Meyer Adds Smith as WR Coach

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Last updated: 12/22/2011 2:05 PM

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Meyer Adds Zach Smith as WRs Coach
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State coach Urban Meyer added a seventh assistant to his new coaching staff this week, and this one is near and dear to his heart.

The Buckeyes officially announced the hiring of Temple assistant Zach Smith, who spent five seasons as a graduate assistant and quality control coach under Meyer at the University of Florida.

Zach Smith
Zach Smith

“Zach Smith has already coached with me for five seasons, and so I know what a quality coach he is,” Meyer said Thursday.

“He knows my system inside and out and he teaches the system the way I want it to be taught. He has coached and taught some great players already, like Percy Harvin, Aaron Hernandez and Louis Murphy.”

Smith also knows Ohio State. He was born in Columbus and raised in Dublin, where he attended Coffman High School—the same school that produced current Buckeyes Mike Adams and Jake Stoneburner.

He is also the grandson of former Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce, who was instrumental in bringing Meyer back to Columbus after his year away from coaching.

“It is really, really a dream come true,” Smith said Wednesday evening.

“I grew up watching Ohio State, my Grandfather coached here and I always dreamt of doing it, too.

“Plus I have an opportunity to work with Coach Meyer again. I was able to spend five years on his staff at Florida, and now working with him again is another dream come true for me. It’s like two dreams coming true. I’m really excited, and it is wonderful to be back home.”

The announcement caps off what has been an extremely emotional week for Smith. He helped the Temple Owls to a 37-15 victory over Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 17, one day after his grandmother, Jean Bruce, wife of 56 years to Earle Bruce, passed away from her illness.

It was the first bowl win for Temple in 32 years, and Smith also delivered an emotional eulogy at his grandmother’s funeral on Wednesday.

“My coming home has added another element to everything that has gone on this week,” Smith said.

“My Grandma would be very proud of me. I feel honored to come back and work at this university where both she and my Grandfather’s hearts have always been and I grew up loving.”

But Smith is more than just Earle’s grandson, although that might be enough to land a position under Meyer, who has repeatedly called Earle “second only to his dad” in terms of importance.

Smith was a special teams quality control coach for three years (2005-07) at Florida and an offensive graduate assistant for the 2008 and 2009 seasons. He assisted with coaching the UF wide receivers, quarterbacks and special teams during his time in Gainesville.

In 2010, he left Florida to join former Gators assistant Doc Holliday’s staff as the wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator at Marshall University. Smith spent one season under Holliday, and Marshall’s receivers totaled 152 catches for 1,824 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2010 and featured all-Conference USA performer Aaron Dobson.

He was quickly hired as the new wide receivers and special teams coach at Temple University when Steve Addazio, another one of Meyer’s former assistants, took over the program this year.

Temple’s receivers managed 66 catches for 961 yards and eight touchdowns despite the Owls featuring the seventh-best rushing offense in the country and the top unit in the Mid-American Conference.

Additionally, Temple’s special teams ranked first in the MAC in kickoff returns and second in net punting and punt returns. Those units ranked fourth, 14th and 23rd nationally.

“Zach has done a terrific job as wide receivers coach at both Marshall and this past year at Temple,” Meyer said.

“I am really looking forward to having the opportunity to work with him again. Ohio State is going to benefit from his coaching and his abilities as a recruiter.”  

That last part is something Meyer has been looking for in all of the assistants he has hired at Ohio State. Smith became the seventh assistant coach to join the Buckeyes since Meyer took over back on Nov. 28.

His first hire was keeping interim head coach Luke Fickell as defensive coordinator. He has since added offensive coordinator Tom Herman and co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers, along with decisions to keep Stan Drayton, Taver Johnson and Mike Vrabel.

Meyer will need to make two more hires—both likely on the offensive side of the ball—before his new coaching staff will be complete.

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