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Monday, November 28, 2011

The Ties That Bind: Looking At Possible Urban Meyer Assistants

Below are some quick thumbnail sketches on possible Urban Meyer assistants, and how these men have worked with Urban Meyer in the past.

Greg Studrawa: Currently the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at LSU, Studrawa is rumored as an offensive coordinator candidate at Ohio State. A native of Fostoria, Ohio, Studrawa is a former player and alumnus of Bowling Green. Like Urban Meyer, Studrawa is a former Ohio State graduate assistant (1997 season), so he would have familiarity with Ohio State's rich history and traditions. Studrawa formerly worked for Urban Meyer at Bowling Green as the offensive line coach and offensive coordinator, before moving to his position at LSU.

DJ Durkin: Currently the linebackers and special teams coach at Florida, Durkin is rumored as a possible defensive coordinator candidate. Like Greg Studrawa, Durkin is a former Bowling Green player and alumnus. Durkin began his coaching career at Bowling Green under Urban Meyer as a graduate assistant.

Mickey Mariotti: Currently the strength and conditioning coach at Florida, Mariotti is rumored to be under consideration for Ohio State's Director of Football Operations. Mariotti first worked with Urban Meyer when both were assistants at Notre Dame under Bob Davie. If Mariotti is hired, would this bring an end to the successful reign of Eric Lichter in Columbus?

Chuck Heater: Currently the defensive coordinator at Temple, Heater could also be considered as a defensive coordinator candidate. Heater formerly worked for Urban Meyer at Florida as the co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach. Heater is a former Ohio State assistant, coaching the secondary under Earle Bruce (1985-1987).

Scot Loeffler: Currently the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Temple, Loeffler could also be under consideration for an offensive coordinator position at Ohio State. Loeffler formerly served under Urban Meyer as the quarterbacks coach at Florida, working with Tim Tebow. Loeffler is also a former Michigan player and alumnus, having worked with several notable Michigan quarterbacks in his career, including Tom Brady.

Stan Drayton: Drayton currently is on staff with Ohio State, and is rumored to be under consideration to remain on Urban Meyer's staff. Drayton is working as the wide receivers coach, but could move back to his traditional running backs coach position. Drayton formerly served as the running backs coach under Urban Meyer at Florida.

Luke Fickell: The most enigmatic of the assistant coaching candidates, Fickell is currently serving as Ohio State's head coach. Thrust into the position with the forced resignation of Jim Tressel, Fickell has performed admirably as Ohio State's head coach, dealing with multiple player suspensions, as well as a staff he was forced to retain. Fickell has been a long-time Ohio State assistant, and is a former player under John Cooper. Meyer and Fickell have arrived at an agreement that would have Fickell remain as an Assistant Head Coach and Co-Defensive Coordinator. It seems that Fickell has turned down Akron's head coaching overtures. Unlike all of the other possible assistant coaches on this list, Fickell has no previous coaching history with Urban Meyer.

However, if Butch Jones leaves Cincinnati for Illinois or UCLA, as has been rumored, then Fickell could receive a call from the Bearcats. Turning down Akron was one thing, but could Fickell turn down a head coaching job in a BCS conference?

As written above, all of these assistants are rumored to be under consideration as possible Ohio State assistants. Odds are that some of these men may be with him as assistant coaches for the 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes.

Still, many names remain possibilities. Mike Stoops, former Arizona head coach, was contacted by the Arizona Central and questioned about his interest in the job. Stoops said he had not been contacted, but would be interested in becoming Ohio State's defensive coordinator.

Tim Hinton, current running backs coach at Notre Dame, is another strong possibility. Hinton and Meyer are close friends, and Meyer even tried hiring him at Utah in 2004.

Two other offensive coordinator names are also probable to be under discussion. Clemson's Chad Morris, and Illinois' Paul Petrino, are both offensive coordinators well-versed in the spread offense attack that Urban Meyer plans to run. Chris Spielman, Urban Meyer's ESPN broadcast partner and friend, often remarked how he would hire either of these men, or would strongly recommend hiring them to Luke Fickell if Fickell remained head coach. Considering their friendship, it is likely Spielman relayed that same advice to Urban Meyer. Could Urban Meyer possibly target one of them for the offensive coordinator position?

This post originally appeared on Along The Olentangy, 11/28/2011

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