Urban Meyer wants everyone involved in his program to ‘shut it down’ before the 2019 Rose Bowl.
That means not hanging out with friends and family, not making decisions about the NFL Draft, and just focusing on football.
That extended to talk about his legacy as well.
“I think that’s inappropriate for me to even spend time thinking about that, because I’ve asked our players to shut it down,” Meyer said at a New Year’s Eve press conference.
But while the Buckeyes are trying to shut out all possible distractions, there’s one thing besides Washington they’ve spent time thinking about this week: the Michigan Wolverines.
“We work the game 365,” Meyer said. “We’ve already been working it out here. How do we do that? Follow recruiting, follow everything they do.”
It’s probably fair to think that approach is just a little obsessive, but it’s also impossible to argue with Meyer’s success.
Seven seasons as OSU’s head coach, seven wins over Michigan. 26-21, 42-41, 42-28, 42-13, 30-27, 31-20, 62-39.
He’s won close games, an overtime game, blowouts, in Columbus, in Ann Arbor, as a favorite and an underdog, against Brady Hoke and Jim Harbaugh.
There are only two things he hasn’t done: lose, and take a day off from thinking about the Wolverines.
“We take time out of the offseason and take time every spring practice, every practice we work on that,” Meyer said.
“During the summer training camp, the Coach Mick (Marotti) calls it the Team Up North day. And then every day during training camp we work on it. That was the Woody Hayes mentality, and that’s been everyone’s mentality at Ohio State.”
Neither the success, nor the “365” approach to a rivalry are new for Meyer.
“We worked that game 365 when I was the head coach at Bowling Green, we did it with the team up north called Toledo. When we went to Utah, we did it to the team down south, BYU. And then Florida you had three rivals, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida State. And then also Miami,” Meyer said.
Meyer split two games with Toledo while he was the Bowling Green coach.
He won both editions of the Holy War against BYU while he was at Utah.
His Gators went 5-1 against Georgia, 5-1 vs. Florida State, 6-0 against Tennessee, and won their only game against Miami.
Including his time against the Wolverines in Columbus, it adds up to 27-3 against rivals. At some point years and years ago, that pattern of success stopped being a coincidence.
With Ryan Day having seen Meyer’s approach and the results first-hand, there’s no reason to think it’s going to change anytime soon.
“It means the world to us,” Meyer said. “Rivalry games, I hear people say that it’s just a name, faceless opponent. And that’s not the approach we’ve taken.”