Ohio State and Urban Meyer? Just Say No


by Ryan Isley

Ohio State fans better be careful what they ask for because they just might get it.

As soon as the Buckeyes’ 24-6 loss to Miami was finished on Saturday (hell, it was even before that), the echoes of Ohio State fans calling for Urban Meyer to be the next head coach of the Buckeyes was more embarrassing than the egg that the football team had just laid.

The last thing school president E. Gordon Gee and athletic director Gene Smith need to do is bring Meyer in to run the program. This is not an opinion based on wins and losses because that would just be completely indefensible. This is an opinion based on character and integrity within a football program.

Meyer’s record at Florida was outstanding as he compiled a 65-15 mark in six seasons, which included two BCS national championships. His time at Florida was preceded by two seasons at Utah where his teams were 22-2 and won bowl games each season, one a BCS bowl game when they trounced Pittsburgh 35-7 in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl. Meyer earned the job at Utah by virtue of his 17-6 record over two seasons at Bowling Green.

When all was said and done for Meyer at Florida following the 2010 season, his career head coaching tally stood at 104-23 and he was 8-1 in bowl games.

So again – the numbers are there to back up hiring the guy to run any program.

But this is where it gets tricky if you are Ohio State – It is no longer 2001, it is 2011.

The Buckeyes just had a head coach resign (or forced out if you prefer) because of the things that happened involving the football program off the football field. Jim Tressel is no longer the head coach at Ohio State and it had absolutely nothing to do with his record on Saturdays.

Remember – Tressel was 106-22 at Ohio State, a record that includes a 9-1 mark against that School Up North and a BCS national championship. If you want to split hairs, Tressel’s record would actually be 94-22 and 8-1 against the School Up North if you take away vacated wins from the 2010 season.

Those vacated games? That is why it should be impossible for Ohio State to hire Urban Meyer.

Think about this – the Buckeyes got rid of arguably the best coach in the program’s history since Woody Hayes because of off-the-field issues but would be willing to bring in Meyer? This is a guy whose teams rewrote the definition of off-the-field issues.

While at Florida, it can be said that Meyer didn’t exactly run what you would call a tight ship. If he had, his team would not have had so many arrests that people joked his players would be a perfect fit with the Cincinnati Bengals when they left the school.

In fact, in a USA Today story just last September, Steve Weiberg reports that from the summer of 2005 to September of 2010, there were at least 31 arrests involving 25 University of Florida football players.

With that kind of record, it seems that the players at Florida had more meetings with the Gainesville Police Department than they did with their football coaches.

The guy who recruited and coached these players? That’s right – Urban Meyer.

So this is the guy that you want running the football program down in Columbus? Really??

If you are still saying yes, let’s see what you think about this next story concerning Meyer and his troubled players.

Remember when Chris Rainey was arrested last year?

Florida receiver Chris Rainey was arrested Tuesday and charged with aggravated stalking, a third-degree felony, for allegedly sending a former girlfriend a threatening text message.

That text message? It simply read “Time to die, bitch”.

Rainey was suspended for the Gators’ next five games but after watching Florida lose for three consecutive weeks, Meyer brought Rainey back onto the team for their game against Georgia.

Let’s see – five games for exchanging merchandise for tattoos for the Ohio State players and five games for threatening to kill someone for a Florida player. Which would you rather have a player doing?

This is really how you propose to clean up the program, Buckeyes fans – by bringing in a guy who cannot control his players once they leave the field? Ohio State was lucky that the NCAA did not hit them with lack of institutional control following the tattoo parlor scandal and hiring Meyer would only give the NCAA the ammunition they need to keep breathing fire down the necks of those in Columbus.

As if the Florida off-the-field issues were not enough, let’s take a look at how Meyer left the job at Florida.

In December 2009, Meyer announced that he would be stepping down after the Gators played in the Allstate Sugar Bowl due to health reasons. The coach had been admitted into the hospital with chest pains following the team’s 32-13 loss to Alabama in the SEC championship game.

Less than 24 hours later, Meyer had a change of heart and decided that he would remain the head coach of the Florida Gators going forward.

In 2010, Meyer coached the Gators to a 7-5 record, their worst in his six seasons at the school, before deciding once again to step down.

According to a post on the Orlando Sentinel website, this time the decision to step down was more based on spending time with his family and less about health reasons.

Dec. 8, 2010 – Meyer resigns for a second time, saying in a statement, “At this time in my life, however, I fully grasp the sacrifices my 24/7 profession has demanded of me, and I know it is time to put my focus on my family and life away from the field.  The decision to step down was a difficult one.  But, after spending more than two decades motivating and celebrating the young men I’ve been so proud to coach, I relish the opportunity to cheer for my three terrific kids as they compete in their own respective sports.”

While that explanation sounds all good and politically correct, now Meyer works for ESPN and I can’t seem to get him off of my television. Unless Meyer’s family includes the staff at ESPN, the decision to step down due to spending time with family was Meyer blowing smoke up everyone’s ass.

A head coach not being completely truthful? That sounds familiar, right Buckeyes fans?

Well it should – that is the reason your last head coach was run out of the program.

And now you want to replace Luke Fickell with Urban Meyer?

No thanks – if you want to hire someone who has on-field success but has had some off-the-field troubles, call up Tressel and offer him his position back.

Follow Ryan on Twitter at @isley23 and like More Than A Fan on facebook.


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