Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

23 Nov 2011

Ohio State to Hire Urban Meyer

According to The Columbus Dispatch's sources, Ohio State will name Urban Meyer as their head coach next week. Meyer has repeatedly issued statements that there is no deal in place.

This would also be a good thread to talk about Rich Rodriguez taking over in Arizona, if you're in to that sort of thing.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 23 Nov 2011

37 comments, Last at 30 Nov 2011, 1:24pm by c0rrections


by dryheat :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 2:14pm

I'm guessing that Arizona State, UCLA, and every area 1AA program are thrilled as every offensive player with NFL upside gets ready to transfer.

by Guido Merkens :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 2:19pm

Is this based on anything? Rodriguez's scheme isn't too different from any other spread option team.

Also, offensive players with NFL upside at Arizona? Let me know when you find one.

by dryheat :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 2:37pm

Because NFL Scouts aren't impressed that a player could excel in a scheme that is on the NFL fringe. Quarterbacks need to play in a pro-style offense. Receivers need to be able to have reasonably big numbers using the entire route tree. Etc.

We saw it at Michigan. If you were a HS or underclassmen quarterback with an NFL arm, you would have to be out of your mind to ply your trade with Rodriguez or other NCAA coach who runs a similar offense. At West Virginia, at least he had the latitude to recruit players who lacked the brains to get into other D1 schools. There's no dummies or thugs getting into Michigan. Arizona being in between the two, we'll have to see.

As for the current roster at U of A, I'm clueless.

by Kal :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 7:20pm

Arizona already ran a spread pass offense. And it's not like Oregon is that bizarre in the Pac-12 either.

It's really not that weird.

by speedegg :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 3:02pm

Hahaha! True, but I'm not sure how well Rich Rod's scheme would do in the Pac-12. Not sure what kind of NFL talent Arizona has since they're been losing, but they usually run a pro-style offense so expect alot of their players to transfer, they just won't have the skills RR needs for his scheme.

As for academic requirements, the going joke in SoCal is if you're not smart enough to get into one of the UC's (UCLA, USC, Cal, etc) you go to Arizona/Arizona State.

by CuseFanInSoCal :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 3:42pm

RichRod's scheme isn't a lot different from Chip Kelley's, which seems to work just fine at Oregon.

by dryheat :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 3:55pm

I'm not suggesting the Rodriguez isn't a good enough coach to win at the NCAA level. He quite obviously is. My point was that those offensive skill players are at a major disadvantage in the prospects for playing professionally vs. players that were exposed to a pro-style offense, and as a result, the elite recruits are going to shy away from those schools.

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2011 - 1:08pm

If you're talking running backs, then maybe. But QBs and WRs have been thriving in the spread for years at both the college and pro levels. Cam Newton, Tebow, Blaine Gabbert, Alex Smith... those are just the names I came up with off the top of my head. And there have been plenty of WRs, as well. And Urban Meyer certainly didn't have any troubles recruiting top prospects at Florida.

by Anonymouse 2 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 4:34pm

What? Gabbert is successful?

Smith is a above-average system QB, so I'd say he's serviceable, not successful. Tebow is a running back at the QB position. I'd want to see him go up against a functional offense.

by markus (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 11:11pm

You might want to try actually reading the posts before commenting. The point was whether skill players would avoid spread teams for fear of not being drafted. Clearly, the NFL isn't discriminating because spread guys are being drafted high.

by Anonymouse 2 (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2011 - 2:42am

Yes. The point I was trying to subtly make was certain players with pro style potential won't go to a spread system. Carson Palmer, Tony Romo, even Drew Brees would not go to a Urban Meyer or Rich Rod spread system.

