Urban Meyer cringes when new coaches criticize their own roster

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Urban Meyer cringes when new coaches criticize their own roster

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Staff Writer
Ohio State’s Urban Meyer watches the action against Indiana on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind. David Jablonski/Staff

Urban Meyer often chooses his words carefully. He didn’t hold back this week, however, when he was asked his thoughts about Tom Herman’s comments following a loss to Maryland.

Herman, Ohio State’s former offensive coordinator, lost his first game as Texas head coach 51-41 at home to Maryland. He’s trying to turn around a program that has experienced three straight losing seasons for the first time since the 1930s.

“If we all thought that we were going to come in here,” Herman said on Sept. 2, “and in nine months sprinkle some fairy dust on this team and think that we’ve arrived then we’re wrong.”

Meyer took over a program that was 6-7 in 2011 and guided to a 12-0 mark in 2012. He doesn’t like when coaches use the previous staff’s failures as an excuse.

“(Herman) got a dose of reality,” Meyer told CBSSports.com. “Maryland just scored 51 points on you.”

Meyer elaborated on that opinion Wednesday in a press conference after practice. He advises coaches who leave his program to become head coaches — Herman, Rutgers’ Chris Ash and Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell are three recent examples — to be “extremely complementary” when talking about the rosters they inherit.

“Never talk as if those players aren’t your players,” Meyer said. “When I hear coaches say, ‘Those aren’t my guys,’ and ‘Wait, until he gets his guys in there,’ I cringe. Who’s guys do you think they are? Once you become head coach, they’re officially your guys the minute you say, ‘I do.’ Why would a coach say that? What do you think those players are doing? Those players are listening. They are your guys.”

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Meyer would offer that advice to Oklahoma’s first year coach, Lincoln Riley, but realizes Riley probably doesn’t need the help. The No. 5 Sooners, who play the No. 2 Buckeyes on Saturday night at Ohio Stadium, lost their longtime head coach, Bob Stoops, in June. Riley was groomed to replace him. At 34, he’s the youngest head coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

“You don’t see that very often where you get to hand it off to who you want to hand it off to,” Meyer said. “That’s a pretty good setup for him.”

As for Herman, he responded to Meyer’s comments on Thursday, telling reporters in Texas he doesn’t have time to worry about comments made by other coaches.

“I’m worried about our program and winning a game,” Herman said. “Anybody that’s been around me and our staff for the last 10 months knows we’ve never disparaged the previous staff or our current players.”

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