LOS ANGELES — Urban Meyer was kicked out of the Rose Bowl stadium when he first tried to get in.
In the 1990’s the Ohio State head coach said he stopped by on a recruiting trip, having never seen it in person. He said he tried to sneak onto the field just to peek inside because he had heard about the game, an avid watcher of this particular game for many years before.
“I was told to leave,” Meyer said. “And the guy was really rude, too.”
Meyer will not have to peek inside on Tuesday when he leads Ohio State onto the field for the final game of his head coaching career, taking on No. 9 Washington in the Rose Bowl game.
The Ohio State head coach said in the Rose Bowl head coaches press conference Monday this game in particular has been a bucket list item for him, nearly coaching in this game multiple times in his career, but it never coming to fruition.
Even though it will be the final game of his coaching career, Meyer said he has shut down any conversations about his legacy, how he is perceived he is officially finished.
He said the focus is on the game that will be played.
“I don’t want to devalue the experience, but we’re here to win a football game. And the best part of doing a bowl experience is to do your very best to go win and winning it,” Meyer said. “We’ve been working hard on that, realizing who we’re playing, how good they are.”
Like any other game in his coaching career, Meyer is looking at every scenario that could happen, doing this so the players do not have to, getting them prepared for the match up with the Huskies.
This feeling, this sense of stress, this sense of pressure is one that Meyer said does not leave, no matter how many games he had head coached.
“I don’t think nervous is a strong enough term before a game. Deathly ill might be more appropriate,” Meyer said. “We try putting them in those many positions as we can so when it hits they know how to react.”
This is something Washington head coach Chris Petersen has been preparing for, something different than what he has done in the past few years for a bowl practice preparing for this Ohio State team.
“I think they practice really hard,” Petersen said. “Certainly back in Seattle, you know, we kind of just changed maybe the cycle of the practice schedule in terms of when we were going to go hard, when we were going to back off.”
For Ohio State it has been the same mantra all season long: mute the outside noise and prepare for the upcoming game. With Meyer’s retirement on the minds of many, as well as decisions to be made about the NFL for some of the players on the roster, the head coach said no distraction can take away what the Buckeyes came to Los Angeles to do.
“I can’t imagine a better opportunity, better bowl game to go play,” Meyer said. “But we try and avoid that at all costs because any distraction other than getting ready to play is not — we’re not going to allow that.”