Urban Meyer's Ohio State Press Conference: 10 Things We Learned
Athletic Director Gene Smith wasted no time in Monday’s press conference to announce that Urban Meyer would be the next head coach of the Ohio State football program.
He and Meyer answered a number of questions from reporters, and although a lot of our questions were answered about where the program was headed and what involvement Meyer would have with the team between now and the Buckeyes bowl game.
Here are the 10 things we learned from the press conference.
Meyer Will Make at Least $4 Million Per Year
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You can read the entire contract, and you will quickly see that Ohio State made a serious investment in Meyer. His base salary is $4 million, and that does not include the added incentives including $250,000 for just appearing in the national championship game.
One of the odder things to be included was that the university will pay his monthly dues at a “mutually agreed upon golf course.”
Luke Fickell Will Coach the Bowl Game
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In the immediate future there is nothing more important than who will coach Ohio State’s bowl game, assuming it will be eligible for one following more NCAA penalties. That man will be current interim head coach Luke Fickell.
As for Meyer’s involvement in the preparation, there won’t be any. This is Fickell’s team until the final game of the 2011 season has been played.
Meyer Will Take over Recruiting Responsibilities Immediately
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So what will Meyer be doing between now and the bowl game? Recruiting.
Ohio State’s current recruiting class is lacking in many areas, and his primary responsibility will be to change that.
But his recruiting is not only for high school players. Meyer will also focus heavily on bringing in the best assistant coaches from across the country, and Gene Smith stated that money will not be a problem in hiring them.
When asked about the offensive coordinator position, Meyer stated that he would be heavily involved in the play-calling, but that he will hire an offensive coordinator.
Fickell Will Be on the Staff for 2012
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His exact involvement has yet to be determined, but Luke Fickell will remain on Ohio State’s staff for the 2012 season.
Before taking over as head coach, he was co-defensive coordinator for the Buckeyes as well as the linebackers coach. Mike Vrabel took over as linebackers coach this season, and Meyer has yet to speak with him about the involvement he will have with the football team.
First Conversation About the Job Was on November 20th
Rumors have been running rampant on the Internet this past week about Meyer accepting the Ohio State job. According to him and Gene Smith, the first contact about the job came Sunday, Nov. 20.
Meyer was offered job a week later and informed the university of his decision to accept the offer Monday morning.
Health Is No Longer an Issue
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One of the major reasons why Meyer left coaching was because of his well-documented health problems including a heart attack scare. He stated repeatedly in the press conference that his health was no longer a concern and that he fully expects to be able to coach the six years on his contract.
He went so far as to sign a contract with his family that he would take better care of himself and be more involved at home.
Highlight of the Day Was Meeting Braxton Miller
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“Ridiculous athlete” was the term Meyer used to describe Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller. Given the success, he has had coaching quarterbacks, particularly current Denver Bronco Tim Tebow, many people have high expectations for what the two can accomplish together.
Meyer went so far as to say that the highlight of his day was meeting Miller, and whenever a question came up about the quarterback, he could not stop praising him. It looks like his expectations are as high as the fanbase’s.
Meyer Won’t Micromanage
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According to Meyer, the reason why he started to have health problems was because he had to get involved in every aspect of the game rather than letting assistant coaches taking care of it all.
That won’t be a problem any more, according to the coach. His first priority is to his family, he said, and since he realizes that micromanaging directly led to his problems, it won’t be an issue in the future.
Will Work on Arrest Problem
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"I didn't like the state of college football, and I didn't want to be a part of that."
It’s hard to argue that the state of the sport has improved since he left, but Meyer made it a point to say that he plans on making the problem his Florida team had in the past with arrests a thing of the past.
He did say that he would not give up on players and that one mistake does not make someone a bad person. But considering all of the havoc that has occurred at the university, it will be a priority for him and Gene Smith to keep the off-field issues a non-issue.
Florida Has No Hard Feelings
The news of Meyer’s hiring must be tough to hear for Florida fans, but it’s athletic director Jeremy Foley had nothing but great things to say about his former coach. You can read his full statement here.
And it doesn’t seem as though any of the fans are bitter for their coach coming back so soon into the profession.