Ohio State has announced pay raises for many of its assistants, but Urban Meyer was assembling and replacing high-level assistants since he arrived in Columbus.
Urban’s Talent On Hiring Assistants
They say recruiting is the lifeblood of big-time college football. If that’s the case, then it’s of the utmost importance to have guys on your staff that go bag the groceries.
Check that off the list for Urban Meyer and Ohio State.
I don’t know if it’s more impressive that Meyer has assembled such a talented and seasoned staff, or that he’s done so in spite of losing and replacing guys that do their jobs at a high level.
The Names Are Impressive
Think about the coaches Meyer has had to replace since backing the U-Haul up to the banks of the Olentangy. Defensive line coach Mike Vrabel begat Larry Johnson. Offensive coordinator Tom Herman was originally replaced by Ed Warinner and Tim Beck, but that naturally evolved to Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson. Defensive coordinator went from Luke Fickell and Everett Withers to Luck Fickell and Chris Ash, to … Greg Schiano.
Let’s just look at those names that went on to other opportunities. Vrabel is now the head coach of the Tennessee Titans. Tom Herman left, went to the University of Houston as a head coach, and now steers the Longhorn ship in Austin as the head man. Luke Fickell is trying to build something as the head coach at the University of Cincinnati. Everett Withers is left to be the head coach at James Madison.
That’s a lot of head coaches that cast a wide net from the FCS to the American Athletic Conference, to the biggest stage of the NFL. You may have heard of it.
Maybe the newly announced reincarnation of the XFL will get someone from the Urban Meyer tree too.
The Efforts To Replace
But that’s okay. Just like the football squad, it’s the next man up mentality at the Woody Hayes Athletic Complex.
Greg Schiano? he’s a good friend, but he’s also the former NFL head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s now an assistant for Urban.
Larry Johnson had big shoes to fill when Vrabel moved on, but you could easily reverse that statement if Vrabel were to come back. The former Penn State defensive line coach might just be the best in all of college football.
Ryan Day worked for Chip Kelly and is a rising star, and Kevin Wilson is a former FBS head coach who probably has scrap paper of offensive principles hanging out with loose change in the couch and lost socks somewhere (where do they go anyway). He made Indiana more than a bye-week and had prolific offenses at Northwestern, and under Bob Stoops at Oklahoma.
And So It Continues
But it hasn’t stopped there. In today’s age of college football, if you’re winning games at the clip Ohio State is, there are always going to be opportunities for your assistants.
Meyer somehow swayed Schiano to stay at Ohio State — a college program — rather than go to the NFL and work the same job with the Patriots. That’s Patriots as in Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft and Tom Brady.
Of course a raise of more than double may have played a part, but I’m guessing the environment Meyer has created for him at OSU has something to do with that too.
This year, Meyer also tapped a young and upcoming defensive coordinator that somehow got a Washington State team to play defense under the wacky Star Wars offense of Mike Leach. I have a feeling Alex Grinch is going to be spoiling Michigan Christmases for years to come.
Then there is the latest. Taver Johnson, a former OSU defensive backs coach under Jim Tressel will take on the same role for Meyer. He had stops at Arkansas and Purdue before directing a very good Temple defense last year. He probably didn’t have to think long and hard about coming back to Columbus when offered.
Who knows if it’ll be a good fit or not, but based on past history, I’m guess that too will be a slam dunk.
It Won’t Be The Last
The assistant coaching carousel probably won’t slow down anytime soon in Columbus, just like it won’t in places like Tuscaloosa, Clemson and Penn State. Success tends to provide ample opportunity for those working with the one paddling the boat.
However, just like Meyer has re-loaded time and time again on the football field, confidence should be high that it’ll happen with those responsible for recruiting, coaching, and developing the talent at the various position groups.
After all, the best way to tell how someone will act in the future, is to look at how they’ve acted in the past.
Contact/Follow @BuckeyeWire for continuing coverage of Ohio State football and basketball.