All-Access Lets Meyer Showcase Buckeyes
By Brandon Castel
Urban Meyer has a plan, and part of that plan is to make Ohio State the ‘it program’—or ‘flavor of the day’ as Meyer calls it—in the world of college football.
Photo by Jim Davidson
The Buckeyes have not exactly fallen under the radar in just one short season away from the spotlight, but Meyer believes positive momentum is critical for every program in the country.
There wasn’t a whole lot of positive going around in Columbus last year, but Meyer gave the country an entirely different glimpse of the OSU football program during Tuesday’s All-Access: Training Days segment on ESPNU.
As the head coach and face of the program, Meyer was clearly the star of ESPN’s first 30-minute segment, which will re-air on ESPNU at 10 p.m. ET Tuesday. His best line was a “bozo the freaking clown” reference during one of Ohio State’s punt drills, but viewers also got a heavy dose of OSU offensive coordinator Tom Herman.
This was especially interesting because Herman, a 37-year-old who came to the Buckeyes from Iowa State, is still a relative unknown in the college football world. True X’s and O’s junkies known a lot about Herman, but his biggest claim to fame at this point is probably being hired by Urban Meyer.
Having watched a number of practices—both in the spring and fall—since Meyer took over the program, I was expecting Kerry Coombs to be the star of ESPN’s behind-the-scenes look at Ohio State’s preseason camp.
Coombs will likely make a strong appearance in one of the future episodes —the second one is scheduled to air Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET on ESPNU—but it was good to see Herman in his element.
It’s crystal clear this is a guy who understands the game and knows how to teach it. At one point he tells backup quarterback Kenny Guiton that football is “simple game being complicated by dumb men.”
Guiton’s response: “So you're saying I'm dumb?”
Of course Herman quickly clarified, saying “no, I’m dumb,” but it was one of those moments I’m sure he will chuckle about later.
Marotti Brings the Juice
The other assistant coach we got to see plenty of during Tuesday’s segment was strength coach Mickey Marotti. Coach ‘Mick,’ as he is known by most of his players, kicked things off with one last conditioning segment before handing the Buckeyes back to Meyer during the Champion’s Dinner.
Marotti plays the role of disciplinarian in Meyer’s program, but he showed his sensitive side during this segment, until one of the players chuckled when he told them he might cry during the Champion’s Dinner ceremony.
“I'm looking at guys, I didn't even want to look at you 8 or 9 weeks ago,” Marotti told the players before handing them over to the head coach.
That’s when Meyer told his players he wanted a hungry team, and an angry team this year, which was something he told us in Chicago last month during Big Ten Media Days.
During the segment, Meyer asked defensive back De'van Bogard if he was “ready to go with the big boys today.” Bogard, a hard-hitting safety from Glenville, was the first freshman to get the black stripe removed from his helmet.
Fellow freshman Kyle Dodson told me at OSU Media Day the black stripe means “you don’t know you don’t know.” That was certainly true for Dodson, who got yelled at by his head coach for not paying attention at end of practice.
Dodson also told me Andrew Norwell, his “big brother” during camp, has been staying on him about paying attention when the coaches are talking.
The segment also featured a rare look at guys like Braxton Miller, C.J. Barnett and Bradley Roby inside the Ohio State locker room. Out on the practice field, Meyer told Barnett he was happy to have him at Ohio State because he enjoys coaching him.
Remember, Meyer also singled out Barnett as a guy who “refuses to be average.”
The same cannot yet be said for Corey “Philly” Brown, at least not early in camp when the ESPN crew first started filming practice.
“Be someone I want to coach,” Meyer was seen telling his junior wide receiver.
“Be that guy I want to coach. You haven't been that way yet.”
Meyer recently said Brown is doing a “good job” filling in for Jordan Hall at the hybrid ‘pivot’ spot this fall, but it was sophomore Devin Smith who drew the biggest applause from Meyer during this first All-Access segment.
Meyer was absolutely pumped about the streak route Smith ran during the scrimmage portion of a practice last week, which Tony Gerdeman noted in his Fall Practice Insider on the offense.
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