Urban Meyer anxious to see atmosphere at Rose Bowl for himself

Ohio State’s Urban Meyer runs onto the field before a game against Northwestern on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff
Ohio State’s Urban Meyer runs onto the field before a game against Northwestern on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff

Urban Meyer’s time as the head coach of the Ohio State football team is nearly up.

He covered a variety of topics this week when he held court at Rose Bowl media day outside the stadium he said he dreamed of coaching in one day.

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It will end up being his last game in charge of the Buckeyes as he plans to hand the reins of the program to Ryan Day when it is over.

Here are the highlights from his media day appearance.

1. He really did have dreams about playing or coaching in the Grandaddy of Them All when he was growing up in Ashtabula, Ohio.

“I’ve never been here. I have been here one time. I pulled up when I was recruiting (as an assistant) for Colorado State University, and I was told to leave. They said, ‘Hey, bud, you’ve got to get out of here. I said, ‘Okay.’

“I’ve never seen the field. And really anxious to see and see the atmosphere, because I’ve heard so much about it for all these years.”

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“I dreamt a lot about Ohio State, the rivalry game, the Rose Bowl. Seems like every year in the ’70s when I was at that age where everybody is watching it, the parade, the game, and then watching Archie Griffin score touchdowns in the Rose Bowl.

“I was shocked (to learn Ohio State has only played in one Rose Bowl since winning the 1997 edition). I remember I was at Ohio State in 1986 and 1987, and that was always the target, to go to the Rose Bowl. That was well before the BCS or College Football Playoff. And we came close the one year and we went to the Cotton Bowl.

2. He is happy his players care about the Rose Bowl.

“It means the world to me and our staff, because the older guys remember the Rose Bowl and being a premier bowl game in college football with Keith Jackson calling the plays, and all the great players, it seemed like, USC and Ohio State and UCLA and Washington, and you would always just watch those games.

“But I was pleasantly surprised that our players knew about it, too. I was really thinking we were going to have to motivate them and maybe guys would sit out, maybe this, maybe that, they’d all be — but the minute we were in the Rose Bowl — I mean, there was disappointment that we weren’t in a playoff, but it quickly shifted to respect to the Rose Bowl.”

3. The matchup is more than Ohio State’s high-powered passing game against Washington’s stout secondary.

“No, no, no. The first thing I’m going to say for people who cover us is the field position, on how you cover kicks, how you execute your punt, and do you follow the plan to win.

“They’re very good in the back end of their defense. We’re very good throwing the ball, but I also think they have a running back that rushed for 5,000 yards (Myles Gaskin). If you don’t tackle them, it’s going to be a bad day for Ohio State. They have a quarterback that’s played four years and is an NFL prospect. If you don’t contain him, it’s going to be a bad day for Ohio State. It’s much deeper than that.”

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4. He has been impressed with Washington coach Chris Petersen for long time.

“He’s a guy that you always have to make sure you’re crossing every T and dotting every I. If he sees a weakness, he’ll expose you.

“I always tell the story we were getting ready to play Ohio State in (the BCS National Championship game in January 2007 when he was head coach at Florida) and it’s a few days before our game, they’re playing Oklahoma, I’m trying to sleep. And Boise State runs a hook and ladder and they run a Statue of Liberty play for a score, and I remember (wife) Shelley hitting me, saying, ‘Why don’t we do some of this fun stuff? You never do fun stuff like Chris Petersen.’ It’s like, ‘Okay, we have to make sure we’re on our game.’”

5. He still has a lot of thoughts on how to succeed in life.

“That’s probably one I would need a half hour to cover, but I think I share with my son as well that everyone has dreams and goals. If your habits don’t reflect those dreams and goals, then — this is kind of a Kobe Bryant paraphrase a little bit — change your habits, if they don’t correlate with your dreams and goals.

“But I go a step further. It’s not that easy to change your habits, change your dreams and goals. And don’t lie to yourself. My son wants to be a Major League Baseball player. Then why aren’t you training harder than anybody else on the team? Some people want to be a doctor, but they’ve got a 2.3 GPA. It’s not going to happen for you.

“You can say it all you want. Change your habits or be honest with yourself and change your dreams and goals because it’s not going to happen if you’re doing some of those things you mentioned.”

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