Details Big For New Coaches

While spring practice is usually thought of as a time to get players ready for the rigors of the fall, the same goes for two new Ohio State coaches.

When Ohio State takes the field for the first game of their title defense Sept. 7 there will be plenty of new faces on the field, but perhaps just as important there will be some new faces on the sidelines.

With Tom Herman leading Houston and Stan Drayton coaching with the Chicago Bears, Tim Beck and Tony Alford have taken over the responsibilities of leading the quarterbacks and running backs, respectively.

For those coaches new to Ohio State and new to the demanding ways of head coach Urban Meyer, the key is focusing on the details, incumbent tight end coach Tim Hinton said.

“There are always the challenges of bringing them up to speed,” Hinton sad. “You all step back and you all have to go through that process together. As coaches we’re working every day. It’s not the lack of intelligence or whatever, it’s just those little, finite details and the one beauty about coach Meyer is the detail that he demands from his coaches and his players. And it’s those little details, it’s not the big picture stuff because everybody coaches with a lot of similarities across the country in big picture, but our detail and our attention to detail is really special and that’s the part that you are trying to bring to any new coach that comes in the door. Trying to bring those little details up to speed. It’s very, very important.”

That means adjusting to everything from the vocabulary that the Ohio State staff uses to in-meeting protocol and the ins and outs of how practice periods are structured.

By all accounts that process has gone relatively smoothly for the new coaches, even if at first it was an overwhelming experience.

“It was drinking out of a firehouse,” Alford said. “You get going and get going fast and furious, but it is what it is. The offenses aren’t that different, really, it’s just the nomenclature, the terminology. Instead of the players trying to learn a lot of my new buzz words, I am trying to learn all of theirs so it’s not too much different for them.

“It’s been good and we’ve got a really good staff and they help out too. The players know the playbook, they know what’s going on too. I’m not trying to come in here and act like I know everything, because I don’t obviously, but it’s been good, a good transition.”

Despite the seemingly staggering introduction to the intensity of coaching at Ohio State, Beck and Alford are clearly no strangers to big-time college football having coached at Nebraska and Notre Dame, respectively, before arriving in Columbus.

The Fighting Irish averaged 8.5 wins per season over the six years that Alford was a Notre Dame assistant while the Cornhuskers notched 9.4 victories a year with Beck on staff. For those coaches it’s not all about adapting to the Ohio State way of doing things, but also about adding in their own ideas.

“They’re going to bring their own background in and it’s always a very, very fine line in introducing maybe a new background but making sure that we keep the same fundamentals that this offense was built on and the foundation that this offense was built on,” Hinton said. “But you can never sleep on the game, you have to work the game and you can’t sleep on it. So you are always trying to expand your mind, you’re always trying to find better ways. So there are always a lot of great discussions in the staff room this time of year.”

This year those discussions have some new voices chiming in.

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