The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

June 28, 2013

A Don McCormack column: Meyer feeling good

With his football camp with Dean Hood on tap Monday, Ashtabula’s own —and his family — are now much more comfortable in Columbus

By DON McCORMACK - donmac@suite224.net
Sports Editor

— At this time a year ago, Urban Meyer admits he was in a state of perpetual fast-forward.

Having taken over the pressure-coooker job as head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes, one of Ashtabula’s favorite sons had no choice but to hit the ground running.

Obviously, Meyer turned a difficult situation into a best-case result, leading the Buckeyes to a 12-0 season.

He admits things are running much smoother this summer than they were a year ago this time, especially for his wife, Shelley, and son, Nathan.

“I feel much better this year”, Meyer told the “Morning Sports Report” breakfast function earlier this week. “What I really feel better about is, my family is settled. That was a really difficult move for my wife and my son.”

And that, the 1982 St. John High School graduate, is the single most important thing to him.

“That means more to me than the football team,” he said. “They love Columbus and are ready to go, but last year at this time was not very smooth.”

Meyer, along with fellow Ashtabulan Dean Hood, a 1982 Harbor High School graduate and now the head football coach at Eastern Kentucky University, will be back home Monday.

Meyer, Hood and Dana Schulte, a teammate of Hood as the star quarterback during their days as Mariners and now the man in charge of Media One Group, will stage the second annual Urban Meyer-Dean Hood Youth Football Camp at Spire Institute in Harpersfield Township. Dr. William A. Seeds is one of the camp’s biggest sponsors.

While NCAA rules do not allow Meyer to have hands-on interaction with his players in the summer months, he is very much in tune with what’s going on with them.

Head strength coach Mickey Marotti is Meyer’s pipeline when it comes to providing information on his Buckeyes.

“About injuries and attitudes, absolutely I keep tabs on it,” Meyer said. “Every coach in America does. You can’t be there, but I’m there (mentally).”

As was the case at every one of his coaching stops — from Bowling Green, to Utah, to Florida and to Ohio State — Meyer’s program is based on one important aspect — speed, which his incoming freshman class appears to have in an abundance.

“We’re fast, which is something I wanted to be,” he realted to the Columbus Dispatch. “(It appears we) get some more speed on offense, in particular. I hear great things about them.”

The same goes for the whole team, based on Marotti’s observations.

“I’ve heard all positives,” the former St. John football and baseball standout said. “I really trust my strength coach. We’ve been together a long time.

“I love my players. It’s going very well.”

And come Monday, Ashtabula County’s youth will have an opportunity to see that first-hand at Spire Institute.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at donmac@suite224.net.