such as Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington and Tommy Schutt, having those bowl practices could have been invaluable.

“Imagine if you’re a player — it’s kind of cool, I guess, but our guys want to go play,” Meyer said on his call-in radio show in November. “The last time we dealt with that (as a staff) was my first year at Bowling Green where I had to say, ‘OK, I’ll see you guys.’ ‘See us when?’ ‘I’ll see you in a month.’?”

Marotti and his staff will do their best in conditioning drills to simulate what the players will be missing in full-fledged practices. Players will do drills to increase balance, with emphasis on having proper knee-bend.

“(It’s) one of the most overlooked parts of the fundamentals of football,” Meyer said. “Also tackling — you can do tackling stuff without pads.”

He said two tackling sleds and hand-machine shields will be put in the indoor facility for linemen.

“We can’t coach them, but they can go in there on their own,” Meyer said. “Our players are going to have to do so much on their own because we’re not allowed to be with them.”

spacerBraxton Miller Already Favorite for 2013 Heisman?
December 13, 2012 Source: The Ozone - Could Braxton Miller already be the favorite to win college football’s most coveted individual award next season?

Even with “Johnny Football” coming back for potentially three more years of SEC football at Texas A&M?

Oddsmakers certainly seem to think so.

So does Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit,’ a Heisman Trophy voter who coordinates the Heismanpundit Heisman Straw Poll for CBSSports.com. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, Heisman Pundit has tabbed Miller as the front-runner for next year’s stiff arm trophy.

“He plays for a traditional power coming off an undefeated season and he should explode for big numbers in his second year in Urban Meyer’s offense.”

At 5-to-1 odds, Miller is also considered a co-favorite to win the 2013 Heisman Trophy by The Greek sportsbook, the first of the Las Vegas oddsmakers to release 2013 Heisman Trophy odds.

Miller is a co-favorite with Johnny Manziel, the Texas A&M quarterback who won the award as a redshirt freshman this season. Manziel threw for 3,400 yards and ran for nearly 1,200 more while knocking off a seemingly unbeatable Alabama team in Tuscaloosa during the regular season.

He has a chance to join former Ohio State running back Archie Griffin as the only two-time winners of the award in college football history, but Heisman Pundit doesn’t even list Manziel as a legitimate candidate for next year’s award.

“The smart money says there will never be another two-time Heisman winner,” Huston wrote on his blog for CBSSports.com.

“In today's America, success makes you a target. The sooner you rise to the top, the sooner they try to tear you down. How soon before the anti-Johnny Football backlash begins?”

Manziel is hardly the first player to attempt what only Griffin accomplished back in 1974 and ’75. He may be the first freshman to win the award, but the list of players who had a chance to win multiple Heisman Trophies is both long and distinguished.

It starts with Urban Meyer’s former quarterback, Tim Tebow, who won the award as a sophomore in 2007. Most people assumed he would be the one to finally match Griffin’s legendary status as the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner in college football history.

Others who tried and failed include Doak Walker, Roger Staubach, Billy Sims, Ty Detmer, Jason White and Matt Leinart.

It seems like a distant memory – or even a crazy dream – now, but Leinart seemed like a lock to win the award as a senior in 2005 after posting back-to-back seasons with over 3,000 yards passing and 30+ touchdowns.

He threw for over 3,800 yards and 28 touchdowns in ’05, while leading the Trojans to an undefeated 12-0 regular season. He likely would have had 40+ touchdown passes if not for the fact USC was loaded in the backfield with both Reggie Bush and Lendale White, who combined for 44 scores that season.

The Heisman went to Bush that year instead of his quarterback.

“In 2012, Manziel put up 4,600 yards of total offense and 43 touchdowns while leading Texas A&M to its best record since 1998,” Huston writes. “A sophomore year that falls shy of those numbers, both individually and at the team level, will be seen as a failure.

“The mainstream media won't be able to help itself. It will tout Manziel as next fall's Heisman front-runner. When fans complain about Manziel being foisted upon them, they'll do an about face. That's how it always happens.”

Assuming he’s right, and Huston generally is, that opens the door for candidates like Miller and USC wideout Marqise Lee – possibly the best individual talent in college football this season.

The Greek sportsbook lists Lee behind the two frontrunners – Miller and Manziel – at 8-to-1 odds, the same as Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and Oregon playmaker De’Anthony Thomas.

Only a sophomore in 2012, Thomas racked up nearly 2,000 all-purpose yards for the Ducks this season, but Heisman Pundit is much higher on Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota for next year’s Heisman.

“The best freshman quarterback this side of College Station should once again thrive in the Quack Attack. With the Ducks loaded for another title run, he should figure prominently in the Heisman discussion.”

The top defensive player next year will undoubtedly be South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, but Heisman Pundit doesn’t like the odds for a defensive player one year after Manti Te’o finished second in the voting.

Alabama could have three candidates for the Heisman Trophy next year if running back Eddie Lacy returns for his senior season. Quarterback A.J. McCarron has already announced he’s coming back and T.J. Yeldon was one of the most exciting young players in the country this year.

Former OSU target Tajh Boyd is another name at the top of the list for next year’s Heisman, along with Clemson teammate Sammy Watkins, UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley and Oklahoma’s Blake Bell – or the “Belldozer” as he is better known to his fans.

None of them, however, are coming off an undefeated season in 2012. They also won’t have the benefit of being in their second year in Urban Meyer’s offense.

It was year two at Bowling Green when Josh Harris posted 41 touchdowns for the 9-3 Falcons. In Meyer’s second year at Utah, Alex Smith passed for 32 touchdowns (with 4 picks) and racked up over 600 yards on the ground for the undefeated Utes.

And then there’s Tebow, who passed for 30 touchdowns and ran for 23 more in Meyer’s high-powered offense at Florida on his way to the Heisman Trophy in 2007, Meyer’s second year in Gainesville.

