New Traditions with Urban Meyer

After a tumultuous 2011 year and football season, the Ohio State Buckeyes and their fans were happy to move on as soon as it was over. Ohio State needed a change. They needed something new and exciting to happen to a prestigious program that had been embarrassed nationally. Ohio State’s prayers were answered on November 28, 2011 when Urban Meyer was hired as Ohio State’s 24th head football coach.

Urban Meyer was a huge hire for the Ohio State football program and for a fan base that is as passionate as any in the nation. Coach Meyer is a rock star in the college football world. He won two national championships during his six seasons at the University of Florida, coached Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow and coached a No. 1 NFL draft pick – during his time as Utah head coach – in quarterback Alex Smith. Urban Meyer has given life to a program that desperately needed it when he took the reins. He’s done things his way thus far at Ohio State and has made changes to better the Buckeye football program.

Obviously, Coach Meyer has made the normal changes a coach makes when he takes over at a new school (new coaches, players, team policies, etc.), but Meyer has added new traditions to Ohio State that have provided unique opportunities for fans, faculty and students.

 

OPEN PRACTICE

Photo courtesy of ohiostatebuckeyes.com

Urban Meyer started something in the spring of 2012 that will likely be an annual tradition – an open practice to students, fans and faculty. This year’s open practice was scheduled to be in Ohio Stadium, but due to inclement weather, it was moved to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center – Ohio State’s indoor practice facility.

I had the opportunity to be there that day and it was truly a remarkable experience. While standing on the field, students, fans and faculty got to watch the football team practice for a couple hours. It was incredible to be up close to the action. That alone would have made the day a success for fans, but Meyer made the experience extra special when he invited everyone in attendance to surround a field goal formation. Meyer told fans to yell and scream at kicker Drew Basil while he attempted to kick several field goals. After Basil kicked a few with hundreds of Ohio State fans breathing down his neck, Meyer huddled his team, gave them a speech, then ended practice.

After practice, players and coaches remained on the field and fans were given the opportunity to meet with them. Coach Meyer was gracious enough to sign autographs and take pictures with students for roughly 30 minutes. When the autograph/picture session was over with the coaches and players, the Ohio State staff took a group photo of everyone in attendance.

 

QUICK-CALS

Photo courtesy of ohiostatebuckeyes.com

One of the more important people that Meyer hired to his newly assembled coaching staff is strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti. Marotti is largely regarded as one of the best in the business and Urban Meyer has expressed this notion on several occasions. One thing that Marotti does with the football team before practices and games is something called quick-cals. It’s hand gestures by the players that coach Marotti leads both by example and by his whistle. It is a way to get the team fired up and ready to play.

Instead of Coach Meyer just making it a football activity, he has decided to involve the students. Urban Meyer constantly stresses how important the student body is to his football team and this is no different. Twenty-three minutes before kickoff in Ohio Stadium, Coach Marotti will bring the football team out to the south endzone in front of the student section and the team, along with the students, will do quick-cals. On August 24, 2012, one week before Ohio State’s first game against the Miami Redhawks, Urban Meyer – along with Coach Marotti – sent all Ohio State students an instructional video on how to do the quick-cals. The video can be seen here: Ohio State Football: Pre Game Quick Cals.

Quick-cals, along with opening practice to fans, students and faculty, have allowed the Ohio State faithful to feel more connected to the program. It gives them a sense that they are a part of what Urban Meyer is building at Ohio State. It’s fantastic what Urban Meyer has going as the head coach of Ohio State, and I, for one, hope he continues what he’s started.

 

About: Joshua Stivers

Josh is a proud alumnus of The Ohio State University. He is also an avid sports fan. On Saturdays, you can find him glued to a TV watching The Ohio State Buckeyes football team. Hopefully, you'll see him on ESPN's Sports Center one day. Go Bucks!