Meyer Looking For Winners In Spring

The Ohio State football team will begin spring practice on March 28. When that happens, new head coach Urban Meyer will be pitting the Buckeyes against each other in winner-loser drills in order reward players who succeed and give those who do not an incentive to improve.

Ohio State's spring football schedule kicks off March 28, and under new head coach Urban Meyer, one word above all others will be the focal point for the Buckeyes.


Meyer wants fighters, players who simply refuse to lose. The Buckeyes will have plenty of opportunities to deflect defeat during so-called winner-loser competitions. They will be pitted against each other in different situations every Wednesday and Saturday during the spring and those who win will be rewarded. Those who do not, will not.

"It's putting them in environments and situations where I want to see who the fighters are and who are the guys who are going to compete," said Meyer Tuesday during his 20-plus minute spring preview meeting with the media. "There will be rewards at the end of the day. You can get off the field with Gatorade if you win. If not, you drink water out of a water hose and do some running."

The Buckeyes are currently in the midst of winter quarter finals week, and once they return to football, Meyer will again find a way to reward winners. Ohio State will hold what Meyer is calling a Champions Club dinner, something he has done at his other head coaching stops at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida.

Meyer's champions will be players who not only performed well during winter workouts but took care of business in the classroom.

"We separate the non-champions from the champions, and it's all about accountability," Meyer said. "The champions will eat very well, get nice gear. The non-champions will not eat as well that day. Hopefully that will give them some incentive to do things right."

Meyer is all about incentive-based teaching. It's not a new concept, but it's one that Meyer fully believes in. He even uses it with his children.

"When you get away from Mommy and Daddy, it's a tough world out there," Meyer said. "People who work in corporations who do a really good job have corner offices and trips to Cancun and bonuses. And if not, you don't. So I think a lot of kids aren't taught that. So everything we try to do is incentive-based."

While the competitions are meant to find winners, Meyer is also looking to see how players react when they lose. He wants to see something in a player's eyes when things don't go well.

"I want to see that distaste in someone's face when they lose," Meyer said. "If they don't share that same distaste that a lot of our coaches have, then I don't really want to see them play. I don't care how fast or how high they jump or how much they bench press. If I don't see that competitive nature in them, that's the No. 1 thing I look for."

Once spring practices begin, it's go time at Ohio State. The 2012 season does not start until Sept. 1 vs. Miami (Ohio), but the first-year head coach hopes to have a two-deep depth chart set by the end of spring.

Starting spots will be won during the spring, but Meyer and his coaching staff will be looking to do more than that. He'll also be looking for leaders to emerge.

Or, more accurately put, winners.

"I think we're looking for leadership by doing, by work ethic and by leading," Meyer said. "I'm not interested in a bunch of group hugs and team meetings. We're not doing all that stuff.

"I really want to see guys lead by not losing. Want to be a great leader? Go win. ... When you go against someone, don't lose. I know you tripped. I know you did this. There's all kinds of excuses. Our whole focus, instead of leaning on leadership right now, is go win. You want to be a leader? Winners have a tendency to stand in front of the team. Losers don't. So we're really pushing that winner/loser mentality right now."

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