Meyer advocates more access for Ohio HS coaches

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer watches his team during NCAA college football practice Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Columbus, Ohio.

Jay LaPrete/AP

Less than a week after hosting Ohio high school football coaches at a clinic in Columbus, Urban Meyer advocated for them to get more opportunities to work directly with their players outside of the regular season.

"Our guys are so limited to what they’re allowed to do," Meyer said (via WKYC.com in Cleveland) Monday while speaking to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club in Canton. "A high school coach in Ohio is allowed to work with only four guys at a time. Think about that. You go down to Texas and there’s 85 guys out there, working back and forth."

The coach of the Buckeyes noted this is an issue that now hits especially close to home for him as his son, Nate, has reached high school age.

"We have to keep pushing that envelope," he said. "We can’t let people take stuff from our high school coaches. You need to know the Cleveland Browns’ head coach, the coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes and the coaches on the state board of directors are going to get together soon and say, ‘Give our guys access. Give them access.’

"I’m not going in there to talk. I’m going in there as a parent because my son will be coached. He’s going to get coached, but I don’t want to send him somewhere else to get coached. In Ohio, he deserves to be coached by Ohio high school coaches."

Meyer has been singing the praises of his home state since being hired as head coach of the Buckeyes in November 2011, and he noted on National Signing Day in 2013 high school coaches in Ohio play a larger role in the recruitment of players than they do in some other states.

"Everyone’s going to," he said when asked about other major conference schools traveling to Ohio to poach some of the state’s talent. "You’re going to come to Ohio to get great players. There’s (the best-)coached players in America in the state of Ohio. It’s old-fashioned football, old-fashioned coaching.

"And the one thing I love about the players in the state of Ohio, the respect factor is greater than any state in the country, where the high school coach is still in charge of the program. When you go meet with a player in Ohio, you’re going to meet with his high school coach. And you can’t say that about all the states across the country. That’s my favorite part about recruiting the state of Ohio."

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In March, he spoke about the difference in evaluating players in Ohio as opposed to one like Florida, where college coaches from across the country flock to scout kids during spring football every year.

"It’s much easier to evaluate in the South because you can watch them practice," he said. "Here you go sit in the weight room and maybe watch them or they do some skill work. It’s almost another year of football if you look at it.

"That’s the way it is, but there is an advantage to evaluation to go physically watch them."

Asked if he was surprised Ohio does not have spring football, he replied, "I know every year there is conversation. I’m surprised there’s not something more, maybe not spring practice because you have weather issues but I’m surprised there’s not opportunities maybe after spring sports are finished to get a week in or two weeks in. I thought at some point they’d do that."

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