I have mentioned this a few times, but sometimes I forget it too: Urban Meyer is an old school guy. He has a picture of Woody Hayes in his game room, and Earle Bruce is still his mentor. Despite the new school offense, he’s a throwback to an earlier time.
His team runs the option, and sometimes the triple option. You can argue that a lot of times it looks like the single wing out there. He even brought back the jump pass, which he thoughtfully saves for CBS broadcasts so Verne and Gary can gush over it.
TheGainesville Sun had a nice article about what it calls “Urban Ball,” a play off of Beamer Ball that doesn’t work as the equally rational Meyer Ball. It describes the tenets of Urban Ball thusly: play great defense and special teams, take care of the football, score in the red zone, win the battle of field position. It also draws the inevitable comparison between this year’s team and the 2006 team.
I went back and looked at some of my posts from the 2006 season, particularly those around the Alabama, LSU, and Auburn games since those ended up being three of the biggest and closest. I saw issues about Meyer’s fixation about having a “tough team,” a bend but don’t break defense that looked better statistically than it did on the field, and a lot of complaints about bad officiating for both sides in games. I guess the SEC refs had a bad year.
Those things were similar to some of the criticism I’m seeing now. The major difference is that the special teams this season have been immaculate, scoring in each game and leading several major stat categories.
That 2006 team won the national title, so I’m not here to criticize it much. However, that season illustrated how much of a premium Meyer puts being a “tough team.” There was a lot of DeShawn Wynn running into the back of the line (running it “Wynnside” as some have said) to try to prove they were a tough team, alas to no avail. They were a tough team, but running between the tackles was not their strong suit.
Against Tennessee, Emmanuel Moody was able to succeed where Wynn didn’t always. Meyer’s announcement on his coach show that he’s got a tough team gives hope that he will open things up some more and not be quite so conservative.
Nothing will change his old school ways here, so we might as well get used to it. Field position is Meyer’s No. 1 concern, and between Brandon James and Chas Henry, that unit will be fine.
Meyer coaches to the strength of the team. Last season it was offense, this season it’s the other two’s turn.