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Posted on Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 8:01 p.m.

New Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer: Michigan-Ohio State is 'the game of games'

By Staff


Urban Meyer on the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry: "As much as there is dislike and hatred across college football in some rivalries, there’s a share of that, but there’s also a lot of respect in that rivalry,”

AP Photo

You can’t name an Ohio State (or Michigan) football coach without some questions about Michigan (or Ohio State) at the introductory press conference.

That was true Monday, when Urban Meyer was officially hired to lead the Buckeyes.

The Ohio native, who started his coaching career as a graduate assistant for former Ohio State coach Earl Bruce, called the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry “the game of games,” and one that he “grew up watching.”

“The one thing that I know about that game … as much as there is dislike and hatred across college football in some rivalries, there’s a share of that, but there’s also a lot of respect in that rivalry,” Meyer said. “And, I’m really looking forward to coaching in it.”

Meyer was on the Ohio State coaching staff for two Michigan-Ohio State games.

What he remembered most about the first, played in 1986, was former Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh guaranteeing a win at Ohio Stadium. Jamie Morris helped him make good on that guarantee, rushing for 210 yards and two touchdowns in a 26-24 win.

The second game, in 1987, when Bruce was fired before the trip to Ann Arbor and Ohio State beat the heavily favored Wolverines. Bruce has remained a close friend and confidant of Meyer through the years.

Meyer takes over a program that is likely facing NCAA sanctions and was crippled by the forced resignation of former coach Jim Tressel. The Buckeyes completed their only season under Luke Fickell with a 40-34 loss to Michigan on Saturday that snapped a seven-game winning streak to their rivals.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke, who emphatically stressed the importance of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry in his own press conference, downplayed the role coaches play in The Game.

“You know, he’s not going to play a down and neither am I,” Hoke said on Monday. “I’ve known Urban. He’s a good football coach. He’s a good guy. I’ll welcome him in, but this is still Michigan and Ohio. It’s still going to be that rivalry. Neither one of us is going to play a game.”

In 10 seasons as a head coach — two at Bowling Green, two at Utah and six at Florida — Meyer has a 104-23 record. His teams are 7-1 in bowl games, including the Gators' 41-14 victory over unbeaten and top-ranked Ohio State in the 2007 Bowl Championship Series title game.

Meyer inherits a program still facing NCAA sanctions. But he also inherits a young team led by a freshman quarterback, Braxton Miller, who would seem to be a perfect fit for his spread offense.

"We're putting a lot of pressure on this cat," Meyer joked once after several questions about the freshman. "He's special."

A native of Ashtabula, Ohio, Meyer becomes the 24th head coach at Ohio State. He succeeds Fickell, who took over last spring when Tressel's 10-year reign came crashing down. Tressel was forced out for knowing but not telling his superiors that Buckeyes players had most likely broken NCAA rules by taking cash and free or discounted tattoos from the subject of a federal drug-trafficking investigation.

Ohio State's .500 record this season marked the most losses at Ohio State since John Cooper's 1999 team also went 6-6 overall and 3-5 in the Big Ten.

The Buckeyes had already lost their string of six Big Ten titles when the school was forced to vacate the 2010 season for the NCAA violations. The school has also self-imposed two years of NCAA probation, offered to return $339,000 in bowl revenue from 2010 and to give up five scholarships over the next three seasons.

Ohio State is awaiting final word from the NCAA's committee on infractions. The committee tagged Ohio State with a "failure to monitor" label — second only to a lack of institutional control on the list of most egregious charges against a university. The school could still be hit with a bowl ban, a loss of more scholarships, or other penalties.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Hawaiian Neal

Sun, Dec 4, 2011 : 9:24 a.m.

I will be glad to see Hoke's spine develop a little bit with Brandon as time goes on and say, "No, the Michigan brand speaks for itself! My men do not need to play dress-up, leave that for MSU. Weare Michigan!"

Hawaiian Neal

Sun, Dec 4, 2011 : 9:17 a.m.

