Unbarred Urban, staff open up to students
Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Updated: Friday, June 15, 2012 23:06
Students had the opportunity to learn more about Ohio State coaches and players at the Urban Meyer Town Hall Meeting Tuesday evening.
Meyer, defensive coordinator Luke Fickell, defensive line coach Mike Vrabel and strength coach Mickey Marotti fielded a variety of questions that ranged from “What is your favorite pregame ritual?” to “Where is your favorite spot to go on a date in Columbus?”
The event was part of an effort that Meyer is making to get the student body more involved with the football program.
“Something that is very important to me is the relationship with the student body,” Meyer said. “We want your support. We want our student athletes to be part of the student body, to give back to the student body and to do things with the student body.”
In April, Meyer opened practice as part of student appreciation day. Meyer said the football team is planning on working with the student body on a community service project in June.
Steven Eckstein, a third-year in engineering physics, said he was impressed with Meyer’s drive to involve the student body with the football program.
“It’s great,” he said. “It doesn’t feel like a disingenuous public relations move. I get the feeling that this is who he really is. He seems to understand that it’s the fans who make a college university special.”
Meyer said he hopes to get the fans involved on game days by starting a new tradition with a drill called quick calls. Attendees were introduced to the drill, which involved a combination of clapping, squatting and grunting, by Marotti and senior fullback Zach Boren.
“We do them before practice,” said Meyer, “to make sure our team is focused, energized and ready to go to put in a good days work. We also do them before we play a game for the same reason and same purpose. We clap together, we do a drill together and then we get ready to go play the game.”
Meyer said the team will do the drill in unison with the students about 15 minutes prior to kickoff.
“Right before we go back into the locker room, I’m going to bring the whole football team and coach (Marotti) right in front of the student body,” Meyer said. “We are going to teach the students (the drill) and that is going to be our new tradition. You do that with your football team, we will go back in (to the locker room) and we will come back out and kick a little ass for you guys.”
Derek Miller, a first-year graduate student in materials engineering, said he is excited to see how much energy the new tradition would bring to the student section.
“It will definitely get the students pumped up,” Miller said. “It works for the players, so it will definitely work for the fans.”
Meyer, Fickell and Vrabel were accompanied on stage by their wives, who fielded questions with the coaches. Shelley Meyer gave the crowd insight on what it is like to be the wife of a college football coach.
“The games are not that fun, not for me,” Shelley Meyer said. “The games are stressful. I just sit there and don’t move. I don’t do anything. I don’t drink anything, eat anything, I don’t go to the bathroom. I just sit there. Unless we are ahead by about 40 points, then I can relax a little bit.”
For Nichele Lyndes, a fourth-year in psychology, it was especially interesting to hear from the coaches’ wives.
“I knew that the coaches would be here, but not the wives,” Lyndes said. “It was very interesting to get their perspective and to learn about them personally.”
Toward the end of the meeting, Boren, sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller, redshirt senior linebacker Etienne Sabino and senior defensive lineman John Simon joined the coaches and their wives on stage. After the players answered a few questions, the event ended much like a football game, with the singing of “Carmen Ohio.”
There was a noticeable smile on Meyer’s face as the coaches, wives, players and students linked arms and sang the alma mater.
“He didn’t need to do this, so that makes me appreciate it even more,” said Sean Kubicek, a fourth-year in psychology. “It’s great that he is making himself available to the students. He just comes off as a normal guy.”