Hurricane Meyer

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Established October 31, 1996
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Last updated: 01/03/2012 8:04 AM

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Buckeyes Brace for Hurricane Meyer
By Brandon Castel

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Typically, after a game Ohio State players have 17 hours to celebrate or mourn—depending on the outcome—before it’s time to move on.

They had better use them wisely following Monday’s 24-17 loss to Florida in the Gator Bowl because Hurricane Meyer is set to hit Columbus with the first rooster crow Tuesday.

“Tomorrow morning we start a whole new regiment around here,” said fourth-year junior tight end Jake Stoneburner, who appears to have intentions of returning to Ohio State next season.

“New coaches. Some are staying, some are leaving, but we’re excited to get to work.”

He says that now, but 7 a.m. is going to come early. Some of Meyer’s changes are likely to be abrupt, especially compared to the somewhat laidback environment fostered by Jim Tressel and his staff over the past decade.

Meyer is anything but laidback.

According to his own words, he goes hard—relentless even. He wants coaches who go hard and players who give four to six seconds of relentless effort every play. Some guys aren’t going to fit the bill. Some aren’t going to like what they hear Tuesday morning.

No one knows exactly what to expect.

“It’s a little early, but I’m excited,” Stoneburner added.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. We have no idea what it’s about. I’m assuming maybe we’ll meet our new staff. You guys know as much as we do. All I know is I have to be there at 7 a.m.”

To be safe, Stoneburner might want to aim for 6:45. Meyer is the kind of coach who might have the doors locked for anyone who shows up at 7:01.

“I wouldn’t want to be late for that one,” Stoneburner added with a smile.

Meyer said he is planning to give everyone on the team a fresh start with the new coaching staff, which is something this team desperately needs after a torturous, grueling season that took the life out of a program that was 12-1 just one short year ago.

“It’s exciting. It’s something to look forward to now,” said freshman tight end Jeff Heuerman, who caught the first pass of his career against Florida on a 25-yard screen play.

“We need to get back to work and start learning that new offense. His message will be, ‘Get back to work,’ I guess. We’ll figure it out. We went through a lot this year. But we learned a lot and we got stronger. It will benefit us in the long run.”

Freshman linebacker Ryan Shazier, a player who originally committed to play for Meyer while he was still at Florida, agreed.

“This will make us mentally tougher for next year,” said Shazier, who led the Buckeyes with eight tackles in the Gator Bowl and 30 over the final three games of the season.

“The whole defense will be coming back next year and we’re looking forward to it. We have a meeting tomorrow and we will just try and push this to the side and start up a new chapter.”

It has been tough for the Buckeyes to turn the page on the previous chapter of Ohio State football. Every player on the current roster was recruited to play for Jim Tressel, and it has not been easy for this program to move on from a coach who won 106 games in 10 seasons in Columbus.

Interim head coach Luke Fickell did his best to hold things together, but he was hardly equipped to handle the magnitude of the situation inherited after Tressel was forced to resign back in May.

Now Meyer assumes the reigns of a program he says is far from broken. Meyer will have some important decisions to make. The Buckeyes were not very good in any facet of the game this season, which probably explains their 6-7 record.

Meyer won’t need to use the drastic measures he has in the past to turn teams around. He will need to address the offensive line and linebacker positions, along with the serious issues that have plagued the Buckeyes on special teams really over the last 3-4 seasons.

But he already has the one thing he needs most: Braxton Miller.

“We just have to come in and work hard,” the freshman quarterback said.

“We’ll have to learn a whole new offense. I’m just going to try and take it all in. I’m ready for it.”

Miller didn’t have a great game against the Gators, and he won’t have DeVier Posey to throw the ball to next season—not that they were ever able to develop any real chemistry after Posey missed the first 10 games.

He did complete 18 of his 23 passes for 162 yards and a pair of scores, but was sacked six times and did not find a way to create much offense with his legs. That will change under Meyer and new offensive coordinator Tom Herman, who replaces Jim Bollman after 11 years of Tresselball in Columbus.

Tomorrow is a new day, a good day for Ohio State fans. After the last 12 months, 7 a.m. can’t come soon enough.

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