This time OSU takes the high road Bo once took, there coach talking about respect and UM now has the guy who can't say the other school's name. So I guess this time, we got the Woody. I remember Bo well. He had the utmost respect for the rivalry and OSU. I remember when Cooper coached his last game...... After the game, Bo Schembechler told Bruce, "I always mind losing to Ohio State but I didn't mind so much today." That, is a "Michigan Man". I mean if Meyer called UM MState, I would laugh and think he was just kind of "special". I just can't help the Ohio thing of Hoke's is a Brandon marketing gimmick like the weird Adidias unis in the MSU and ND games, the pink stuff, and the US flag on the uniforms. If you want to do something for breast cancer, donate, don't pander..... If you want to show your patriotism, take a vet out to dinner or his/her family while they are away. Integrity is something one "does" not something one "wears". This past year wreaked of mass fast food marketing at UM.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 8:36 p.m.

This is a great hire for Ohio State, THE GAME, and the Big Ten. I also am glad Michigan is back to form and look forward to many more good games with them. I do think however that we should of beat you if we complete 3 passes and we are not a very good team this year. I hope you play well during the bowl season to make the Big Ten proud- I am just concerned with that secondary. We were the 3rd worse passing offense in the country and should of beat you.... with passing!! We will see you next year with Mr. Meyer in the shoe!


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 7:31 p.m.

Good for the Buckeyes and good luck to their new coach ... I hope his health issues are resolved. How do the Buckeyes like a coach with the initials UM ? ? ? ? hahahaha!!


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 7:04 p.m.

Brady / Urban the new Bo/ Wood'yee...... remember Bo and woody were great freinds...Urban unlike tressel, isn't a cheating, lying snake. From what I've been reading.... Since Urban was anoucned.....Flordia grads have renouced there alumni contribuition and, this Uban sensation hasn't closed Ohio border.... UM still getting a lot of interest from recruits. I curious, did OSU interview any 'Afreican American' coaches for this job.

George Williams

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 6:56 p.m.

I'm kind of glad Michigan State won this year in the Bung House because having lost 7 in a row and now faced with Urban Meyer and another decade of loss it was the humane thing to have happen. Our all freshman team came close but came up a bit short. Now Coach Hokey Pokey will have 2011 to relive over and over.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 4:18 p.m.

Definitely a good hire. As an OSU alum with close family members who have attended both schools (wife MBA from U-M, brother-in-law and nephew undergrad and masters from U-M) I appreciate the rivalry. And frankly, while I was disappointed in our season and loss to U-M, I'm happy to see U-M back to form. I think both Meyer's and Hoke's appreciation of the tradition as well as proven excellence in coaching will renew the intensity and excitement of the "game."


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 3:17 p.m.

Matt Whale: It would be great if both coaches are long-lasting and successful at their respective schools thereby intensifying the importance of THE GAME. 2006 was a great game -- not just because tOSU won -- but because #1 faced #2 and the national championship was on the line. (Frankly, the BCS powers should have retained Blue at #2 and had a rematch for the title.) However, Matt, we'll never live to see another Woody/Bo. First, as someone already posted, you had the mentor-disciple relationship going. Secondly, the two men were very close personal friends. (Bo gave the primary eulogy at Woody's funeral.) However, must importantly, "The War of the Roses" was winner-take-all. Many of you are too young to remember that during the Woody/Bo era, the B1G champion went to the Rose Bowl. EVERYONE else stayed home. Attending anything less than the Rose Bowl was prohibited.

Matt Whale

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 7:44 p.m.

I voted you up because you had some excellent points. Go Blue!


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 12:19 p.m.

He may be an Ohio native, but his initials are U. M.!!! He needs to hire his cousin and namesake, Urban Renewal, to clean up the slum that the Athletic Department in C'bus has become. Until the Tresselites and their lemming followers are bulldozed and purged, the Olentangy Stench will remain. It's time for C'bus to say ByeBye to Bowtie Bozo, Gene the mushroom, Doug the archer (who couldn't even see, much less hit, the target) and the rest of that ilk. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 11:03 a.m.

@ cutty240 Is someone still a bit chappy from Saturday?

L. C. Burgundy

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 6:28 a.m.

He's being hired for the program to have a veneer of respectability. Beware of the sweater vest heritage, Urban. Beware.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 4:06 a.m.

