Urban Meyer’s message to a group of campers recently was to take ownership in their program, and he can tell when he walks into a high school.
Meyer pointed to the 2014 Ohio State team that won the national title, and the most recent New England Patriots team. At the highest levels, he says the talent difference is marginal and doesn’t determine who wins.
“What is that difference? Everybody’s got great coaches. Everybody’s got great players. What is it?” Meyer said in a video posted by The-Ozone.net. “Here’s my experience. I keep looking at that (2014) banner. When those kids walked in the hallways of Ohio State University, how do you think they walked around? They walked around like they owned it. Like this is theirs, this is their home. You don’t let people come in your home and do bad things.
“I can tell within five minutes when I walk into a good high school. When I walk in, how do you think that weight room looks? Immaculate. Spotless. The nicest stuff around. Your names on the wall. The coaches have everything organized. They come in wearing their high school T-shirts with their names on it. Kids clean cut, look good. How do you think they work in there? Great, because they own it.”
Then there’s the opposite, and Meyer said it affects recruitment.
“What do you think when you walk in that lousy high school, where it’s a mess, stuff everywhere, kids wearing T-shirts that don’t match. They look like hell, disrespect their coaches. I watch that practice, how do you think it looks? Awful. We won’t normally take a young man from that school, because it’ll take us two years to get that mentality out of them.”
Meyer recounted a story of watching a Mike Tyson boxing match with friends in his apartment and someone kicking a hole in the wall. He hid it by moving the couch.
But when he owned a house, he treated it differently.
“So my challenge for you — you’re the older, mature people on your team — what do you take? Go back and tell your coach, get a great relationship with your coach, become that leader, get a sense of ownership,” Meyer said. “How do you do that? You see some stuff on the ground (from) some freshman, ‘Hey man, we don’t do that. This is our locker room. Pick that up.’ You go in the weight room, see it not right, get it right.”
A year ago, Meyer told players to not worry about camps, and to instead worry about what their high school coach says about them. The high school coach tells the college coach about the leaders.
“You want to get recruited at a place like Ohio State? Division I football? Division II football?” Meyer said. “Let that college coach walk into your program and your coach say, ‘Recruit that man right there. He’s our leader. He owns this program. It’s his.
“That’s what we want. We get players like that, there’ll be another banner in here. We get that kind of mentality in here, it’s hard. It’s easy to act like an idiot. Is it hard to go be a leader? Damn right it’s hard. Is it hard to own it? It is, because it’s got your name on it.”
Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation. A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.