To refine it more, there are different spreads, so while Brees played in a spread at Purdue, it is different from Meyer's spread. Purdue's spread is also different from Missouri's spread. Had Gabbert been in a different system than the spread at Missouri, it might have prepared him better for the NFL.

by c0rrections (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2011 - 1:24pm

Pretty sure Romo would have gone to any major program seeing as how he went to a AA school and came out undrafted.

by ZakTillman (not verified) :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 5:53pm

You don't know how well Rich Rod's scheme will do in the Pac 12? Oregon runs almost the exact same scheme and it seems to work out pretty well for them. They will end up like majority of the Pac 12, great offense terrible defense. I am a Michigan fan and liked the way our offense looked for much of his 3 years, but his defensive schemes do not work in the Big Ten, in the Pac 12 he will do a bit better once he gets his recruits in. As of right now he is walking into the same kind of situation as he did in Michigan...pocket passing QBs to try and run his spread option scheme.

by speedegg :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 6:19pm

RR will have to fight over the same recruits as Oregon. A similar fight is going on in LA. Look at the difference between UCLA and U$C. Both want to run a pro-style offense, both are good programs with a lot of tradition, one has the personnel and coaches to make it work, the other is struggling with the pistol.

If I had a choice between kobe beef (Oregon + Nike) and chumpsteak (Arizona and...?) I'd choose the the good stuff. I'm sure recruits will consider the same thing.

by Southern Philly :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 2:22pm

"I have not been offered the job. I have not taken the job. I will not comment any further. I'm going to do Thanksgiving with my family." - Urban Meyer

Nick Saban is laughing.

by wr (not verified) :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 6:56pm

Correction : Nick Saban is proud/envious.

by young curmudgeon :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 2:58pm

"There's no dummies or thugs getting into Michigan."

Football graduation rates: Michigan 72% West Virginia (wait for it...) 72%

Basketball graduation rates: Michigan 36% (dead last in the Big Ten) West Virginia 71%

We now return you to your current episode of "Stereotypical Uninformed Thinking Theater."

by dryheat :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 3:21pm

I accept your numbers. They don't mean much,though. Are professor's pressured to rubber stamp athletes so they stay eligible? Do these include players who left early to pursue an NFL career and may (or may not) have graduated eventually?

I'm not answering either question, because I don't know...but throwing contextless numbers up there doesn't prove anything.

Michigan's admission standards are well documented. So are West Virginia's, as well as players having difficulty staying on the right side of jail bars. Stereotypes exist for a reason, nothing's uninformed.

I should point out that I'm New England-bred, Syracuse alum, Virginia-based with nothing but indifference for either school or football team.

by zlionsfan :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 3:26pm

agreed. There are even stories from Rodriguez' tenure at Michigan about kids he considered strong enough to be given a chance but who were not admitted. Demar Dorsey, for example.

by young curmudgeon :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 3:38pm

Throwing contextless numbers is at least marginally more useful than assertions based on what you concede are stereotypes.

I fully accept that Michigan's overall admissions standards are more rigorous that those of WVU and that, by almost any accepted measure, it's a "better school." I would not be surprised, however, to learn that some of the athletes who represent Michigan on the football field are not outstanding scholars, and that perhaps a few, shocking as it may be to contemplate, might not have othewise qualified for admission to Michigan absent their football prowess. The same undoubtedly holds true for West Virginia, as indeed it does for Stanford, Notre Dame, Alabama, etc. etc.

A quick Google search finds any number of arrests of Michigan football players over the last few years.

Your remark struck me as smug and unthinking, so I objected to it. I've said some smug and unthinking things in my life, and, when called on it, ended up glad that someone pointed it out.

by dryheat :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 3:58pm

I fully accept that Michigan's overall admissions standards are more rigorous that those of WVU and that, by almost any accepted measure, it's a "better school." I would not be surprised, however, to learn that some of the athletes who represent Michigan on the football field are not outstanding scholars, and that perhaps a few, shocking as it may be to contemplate, might not have othewise qualified for admission to Michigan absent their football prowess. The same undoubtedly holds true for West Virginia, as indeed it does for Stanford, Notre Dame, Alabama, etc. etc

Yes, I agree with this statement, have argued it in past threads. I don't think it's incongruous with my larger point. Admission standards bend for scholarship athletes. It's a matter of how much bending is being done, and what the original baseline is.

by greybeard :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 5:59pm

Is it really true for Stanford? I believe the Mercury News college football guy had a few blog posts about that a few years ago and Stanford had really high standards for the athletes that were not much different than regular students. I could not find that post, but would like to see your reference for lowered admission standards to Stanford for athletes.

Gerhard was like a 4.0 GPA engineering student, and Luck is 3.85 GPA architecture student if I recall correctly. It is hard to believe that they have good students in their best players and less important players are being hold to lower standards.

by Kal :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 7:24pm

Stanford and Cal are both exceptions to this; they care far more about grades than athletes and have often gone above and beyond to show how little they care about the athletic program.

