[Ed. Note] We are in the process of more than doubling our team at The Silver Bullet. One of those additions is Eric Cooper, who is currently serving in the US Navy, and has spent some time blogging about the Buckeyes before joining us. He begins by playing devil's advocate and giving a different take on the Urban Meyer hiring.
Broken. That’s the best way to describe how I felt on November 26th, 2011. As I watched Braxton throw the costly interception that sealed the victory for TSUN, their first in seven years, I simply felt broken. The 2011 season for me was one of misery as I’m sure it was for all Buckeye fans. I knew that Ohio State would not be able to compete at the same level that season without Jim Tressel at the helm, but I did not expect that they would fall apart like they did that season. My favorite word to describe the 2011 team was Pitiful, and who could blame me? If I am the only one who felt that way, then let me be struck down right here and now as I write this. Anything? Anything at all? Bueller?
Well I’m still here, so let me continue. I couldn’t help but cringe whenever I saw the Bucks play. The offense was horrific, which really wasn’t saying a whole lot anyway considering who was calling the plays, but still. And the defense, well let’s just say improvement was needed everywhere. So as I sat there stoic and in tears, the dreary rain of the Pacific Northwest lightly falling outside perfectly reflecting my mood, I could only wonder about what was to come. Will Ohio State keep Fickell as the Head Coach? Is the talk about Urban Meyer coming to Columbus for real? It was a lot to try and digest, and if I had known then what I know now, I honestly don’t know how different I would feel.
I’ve watched, I’ve read, and I’ve seen the impact that Urban Meyer has had on Buckeye Nation, on Ohio State, and on the College Football world since his hiring in November. I’m not blind to the positive impact he has had so far, but I have also seen some things that I am struggling to believe are positives. When recruits come to Ohio State to visit or commit simply because of whom the coach is, and not because of the program itself and all the tradition of excellence, it disturbs me greatly. When incoming players and prospective Buckeyes don’t know how or why to hate TSUN, well that’s when I really get upset. When a coach becomes instantly bigger than the program itself, that’s when you really need to worry. Go ahead, argue with me, I welcome it, but you can’t deny that there is a truth to everything that I have said so far. I’m seeing players now that don’t want to become Buckeyes when they commit to Ohio State, they just want to become Urban’s latest successful draft pick, and that I have a BIG issue with. Now Urban has tried to show everyone how committed he is to Ohio State and all the tradition that comes with it, but I say to you now I’m just not convinced. In all honesty, I believe hiring Urban was a mistake, and that the program will be watered down under his watch, and in some ways could possibly echo the days of John Cooper.
So now that I have you full attention and hate, let me bring us finally to the point of this article. Through everything I have tried to stay as positive as possible, but being a life-long pessimist, this is not an easy thing for me to accomplish. I see a program that is trying to get back on its feet after being thrown down and kicked by all who dared. And even though I disagree with Buckeye Nation on many things and vice versa, I am trying my best this upcoming season to trust in the man now commanding the Scarlet and Gray. Would Ohio State have been crazy to not try and bring Urban Meyer to Columbus when it obviously needed a huge boost to the program? Yes. Did I at first approve of the hiring of Urban Meyer simply out of being caught up in the moment? Yes. Am I willing to change my opinion of Urban Meyer? Yes and No. Being a very stubborn, prideful and opinionated person, I have a hard time ever changing what I think of Urban Meyer and what he has done with the program so far. I will have to see vast improvements on and off the field before I buy into the hype surrounding him. Truth be told, I don’t think I will ever be able to fully approve of him as the Head Coach, even if he went undefeated against TSUN and brought home multiple Conference and National Titles. But as I said before, I am trying my hardest to accept him as the Coach of my beloved Buckeyes. I am trying my best to believe that what he doing is best for the program. I am trying my best to believe that he will help Ohio State recapture the glory it once had.
This season is about Redemption for Ohio State. It is about putting the past behind, and moving forward to bigger and better things. It is about bringing Ohio State what it deserves, greatness. If Urban can deliver on his promises and the hype, if he can deliver Ohio State to the pinnacle of College Football, if he can make Ohio State the envy of all, then maybe I will be able to jump on the bandwagon. But as it stands now, I am just that guy that everyone can’t seem to understand. I’m just that guy who argues for his opinion to be heard and understood, but no one seems to ever be convinced otherwise. I’m just that guy that can’t seem to win anybody to his side of the argument, no matter how hard he tries. But isn’t that what we need sometimes? That guy to make you question everything about him? It seems that as I serve to be that guy for Buckeye Nation, Urban Meyer is that guy for me. It has only made me a more passionate fan than ever before, and if that’s what it takes for me to become stronger in my love for Ohio State, then so be it. And if he delivers like most think he will, have I really lost?
I know not yet of what is to come, but I promise you, whoever you may be if you are still reading this, that I will continue to stoke the fires of your passion with my irrational arguments and comments. I will proudly wear the title of that guy if it means bringing more passion to Buckeye Nation, to those who choose to read me. Someone has to be the one to stir the pot, lest all be caught complacent and zombiefied. Someone has to be the nagging voice that starts the arguments, that gets people talking, and that makes things interesting if not annoying and complicated. So here I am, that guy. Take your best shot Buckeye Nation, that’s what I’m here for. GO BUCKS!!!