Senior Tyler Moeller said there was a preference among the players to see Luke Fickell, who served as head coach this season after nine years as an assistant on the Ohio State staff, be kept as head coach.
Taking over in the difficult circumstances relating to the forced resignation/retirement of Jim Tressel amid NCAA violations, Fickell led the Buckeyes to just a 6-6 record but managed to keep the team together. He earned the trust and respect of the players and many around the program in so doing, but two-time national champion head coaches are not available every day, so the Ohio State administration made the decision to court and eventually hire Meyer to lead the program instead.
The players learned of the decision shortly before it was officially acknowledged by the university, and they came away impressed from their first meeting with him.
"Right before he released to the press that he was coming to Ohio State he spoke to us," Moeller said. "He made a good first impression, he really did. I was a little skeptical at first being loyal to the former coaches and all that, but he came in there and made a good impression and spoke well. It got you a little excited for the future because he's a great coach."
By most accounts, Meyer brings a different attitude to the job than Tressel. While both are hard workers with high regard for their players, Meyer is seen as a more intense personality. Both men have had great success with their own styles, but the players Tressel recruited figure to need some time to adjust to the different approach.
Senior center Mike Brewster did not relate anything specific that Meyer told the players in his initial meeting with the team on Nov. 28, but said, "He definitely let his presence be known."
Classmate Andrew Sweat sees both attributes both tangible and intangible in a coach who has not only led a team to the pinnacle of the sport twice but gained a reputation as a leader of men.
"He's confident. He's a leader," Sweat said. "Anyone with that type of past and success, you're going to have an aura about you. I think that he has that.
Brewster and Sweat are among those who were not meeting Meyer for the first time. He recruited several of the current or outgoing Buckeyes during his six-year stint in Gainesville.
Senior left tackle Mike Adams, a five-star prospect at Dublin Coffman High School just outside Columbus, was an early commit to his hometown school but recalled Meyer's recruiting approach. That included reference to his upbringing in Ashtabula, Ohio, where he rooted for the Buckeyes as a youngster.
"I think as a recruiter he was always very confident, very proud of his university, but he always shared that he had those Midwest roots and I thought that was kind of cool," Adams said. "I think he's a great coach, a great recruiter, and his resume speaks for itself."
Brewster, a native of Orlando, was also an early commit with Adams in the class of 2008 but considered Florida his second choice. He and some of the other Buckeyes from Florida – including linebacker Etienne Sabino, tight end Jeff Heuerman and linebacker Ryan Shazier – talked to some of their teammates about what to expect from Meyer.
"It probably wasn't as much of a mystery factor since we've known him before and kind of knew his personality, but then again there were a lot of guys here who have probably never met him or talked to him and really hadn't met him or had any idea what he was even like," Brewster said. "I'm sure some guys didn't really know what to expect going into it."
The seniors will not get a chance to play for Meyer, but all seemed to come away feeling like the program is in good hands.
"At the end of the day, you're loyal to Ohio State, and he's a great coach," Moeller said. "I'm excited for the younger guys. He says he's going to bring in great coaches and the coaches that are staying are great coaches. The program is going to move on and he's going to do great things here.
"Everyone is excited that he's here now. After that meeting we had with him and some of the things he said to us, it built a little excitement. I guess we're ready for the new chapter."