Urban Meyer is on the cusp of coaching his final game as Ohio State’s head coach. The Rose Bowl has been a bucket list item for Meyer and next week he will finally get to check it off.
Every day since his retirement, and probably a few well before it, Meyer has been taking stock of all of the “lasts” that he will be experiencing.
Despite all of the nostalgia, the players know they still have a game to play, and Meyer wouldn’t want them focused on anything else.
“I mean coach Meyer would be the first to tell you the train doesn’t really stop for anybody,” receiver Terry McLaurin said. “Obviously, he’s a legend in this business. And there’s going to be that missing piece, but we have a game to win and he didn’t want that to take away from us winning this game. That’s why I feel like he also announced it as early as he did.
“But there hasn’t really been any long faces. We’re focused on trying to beat Washington and we know Coach Day is going to do a great job. We’ve got a test trial run the first three games and we won a big road game with him down in Texas. This program, I don’t feel like is going to lose a step.”
The Early Day
Over the first three games of the 2018 season, the entire nation got a glimpse of what Ryan Day’s Ohio State is going to be like.
The Buckeyes went 3-0 with wins over Oregon State, Rutgers, and TCU. It wasn’t exactly an onslaught of opposition, but Ohio State did face three Power 5 teams, including one in their own backyard.
Since that time, Day hasn’t shown anything to his players that they didn’t already see over those three games and during fall camp.
It was back in those early summer months when they learned what Day was like as a head coach.
“Energy,” said running back Mike Weber. “He’s like one of the youngest coaches we’ve got, I believe, and he brought a lot of energy to the program and very vocal. I knew him but I didn’t know him as well as when he was the head coach for the first three weeks.
“He just brought a lot of enthusiasm to the program, and he’s a guy that’s really smart when it comes to football and how to strategize things and how to talk to players. He’s going to be a great coach.”
An Incomplete Season
Ohio State came into 2018 with national title aspirations, but a goal of a Big Ten Championship. They met the goal, but fell short of their aspirations.
Despite falling short, the Buckeyes still beat Michigan in 2018 and won a Big Ten title.
And now they view a Rose Bowl win as the missing piece to their season.
“Yeah, just because the Rose Bowl is the granddaddy of ‘em all,” said defensive tackle Robert Landers. “I’ve always known the Rose Bowl to be a huge deal and the tradition behind it, but until we got selected to the Rose Bowl I really didn’t know much about it and just how serious it was.
“It’s a blessing. This is one of the bowls that coaches and former players would dream of being in. It’s one of those where I’m actually able to live out that dream and be a part of history, so I’m enjoying it. I’m talking it all in and it’s a part of history that can’t be taken away from me.”