Happy days are here again! The worst kept secret in college football became reality early this evening as Urban Meyer was introduced officially as the new head coach of The Ohio State University football team. The 47-year-old Meyer is an Ohio native, born in Toledo but raised in Ashtabula, and grew up as a fan of the Buckeyes and legendary head coach Woody Hayes. After playing defensive back at the University of Cincinnati, he began his coaching career at St Xavier High School in Cincinnati, before serving two years as a graduate assistant at OSU under Earle Bruce. Overall, as a head coach at Bowling Green, Utah, and Florida, Meyer compiled a 104-23 record, including being 7-1 in bowl games with two national championships. His resume is extremely impressive, and like most fans I was anxious to see his first press conference in Columbus. I was not disappointed. Very quickly, here are a few things that jumped out at me:
-It seemed surreal as the moment we had all anticipated finally became reality, and things seemed to get of to a bit off a slow start. Gene Smith is far from my favorite person, and he underwhelmed again, droning on for over five minutes in a monotone voice, explaining the process of hiring Meyer, repeating himself in the process. After about four minutes of listening to his drivel I sent Drew a text that said, "For the love of all that is good, Gene, shut up, sit down, and let Urban talk." Drew's response: "I was just tweeting the same thing!"
-When Urban first approached the podium he looked nervous, read a prepared statement, and even dropped his notes at one point. But as soon as he finished reading the brief speech and started fielding questions, he quickly relaxed and did a great job with his responses.
-Urban also showed his love and respect for former Buckeye coach Earle Bruce, calling him a "second father."
-Meyer addressed his burnout at Florida, and spoke of long discussions and prayer with his wife and children, even pulling a note out of his lapel that he said was a contract with his family ensuring that there would be balance in his life. Urban said he would not allow himself to wind up at the place he had been when his health failed at Florida.
-Speaking of current coach Luke Fickell, Meyer said that he and his wife Shelley had met Sunday night with Luke and Amy and that it had gone very well, and indicated that he had not only offered Fickell a job, but that he would be on the 2012 coaching staff. He called Fickell "a man's man" and showered praise on the job he had done in difficult circumstances.
-Meyer made it clear that he is ecstatic to have the chance to work with Braxton Miller who he termed a great athlete. Drew even surmised that Braxton is about to replace Tim Tebow as Urban's man-crush!
-Asked about next year's staff he made no guarantees that any of the present coaches other than Fickell would be retained, and promised he would assemble an all-star coaching staff. In fact, Urban made it clear that his success in the past was greatly due to excellent assistants. This news had to excite Buckeye nation after suffering from some weak assistants in recent years.
-Addressing SEC supremacy, Meyer said it was mostly about speed. He did say the 2010 Ohio State team that won the Sugar Bowl had SEC speed, and that Ohio State wasn't broken, insinuating that small tweaks were needed but not a complete overhaul.
-Finally he spoke of recruiting, and even said he would be on the phone with some recruits tonight. No doubt he is ready to go, and indicated that linebacker is a position of immediate need.
Yes, I was impressed and excited. After a long, painful year, the press conference offered tremendous hope for the future, and I believe Meyer has analyzed this situation and is confident he can get the job done at Ohio State! Happy days are here again!