First Year Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer has finally put his stamp on the Big Ten. The rest of the conference is officially notified that the men of the Scarlet and Gray are back. Back from an abysmal season that left everyone with a bad taste in their mouths. Back from what could have been a long descent before even thinking of catching a glimpse of reprisal from down the long dark tunnel of conference (gasp) mediocrity. Other schools and programs may loudly proclaim on billboards and TV commercials about how they are “back,” but never seem to live up to the lofty expectations that follow.
Ohio State has gone about it entirely differently. No one has made any bold proclamations about this season. In fact, Meyer has reiterated time and time again that the regular season is it for these men this year and for some, the last in their Ohio State uniform ever. He has stressed the importance of taking the season one game at a time and has, more often than not, stressed his team’s glaring weaknesses. Yet for a team that everyone expected to have an adjustment period followed by some growing pains (what would have been an almost welcome sight in a probation postseason ban year), Meyer has this team poised for greatness. But you wouldn’t know it from listening to him talk.
Yet he may not have to. His men are showing their readiness on the field each and every Saturday. Players just as easily could have left for the NFL rather than trying to learn a new system for a year and not have anything to play for. But they stayed and are now reaping the rewards that they have worked so hard to obtain the last four years. Most of them would tell you that it’s not about the Bowl Games, it’s about the man on either side of you. Driving them to greatness just as much as they drive you. And that is when we, as fans, become truly entertained. When it all starts working as it should, boy does it work.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers can attest to that fact. The Buckeyes went out and ignored their slow start in the first quarter and commenced to put a hurt on the Huskers. If they had only recorded a safety, they would have scored in every way possible and don’t think for a second that John Simon and Johnathan Hankins weren’t thinking about it more than a few times.
Saturday was a statement game, one that Meyer had to make. He has to show the conference and the country what they can expect from Ohio State in the years to come, even though we have no postseason this year. You can rest assured that the folks that are caught in Brady Hoke’sgravitational field have been taking notes, as were the 45+ recruits that were in town for the game. Both football as well as basketball targets and commits were in Columbus for Homecoming night as well as to take in the game and Meyer made a statement to them as well.
Greatness lives on at Ohio State. It does not take vacations. It does not fail or falter. It is timelessly built into each stone of Ohio Stadium and with the right people on the sidelines and under the helmets, anything is possible. If Saturday night didn’t sway some thoughts and reaffirm some commitment decisions, then there is almost nothing Meyer can do within the NCAA rules to get these kids. That game was a performance from all facets of the game and showed these prized recruits just what lie in store for them should they choose greatness.