Ohio State Football: Can Urban Meyer Continue Year Two Improvement at OSU?

Tim BielikSenior Analyst IMarch 20, 2013

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 24: Head Coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes is surrounded by media after the Ohio State defeated the Michigan Wolverines 26-21at Ohio Stadium on November 24, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Everywhere Urban Meyer has gone as a head coach in his short career, he has always had a better second season as the coach. In his previous three stops—Bowling Green, Utah and Florida—Meyer's second year has resulted in a combined seven more wins than in his first year at those schools.

That may be harder at Ohio State simply because you can't really improve on an undefeated season.

The hope in his second season is that Ohio State can go undefeated once again—which will be very tough with road tests against Cal, Northwestern and Michigan—and win a Big Ten championship.

What plays in OSU's favor is that in theory, last year's team was the worst that Meyer will have at Ohio State if he can recruit the way he did at Florida. And yet, it still went 12-0.

OSU is coming off of bowl sanctions and should be one of the favorites to play for the national championship this January in Pasadena. Braxton Miller and an explosive offense is the main reason why.

Miller should have another big year in 2013 with more game-breakers around him, including Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson. OSU's running game with Carlos Hyde, Jordan Hall, Miller and the rest of its deep backfield should have yet another big season.

The question is whether Meyer and his defensive coaches can reload on defense with seven starters gone, including all but one on the front seven.

The Buckeyes certainly weren't devoid of question marks a year ago either, with questionable offense and a defense that demanded the move of Zach Boren from fullback to linebacker. But Meyer proved how good of a coach he was by guiding that team to a 12-0 record under a bowl ban.

With a full offseason and his first recruiting class all going through winter conditioning and a full spring, 2013's team may resemble more of what fans should expect the Buckeyes to look like in the years to come.

Ohio State is also no stranger to success from coaches entering their second years at the school.

OSU's most improbable season before last year's 12-0 came in Jim Tressel's second year when the Buckeyes rode miraculous finish after miraculous finish to win the school's seventh national championship, its first since 1970. That team also has the distinguished mark of being the first team in history to go 14-0.

This team certainly has an opportunity to repeat history, and in doing so, end the SEC dynasty which ironically enough Meyer started when he was the coach at Florida. His squad beat Ohio State 41-14 in the 2007 BCS National Championship Game.

Winning a national championship may be the most sure-fire way for Meyer to continue his second-year improvement streak, but even just winning the Big Ten Championship and the Rose Bowl will be enough to get there.


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