“The guy that you guys ... I can't believe I'm saying this this early, but Johnnie Dixon is off the charts right now. He's moved into the gold category as far as work ethic in practice. He's a very talented guy.”
- Urban Meyer via Bill Landis, Cleveland.com
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer spoke during the Big Ten Media Days and had some high praise for one of his wide receivers, Johnnie Dixon. Dixon has been with the Buckeyes for several seasons now and came in as a highly-rated prospect but hasn’t quite lived up to his potential to this point. Now, in 2017, Dixon is coming in fully healthy and has the coaching staff praising him about his talent and practicing up to this point. Of course, based off the most recent spring game, it’s not surprising to hear the hype about the wideout. His explosion off the line proved his health, and his speed is worth noting too.
Dixon’s injuries have been a major reason why he hasn’t performed to the level that many thought he was capable of when first arriving on campus. But now it seems Dixon will finally have his shot to have a breakout season, and it really couldn’t come at a better time with the Buckeyes needing playmakers at wide receiver. After Noah Brown and Curtis Samuel headed to the NFL, there are some holes to fill and if Dixon can step up and fill a void, it would help Ohio State’s chances tremendously this season.
“I was soft and wasn’t 100-percent devoted, hadn’t bought in. I was getting my ass kicked and I wanted out. I was used to kicking ass and I wasn’t ready. That kind of thing, you just get blindsided in college.”
- Billy Price via Jeremy Birmingham, Land of 10
Billy Price has been a model of consistency during his career with Ohio State. Heading into his fourth season as a starter, Price has started 41 consecutive games. But Price wasn’t always as reliable as he is these days. In fact, when Price first joined the team, in the first week or so, he was ready to quit. A talk with Urban Meyer helped things move along though, and Price was switched from defensive lineman to offensive lineman and hasn’t looked back since. If Price stays healthy this season, he’ll need 10 more starts to sit atop the iron man leaderboard in school history as the player to start the most games ever.
Now, Price is ready to have another great season and perhaps be a first-round talent as a center in the NFL. If he continues his success and improvement, there’s not a team in the NFL that won’t be interested in drafting him, as he tries to anchor the Buckeyes offensive line. Like Pat Elflein before him, Price made the switch to center and has high hopes that he can help lead the team back to the College Football Playoff. He’ll need to help the other linemen on the team as well as protect his quarterback J.T. Barrett. Based off the past three seasons though, Price is a sure thing and that’s something that can be invaluable for a team trying to make a run at the championship.
“And we're sitting in the hotel room and I'm thinking we're going to get our brains beat in. I look at (his wife) Shelley, and say, ‘How long will they keep us if we lose every game? Her comment was, ‘Shut up, you'll probably win it tomorrow.’ That was the only time I think it's ever come up," Meyer said. "I hope it never comes up again.”
- Urban Meyer via Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland.com
With the recent decision of removing Thad Matta as head coach of Ohio State basketball, it brought up the question of whether Urban Meyer would be one of the few coaches to not get fired from Ohio State. Most, if not all, coaches have been either let go or forced to retire at some point during their careers, and especially in recent memory. Jim Tressel was forced to resign, John Cooper was fired, Earle Bruce was fired, and of course Woody Hayes was fired as well after throwing a punch against an opposing team’s player.
It seems, though, that Urban Meyer has as good of a chance as anyone to not fall into the same fate as many of the coaches before him. Meyer has compiled a 61-6 record during his tenure with the Buckeyes, and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. It seems more likely that Meyer will choose to retire at some point rather than the University forcing him out. Meyer has also brought a national championship back to Columbus and a Big Ten title as well. And while it doesn’t seem likely to ever happen, watching Matta get fired still showed that it’s not out of the realm of possibility. It was interesting to see Meyer’s take on it at Big Ten Media Days, but hopefully the head coach will end up leaving on his own terms well down the line.
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