“I don’t know if you do that against last year’s team.”

If you’re like me, you enjoyed seeing the Ohio State Buckeyes get roasted last Saturday night by Virginia Tech, 35-21.  What’s often better than the roasting, though, are the comments that follow a loss.  In this case, I submit the following for review:

“That is the first time I’ve seen that kind of defense in maybe our coaching career where they were all within six yards,” Meyer said Monday during his weekly press conference. “The start of the game I remember on the headset and I said, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen them do that.’

“They felt good about — I don’t want to speak for them — but after watching the films a bunch of times, they felt their match‑ups at corner were better, and they had a freshman quarterback and new offensive line,” he said. “Before we get a play started, we were going to be in the backfield. Pretty gutsy, but I don’t know if you do that against last year’s team. You’d have to ask their coach, I don’t know that.”

Those comments are courtesy of head Buckeye Urban Meyer.  Now, for sure, we don’t have the whole context of these remarks, but even so, these are quite baffling.

“That is the first time I’ve seen that kind of defense in maybe our coaching career where they were all within six yards.”

Seriously?  Have you only been coaching football for the weekend?

VT’s Bud Foster is a well-respected defensive coach and all, but I don’t know if you have to reach genius status in order to develop a game plan like the Hokies deployed against OSU.  Put a bunch of guys in the box and dare the quarterback to beat you with his arm.  Without digging into Xs and Os, that’s the gist.  Ultimately, Ohio State couldn’t execute and they got their tails spanked.

This quote, though, from Meyer owns me:

Pretty gutsy, but I don’t know if you do that against last year’s team.

Well, uh, true, but Virginia Tech wasn’t playing last year’s Ohio State team and they weren’t playing the ’86 Chicago Bears and they weren’t playing the New England Patriots.  Heck, they weren’t even playing Northern Illinois.  They were playing the 2014 Buckeyes who started a freshman quarterback.  Gee whiz.  I’m not sure why he throws in stuff like this.  Maybe it’s to remind the audience of how good they used to be or of what a great coach he was back then, but it certainly is useless in the present day.

All is not all lost for the Buckeyes, though.  Conference play is about to start and they still play in the Big 10.




Meyer: Singing the Blues Over a Flawed System

I imagine this is playing well in Gainesville right now:

“Without spending much time on it, because it’s not fair to our team for me to spend much time on it, I will say this — I think it’s a flawed system,” Meyer said Monday. “But when you logically think about what the BCS people have done, and which obviously we’re all part of, I think it was great for a while. I think you take an imperfect system and you do the best you can without hosting a playoff.

“I imagine there’s going to be controversy with the playoffs too, now. It’s not a 64-team playoff; you can only have four guys. What’s that fifth team going to feel like?”

On the one hand, I can understand Urban Meyer has a job to to: he has to stump for his team.  They are undefeated – and they could be looking at two straight undefeated seasons – yet on the outside looking in at the BCS Championship Game.  Traditionally speaking, it is somewhat absurd that a program like Ohio State would be on the outside.

So it’s in situations like this that Meyer needs a reality check:

* Your league is generally viewed as, well, crummy.  When Baylor is tracking you down and about to pass you, you have a problem.  And that’s a reputation well earned over the last decade or so.  Like it or not, those that have some influence on the BCS probably aren’t giving OSU any slack because of how they’ve fared in the past on the big stage.

* For many, Meyer isn’t a very sympathetic figure.  Despite being the only other coach besides Nick Saban to own multiple BCS championships, there isn’t a ground swell to get Meyer back in the title game for a shot at number three.  Instead, folks seem to enjoy the fact that Ohio State will be locked out of Pasadena.  Part of that, I’m sure goes to the Buckeyes being a national program and national programs always have their enemies.  But perhaps part of that is because of how Meyer left Florida and how he left the program (in a mess) and perhaps even because of his relationship with the media.

* It’s always easy to criticize things like the BCS.  It’s like criticizing the government.  It’s something to which most can relate.  But unlike the government, the BCS has worked.  It’s almost always dead on in delivering the real national champion to us.  Some may not like it or understand it, but it produces the right result.  Again, I understand why Meyer is politicking, but he should remind himself that the system works.

He should also stay the course.  There’s still some football to be played.  Alabama plays Auburn and then will likely play South Carolina.  Florida State plays Florida and then probably – ahem – Duke in the ACC Championship Game.  Baylor goes up against once beaten Oklahoma State.  And, of course, the Buckeyes have the Big 10 title game where they’ll mostly likely play Michigan State.  Lots can happen between now and Pasadena.

Obligatory John Cooper Post (yawn)

Surely former Ohio State head football coach John Cooper was able to say this with a straight face:

“I see some of these teams, the Auburns. I’m told, I don’t know and I haven’t coached in that league, but I’m told that down south the Alabamas and LSUs and some of these teams that have these great players, that maybe the NCAA needs to look into their situation,” Cooper said. “Those teams have been on probation. As you know, Alabama’s certainly one of the most penalized teams in college football, as is the Southeastern Conference. We say the SEC’s the best and they are the best, but they’ve also had more NCAA violations than probably all the other leagues put together the last 10 years.”

Earlier in the interview, Cooper said that he was impressed with the defenses on display in Monday night’s BCS National Championship Game but less impressed with the quality of quarterback play in the SEC.

“They don’t have many skilled quarterbacks. I thought Alabama’s quarterback last night was OK. I thought LSU’s was awful and I don’t know if there’s another good quarterback, maybe the young kid at Georgia. But I don’t know if there’s another good quarterback in the whole league.”

You know, Cooper would kind of have a point if he wasn’t so absolutely wrong.

The fact is, Alabama is most certainly not “one of the most penalized teams in college football” and the SEC’s cheatin’ ways aren’t any worse than other leagues. But hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good rant?

And though the SEC’s quarterbacks weren’t the collective best group in the country this year, this is a league that has produced Cam Newton, Tim Tebow, Ryan Mallet and Matthew Stafford over the last five years, so I think we can cut 2011 a little slack.


Urban Meyer Returns

So Urban Meyer makes it official: he’s an Ohio State Buckeye now.

Generally speaking, this makes most of the college football world happy, except maybe Michigan and Florida fans.  Most of the folks happy for his return think college football is a better place with him on the sidelines.

But Meyer’s return to the game causes one to ponder his several reasons for exiting in the first place: health concerns, a desire to spend more time with his family and his general unhappiness with the state of the game.

You’d have to guess that if he’s returning to the game, then these issues must’ve been addressed.  Either that, or the his reasons for leaving weren’t really reasons, but more like excuses.

I’m not really in a position to tell what’s real or right about the reasons.  Hopefully, he’s in better shape health-wise and better prepared to take on the rigors of big-time college football.  You only get one shot to raise a family, so hopefully he’s made the necessary adjustments in that area.  Supposedly he has.  But if you’re one of those that thinks college football is a moral wasteland, then I suppose the landscape hasn’t changed much since 2010.

In many ways, Meyer has more to prove and more pressure at Ohio State now than he ever did at Florida.  Though he won two BCS national championships at UF, Buckeye fans don’t care about that.  They want a crystal ball of their own.  Meyer will also have to continually deal with Tim Tebow issues as well.  Though Tebow may have been the best college quarterback to ever play the game, Meyer’s teams – and his quarterbacks – will constantly be compared to the offenses of the Tebow era.

And speaking of the state of college football, will the Buckeye teams under Meyer have the same arrest ratio as his UF teams?

Just a few thoughts to ponder as we head toward the end of this 2011 season.