“[Urban Meyer] began to talk about people and who he wanted to get, and so we went through that process and he kind of had a vision of what he thought he needed to do.”
- Gene Smith, via Jacob Myers, The Lantern
Urban Meyer wasted no time in making changes to his staff when the Buckeyes lost an embarrassing Fiesta Bowl to the eventual national champion Clemson Tigers. Myers says that Gene Smith told him that the discussions of changes began immediately after the game in Glendale. One of the people Meyer immediately mentioned was Wilson. Meyer is familiar with Wilson, not just because of Wilson’s recent history as Indiana coach, but because of his offensive resume at Northwestern back in the day. Smith said that before any moves were made on Wilson, he had to talk to Meyer about the alleged reasons he left Indiana.
Smith obviously declined to say what the nature of the discussions were with Wilson and Indiana AD Fred Glass, but he told the Lantern, “Urban and I came together and we talked about what we found out and we felt comfortable. Kevin sat at this table and we had a good conversation on what happened there, and how it’s going to work here,” Smith said. “He was thoroughly vetted and we had a good, candid conversation. He’ll fit our culture fine.” Smith also talked to people at Oklahoma to get information on Wilson, who apparently passed all the tests and cleared any concerns.
"There's a lot of talk about [the record]. Let's me and you address it in the room right now and get rid of it. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't."
- Cowboys RBs coach Gary Brown, via Jean-Jacques Taylor, ESPN
Brown is speaking of Ezekiel Elliott, and the prospect of breaking Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing record. This of course came before the season, and Elliott came dang close to breaking it. Dickerson rushed for 1,808 yards his rookie year, and Elliott had 1,631, having sat out the last game of the Cowboys’ regular season. Elliott became the 5th rookie to win a rushing title, and although his season got off to a slow start with a 20-carry, 51-yard performance, it taught him a valuable lesson. "When these guys realize it's not easy and I gotta work on my game every day, that's great," Brown said. "The younger they are when they learn that, the more success and longevity they'll have."
Brown also wasn’t used to the crop top and the “feed me” motion, but he got used to it quick, and was supportive of it as well. "My thing is this: If you need to wear a crop top pregame and doing the "feed me" thing in the game gets you in your zone and you're not hurting anybody or hurting the team, then roll with it." Elliott also loves to pump up the defense, and even runs out into their huddle sometimes. "Let's go. Let's go," Elliott would yell to his teammates. Brown said, "At that point, I was like, "What is he doing? I've never seen a guy run out into the defensive huddle.” But that’s just Zeke.
Throughout Urban Meyer’s tenure in Columbus, lesser-heralded recruits in every recruiting class have emerged to make an impact.
- Ryan Ginn, Land of 10
For the casual Ohio State fan, there’s certain players that come out of “nowhere” and turn into absolute monsters. Ginn points out that one of these players for some last year was Malik Hooker. At this point, we shouldn’t be surprised whenever Urban Meyer turns in a player with “promise” into a first-round draft pick. Ginn also refers you to Pat Elflein and Tyvis Powell, who were both three-star players that became great players. In 2013, Darron Lee joined the Bucks, and he became a first-rounder after being a three-star athlete.
So looking forward, Ginn points out a few players who could rise in a similar fashion to those. First, he points out Robert Landers, who is also a three-star, but was a late bloomer. He’s undersized for a defensive tackle, but we know with the help of Mickey Marotti, he can make up for it with strength. Davon Hamilton is another three-star, who has great size and athleticism for a defensive tackle. If you’re looking for a potential good linebacker, Malik Harrison is there. He won’t get much burn in 2017, but he’s got time to develop, which has been enough for many Bucks in the past.
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