5 Thoughts on the Departing Urban Meyer

There had been rumors floating around in the past several weeks regarding the future of Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer. This week, those rumors came to the surface as the news broke Meyer will be retiring following the conclusion of the Buckeyes’ Rose Bowl matchup with Washington.

Here are 5 thoughts on the biggest news in college football right now.

Urban was a Legend

Somehow, Meyer developed a way of performing at an insanely high level without making it seem like he was still maintaining such a legendary amount of winning. I wonder if we could chalk this up to the Big Ten stink covering him in recent years and the fact that Nick Saban has been ascending to the heavens as this century’s top college football coach. An unpleasant review of Meyer in the beginning of this decade could claim he basically ran away from the impending death machine that has become Alabama football.

Nevertheless, Meyer leaves behind a resume that in totality few will ever equal.

*Took over a 2-win Bowling Green program and won 17 games in 2 seasons.

*Took over a 5-win Utah program and won 22 games in 2 seasons, the latter an undefeated campaign.

*Took over a Florida program spinning its wheels, proceeded to win 65 games in 6 seasons, 3 SEC titles, 2 National Championships, and lost only 3 games out of conference at a time when the SEC was maybe the toughest league in modern history.

*Seamlessly took over an Ohio State program in the middle of probation, went undefeated in his first season, and while he didn’t get credit for the games to begin this season during his suspension, presided over a program that won at least 11 games in each of his 7 seasons.

*An 11-3 record in bowl games which is likely to be 12-3 after this upcoming Rose Bowl, all the more astonishing given he’s participating in his 11th major bowl game in a few weeks.

A question that needs to be asked is whether Urban Meyer truly was a legend or if we can say he still is a legend. Is this really the end?

Dynamics Change in Big Ten

Not that long ago critics were hailing the Big Ten as the hottest new conference full of some of the country’s best coaches. Now, the league hasn’t gained entrance into the playoff for the 3rd consecutive season and perhaps the best coach to ever work in the conference is hanging it up at an early age.

If you’re Jim Delany this isn’t a great situation.

The immediate winner in all of this appears to be Jim Harbaugh and Michigan although this would ignore the fact that there’s still no guarantee the Wolverines will climb to the top of the league after the embarrassment of 62-39 and plenty of question marks for UM in 2019 which will include breaking in a new quarterback and missing several key defensive pieces. Ohio State’s dominance in the rivalry runs deep and wide.

Losing Urban Meyer completely changes the way the Big Ten is now perceived at a time when Paul Chryst is showing shades of his Pitt coaching tenure and Penn State will be losing quarterback Trace McSorley. For good or bad, you could pencil in Ohio State in the playoff race every single season and now that’s much more in doubt.

Ryan Day, Weird Hire

What if 6 months ago I told you Ryan Day would be the head coach at Ohio State shortly after the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday? Back then, I’d guess 99% of the college football world had never heard of Day and now it’s like the Buckeyes have handed over the keys to a homeless man’s Tom Herman in terms of a coaching resume.

Granted, Ohio State was put in a completely bizarre situation this season and you could forgive their leadership for not wanting to splash $5 million or so to completely overhaul the coaching staff. They also may have wished to take a pass and find something better in the market in another year or two. That’s fine.

Day looks like a conniving second-shift supervisor at Staples.

This is still bizarre. Meyer has heaped enormous amounts of praise upon Day and even called him the best OC he’s ever worked with. He’s a disciple of Chip Kelly from his New Hampshire days, but unlike Kelly, prefers a pass-first offense which has seen Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins throw the ball nearly 500 times this year. That could be fun next year if Haskins comes back (or with the highly-touted but diminutive Tate Martell) but it’s still a big change from Meyer’s traditional power spread.

Ohio State really hasn’t hired a coach who went on to fall flat on his face (we’re not counting Luke Fickell’s lone season) at any point in many, many decades. You could buy in to Day being an offensive genius who will thrive at Ohio State or maybe be extremely skeptical that the best school in terms of winning percentage since the 20th Century began just hired someone with zero head coaching experience. The Buckeyes have long been living a charmed life and maybe this is another extension of that success.

Urban is Coming Back

When Meyer announced his retirement Tuesday I sat down at home after work and witnessed 15 minutes of coverage on ESPN with everyone in Columbus repeating the same line over and over: Urban is for sure done coaching. Just complete adamant pronouncements that this is completely over as if reading off a script provided by Meyer with a wink in his eye.

Not buying it.

Go back and re-read some of the articles about Meyer immediately following his departure from Florida. The emotion and fear regarding Meyer’s health issues looks quite silly in hindsight. Now, that’s not to say Meyer doesn’t have some health issues or that many back at the end of his Florida days didn’t immediately recognize he’d return to the game soon, but we shouldn’t fall for this a second time.

