Here's more from Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer's first appearance at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club at Tozzi's on 12th in Canton Monday.
Meyer said starting quarterback Braxton Miller, expected to be a Heisman Trophy candidate this season, didn’t have a great practice on Saturday with the defense “blitzing like crazy.” But Meyer said Miller is improving.
“He’s locked in, he’s dialed in,” Meyer said. “He’s a 3.3 (GPA) student, wonderful kid, great family, no issues off the field.
“He’s just so talented that he’s gotten away with a lot of unorthodox play where he just runs around. ‘I’m faster than you, so I’m not going to work so hard on my fundamentals.’ He could be a fine quarterback and he can throw, we’re working on that. And the guys around him … Devin Smith is having a heckuva spring, too. Braxton is doing much better.”
Other tidbits from Meyer's 44-minute talk:
On replacing two-time co-captain John Simon as the Buckeyes’ team leader: Meyer believes it might be left tackle Jack Mewhort from Toledo St, John's. Meyer said OSU’s strength coach has already annointed Mewhort. Meyer has only two jerseys in his office – those of Florida’s Tim Tebow and OSU’s John Simon – but said he walks Mewhort by his office all the time and he’s saving a space for him. “It’s not because you’re a great player. It’s because you’re one of the most selfless, toughest human beings to play the game,’ Meyer said he tells Mewhort.
On basketball coach Thad Matta: “I don’t know basketball, but I know people. Thad Matta, when you think about what he’s done the last decade of Ohio State basketball….”
Meyer said he turned down the coaching job at Bowling Green in 2001 until he spoke to his mentors Earle Bruce and Lou Holtz. Neither were happy. When Holtz asked why, Meyer said he told him, “Because it’s not a good job.” He said Holtz replied, “If it was a good job do you think they’d be calling you?”
Meyer said he “feels like our sport is under assault,” but didn’t elaborate. Perhaps he was referring to continuing rule changes in the NFL to improve player safety.
Meyer called his time at Utah “a great experience” because it is a “great melting pot of cultures.” “It may be my favorite, you talk about a family culture,” Meyer said.
Meyer said he had no intention of retaining interim coach Luke Fickell when he took over. But he said after director of athletics Gene Smith recommended Fickell, he asked Fickell to come speak to him the day after he was named. “He brings his wife,” Meyer said. “That tells me … my wife goes everywhere I go. We spent four or five hours and didn’t talk about football. What I made clear to him is, ‘I get one shot. There cannot be any agendas. To be a former player. … there’s everything on the wall ….'" Meyer said he prayed about it that night and the next morning it was clear Fickell should be on the staff, serving as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. “He’s a first-class man,” Meyer said.