But they're both somewhat special snowflakes. Northwestern might also fall into that category.

One thing that's somewhat interesting to me is that Stanford has zero JC players for football; Cal has tried to get at least 12 in the last 4 years.

by young curmudgeon :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 9:29pm

I cannot address the Stanford situation from direct experience, but I do know how it worked a few years ago in the Ivy League. (I have worked in college placement at a prep school--because I graduated from an Ivy, I was directly involved in a number of recruitment situations.) A prospective student-athlete must meet the minimum requirements for admission. Having done so, he or she enters the overall applicant pool. If granted admission, he (since we're talking about football, I won't keep writing "he or she") is just like any other admitted student. If not granted admission on the first review, the coach can say "this is a kid we really want" and the admissions office will reconsider and, usually, accept the student. The coach has only a certain number of "slots" for "kids we really want"--in one case on which I worked, the coach had only one slot available that year. My student was not willing to make a 100% commitment to that school, so the coach did not designate him for the one available slot.

Remember, the student has already met the minumum requirments in terms of GPA, SAT, recommendations, etc.; this is not an "unqualified" applicant, but one who would not have been offered a place if not for the coach's giving him one of the "slots." It is, in some ways, the functional equivalent of the orchestra director letting the admissions office know that all the oboe players are graduating this year, so could they please be on the lookout for applicants with that talent, although it is more formalized than that.

Based on that, I think it is a reasonable surmise that Stanford, running a big-time D1 program, at the very least admits some football players who would not have gained admittance if their sporting prowess was Centrifugal Bumble-puppy. Given the number of athletes needed to operate a football program at that level, as well as the success Stanford has enjoyed in a number of other D1 sports, I would be surprised to learn that they aren't doing even more and recruiting a few kids who are "marginal" (of course, "marginal" at Stanford might still be a pretty good academic performer.)

by rd (not verified) :: Fri, 11/25/2011 - 1:52am

I know that is the case at Northwestern having interacted with Tyrell Sutton on multiple occasions.

by Just wait until he's old. (not verified) :: Sat, 11/26/2011 - 2:16pm

"I've said some smug and unthinking things in my life, and, when called on it, ended up glad that someone pointed it out."

I very much doubt that that last part is true, given that it seems to have had no impact on your being insufferably smug.

by young curmudgeon :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 3:25pm

"There's no dummies or thugs getting into Michigan."

Evidently, however, some people who didn't learn about subject-verb agreement.

by dryheat :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 3:31pm

Well, I didn't get into Michigan either.....but seriously, you're going there?

by Whatev :: Thu, 11/24/2011 - 8:24pm

He's a curmudgeon.

by Drunkmonkey :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 4:06pm

Maybe I'm just a little naive, but I could have sworn that more and more schools are running the spread these days, and that players in the NFL have come from all sorts of backgrounds including the spread. Seriously, aren't almost all schools running at least some spread formations, and a majority of them running the spread full time? I thought the bash on Newton was that he ran a spread at Auburn and then couldn't run a pro offense. He looks to be doing well. And players like Michael Crabtree and Dez Bryant had to be from spread offenses.

The only quarterback that has been drafted recently in the top 2-3 rounds that ran what most people would call a distinctly pro offense would be Jimmy Clausen. How's he doing? Wasn't the positive thing about him that he played a pro offense in college and therefore should be ready to play in the NFL?

Did Dalton run a pro offense? Or Gabbert? Or even Jake Locker? I have no clue about Washington's offensive tendencies, but did they really run a pro offense? And even if they did, didn't they have a HORRIBLE record during Locker's time? I would think that players who play for a winning team would get better reviews than losers.

I don't know, maybe I'm dead wrong, but I just don't see how being in a spread offense, would seriously inhibit you from looking good to the pro scouts. Especially WR's and RB's.

by speedegg :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 4:40pm

Um, did you miss the post/article on Rich Rod's spread offense? It's different from other spread offenses, but similar to Meyer's, it's dependent on the QB being a legitimate running threat as well as passing threat. Since you're QB is (usually) shorter, the O-linemen literally spread out and have wider splits than a pro-style offense. This wouldn't work at the pro-level, but at college it lets the QB see downfield, since he has to see through the O-line because he can't see over the O-line. The offense spreads the field with 5 receivers, forcing the defense to spread out and cover them, but you leave the QB on a linebacker.

