The ballroom at the Easton Hilton was overflowing
this morning as high school and college football coaches congregated to
listen to OSU head coach Urban Meyer. One of the keynote speakers at the Ohio High School Football
Coaches Association annual clinic, Meyer’s audience included assistant coaches from various Big
Ten schools a crowd estimated at well over 1,000…
The ballroom at the Columbus Easton Hilton was overflowing this morning as high school and college football coaches congregated to listen to OSU coach Urban Meyer.
Meyer was one of the keynote speakers at the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association annual clinic. Assistant coaches from various Big Ten schools – including Michigan and Penn State – were spotted taking notes among the crowd estimated at well over 1,000.
Other head coaches who spoke included Michigan’s Brady Hoke on Thursday as well as Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, Penn State’s Bill O’Brien and Cincinnati’s Tommy Tuberville.
Meyer spoke for nearly one hour, but he didn’t spend even one minute on X’s and O’s. He pounded home the theme of “Ohio football” and how coaches at all levels have a responsibility to their players.
“The culture of Ohio says (strategy) is not the most important part,” Meyer told the coaches. “The most important part is the psychological approach to this game.
“People out there really believe you win a game with scheme. The psychological approach is the same in development as it is in recruiting. If you get that kid to believe in you as a coach, you have a shot. That’s why I am so proud of that great culture that we learned in the 60s and 70s and we’ve been able to carry on here at Ohio State.
“When you say Ohio football or say Woody Hayes or Earle Bruce or Ohio State, I hope the first thing that comes to your mind is the genuine care for the player. I didn’t say it’s always comfortable. Truthful, hard conversations at times are not comfortable. But it’s the right thing to do.”
Here were highlights from Meyer’s presentation to the coaches:
* On losing – “You will never hear us make excuses at Ohio State … If we lose, it’s the coaches’ fault. It’s your fault because we’re not spending the time necessary with the player.”
* On the love for Woody Hayes – “You name a former player who disliked Woody Hayes. I will say that former player didn’t go to class. That former player didn’t try really hard and he wasn’t really engaged in the program.”
* On Kerry Coombs, who was promoted to special teams coordinator later in the day – “Kerry was one of the most successful high school coaches in Ohio history. To a man, you go talk to his players, they love the guy. I know him – he’s a nut. He is extremely hard on his players. The guys that don’t like him are the same guys who don’t go to class and aren’t engaged. They couldn’t handle the truth.”
* On his study after the end of the regular season – “We recruit three guys. The statistical analysis shows one in three don’t make it. They disappear. How in the hell does that happen? You have the best trainers, strength coaches, academic support system, best coaches supposedly. He’s getting a free education. You know what he pays for food? Nothing. You know what he pays for his tutors? Nothing. I saw that number and my head almost popped off my shoulders.
“Another one out of three are average. They kind of (messed) around a little bit. They only play a little bit. They have a 2.1 GPA. Maybe they graduate and maybe they don’t. If they do get a degree, it’s probably not very good for them.
“Then, there’s the third guy. The John Simons of the world. He makes it. He has a 2.8 or 3.0. He prepares himself for life after football.
“We are on a mission. Our coaches get it every day. We can’t have one disappear. We can’t have one of your guys show up at Ohio State — a big campus with a lot of people – and throw him out to the wolves without being there for him. What’s going to happen to that guy?”
* On talking with an ESPN executive at the Super Bowl about the three things that keep him up at night – “If those three things are keeping you awake at night, why wouldn’t you devote most of your time to them. What I’m worried about is the development of (our players) once we get them.
“That’s the difference right now. I watched that national championship game right there. This is not about Alabama, but you have to give credit when credit is due. They were the most fundamental team in America, the best one I saw and better than Ohio State. Am I proud of that? No. Matter of fact, we are attacking that like animals right now.
“Why not? It’s the kids’ fault – wrong answer! What was the problem at Ohio State? Why weren’t we the most fundamental team in America? Who’s fault? It’s the coaches’ fault. For some reason, that kid doesn’t trust you. If he trusts you, he’s going to do what you ask him to do.”