Congratulations to the Buckeyes. You got your man. I hope this means we'll be seeing a lot more exciting UM/OSU games like the one we saw on Saturday. Maybe in the next few years we'll be playing each other with higher stakes on both sides.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 4:05 a.m.

Michigan enjoy your 10 an 2 season,it may never happen again with Hoke as Your Coach.You had a perfect storm this season.Rich left him some Great Offense Players,and 8 homes,and last but not least those cup cake teams you had to play.But those teams cost you a BCS Bowl game.Urban Gets Programs up and running and winning faster than anybody i have seen in the last 20 years.You'd better see if you can get a ticket to Columbus next year right now.Ohio State coupled with Urban Meyer as the head Coach,they will be the HOTTEST SCHOOL IN THE COUNTRY UNTILL NEXT YEAR.Watch Ohio State on Signing Day.You Better Hope that Hoke can Hold on to some these Kids

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 3:11 p.m.

cutty. Urban Meyere is a protege, of Rich Rodriguez, and his spread offense. Since Urban's defenses will be practicing against that spread all week, I look for the osu defenses to deteriorate. Urban will lose FB and TB recruits, who do not want to play in that spread offense. One final thought, Urban refused to recruit Denard Robinson as a QB while he was at Florida. Meyer didn't think the kid was a QB. ...Hmmm, 5 TD's and 337 yards, vs osu on saturday....So maybe Urban isn't as bright as you think he is. He'll cash your checks though.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 1:37 p.m.

Are you kidding me?


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 11:01 a.m.

ohio already has 16 commits.Where are the scollies gonna come from?Word around the campfire is a loss of scollies for ohio and a bowl ban.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 4:09 a.m.

It cost us a BCS bowl? That's news to me. Last I heard, if LSU beats Georgia we're pretty much a lock for a BCS bowl.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 2:28 a.m.

It was a great press conference. Meyer referred to Michigan as Ohio State's "little step brother". I guess he 's not bothered by Hoke's Ohio reference.

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 3:02 p.m.

To say that Urban is 'two faced' is a gross understatement. He is basically an opportunist that is merely in it for the money. (Not unlike Sabin) He is, in that repsect, the perfect match for ohio. Having observed the fickel way that buckeye nation behaves, they'll turn on him in a new york minute, if, and when he fails to produce.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 3:47 a.m.

Actually, I saw the press conference. UM read off a script that sounded alot like someone else penned it. I was taken aback by his lack of passion during his speech, and obvious lack of understanding of the importance of THE GAME. I really don't think he has his heart in this new job. Look for Mr. Wishy-washy to bail after one or two seasons.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 2:12 a.m.

What made Bo and Woody special was the mentor/student relationship and Woody's assumption that Bo would take over for him (but obviously foiled when Woody wouldn't step down and Bo went to the "enemy"). Bo always felt that he had to prove himself and beat the "old man". Woody shaped nearly everything Bo did as a coach (except hitting players). Hoke and Meyer just don't have that relationship, though the potential remains for them to have two highly rated programs going after each other, the same recruits, championships, etc.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:19 a.m.

I don't beleive Bo went from OSU to michigan. I think he coached in the MAC after leaving OSU.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 1:36 p.m.

Well said!


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 1:56 a.m.

Meyer and Hoke have the potential to renew the Woody / Bo legacy. Let's just hope that no one gets punched...


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 2:48 a.m.

Don't let ohio play Clemson is all.

Matt Whale

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 1:55 a.m.

Brady/Urban. The new Bo/Woody.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:18 a.m.

TheWay.....WORD Brother!!!! You said it, I'd be shocked too. You know, he kinda looked a little tired today. Maybe he's learned to be mellow for the sake of his health, I don't know how well that translates in Football however.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 4:22 a.m.

Why on earth do people think Urban Meyer is "likely to say for some time"? His health is failing already, and he tried to quit at Florida twice before he finally left. If he lasts 5 years I'll be shocked.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 2:12 a.m.

Sorry, didn't see your post before I composed mine. With Brady and Urban likely to stay for some time, let's hope for a good rivalry... that of course we'll top.