Under Urban Meyer’s watch, Ohio State’s problems have a way of disappearing pretty quickly
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The sky doesn’t fall for very long in Columbus, Ohio.
Over the course of the Urban Meyer era at Ohio State, problem solving has been refined into an art. The standard the program is expected to meet is matched perhaps only by one team in the country. When it falls short of those lofty expectations, fans can be sure that help will soon be on the way. Ohio State occasionally runs into some problems, but it also has the right man to fix them.
On the rare occasion when results have been deemed unacceptable, the reaction has been swift and remedial. Following a 2013 season in which the Buckeyes ranked 110th in passing yards allowed, Meyer plucked Chris Ash from Arkansas to reform the pass defense. One season later, they ranked 28th in that same category. In 2015, after a humiliating offensive implosion against Michigan State, Meyer moved offensive coordinator Ed Warinner upstairs. Over the next two games, the Buckeyes won 42-13 and 44-28 against top-10 opponents.
Meyer’s aggressive reactions to subpar performance developed in part during the six seasons he spent at Florida. Former Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, a friend of Meyer, famously described his own hiring and firing philosophy as this: “What should be done eventually must be done immediately.” Once he figured out a coach wasn’t going to succeed long-term, it was time to make a change. Similarly, Meyer has responded expeditiously to repair any crack in his program.
In a 31-0 loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal Saturday, Meyer’s team failed to score for the first time in his 194-game career as a head coach. It marked the first shutout of Ohio State since 1993. The Buckeyes hadn’t done that in a bowl game since 1920. It wasn’t surprising, then, that Meyer’s entire Fiesta Bowl postgame press conference featured promises of improvement.
“Ohio State is not used to this,” he said. “I’m not used to this, and we will not get used to this. That’s not going to happen again. So we’ll get things worked out.”
His vow to not let that happen again came up throughout the interview. Less than three days later, it became clear those words weren’t just empty talk.
Quarterbacks coach Tim Beck left for Texas on Tuesday morning. Meyer immediately replaced him with Ryan Day, an NFL quarterbacks coach and Chip Kelly protege. Furthermore, reports surfaced that Meyer planned to bring in Kevin Wilson as the team’s offensive coordinator. Wilson rose to prominence as Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator before becoming Indiana’s head coach. He is regarded as one of the top offensive minds in the country.
Over one 12-hour period, Ohio State’s offensive coaching staff appeared to have pulled off a massive upgrade. The passing attack that let OSU down appears to be in great hands going forward.
With Meyer in charge, nothing short of that would be acceptable.