Hall of Fame Festivities Highlight Weekend

There is more than just a football game going on this weekend in Columbus. Ohio State will also induct a new class of hall of famers headlined by legendary basketball Bob Knight, who spoke to reporters prior to the event. That and more can be found in our weekly premium notebook.

Ohio State will be doing more than playing a football game this weekend. The school will also hold its annual Varsity ‘O' Hall of Fame weekend, and the newest class of inductees is particularly star-studded.

Five football players – Pete Cusick, Joseph Gailus, Ray Griffin, Dick Schafrath and Mike Vrabel – along with a fencer (Louise Bond-Williams), basketball player (Jessica Davenport), two wrestlers (Rex Holman and George Downs), a track and field star (Keturah Lofton) and women's volleyball coach (Jin Stone) will be inducted this weekend, but none of them can boast of being the biggest name in the group that includes 18 collective All-America selections, a Super Bowl winner, team and individual national champions and an Olympic appearance.

That honor goes to Bob Knight, a former Buckeye basketball player who will be the first person inducted to the Varsity ‘O' Hall of Fame for life-time achievement.

Urban Meyer's face lit up earlier this week when the current OSU football head coach was asked if he had borrowed any coaching philosophies from Knight, who won 902 games as head coach at Army, Indiana and Texas Tech.

"Absolutely," Meyer said. "I love Coach Knight. Coach Knight and I are friends. I invited him down to speak to my football team when I was at Florida. We keep in touch."

Meyer described him as "just a coach who everybody has opinions of – I have my own. I think he's a master motivator. He does it the right way. He doesn't cheat. Maybe goes about things a little different but that's not my job to judge. I like to judge the character of the guy, and I know one thing: He does it the right way as far as following the rules, and I've always been impressed with that, and he graduated players."

Knight was a three-year reserve on the Ohio State basketball team as the Buckeyes won the 1960 national championship and appeared in three consecutive Final Fours under the tutelage of head coach Fred Taylor.

He averaged just 3.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in 74 career games but went on to become one of the most accomplished coaches in college basketball history.

He won three national championships and 11 Big Ten titles while being named the conference coach of the year eight times.

The subject of scorn for much of the time he stalked the sidelines for the Hoosiers, Knight has enjoyed a gradual public reconnection with his alma mater in the years decade-plus since he was fired in Bloomington in 2000.

It began with a return trip with one of his Texas Tech teams and continued with an appearance at a basketball game last season. He has spoken publicly of his affection for Taylor, who passed away in 2002, advocated for OSU football standout Dick LeBeau's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and publicly defended former football coach Jim Tressel after he became involved in an NCAA scandal last year.

The university did its part with a pregame video shown at Value City Arena prior to the Buckeyes' game against Indiana last season that declared Ohio State, "Still the home of Bobby Knight."

Prior to a banquet for the hall of famers at the Ohio Union on Friday night, Knight expressed his gratitude to his alma mater.

"I think this is something really unique," he said. "I don't know if there is any other school in the country that would do this for someone who was a graduate."

The Orrville, Ohio, native said he enjoyed his time at Ohio State playing for Taylor and taking a class taught by legendary football head coach Woody Hayes.

"I never really thought about going anywhere else," Knight said.

Inductees are scheduled to be recognized on the field at halftime of the Buckeyes' game against California.

Meyer also said he will be excited to see Vrabel join his alma mater's hall of fame.

Currently the defensive line coach for the Buckeyes, Vrabel still holds the school record for career sacks (36) and tackles for loss in a season (26) and career (66).

"Before I was fortunate enough to hire him on my staff, I was a fan of his," Meyer said.

Meyer called Gerry Rardin, Vrabel's high school coach at Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit, a friend of his and recalled watching him as a prep standout and during his Ohio State career "as I watched the Buckeyes from afar.

"And then really, really admired Mike when I got to know him when I used to go visit New England, and my friend Coach (Bill) Belichick. I would watch the way he worked and train and the way Coach Belichick talked about him. So it will be a great weekend for all those guys."

Praise For The Opponent
Meyer spoke warmly of long-time Cal head coach Jeff Tedford, from whom the Buckeyes' mentor admitted borrowing some of his football philosophies.

"He's one of my great friends," Meyer said. "I've known Jeff for a long time. Studied football with him back when I was at Bowling Green and still to this day utilize some of his pass concepts. We were at the St. Louis Rams together for three or four days just studying football and we spent a lot of time together"

The two coaches get the chance to reconnect every year through Nike events.

"A great man, great wife, great family, and I have a lot of respect for him as a coach," Meyer said.

In terms of preparation for Tedford's team, the OSU coaching staff studied the Golden Bears' week one opponent – Nevada – as well as Pac-12 foe Oregon because of similarities those schools' offenses share with Meyer's spread option attack.

The Wolfpack piled up 27 first downs and 450 total yards in a 31-24 victory Sept. 1.

"When you see a team have success running similar type plays, now you have to kind of get ahead of their defensive coach and say, ‘What adjustments will they make?'" Meyer said. "Nevada did execute a very high level, and with a little lesser personnel than Cal had."

Call Me ‘Corey' – Or Not
For the third season in a row, the Ohio State roster includes a pair of players named Corey Brown.

Both were highly recruited out of Pennsylvania and would like to be called by their given names, but the younger one – a third-year wide receiver – has come to be known as "Philly" to save on confusion.

He has resisted the moniker but admitted this week it is probably not going away.

"I gave up now," Brown said. "It is over with now."

On the bright side, that means he can maintain the same Twitter handle: phillybrown10.

"That's only because one person can have the name on Twitter and every other name was taken," he said. "It wasn't my decision, it was Twitter's decision."

The "other" Corey Brown is a fourth-year junior defensive back.

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