If you have Denard Robinson a LB might not be fast enough to cover him if he runs. If you put a safety or corner on him, they'll audible to a run and bulldoze the DB. If you have Tebow, no safety or corner can bring him down alone. If you focus on the QB, then the offense audibles to a bubble screen or another quick pass, to throw the defense off. Defenders try to make the tackle, but other there are receivers in the area to block for a big gain. A lot of passes go behind the line of scrimmage, they don't throw too many 9 or 7 routes. BIG difference catching a screen compared to catching a deep post or corner.

As for Dalton and Gabbert, they were in a spread, but they didn't run Rich Rod's spread. Gabbert didn't run, he mainly did a one step from the gun and threw. I think Dalton ran an air-raid type offense in college, but not sure. Jack Locker ran a pro-style offense at UW, but he was still terrible at it, so the coaches had to roll him out and throw deep on the run. Clausen has (very) limited physical skills and was a reach by a needy team. I never really understood the hype with Clausen in college. If he was so good USC/UCLA would've gone after him harder (he was told he'd have to sit at least a year) and he struck me as having average accuracy and power.

by Drunkmonkey :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 4:48pm

Actually, yes, I did miss the article on how different Rich Rod's offense is. Now I see the difference. I really didn't realize that it was any different than any other spread offense out there (kind of led to my confusion as to what DR was running at Michigan now).

OK, so even though he doesn't really run an NFL friendly offense (translation wise, at least), he's shown to be a winner, there are a ton of recruits in California and surrounding areas, of which USC, Cali, UCLA, etc... can't take all of them, and once again, he's at a place with not much in the expectation department (I mean that he has a little bit of time before the hotseat roles out, not that nobody expects him to win).

I still think this has potential to be pretty good, and at worst Arizona becomes a non-entity in football... which it basically already is.

by Mikey Benny :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 12:07am

Christian Ponder ran a pro-style offense at FSU.

by speedegg :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 5:03pm

Yeah, I tried looking for that article and can't find it. I know it's somewhere here ;(

I hope he is successful, it'll make more Pac-12 games fun to watch, the Pac-12 North will take the South more seriously, and the South title won't always go to UCLA or USC. RR needs a defensive coordinator more than anything else.

Not sure how successful he will be, Oregon does run similar concepts and they have Nike backing them, so between Nike HQ (where the players can work with Nike engineers and design their own uniforms and sunglasses, blah, blah) and the middle of a desert most recruits would choose...

by wr (not verified) :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 7:01pm

It might depend on what time of year the recruiting trip took place. September/October, Oregon wins (recruit discovers the awful truth behind the
AZ "dry heat" myth), November/December Arizona wins (warm and dry vs. gloomy and rainy).

by Kal :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 7:28pm

Let's face it: right now Arizona isn't going to win recruiting battles against Oregon. If it comes down to one or the other Arizona will win only when the recruit has a specific bias for Arizona or against Oregon.

But they don't have to win all those battles. There are plenty of kids, and it's not like the spread requires players to be only in a certain mold and can only succeed with one kind of guy. The QB is key, but it's probably a lot easier to find QBs that can run and have played the spread (since it's very common in HS) than it is to find a good pro-style QB with a rocket arm. And the rest? It's mostly athletes. The WRs need to be a bit bigger than traditionally and need to know how to block, but that's not bad. The RBs can be almost anything. The TEs are the same.

Really, Arizona may not get a ton of 5 star recruits across the country - but even grabbing some of the 3-star talent from Cali should be more than fine to start. And honestly, the spread + good coaching mitigates a lot of skill issues.

by bcube1789 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 12:31am

"I fully accept that Michigan's overall admissions standards are more rigorous that those of WVU and that, by almost any accepted measure, it's a "better school."

By what measure is West Virginia a better school than Michigan? A better coal mining class?

Maybe West Virginia's graduation rates are higher than Michigan's because it's harder to graduate from Michigan?

Or maybe because Michigan had a ton of players transfer out of the program, which lowers its graduation rate?