Posted on: December 1, 2011 12:23 pm

Better than Tressel's Buckeyes? Really?

It really frustrates me that so many in Buckeye Nation are jumping with glee about hiring Urban Meyer, as they trivialize what Tressel and his coaching staff accomplished over the past decade.  So many are quick to believe that Meyer will “fix” the Buckeyes with better offense, recruiting, and coaching.

The fact of the matter is that Meyer has never done a better job than Tressel’s staff has done.

Both coaches took their teams to win BCS-NCGs in their second year.  Both coaches accomplished more with the teams they inherited than their predecessors did.  But Tressel managed to do that with Cooper’s average classes, while Meyer inherited fantastic talent recruited by Zook.

It is true that Meyer recruited very well while at Florida.  But it is also true that Tressel recruited just as well as Meyer did.

On average, Tressel’s recruiting classes were rated 11.27 (Scout) over 11 classes:
2001 (#8)
2002 (#3)
2003 (#25)
2004 (#11)
2005 (#7)
2006 (#13)
2007 (#16)
2008 (#4)
2009 (#1)
2010 (#20)
2011 (#5)

On average, Meyer’s recruiting classes were rated 10.42 (Scout) over 7 classes:
2005 (#11)
2006 (#2)
2007 (#1)
2008 (#12)
2009 (#21)
2010 (#1)
2011 (#25)*
[Meyer did not complete the recruiting process for 2011, but most were his recruits.]

Tressel had more players drafted into the NFL per year (2004 – 2011) than Meyer did (2008 – 2011).

  • Tressel recruits drafted: 54 (6.75 drafted / year)
  • Tressel recruits drafted in the 1st round: 14

  • Meyer recruits drafted: 18 (4.5 drafted / year)
  • Meyer recruits drafted in the 1st round: 6

Even if you only look at those players who remain on current NFL rosters (and by current I don’t mean the pre-season rosters, but current as of today), you’ll notice that Meyer is not better represented than Tressel:

  • 28 of the 36 Buckeyes now in the NFL were recruited by Tressel; and, 32 played for and were developed under him.
  • [Tressel’s recruits now in the NFL are from 8 classes (2001 thru 2008 classes that went into the NFL from 2004 thru 2011).]

  • 16 of the 31 Gators now in the NFL were recruited by Meyer; and, 23 played for and were developed by him.
  • [Meyer’s recruits now in the NFL are from 4 classes (2005 thru 2008 classes that went into the NFL from 2008 thru 2011).]

And that gap will disappear entirely this year as more of Tressel’s players are projected to make NFL rosters than from UF in 2012.

As you can see, by any measure, Tressel and his coaching staff were just as good as Meyer in recruiting and were better at developing talented football players.  

To believe that Meyer will now make a huge improvement over what Tressel did for the Buckeyes is nonsense.  That sort of thinking is based on nothing other than opinion and conjecture.  

The truth is that Meyer will find it more difficult to try to reach the levels that Tressel did.  Why?  Because Meyer has not recruited Ohio for a major program, while Tressel knew it inside and out.  

Although Meyer has connections in Florida, he is no longer representing a local team there.  Tressel already did very well with bringing talent from Florida.  Could Meyer bring in a few more from the Southeast?  Sure, possibly a few more; but that’s going to be difficult to do.  Even if he does bring a few more from down south, I doubt that will make up for what he lacks in recruiting connections within our region (especially OH and PA).  

Another factor is that tOSU has higher academic standards than Meyer dealt with at Florida.  (That is why so many of Ohio’s Mr. Footballs were unable to play for Tressel; and many other highly rated recruits as well.)

Throw in the fact that recruiting will be tougher after the past year of media negativity, NCAA sanctions, and tightened compliance policies at tOSU….  That’s not a recipe for improving recruiting.  And you can be certain that tsun, MSU, Nebraska, Wisky, etc. will redouble their efforts to snatch even more of our local talent while they also dissuade their own locals from considering the Buckeyes.

Put all of that together, and I am certain that Meyer will not equal Tressel’s recruiting accomplishments in the foreseeable future.

Yes, Meyer should definitely bring a more exciting offensive game to the Buckeyes; and I am excited at that prospect.  However, that doesn’t mean that the team will be more successful.  We have no idea whether a riskier offense will be more successful, or whether Meyer will be able to produce defense and special teams to the level that Tressel did.  Ask Northwestern, Indiana or Illinois fans about how exciting offenses fare in the B1G (not to mention the failed Dick-Rod experiment up north).

Obviously, as a lifelong Buckeye fan and Alumnus, I hope that Meyer will succeed and that our Buckeyes will return to the national elite status we’ve enjoyed in the past.  I just want to point out to the many Urbanites here that the accomplishments of Tressel and his staff were truly special.  Believing that Meyer is better at this point is unsubstantiated as well as being a disservice to those who’ve given so much, and accomplished so much during Tressel’s decade (9-1 vs tsun; 7 B1G titles; 8 BCS bowls; 5-3 BCS record; 3 NCGs; 1 National Championship title).  Personally, I just hope that Meyer can come close to that amazing record.

Category: NCAAF
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