Meyer to fight for Ohio football

CANTON, Ohio -- Ohio State University football coach Urban Meyer is one proud Ohioan.

And as such, the Ashtabula native is uniting as many coaches as he can, including Mike Pettine of the Cleveland Browns, in order to help high school coaches around the state get an opportunity to spend more time mentoring their athletes during the offseason.

"Our guys are so limited to what they're allowed to do," Meyer told the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club in Canton Monday. "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.

"It's added a little stronger element now because it's not your son playing high school football in the state of Ohio. It's mine. I want my guy coached. I want my guy coached by guys like (Canton McKinley coach) Thom McDaniels. I don't want to have to go drive to some other venue.

"When I start talking about tradition, football is here. Football is Ohio. Ohio is football."

According to Meyer, those who care about high school football "need to keep preaching the gospel" of the sport, especially those in Ohio.

"I'm here to tell you, Ohio football is different," Meyer said. "We have to keep pushing that envelope. 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."

During his speech, Meyer gave a history of football in Ohio, as well as how the NFL was born in and how the idea for a championship game came about in Canton.

It is because of that knowledge of the game, and coaching at The Ohio State University, both, as a graduate assistant, and now, the head coach for the past two seasons, that Meyer displayed the pride he wants to see out of all of those who want to grow the sport.

"If someone wants to make fun of that school in Columbus, Ohio, and not use the right name of the school, I've got a problem with that," Meyer said. "That's not right. That's right, this is The Ohio State University. This is the great state of Ohio, where football started.

"I'm going to ask one favor. Be very proud of Ohio. When you talk about Ohio football, have a little bow in your chest. This is Ohio high school football. This is The Ohio State University. We have a lot of pride. Ohio State is one of the strongest traditions in America. Don't go poking fun. Just be careful where you go. There's a lot of proud people, and I'm one of them from Northeastern Ohio who remembers what this is all about.

"Be proud of who you are, where you're from, and what we all stand for."


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