2012 is over for the Ohio State Buckeyes and Monday first year coach Urban Meyer held his final press conference of the season. Finishing 12-0, Meyer spoke in glowing fashion of his club that won’t have a chance to play for the National Championship.
“I believe this team can play with any team in the country”, Meyer proclaimed to the media in Columbus. “Five weeks ago that may not have been the case.”
Meyer cited Senior Zach Boren as a key. Not only as a player, but as a person. According to the coach, Boren wasn’t an “Urban Meyer” type of player when the season began. But as it progressed, Boren became as close to the coach as any player ever.
Boren gave up his fullback position and moved to the linebacker, all it took was a request from the offensive captain and the Ohio State coach suddenly had a secured stability on defense. The switch of Boren to defense came after the debacle of the Buckeyes’ 52-49 victory over Indiana. Once that move was made the Buckeyes became a defensive club that was stubborn to move the ball against. Just ask Wisconsin and Michigan.
Another senior who showed unselfishness was right tackle Reid Fragel. Fragel ended last season as a tight end, yet the coaching staff saw his future at the tackle position. Without any hesitation Fragel approved the move when approached and became one of the best offensive lineman in the conference.
Because of those two, and others on this undefeated team, Meyer gave all the credit to the players. Deservedly so. Not many teams could have stayed focused throughout the troubles of the previous years, along with the promise of no bowl game at the end of the season.
“This team showed incredible character…determination…and genuine love for each other.” Meyer went on to say for those who have played or covered the game know what he is talking about.
Only two days after the final game of the season against Michigan, Meyer was reminiscent about his first year in Columbus as the head man.
“The memory I’ll always have of this season, without getting overly dramatic, is the complete selflessness that was arguably the best I’ve ever seen.” Meyer called that aspect of any team, “very rare.”
As is a perfect season. Meyer is the first coach since Earle Bruce, his mentor, to finish the regular season without a loss or tie. In his first year after replacing Woody Hayes, Bruce went 11-1, losing only in the Rose Bowl to USC, thus also losing the National Championship. Meyer equaled that feat, but won’t have the chance for a bowl game.
Usually a championship team will get rings portraying the effort and symbolizing the rewards. Meyer will make sure this team gets those as a lasting memory for what they accomplished. Meyer also stated a wall at the Hayes football complex will be raised dedicated to this team and the record.
Meyer, in reflection, cited the 2012 Buckeyes did whatever it took to be winners. They were able to win games with offense, then defense, and even special teams. The team was able to pull out a win over Purdue with backup quarterback Kenny Guiton. Braxton Miller went down early in period three and was taken to the hospital. Ohio State won in OT as Guiton brought the team back with a TD pass and subsequent two point conversion near the end of regulation. Then the win in OT.
This is a season the Buckeyes can build on, and they will. Meyer will use this team as a learning tool for years to come. Even if he goes on to win a National Title in the upcoming years, Meyer may never match what he did with this club. And he was very pointed to the media Monday.
“The standard has been set.”