Urban Meyer is trying to make his presence felt in rival territory.
The new Ohio State coach was at a Michigan high school Wednesday, one of several coaches on hand at a football camp just outside of Detroit. Meyer gave a brief speech to the campers, who came from all over the country to attend the Sound Mind, Sound Body Academy at Southfield High School.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke, Eastern Michigan coach Ron English, Alabama-Birmingham coach Garrick McGee and Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi were also there and held a news conference with Meyer.
For the most part, the mood among the coaches was casual, with Meyer and Hoke even having some ribs together following the news conference.
None of the 25 players Ohio State introduced on signing day this year came from Michigan. Meyer was asked about Ohio State’s ability to land good recruits from Michigan.
”If we have not, we will,” he said.
The camp, sponsored by Adidas, is in its eighth year, and college coaches are allowed to participate. Meyer said the arrangement took him by surprise when he first learned of it.
”This is so unusual. I can’t believe we’re allowed to do this,” Meyer said. ”When I first heard of this … I started laughing. I said, ‘You can’t do that.’ And then our compliance said, ‘You sure can.”’
The coaches were supportive of the camp’s mission, and this was a chance for them to interact with campers away from a college campus.
”For us, obviously, at the University of Michigan, this is an important part of development that we want to help within the community,” Hoke said. ”It’s us trying to help kids.”
”What an opportunity for a 17-, 18-year-old young person to hear from some great coaches from some great schools, not just about football, but about academics, about commitment,” Meyer said. ”It’s a great opportunity for them, but it’s a great opportunity for us as well.”
Meyer says he’s concerned about the difficulty some prospects have in traveling to schools and hopes the process can become easier in the future.
”It’s almost anti-student athlete, where they have to come to us to camp, and how many kids can afford to fly or drive that far?” he said. ”It’s just so hard for a young person to even come visit the campus, now. … There has to be easier ways for the student-athlete to do it the right way and go visit the campus, or bring the campus to the student-athlete, like what’s happening today.”