Few coaches of the last few decades are as successful on the field and in developing players than former Florida and Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer. One of his former stars responded to a video of one monumental 2017 play, crediting Meyer with setting it up perfectly.
Meyer recently narrated the 2017 classic between Ohio State and Penn State for FOX. The Nittany Lions looked to have things in the early fourth quarter, especially after a J.T. Barrett fumble to open the final frame. The Buckeyes defensive held on the ensuing possession, and Meyer called for a risky blocked punt at midfield. Denzel Ward got a hand on the ball to give the Buckeyes a giant momentum swing.
“Normally you don’t go after a blocked punt at midfield because you’re very susceptible to a fake. So the coaching book says ‘don’t do that,'” Meyer said on the special broadcast. “But it was one of those moments where we had to do something. If they punt it down in there and we have to take it the whole length of the field, that would be a tall task.”
Meyer called this play the one that swung the entire game, and allowed Ohio State to come back and win. Two plays later, Barrett found Johnny Dixon for a 38-yard touchdown to cut PSU’s lead to 35-27. The Buckeyes would outscore PSU 19-3 in the fourth quarter to win the game 39-38. Ward responded to a clip of his block to give Urban Meyer credit for preparing the team for that moment. “What people don’t see is the amount of times we repped this block in practice before the game,” he said on Twitter. “Meyer told me I was gonna come off the edge clean that whole week before the game.”
What people don’t see is the amount of times we repped this block in practice before the game. So much detail goes into it. @CoachUrbanMeyer told me I was gonna come off the edge clean that whole week before the game#gobucks https://t.co/6wxKjs2zwv
— Denzel Ward (@denzelward) April 14, 2020
Meyer’s attention to detail is well established, and helped him join the rare club of coaches with national championships at multiple programs. His former players aren’t shy about just how good of a game planner he is, either.
Ward is one of many Meyer players to go very high in the NFL Draft after playing for him. He was the No. 4 pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 2018 draft.
After a consensus All-American season in 2017, Ward was a Pro Bowler as a rookie in 2018.