Whether Meyer likes it or not, The Watch is officially on.

Ohio State's Simon to play in Senior Bowl; Fragel Invited
December 12, 2012 Source: Fox Sports Ohio - After missing the 2012 season finale due to injury, John Simon will play one more football game in an Ohio State helmet.

Simon has accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., in late January. Long considered the premier postseason all-star game with practices attended by almost every NFL coach and scout, the Senior Bowl has a new CEO: Phil Savage, former general manager of the Cleveland Browns.

"Simon is reminiscent of (longtime NFL linebacker and current Green Bay Packers assistant coach) Kevin Greene," Savage said. "He's tough, he's an overachiever, but he has some ability. Pass-rushers are always in demand, and he spends a lot of time in the backfield.

"His NFL future might be as an outside linebacker in 3-4 defense, and we'll try to get him to play on his feet at the Senior Bowl."

That would be a change for Simon, who played mostly defensive end last season at Ohio State. He did play standing up in some defensive packages and also had played inside in previous seasons.

Simon was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and earlier this week was named third-team Associated Press All-America for the second-straight year...

The Senior Bowl has also extended an invitation to Ohio State right tackle Reid Fragel, though Fragel has not yet committed to the game.

Fragel played in 39 games at tight end, making nine starts, in his first three college seasons before starting all 12 games at right tackle last season. The 2012 Ohio State roster listed Fragel at 6'8, 310.

"When I was at Ohio State in September to watch practice, (Fragel's) talent was obvious," Savage said. "He has a long way to go, and it's too early to tell how he'll fit in this draft with guys who have been playing the position for so long, but he's certainly an intriguing project.

"He has the athleticism. It will be interesting to see how he holds the weight he added to play tackle. There's a possibility teams will look at him at left tackle because of his athleticism."

Left tackle has become a high-dollar, high-demand position in the NFL, and the Senior Bowl has become a large-scale event for prospects to show their talents and meet future employers. Practices throughout the week and the Senior Bowl game are nationally-televised, and NFL coaching staffs coach each Senior Bowl team...

Quick look at Big Ten’s 7 bowl game matchups
December 2, 2012 Source: BTN - 

Rose Bowl: Wisconsin (8-5) vs. Stanford (11-2)
The teams met in the Rose Bowl after the 1999 season, with the Badgers taking a 17-9 victory. It was the last time Wisconsin won the Rose Bowl, as it has lost each of the last two seasons in Pasadena to TCU and Oregon, respectively. This figures to be a tough, physical game between teams that love to run the football, as Wisconsin is the first five-loss team in the Rose Bowl. Will injured Badger quarterback Joel Stave play after hurting a collarbone in the Michigan State loss? Read more about Stanford.

Capital One Bowl: Nebraska (10-3) vs. Georgia (11-2)
This battle, a rematch of the 1969 Sun Bowl, pits the losers of their respective league title games. What will be the Cornhuskers’ mind-set after they got hammered, 70-31, in the Big Ten title game by Wisconsin? The same concern exists for the Bulldogs, who had their heart cut out in a close loss to Alabama that cost it a shot at the BCS title game. Many felt Georgia deserved a BCS bowl bid regardless. Read more about Georgia.

Outback Bowl: Michigan (8-4) vs. South Carolina (10-2)
This will be a fun battle between Brady Hoke and Steve Spurrier. A young Wolverines team can use this as a launching pad to a run at the Big Ten title in 2013. An athletic and fast Gamecock defense will be a good challenge for a Michigan offense whose line has had consistency issues this season. And this will be one more chance for Wolverine icon Denard Robinson to go out with a bang. Read more about South Carolina.

Gator Bowl: Northwestern (9-3) vs. Mississippi State (8-4)
The Wildcats won the Rose Bowl after the 1948 season, the program’s first postseason appearance. Since then, Northwestern has lost nine bowls in a row. The Bulldogs will be one of the most athletic teams the Wildcats have faced all season. Can’t wait to watch the dynamic Northwestern offense battle an athletic Bulldog defense. Mississippi State smashed Michigan in this game after the 2010 season, 52-15. NU never has been in the Gator Bowl. Read more about Mississippi State.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Michigan State (6-6) vs. TCU (7-5)
This clash will feature two of the nation’s top defensive minds in Mark Dantonio and Gary Patterson. But neither team will arrive in Phoenix with much mojo. The Spartans needed to win their last game to become bowl eligible. The Horned Frogs lost their finale. And each team lost four of its last six games. Read more about TCU.

Meineke Car Care Bowl: Minnesota (6-6) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)
This is a rematch of the 2006 Insight Bowl, that saw the Red Raiders make the biggest comeback in bowl history in rallying from a 38-7 third quarter deficit to force overtime and take a 44-41 win that cost Glen Mason his job. The Gophers opened 4-0 but struggled down the stretch, going 2-6. And the offense struggled mightily. But Minnesota is happy to go bowling for the first time since 2009. The Red Raiders pose a test with a passing attack that ranks No. 2 in the nation. But like Minnesota, Texas Tech struggled down the stretch, losing four of its last five games. Read more about Texas Tech.

Heart of Dallas Bowl: Purdue (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State (7-5)
This is a rematch of the 1997 Alamo Bowl. The Boilermakers are hot, having won three in a row to become bowl eligible. But they will arrive without their head coach, as Danny Hope has been fired. Still, Purdue will be bowling for consecutive seasons for the first time since 2006-07. The Cowboys have to be a bit disappointed to fall this far after finishing fourth in the Big 12. But Oklahoma State did itself no favors by losing its last two games. Can Purdue slow down a high-flying Cowboy offense that is seventh in the nation in passing? Read more about Oklahoma State...

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