Buckeyes Ready For Meyer Time

Today's Gator Bowl loss for Ohio State might hurt the Buckeyes for a while, but those players returning in 2012 will have to start thinking that campaign when new head coach Urban Meyer has a Tuesday morning meeting. A number of underclassmen talked about what they expect will happen at that meeting and whether they're ready to move on.

Monday afternoon, Ohio State left a state known for its hurricanes after suffering a 24-17 loss to Florida in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla.

Tuesday morning, there will be a hurricane making landfall in Columbus, Ohio – Hurricane Urban Meyer.

The new Ohio State head coach officially takes over at that point, as he has scheduled a 7 a.m. meeting for what is now – with no strings attached – his team. At that point, he will begin trying to fulfill a philosophy he laid out when meeting with Columbus media members during mid-December.

"I want a hurricane when we hit," Meyer said at that point. "A hurricane can't hit by itself. I want nine guys (on staff) to present one very clear message."

That leads into what could be one of the main purposes of that early-morning meeting. With Ohio State appearing set to soon confirm the hirings of Notre Dame assistants Tim Hinton and Ed Warriner – as BuckeyeSports.com among others have confirmed – the team's staff of nine assistants will be complete.

Joining Hinton and Warriner on offense are already hired offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tom Herman, wideouts coach Zach Smith and retained running backs coach Stan Drayton. The defensive staff will include former head coach Luke Fickell, former North Carolina interim head coach Everett Withers and holdovers Taver Johnson and Mike Vrabel, who coached cornerbacks and linebackers, respectively, in 2011.

Tight end Reid Fragel said he expects to see those nine assistants on hand – probably along with support staffers Mark Pantoni, Mickey Marotti, Brian Voltolini and others –when the Buckeyes get up bright and early.

"I think I have a feeling for what it's going to be about," he said. "It's his first day technically as the head coach for us. It'll be more of an introduction to a new staff.

Other players aren't so sure what will happen. While the meeting was acknowledged as happening by everyone who was asked after the game, many of the players asked admitted they weren't sure what will transpire.

"I don't know what's going to happen," tight end Jacob Stoneburner said. "We have no idea what it's about. I'm assuming we'll meet our new staff. You guys know as much as we do."

Then there were linebackers Etienne Sabino and Ryan Shazier, who just finished their junior and freshman years, respectively. The two preferred to stay in the moment – the 17-hour rule the team has stuck to this season – as Sabino said he would spend the rest of the day upset about the loss to Florida and what it meant, while Shazier wasn't quite ready to turn the page just yet in similar fashion.

"It's gonna be interesting to see," Sabino said. "We really don't know what to expect right now. Right now, we're just focused on this game. We wanted to send these seniors out on a winning note."

"I'm going to focus on this day today right now and then worry about that tomorrow," Shazier said.

Fragel said the meeting will help close the door on the 2011 season, though. After a year in which it seemed just about everything – save a win at a ranked Illinois team and a stunning late victory against Wisconsin – seemed to go wrong, turning the page and thinking about a fresh start in 2011 might do the Buckeyes some good.

"Once we get a feel for our coaching staff next year and all that stuff, I think that's when we'll start thinking about next year and getting in the offseason workouts and get better," Fragel said.

One thing does seem to be sure, though; the Buckeyes likely won't be facing the so-called "Black Wednesday" that Bowling Green went through in 2001 when Meyer was given his first head coaching job.

On that day, Meyer famously made his team go through a series of running drills so hardcore that players were left vomiting throughout the team facility, an action that drove off some players but helped bring together those that stayed.

For one, Meyer has said he won't put another team through a workout that extreme, and for another, he has said the Buckeyes aren't in need of such a radical attitude adjustment even despite the recently concluded 6-7 campaign.

However, it does appear highly recommended that the Buckeye players make sure they're in the team meeting room of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and ready to go at the required time. To not be there would simply be a mistake a player cannot afford to make.

"7 a.m., that's a little early, but I'm excited," Stoneburner said. "I wouldn't want to be late for that one."

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