Urban Meyer has had exactly 2 seasons in which the drama off the field overwhelmed anything that was happening on the field. These 2 seasons just happen to coincide with Meyer’s health issues acting up.

He won’t turn 55 until next July and it’s going to be a long 8 months before we get to that point where Meyer won’t be prepping for another season. He can miss one football season and sit out the next 20 months sitting at home doing not-football things. If you’re like me and believe his health issues have been greatly exaggerated to provide cover during stickier times, well, he’ll be back.

Notre Dame Won’t be a Home

Kirk Herbstreit–who’s morphed from calm, objective commentator to hair-puller extraordinaire in a matter of months–was someone who commented on Tuesday that Urban was done and made a special point to bring up that Notre Dame wasn’t Meyer’s dream, it was never Meyer’s dream job, and he’s done coaching because Ohio State was and always will be his dream job.

Like, whoa dude chill out. It’s not 2005 anymore a lot of stuff has transpired in the eyes of Notre Dame fans and university leaders.

When there’s too many arrests & covering up a serial abuser.

Maybe it will be a while until Meyer does come back, but that’s just the point. He could take 3 football seasons off and still be plenty young for another run with another program. Which program that will be depends on how long his absence from the game remains.

Curiously, Meyer’s tenure with Ohio State seemed to fly by while his residency at Florida seemed far longer to me overall. It doesn’t seem right to me that he stayed in Gainesville only 6 seasons versus completing 7 seasons in Columbus. The Gators probably wish they could’ve squeezed more juice out of that Meyer orange before he departed.

In the video embedded above it’s mentioned that Jeremy Foley, who was AD during Meyer’s time with Florida, believes Urban will coach again. He was front and center for the first “retirement” only to see Meyer strutting back in to the game at Ohio State a year later. We should expect it to happen again, just not at Notre Dame.

By |2018-12-06T13:51:20+00:00December 7th, 2018|Football|41 Comments

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KG
KG

I’d say “don’t let the door hit you in the [keister] on the way out, Urban,” but as you said, he’ll coach again somewhere desperate enough for quick-fix glory that they can overlook his complete failure at being a human being.

Also, Kirk Herbstreit has become a parody. He and Desmond have taken over the “let’s scream for no reason about how bad ND is, because people will tune in” role from Mark May. I can barely stand him during game broadcasts, but in studio he’s insufferable.

Concrete Charlie
Concrete Charlie

“his complete failure at being a human being” is unfair, IMO.

KG
KG

Being completely unapologetic about the mess with Zach Smith until he was forced to come back the day after the press conference and acknowledge that Urban himself wasn’t the victim is a pretty big failure, in my opinion. You’re entitled to yours, of course, but if the remote possibility we hired Urban came true, I’d enjoy rooting for my other schools until such time he was no longer the coach.

kiwifan
kiwifan

I think you’re being entirely judgmental based on second or third hand stuff you’ve absorbed from the media.

Check out what actually happened in the court proceedings re Zach Smith, BTW.

The guy came to my sister in law’s funeral in the midst of a ton of stuff going on for him some years ago, a gesture of friendship and respect for my brother that I’ll always appreciate.

“Complete failure at being a human being.” Not very Catholic, buddy.

KG
KG

Good thing I’m not Catholic.

kiwifan
kiwifan

Or Christian I assume. I can think of a few other things to say but won’t. You just go on hating.

KG
KG

You can go on assuming whatever you want. Congrats, he was nice to your sister in law’s family. My religious affiliations have nothing to do with this, and are none of your business. Seriously, what the hell? You call me judgemental, and you have the nerve to make religious judgments? Do you have any idea how offensive this is? Of course you don’t.

DrIck
DrIck

No, kiwifan is right. I think it’s a tenant of Catholicism to question the Catholicism of others. Very Christ-like.

Publius2010
Publius2010

Don’t make me summon the Spanish Inquisition

kiwifan
kiwifan

Good grief, its a common expression. I don’t care a fig about your religion. No need to play straw man bs.

As the (likely) only person on this board that has spent time with the man, I defended him against what most would consider to be an unfounded slur.

It’s not about you, although you seem to always take it that way.

Publius2010
Publius2010

BAN THE PROTESTANTS (EXECPT FOR ARA)

DrIck
DrIck

#Rockneconverted

What do we do with his career prior to 1925, tho?

Brendan R

Aaron Hernandez, Chris Rainey, and all the other guys he’s enabled through the years say hi. As do all the kids he pushed out with fake injuries.

KG
KG

This guy gets it.

kiwifan
kiwifan

So I guess we should include Belichek and any other coaches Hernandez had into the same hat. They knew he was a closet murderer after all. And “enabled” it.

