Urban Meyer-coached teams are scary for opponents, what with his 31-1 record against Big Ten teams in four years and all. However, part of that equation was an aggressive and debilitating defense led by Chris Ash.
Ash left for the head coaching gig at Rutgers, and that left a huge hole in the game plan to get back to Big Ten championship and national championship winning teams. So, when it was announced that Meyer went out and filled the job with former Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano, teams (and the media) had to be shaking their collective heads.
It’s almost not fair. First there was offensive genius Tom Herman hired away from Iowa State back in 2012. Herman would go on to ignite the Buckeyes offense and win the Broyles Award as the nation’s best assistant coach this past season.
Then Meyer replaces one of the best secondary coaches in the country with a former NFL head coach and a respected college head coach like Schiano?
One look at Schiano’s defensive record should be enough to let folks know just how genius of a hire this was. That’s because Schiano’s defenses topped the Big East in scoring defense twice in the final four years of his tenure at Rutgers (2009 and 2011), also topping the conference in passing defense in 2011 and ranking second in 2008 and 2009.
Schiano’s best season was 2006, where his Scarlet Knights went 11-2 on the season. It was the defense that was the catalyst for it, ranking No. 8 in the country in total defense.
Meyer’s eye for talent and coaching ability is bar none, but getting a veteran coach like this to help lead a defense that will need the most help in the secondary is a coup to say the least.
OSU could be facing life without junior Vonn Bell, who is NFL Draft eligible and could make that leap. The Buckeyes are also going to be facing life without the likes of Joey Bosa, Adolphus Washington, Tommy Schutt and Joshua Perry up front, making the veteran secondary a huge part of whatever success or failure OSU has in 2016.
Even more dangerous than the numbers — Meyer and Schiano are about as close as any two coaches in the country. It’s something that Doug Lesmerises pointed out on Cleveland.com when remembering back to a reporter’s question back in August:
“It’s interesting that my confidantes are Steve Addazio, Greg Schiano and some other guys I call frequently about, hey, tell me about this situation, tell me about this, guys that I know have no vested interest other than they’re very good friends and I respect them.”
With the Buckeyes facing more and more pressure as they reached the pinnacle in 2014 and nearly reached it again in 2015 despite injuries and a crazy quarterback situation, hiring a confidant like Schiano is also good for the mental health of Meyer.
He left Florida because of burn out and stress starting to take a physical toll on him. Having someone to take some of that pressure off of him this time around can only help keep Meyer sane and physically healthy.
With Meyer’s coaching tree growing, a return of a friend back to the coaching ranks makes an already dangerous Ohio State team even more so. Good luck figuring out a way to beat this team in 2016, especially now that Schiano comes on board.