Ohio State Football: 10 Ways Urban Meyer Can Endear Himself to Buckeye Fans
Urban Meyer was on the top of most Buckeye fans wish lists when the head coaching position became available in Columbus, and so far, the Ohio native hasn't disappointed. Within the first few months on the job, Meyer miraculously put together a top-five recruiting class, retained former interim head coach Luke Fickell on his staff and brought a ton of excitement to the program and its future.
The new head honcho in Columbus led a wonderful spring campaign and has given plenty of reason for optimism. He's answered all the media's question with ease and put together a great staff to aid him in his efforts.
Despite this solid start, program powers like Ohio State demand excellence on a consistent basis, and in order to keep Buckeye Nation happy, Meyer must continue his impressive work.
Set the Tone in the First Game
Despite his solid start and impressive track record, many OSU fans are still skeptical of Meyer and his system. The Buckeyes open with a relatively easy opponent in Miami (OH), and if Meyer really wants to get all of Buckeye Nation behind him and his troops, he must focus on really setting the tone in this first contest.
By winning big, Meyer will put the nation on notice and give the fans of Ohio State something to really get excited about in 2012.
Although Jim Tressel won a ton of games during his time at Ohio State, there was always one consistent complaint that resounded through the thoughts of many Buckeye fans. At times, Tressel wouldn't coach aggressively enough, and although it paid off now and then, it normally hurt the Buckeyes against better competition.
Meyer isn't known as a conservative coach at all, and in his first season in Columbus, he can't be tentative for one moment. If the new head coach puts the pedal to the metal at the right moments and it pays off, Buckeye Nation will breathe a sigh of relief and adore him.
Win Big When He's Supposed to
During Jim Tressel's time at Ohio State, the Buckeyes would occasionally struggle against an extremely inferior opponent. It was embarrassing, frustrating, bad for the program's image and would give me near heart attacks.
If Meyer wants to endear himself to Buckeye fans, he must dominate inferior opponents and keep us off the edge of our seats when playing a cupcake game.
Keep a Power Running Game
Buckeyes fans love the power running game and love their big backs. From Eddie George to Beanie Wells and so many others, power backs have made a major impact in Columbus and have become a staple of Ohio State football.
When Meyer was hired in late November of last year, many fans feared what his spread system might bring about and if it could be successful in the Big Ten. It has become a concern that bigger backs wouldn't be able to succeed under Meyer, and while I completely disagree with this concern and so does Meyer's track record, he better not abandon the power running game if he wants Buckeye Nation's full support.
Increase Production from the Passing Game
The Buckeye's passing game was basically non-existent last season, and it showed in the team's overall record. The offense was extremely one-dimensional, and if the Buckeyes want to have a successful season in 2012, they'll have to move the ball through the air as well as they move it on the ground.
A great deal of the dismal passing game can be attributed to poor schemes and game plans, which is exactly where Meyer can step in. If Meyer can conjure an effective passing game in his first season, their will be plenty of happy campers in Columbus and around the Buckeye-loving world.
Lead an Aggressive and Dominant Defense
The Buckeyes have always hung their hat on having a solid and reliable defense. Throughout the years, Ohio State has relied on solid defenses in order to be successful, and this can't stop in the Meyer era.
OSU fans are old school. They enjoy a power running game and a defense that hits hard, plays with a high motor and leads the team to victory. If Meyer wants to become cozy with the fans of Ohio State, then he must continue to hang his hat on defense and field a defensive unit for the Buckeye Nation to be proud of.
Put the Big Ten on Notice
Last season was the first time the Buckeyes were amongst the bottom of the Big Ten in quite some time, and with Meyer now at the helm, fans don't expect this to happen again anytime soon.
Of course, 2011 was a rare occurrence in so many ways, but fans would love to see Meyer remind the rest of the conference that the Buckeyes are a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten. In order to do this, Meyer must prepare his team for each opponent and lead them to a very successful conference record in 2012. By doing this, Meyer will set the tone for the rest of his time in Columbus and give fans plenty to be excited about heading into their restriction-free 2013 season.
Wisconsin has been a thorn in the side of Ohio State fans for quite some time now, and the fact that they've been on top of the Big Ten these past two years hasn't increased their liking of the Badgers at all. Last year's miraculous win against Bielema and company was definitely a special moment, but if Meyer wants to really get on Buckeye Nation's good side, a win against the Badgers would be a great step in the right direction.
The game will be in Madison this year, so it may be a a tall order, but beating Bielema twice in a row will put a huge smile on fan's faces and start the Meyer era off on a great foot.
To be completely honest, if Meyer manages to complete this task he could completely fail at everything else on this slideshow and Buckeye Nation would still love him. It's "The Game." It's what every Ohio State head coach is ultimately judged on, and after the bitter taste of defeat to their arch rivals last season, OSU fans are dying to see Meyer defeat the hated Wolverines.
During his time at Florida, Meyer was 17-1 against the Gators traditional rivals. He coached on an Ohio State staff before, so he knows the importance of rivalries, especially the biggest one in college sports.
If Meyer defeats Hoke and his troops in any way, shape or form, his job will be safe for a year, and he will be welcome anywhere around the Columbus area.
Keep the Program out of the Negative Spotlight
Before the tragic Penn State scandal, Ohio State was at the forefront of negative news in college football. The result was a dismal season in 2011, the loss of a star quarterback, the loss of a head coach, the loss of scholarships over the next few years and a bowl ban for this season.
Needless to say, Buckeye fans would be glad to avoid ESPN coverage as much as possible (considering the fact that they act like we don't have a program unless there's negative news to cover). Now of course Meyer can't keep track of every single thing his players do (see the Strom Klein incident or the Stoneburner/Mewhort incident), but he can make efforts to keep the NCAA compliance office involved and react to problems swiftly and definitively.
The less negative news the better, and after what Buckeye Nation has witnessed these past two years, if Meyer can keep a positive spotlight on the program, he'll be golden.