"Maybe the best coach in the SEC went to the BIg Ten. Urban Meyer did the greatest coaching job of all time. Winning a national championship with his third-string quarterback. I've never seen that before."
- Jon Gruden, via Coaching Search
On Thursday Jon Gruden was a guest on Colin Cowherd's radio show, and one of the topics the former NFL head coach touched on was Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer. Gruden stated that he always respected Meyer's ability as a head coach, especially with winning two titles at Florida. What Meyer did this year, not only with what he was able to get out of J.T. Barrett, but followed by Cardale Jones after Barrett's injury in the Michigan game, was the best coaching job Gruden has seen. The praise from Gruden is quite impressive, considering the current ESPN Monday Night Football analyst has won a championship at the highest level of professional football.
Along with Meyer's job with his players on the field, Gruden has also been impressed with what Meyer is able to do on the recruiting trail. Gruden see Meyer as having a certain profile of players that he is looking for when he is recruiting, and some of the problems he faced later in his time at Florida were from Meyer getting away from recruiting the players that fit that profile. Now that he is at Ohio State, Gruden thinks Meyer has learned from those mistakes at Florida, and is going to build his teams around the players that fit his profile.
"I won't play the best five players, I'll play the five that play the best together."
- Thad Matta, via the Columbus Dispatch
In January Thad Matta shuffled his starting lineup to try and provide a jolt to his Buckeye basketball by inserting Jae'Sean Tate and Anthony Lee, and with the way the Buckeyes have played lately, another round of changes might be coming soon for Ohio State. Lee has missed the past three games with a groin strain, and is doubtful to play against Nebraska tonight. Amir Williams has returned to the starting lineup while Lee has been sidelined, but Matta could be looking at fielding a smaller lineup. Ohio State had similar success a couple years ago when they reeled off 11 straight wins on their way to advancing to a Regional Final in the NCAA Tournament.
While going with a smaller lineup would create some problems against bigger teams, it might be necessary to inject some life into a Ohio State team that has been flat lately. The improved play of Keita Bates-Diop lately, especially in the absence of Marc Loving, has shown the freshman is worthy of receiving some increased playing time. But for the smaller lineup to truly work, the Buckeyes will need Loving to become more consistent with his play. If Loving can return to the form that was seen against Maryland, combined with the strong shooting of D'Angelo Russell and Bates-Diop, the Buckeyes could cause some problems for opponents with their ability to spread the floor.
"We've got a good ranking ... Everybody wants to beat us. If they beat us, they make the NCAA Tournament, so we don't have any easy matches coming up."
- Ty Tucker, Ohio State men's tennis coach, via The Lantern
Last weekend Ohio State men's tennis competed in the NCAA Indoor Championships, losing two matches before topping Notre Dame. With that, the Buckeyes sit at 11-3 on the season, and now this week they'll start up Big Ten play, with 11 of their next 15 matches coming within the conference. The first of those matches will come on Friday, when the eighth-ranked Buckeyes travel to State College to take on Penn State.
While Ohio State knows who they'll play, there is another question that is still to be settled in remaining matches in terms of where they'll play. With the cold snap that has its clutches on most of the country, it is hard to think of any tennis being played outside right now, but when they actually do get outside the conditions will take a little getting used to. To play outside, the temperature must be above 50 degrees, and the wind must be below 20 miles per hour for at least two hours on the day of a match. When outside the play is slower and the ball doesn't travel quite as predictably as when indoors. Whether they play inside or outside, the Buckeyes have a Big Ten championship on their mind, and have the talent to earn one.
"You are taking all aspects of the bid to see if it's feasible for us to make a bid. We are looking into whether we have the hotel rooms available, whether or not the facilities are available and whether it is economically feasible. It's a complete evaluation process of placing a bid."
- Jay Cicero, CEO Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, via nola.com
After hosting a semifinal in the inaugural College Football Playoff, New Orleans has received a request for proposal from the College Football Playoff Championship Group to host the final in either 2019 or 2020. New Orleans won't be allowed to bid for the 2018 title game because they are already scheduled to host one of the semifinals that year. The city bid to be one of the hosts of the 2015, 2016, or 2017 title games, but were only awarded semifinal games in 2015 and 2018.
The bids for 2018, 2019, and 2020 are due in mid-May, with the committee touring facilities in the summer, and making a decision on host sites in the fall. With the history of New Orleans hosting numerous BCS bowl games in the past, as well as their strong presence in early College Football Playoff sites, it wouldn't be a surprise to see them strongly considered to be a host. Buckeye fans would probably enjoy New Orleans being a host as well, as Ohio State has been strongly supported when the Buckeyes have been sent to New Orleans for games in the past.
STICK TO SPORTS
- Despite being born in Ontario, apparently Drake is "Ohio's Very Own".
- The lineup for Cincinnati's Bunbury Music Festival in early June has been announced.
- So much talent, yet still so young. Meet Tyler Morgan.
- Just a typical day with two llamas on the loose in Phoenix.
- DeMarcus Cousins hit the trifecta last night by kicking a chair and later taking two elbows to the face.