"And you know it's time to go
Through the sleet and driving snow
Across the fields of mourning
Light in the distance"
~ "A Sort Of Homecoming", U2
On November 28, 2011, The Ohio State University formally announced the hiring of Urban Meyer as its head football coach, following the tumultuous 2011 season. Even before this decision was publicly announced, I wonder if those song lyrics by U2 ever ran through the mind of John Peterson.
John Peterson had served on the Ohio State football coaching staff under Coach Jim Tressel and Coach Luke Fickell, coaching the tight ends as well as serving as the recruiting coordinator for Ohio State. In addition, Coach Peterson played at guard on the offensive line for Ohio State, playing from 1987-1990.
With every new coaching hire, there is always turnover. Even though John Peterson had crossed paths with Urban Meyer previously, when Peterson was a player and Meyer a graduate assistant in 1987, Peterson had to know his time with his alma mater as a position coach was limited.
Any new coaching staff will reflect the philosophies and mindset of the new head coach. Peterson, who had executed the limited but effective recruiting coordinator philosophies of Jim Tressel, did not reflect the aggressive recruiting mindset of Urban Meyer, and was out at Ohio State.
Peterson has since resurfaced at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, or UAB, Ohio State’s next opponent. Even though Peterson was a capable recruiting coordinator for the Buckeyes, Peterson’s listed responsibilities are limited to coaching the offensive line for the Blazers.
Whenever a new coaching staff arrives at a program rich with tradition as Ohio State, it is understandable for the fans to be salivating at the new developments of the program that the fans hold so dearly. "I never understood why they did it THAT way… Why didn’t we try it this way before?!?...I told you things would have been better if we had done this a long time ago…". Those are usually the types of remarks or statements made when an energetic new staff arrives on the scene.
While I certainly understand and respect those notions, and I am excited about the upcoming recruiting classes on the horizon for Ohio State, I also believe a few words of thanks and appreciation can be made towards a coach who coordinated the efforts for eight seasons. Were Coach Peterson’s recruiting classes perfect? Not by a long shot. But I do believe some reminiscing about some of the players brought in during that time period is worth a quick look back ~
2005: Players such as Alex Boone, Jim Cordle, Brian Hartline, Malcolm Jenkins, James Laurinaitis, Brian Robiskie, Anderson Russell, Austin Spitler, and Doug Worthington were signed. All of those players are either in the NFL or have spent time in the NFL. Out of eighteen players signed, fifteen contributed as starters or had meaningful playing time at Ohio State, an 83% success rate.
2006: Jake Ballard, Bryant Browning, Chimdi Chekwa, Kurt Coleman, Thaddeus Gibson, Larry Grant, Ross Homan, Robert Rose, and Chris "Beanie" Wells were signed in this class. All are either in the NFL, or have spent time in the NFL. Robert Rose is presently playing for the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Out of twenty players signed, sixteen either signed or had meaningful playing time, an 80% success rate.
2007: Daniel "Boom" Herron, Cameron Heyward, Jermale Hines, Brian Rolle, Brandon Saine, and Dane Sanzenbacher are among the players signed in this class. All are either in the NFL presently, or have spent time in the NFL. Twelve of fifteen players starting or contributing, translating to another 80% success rate.
And I am not even including 2008, 2009, 2010, or 2011, as there are current players on this year’s team, as well as for the forseeable future, who are or will be contributing for the Buckeyes on the gridiron.
Yes, I am excited about the dynamic recruiting of the present, and the forseeable future. I also believe it is important to reflect upon the relatively recent past, and recall some other words from "A Sort Of Homecoming", as they could pertain to Coach Peterson…
"For tonight, at last
I am coming home
I am coming home…"