Key Similarities and Differences Between Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer Eras

Carl StineCorrespondent IJune 20, 2013

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 6:  Head Coach Urban Meyer hugs quarterback Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes after the Buckeyes defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers 63-38 at Ohio Stadium on October 6, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The two most recent Ohio State head football coaches are as much the same as they are different.

Jim Tressel, the man that led the Buckeyes to a dominant decade, did so with a fierce defense, conservative offense and a sweater vest that left fashionistas wondering what the heck he was doing.

Urban Meyer's team that went 12-0 in 2012 featured a stout defense, wide-open offense and windbreakers.

Comparing the two is an interesting study, even though Meyer's time at OSU has been limited.

That single year helped prove what many believed—the man knows how to coach. Say what you will about the Buckeyes' 2012, they were the only college football team that finished without a loss.

While much of that is a credit to a stout defense led by Luke Fickell (remember him?) and the sparkling play of quarterback Braxton Miller, it is pretty obvious that Meyer has taken the magic that he had in Florida and transitioned it to Columbus.

Tressel, in spite of his departure in disgrace, had a great run at the head of the OSU football program, dominating the Big Ten and reeling in win after win.

In five of Tressel's 10 seasons at OSU, he won a BCS game. The Buckeyes participated in a bowl game every year, and his postseason record of 6-4 included one BCS championship game win.

There are significant differences, mainly the time difference, the fact that Urban Meyer won his BCS titles at Florida without controversy and the difference in style.

Meyer's offense is predicated on spreading the field, and while a dual-threat quarterback is something the two systems have in common, Tressel's conservative approach that included repeated attempts at that dive off left tackle with the same result every time was enough to put fans to sleep.

Not so with Meyer. The athletes Meyer fields are not reined in and limited by his offensive system and philosophy. As the Buckeyes implement more and more of his system on the offensive side of the ball, guys like Miller will have more opportunities to star with athletic ability.

Miller shined in the offense in his first season last year, providing more highlight-reel plays than any other player in college football.

Expect more of that from him in Meyer's explosive system with a year of experience under his belt. 

Miller will be able to obtain accolades and highlights much easier than Tressel's quarterbacks, because he plays in Meyer's system, which allows him to flourish.

But the two also have some things in common that are worth addressing.

Both enjoyed a perfect season early in their career at Columbus. Tressel went 14-0 in his second season, while Meyer finished 12-0 in his first.

They both utilized athletic, mobile quarterbacks at OSU, and Meyer did so while at Florida as well.

Meyer has exhibited a better ability to recruit than Tressel ever did, a trait that will be important in restoring the Buckeyes, and on a wider scale the entire Big Ten, to respectability.

The key characteristic that fans should be concerned about is the winning.

It is all about the wins, and the two of them, while vastly different in recruiting ability and style, both know how to win.

Whether Meyer will be able to surpass Tressel in the OSU annals of greatness remains to be seen; there is no question that the two men have been elite coaches over the past decade.

If that trend continues, Meyer will have more titles to add to the two he already possesses from his time in Gainesville.

But the two have some things in common, and they will continue to do so going forward.