Urban Meyer Respects MSU And He Isn't Afraid To Say It

Urban Meyer Respects MSU And He Isn't Afraid To Say It

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Urban Meyer Respects MSU And He Isn't Afraid To Say It

Say what you want about Urban Meyer – he’s shown respect to Michigan State ever since he took over at Ohio State. He’s impressed with the Spartan defense and he doesn’t have any problem saying it.

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It’s hard to believe it but it’s true – Urban Meyer is now in his 7th season as the head coach at Ohio State.

For some of us, it feels like he still just arrived.

For all of the hullabaloo – and there sure is a lot of it – regarding his esophageal spasms, his headaches, his memory losses, his text message practices, his taste for cold pizza, and his tendency to have a flexible relationship with the truth, the guy sure has won a hell of a lot of football games.

How about a rundown of Meyer’s seasons at Ohio State?

2012: 12-0, 1st in the Leaders (*didn’t play in any postseason due to NCAA sanctions).

2013: 12-2; 1st in the Leaders; lost to Michigan State in Big Ten Championship Game.

2014: 14-1; Big Ten Champions; National Champions.

2015: 12-1, Tied for 1st with Michigan State in Big Ten East; Michigan State went to Big Ten Championship Game due to head-to-head tiebreaker.

2016: 11-2, Tied for 1st with Penn State in Big Ten East; Penn State went to Big Ten Championship Game game due to head-to-head tiebreaker.

2017: 12-2, 1st in Big Ten East, Beat Wisconsin in Big Ten Championship Game.

2018: 8-1

Meyer’s overall record since becoming head coach at Ohio State is 81-9.

He’s won 6 Big Ten Divisional Championships.

He’s won 2 Big Ten Conference Championships.

He’s won 1 National Championship.

In every season since he’s been the head coach at Ohio State, he’s finished with double-digit victories.

And, of the 9 losses he’s had in his seven seasons, 2 of them have come against Michigan State and they’ve each occurred when his Buckeyes were ranked #2 in the nation.

With the exception of the Buckeyes’ 48-3 whitewashing of Michigan State last season, every game that the Spartans and Buckeyes have played against each other since Meyer took over in Columbus has been a classic showdown featuring hard hitting, back and forth play, sensational individual performances, tough defenses, and dramatic finishes.

And each game – including last season’s 48-3 blowout – has featured something else.

Respect.

Urban Meyer has shown very real respect for Mark Dantonio and the entire Michigan State football program for the duration of his time in Columbus.

Yes, when he first showed up, there was talk of recruiting tactics that ruffled feathers and all of that mumbo jumbo.

But the way Meyer has made it clear that he has respect for the way Michigan State does things, comes to play, plays with toughness, and competes year in and year out suggests that maybe Meyer has an edge on some of the other coaches around the conference when it comes to perspective and awareness.

We’re not suggesting Urban Meyer should be canonized.

But, we are saying that he has an edge on some of the whistle-toters around the Big Ten.

This week, as Meyer prepares for another big showdown between his Buckeyes and the #24 Spartans in East Lansing, Meyer has been candid in the way he views Michigan State’s defense, the way he views the overall matchup, and the way he views what he calls, specifically and without any confusion, a “rivalry.”

“A big one this week against Michigan State, ” Meyer said Monday.  “Very strong rivalry that we have a lot of respect for that team, and they’re playing as good a defense as there is anywhere in the country.”

He’s right about the defense.

And he’s doing more than just being straight when he talks about the rivalry.

Meyer – like all of these guys – pays attention to what’s going on around him.

He’s leaning in a direction that goes in the opposite direction of the Cobra Kai dojo.

Meyer supports Miyagi.

Urban Meyer, for all of the flaws that we’ve chronicled right here on SpartansWire, wouldn’t in a hundred million years allow a player of his to have a four-year old temper tantrum on Michigan State’s midfield logo at Spartan Stadium after that same four-year old disrupted a perfectly-known and understood tradition featuring the Spartan football players walking across their home field as they have done for twelve years now.

Before The Circus got its tent up a few weeks ago and was busy for many, many, many years trying to feed its elephants and make sure it had the bearded woman well motivated and that the guy who can eat fire had a costume that properly fit him, Michigan State and Ohio State were clashing in battles for the ages over the better part of the last decade.

Does anyone in Green & White recall even the slightest incident occurring between the two teams prior to, during, or after these titanic clashes took place?

I doubt Mark Dantonio and Urban Meyer exchange Christmas cards.

But when they shake hands before the game, they exchange respect that’s genuine.

And after the game is played each year, the losing coach isn’t anxious to give the other guy a hug or a kiss on the lips.

But the two men – the two football men who compete and work their butts off and want like hell to beat the other guy – shake hands after each ball game and they mean what they say to each other in that quick moment.

A “best of luck” or a “good ball game” or a “nice job” accompanies a hearty hand shake and a pat on the back.

They don’t have any issue showing everyone that they respect one another as football coaches and leaders of their programs.

And it’s something I’ve just sort of stumbled into realizing since neither of these guys are perfect – it’s called class.

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