* On having his staff and his players perform a self-evaluation – “Self evaluation means right here, right now, what are you doing? … You’re trying to make something out of nothing. You have to ask what kind of a teammate are you?
“Are you satisfied with where you’re at? Are you happy with your football career? Are you happy with yourself as a person? Why are you playing college football? Where do you want to be 10 years from now.”
* On having his team leaders draft players for teams in off-season workouts – “We walk in our team room and divide up the captains and we have a draft. Coach Mick (Marotti) is like Roger Goodell and we have fun with it. Whoever the first pick is, he walks out with a No. 1 jersey and they laugh and take a picture.
“Second round goes, third round goes, fourth round goes, fifth round goes and all of a sudden you’re still not taken. Holy cow. The kid realizes, ‘You know, I don’t really take care of myself. I don’t really work hard. I’ve got a problem here. I’m a seventh-rounder, there are only 18 people left.’
“We took the names off this chart to show but here’s a kid at the bottom. He has a 2.0 GPA. He didn’t check out with his coaches before leaving (for break). The dog ate his homework. Why do we do that? We do it for accountability. The whole message here is the truth.
“Can you imagine sitting there and being the last guy picked by your peers? If you’re kind of a phony guy, what can you do? You change. It’s never too late to change. But you have to be told to change. That’s an obligation of every educator and football coach in America.”
* On “Real Life Wednesday,” a program his former assistant Chuck Heater came up with at Florida in 2008 – “He said, ‘Coach, back when we were kids, if you got a degree you got a job.’ Remember that day? What’s the difference now in 2013? The difference is you can get a degree from a great place like Ohio State or our rivals and there ain’t a job out there for you.
“Chuck told me that and I was like, ‘Holy cow. We are failing these guys.’ We had just played in front of 57 million people. The coaches are making millions of dollars. The school is making millions of dollars. And you’ve got a 21-year-old athlete we are forcing to graduate. He walks out of there with a degree in something and he looks at you and says, ‘What do I do?’ ”
Meyer said every Wednesday starting at the end of February the coaches will conduct workshops for the players on life after football.
“I’ve had kids go to the NFL and they get signed for $150,000,” Meyer said. “There are some people who believe they will get a check for $150,000 and they will have that to spend. But we know you don’t have that. You have taxes and other stuff. We educate them on that and real life.
“When this is done, we want four job opportunities on the table for these guys when they are done chasing their dream.”
Meyer said the players will build their resumes during college by doing community service projects and working at internships. The players also get instruction on interview techniques as well as dealing with their finances.
“The culmination, the end of a 14-week deal, is the coaches and players all put on a shirt and tie on,” Meyer said. “They walk across the street to the Jack Nicklaus Museum. We will shoot for 150 employers from insurance companies, banks, law enforcement or whatever. The older guys will walk in with a resume and they will have conversations about life after football.
“That’s an obligation we have to our players.”
* On going the extra mile for the players — “There was a culture started many years ago that we have an obligation to uphold. It’s not having three cellphones and doing things shady. It’s hit them between the eyes and be extremely honest, tough, demanding on them.
“What do you think our players will feel after this? I’m a 19-year-old guy and the same coach who just ripped my face off in practice and who is extremely tough on me is walking me over and sitting me down in front of Fifth Third Bank to talk about a career after football. I might go a little harder for this guy because that guy cares about me.
“That’s more important than the 3-4 or the 4-3 defense or any other (scheme).”
2013 OHSFCA Coaches Clinic
16th Annual Event runs Thursday-Saturday…
Who, What, Where and When…
2013 OHIO HS FOOTBALL RECRUITS
2013 OHIO HS FOOTBALL PREVIEW
Fill out the form for your team…
OHSFCA NORTH-SOUTH CLASSIC
What: OHSFCA North-South Classic
When: April 27, 2013
Kickoff: I-III Game 4 p.m., IV-VI game 7 p.m.
Where: Welcome Stadium, Dayton
Who: Several of Ohio’s top high school football players
Tickets: $10 at door
OHSFCA ACADEMIC ALL-OHIO
99 players earned All-Ohio honors…
73 teams earned All-Ohio honors, but just six received the highest recognition…