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Urban Meyer Leads Period of “Buckeye Rebirth”
Not since 1942Â has The Ohio State University football team played another non-bowl game after The Game, the annual matchup with their arch rival University of Michigan.
Saturday, the Buckeyes will face Michigan State in the second-ever Big Ten Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. A win would all but guarantee placement in the 2013 National Championship game and a loss would shatter the teamâ€™s 24-game win streak, the longest in the history of OSU football.
The story of Ohio Stateâ€™s success has also been the story of head Coach Urban Meyerâ€™s success bringing the Buckeyeâ€™s back into winning shape after a rough 2011 season under interim head coach Luke Fickell, now a co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
Some are calling this a new era, which makes sense considering Buckeye football history is often looked at in eras which correspond with the teamâ€™s head coach.
Consider the program-defining Woody Hayes era.
The bittersweet John Cooper era.
Then there was the return to glory that the Buckeyes found from 2001 to 2010 under Coach Jim Tressel. The Tressel Era, which is best known for the teamâ€™s National Championship victory in 2002, came to an end after an ugly scandal now known as â€œTattoogateâ€ where 28 players total were caughtÂ selling autographs and memorabilia in exchange for tattoos while playing for Tressel.
The ordeal cost Tressel his job and the Buckeyes scholarships and a postseason while leaving a void Â at the helm of the program.
Now, under Meyer, the Buckeyeâ€™s have reached a period of â€œrebirthâ€ says Bill Rabinowitz, reporter for the Columbus Dispatch and author of the new book “Buckeye Rebirth: Urban Meyer, an Inspired Team, and a New Era at Ohio State.â€
Rabinowitz says that Meyer is unlike the coaches before him.
â€œHeâ€™s much more forthcoming and honest in press conferences than most coaches are,â€ Rabinowitz said on All Sides with Ann Fisher. â€œI remember last year, early in the year when they were still in the early stages of trying to figure out who they were and a question about their offensive line and he says they’re â€˜non-functionalâ€™.â€
Meyerâ€™s success is often attributed to his command of the Xâ€™s and Oâ€™s, but Rabinowitz said thereâ€™s much more to it than that.
â€œPeople talk all the time about Urban Meyer, the guru of the spread offense, and he will just scoff at that,â€ he said. â€œPeople miss the pointâ€”Urban Meyer is a master psychologist. He knows how to push peopleâ€™s buttons, he knows how to motivate.â€
Despite a perfect record since taking over the Buckeyes, Meyer was not named the Big Ten Coach of the Year.
That honor went to Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonioâ€”the man Meyer will be up against in Saturdayâ€™s conference championship.
â€œMichigan State was considered a decent team but certainly not what they have become, Ohio State was clearly the frontrunner in the Leaders Division,â€ Rabinowitz said. â€œAnd Iâ€™m sure thereâ€™s some resentment towards Urban Meyer; some of itâ€™s just jealousy of his success at Ohio State, you know maybe his personality rubs people the wrong wayâ€”I don’t know.”