Doubt that either of you ever met the man or know about any of the players and ordinary people Urban has helped. Doesn’t make for good media copy.

He likely wishes he were as good and accomplished as you guys are.

KG
KG

Ok cool hook ’em

Clearwall
Clearwall

Sure, lump Belicheat in there with Urb. They’re both scumbags.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

I’m cool with Kirk, I think he means well and presents usually valid takes. Some of them I don’t always agree with but I generally think his analysis is intelligent.

Desmond Howard is about the opposite to everything above

kiwifan
kiwifan

Kirk usually makes sense, and I do like him in the booth, but his “Michigan is playing the best football in the country now” and “Georgia should still be in the playoffs” opinions were incredibly dumb.

Desmond sucks.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

Urb for USC in 2019 or 2020 makes a lot of sense at surface level for both parties. Hope it doesn’t come to that.

Crazy to see an 83% winning percentage to put him up there with Rockne and Leahy. All time great stuff. Now I really wish that Maryland would have beaten him to knock that down if only a little bit.

CleverScreenName
CleverScreenName

“Urb for USC in 2019 or 2020”

Can’t decide whether to vote that up for seeing it as a wise prognostication or voting it down for worrying about it happening.

CleverScreenName
CleverScreenName

Fear won

spider-man
spider-man

If he came back, I think that the most likely spots would be USC, Miami, or Texas — those are all high profile schools with good recruiting bases that have (potentially) questionable coaching situations.

kiwifan
kiwifan

I hope he goes to Texas then–we don’t play them as often, right??

CleverScreenName
CleverScreenName

“a homeless man’s Tom Herman in terms of a coaching resume”

“conniving second-shift supervisor at Staples.”

“squeezed more juice out of that Meyer orange”

Quite possibly your best work ever, Eric. Excellent job!

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

I loved those quotes too Eric. Great stuff.

DrIck
DrIck

I was considering creating a new user profile just to post a comment along the lines of “I created a user profile just to compliment ‘conniving second-shift supervisor at Staples’ “

Michael Bryan

On “a homeless man’s Tom Herman”, it’s wild that the Ohio State hire has one of the worst resumes of any P5 hire the past couple offseasons. An approximate list:

More qualified: Jimbo, Chip, Frost, Mullen, Taggart, Chad Morris, Moorhead, Cristobal, Satterfield, Collins, Wells,

More qualified, but are they good?: Herm, Sumlin, Locksley, Miles, Mack

Similarly qualified: Matt Luke, Jonathan Smith, Mel Tucker

So the most similar candidates are a guy who took over a tough SEC West job with a team on NCAA probation, a guy who took one of the worst P5 jobs at Oregon State, and another Saban assistant who took at bottom tier Pac-12 gig and may be good or may just be good at working with Saban and Kirby Smart.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

This strikes me as Clay Helton 2.0. As was the case when USC hired Helton, this is a “NDNation would have a conniption” type hire.

kiwifan
kiwifan

My modestly fact based opinion is that he quit OSU pissed off at how the school handled the whole Smith situation. Has a ton of money, knows more will be thrown at him sooner than later, could use a breather (the pressure on these elite program coaches is more than most mortals can bear, not to mention the hours), and will coast for awhile in the broadcast booth.

I guess its also possible that he and the school reached an accommodation–they would do the short suspension and he would resign at year end, much more palatable for him and his career (and not as embarrassing or potentially legally expensive for the school) than them firing him at the time of the Smith brouhaha. I doubt this though.

gbsk
gbsk

I am in the never say never camp. I don’t think he’ll coach again but you never know. He has a lot of baggage with the suspect ethics, etc. From my understanding, he he some debilitating headaches and there is no answer for that now. I don’t think he will coach again unless he gets those health problems under control.

dpet
dpet

It’s actually 2 straight years of the Big Ten not being in the playoff and the 2 years before that they lost a combined 69-0! This is great and with some classic quotes by you!

Publius2010
Publius2010

This is your yearly reminder that the Big Ten hasn’t scored in the playoffs since 2014.

Cubfansince1957
Cubfansince1957

Urban shamelessly manipulated ND to get a higher salary out of Florida (yet another sparkling Kevin White move – that guy was clueless). For that, I’ll never forgive him.

Once I saw what he was doing at Florida (shades of Jimmy Johnson at Miami), I was relieved he didn’t take the Irish job, even though I could see that he was a better football coach than Weis.

The final straw was watching his news conference regarding the Zach Smith situation. He had “no intent to deceive”!
There was no apology to Smith’s wife, despite repeated chances to do so. He’d “been a Buckeye his whole life.” What a whore.

kiwifan
kiwifan

Gosh Cubsfan, cool name, by the way, I can tell you that leveraging a current or potential employer for higher pay is beyond common in America.