Urban Meyer has the Buckeyes at 5-0, and that's a tremendous start for a first season. Whether you like his style or not, Buckeye fans have to be pleased with that. It's not an easy thing to do, including a good win against Michigan State on Saturday. It's clear that the Buckeye faithful are in for a very different, and potentially very exciting, ride with the new coach. And after his previous success, is there really any doubt that he will continue that level of success with the resources of The Ohio State University behind him?
There is one aspect of Coach Meyer that could be better. His personality in front of the camera.
Urban Meyer is a nice guy, but he's very focused. If you expect to spend any time talking to him at all, you better be prepared to spend it talking about something related to the goals he has for his team. If not, then it's going to be a very short conversation. His lazer focus comes through when he's in front of the camera. He comes across curt, dry and at times intolerant. It's not who he is, and he most likely doesn't mean to make that impression, but he does.
The on-field interviews at halftime and after the game that have worked their way into the norm of football coverage these days are not kind to Urban Meyer. His answers come across as though he's very distant from the question, and give the impression that he'd rather be anywhere else. Of course he wants to be anywhere else. There's probably not a college or NFL coach anywhere that wants to put up with the trite, obvious and often idiotic questions that are asked in that 10 second end-of-half interview. But showing that attitude doesn't help the image of The Ohio State University. This is where he needs to take a lesson from his predecessor.
Coach Tressel was adored by many Buckeye fans, and most have been able to let go of him and move on, but the on-field interview is one area where Jim Tressel is definitely missed.
Jim Tressel, like Woody Hayes, understood that the media can be the friend of the coach if used properly. Under Tressel's tenure, the media coverage of Ohio State moved from being very negative to very positive. He probably didn't like the interviews any more than any other coach, but he knew that they were necessary, so he used them to put a good face on the Buckeyes. What made him so enjoyable to watch wasn't that he stopped and gave the media his time. What made him fun to watch was how he would answer the questions, often sarcastically, often tongue-in-cheek, but always in a way that the reporter asking the question had no idea that he or she was making them look rather foolish.
Reporter question: "Coach, what's it going to take for you to win this game in the second half?"
Coach Tressel: "Well, we're going to have to come out here, work hard and put more points on the board than the other team."
It was a response that answered the question, was accurate and all but said "what a stupid question". And he did it with a look of utmost respect and seriousness on his face. Tressel could make the most mundane, and sometimes ridiculous response to a question seem like it was an credibly wise and strategic comment. Without a doubt, he had a gift. Many Buckeye fans looked forward to those quick interviews with Tressel, because they were just so much fun to watch.
It would be just nice if he would lighten a bit and have a little fun with the media.
What Buckeye coach do you think handled the media best? Vote for your favorite in the poll on the left side of the web page.
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