Urban Meyer Sitting In On Defensive Meetings, Of Course Assistants Think It's Great

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Last updated: 04/04/2014 2:06 PM
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Urban Meyer Sitting In On Defensive Meetings, Of Course Assistants Think It's Great
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS, Ohio — If there's one thing that life in any workplace teaches you, it's that when you are asked publicly about your boss, you be as effusive in your praise as you can be while still being perceived as genuine.

Sometimes we may overdo it, however, and come out sounding like a babbling brook of brown-nosing.

After all, there is a very thin line between lying and people knowing that you are lying.

That is not to say that some people don't enjoy having their bosses looking over their shoulder at all hours, but it's certainly not up there in the wants of your average person.

This spring, the Ohio State defensive coaches are getting to experience a bit of this first hand as head coach Urban Meyer is sitting in on more defensive meetings than he ever has before.

Having now allowed 20 points per game for three consecutive seasons, Meyer has to find a fix for the Buckeye defense, even if it means getting his hands dirty in defensive meetings.

When asked about Meyer's increased presence on defense, cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs answered as you would expect him to -- and to be fair, he seemed entirely genuine in his sentiment.

"That's really helpful for a lot of reasons," Coombs said.

"He's a tremendous offensive mind, obviously, and he's a great football coach. So when he asks a question, there's a two-fold part to that. One, he's asking as an offensive coach. 'Okay, why are you doing that?' And two, he's asking it as a really smart guy who has motivated a lot of teams to the pinnacle of the game, so he's saying, 'Okay, how can we do this better? What drill?' And we kick it around and talk about it."

Defensive Backs Coach Kerry Coombs
File Photo by Dan Harker
Kerry Coombs
Coombs' answer should be enough to fend off your average cynic because his answer actually makes complete sense.

As an offensive coach, Meyer knows which defenses give him trouble, and he knows which ones don't. What he then wants to see is the Scarlet and Gray playing the same type of defense that his offenses have struggled against in the past.

With Meyer in the defensive fold, ideas are shared freely. One hand talking to the other, each side gaining a better understanding of what makes the other tick.

Then, as Coombs said, when you add the motivational aspect to it, not only is Meyer looking to gain an understanding of his defensive coaches, but he's looking to help them better their teaching methods.

If there is a way to make something better, the more heads involved in thinktanking that process, the better.

Ultimately, however, the defensive coaches are going to give Meyer what he wants, which is why he is in the meetings in the first place.

If you're having a house built, the first time you see it isn't on the day you move in. You make sure things are going the way you want them to go, and that's exactly what Meyer is doing.

Meyer being more involved with the defense this spring will help the process. Of this Coombs has no doubt.

"It's invaluable," he said of the increased involvement. 

"I think it's challenging and anytime you can add a really competent voice – a really competent voice – into your room, that's a tremendous positive."

When it comes to football, Meyer's voice is more competent than most, which is why embattled defensive coaches should welcome it freely. He is giving the defensive staff an extra set of eyes, which come with with an offensive-minded perspective.

Questions that a defensive staff might not readily ask are now being asked by Meyer, and his coaches have to readily answer them.

When Kerry Coombs said that Meyer's presence in the defensive meetings is helpful, there's little doubt that he means it. After all, just look at how disastrous Meyer's absence from the defense has been.

You can be cynical about Coombs' enthusiasm if you want, but at this point the Buckeye defensive coaches should be willing to try anything that might help them, including seeking the counsel of one of the most successful football coaches in the game today.

We all know that dealing with your boss in an office environment on a daily basis can become stressful, tedious or torturous, but you know what's even worse? Dealing with him after giving up 603 yards of total offense to Michigan.

So why shouldn't Coombs be happy? Compared to those meetings, these meetings should seem like a party.

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