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Buckeye Football Notebook: 'Coach Meyer said he's a good coach, so I guess he is'
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS — With safeties coach and co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash leaving Ohio State and heading to Rutgers after the bowl game, Buckeye safety Vonn Bell was asked what he thought the biggest thing was that Ash brought to the OSU defense in his two years. 

"He brought a mentality, a very stingy mentality," Bell said. "We don’t want to give up nothing. We scooped every ball in practice, picked the ball up and got to run two stripes to the end zone. He really brought that mentality, have everybody on the edge and eager and hungry for more so that’s what he brought."

From the sounds of it, new safeties coach and co-defensive coordinator Greg Schiano has a similar mentality, which should help the transition greatly.

"From what I've heard, he's just like Coach Ash," middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan said. "He's real demanding in what he says. Real fiery guy who gets into players. Really passionate about the stuff that he does on the field and off the field. That’s what I got from him, just the passion he has got. When I talked to him for the little time I did, he seemed to be a real cool guy."

That is the feeling that McMillan got after meeting him, but what about before hand?

"I had to Google him," he admitted. "I knew who he was, but I Googled him to see his track record. Tampa Bay, Rutgers. I heard he was pretty cool to Coach Meyer, and Coach Meyer said he's a good coach, so I guess he is."

One of the more interesting yet trivial aspects of the upcoming Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame is that both Urban Meyer and Irish head coach Brian Kelly spent time as head coaches in the Mid-American Conference.

Meyer spent two years at Bowling Green in 2001 and 2002, while Kelly spent three years at Central Michigan from 2004-2006. Meyer looks back on his time in the MAC fondly, but more like the fondness you might have for an old couch.

"I remember my first press conference, there was two people there. To this day, that's why I thank you guys for coming," he said at Thursday's Fiesta Bowl Media Day to a room full of chuckling reporters.

 "But it gave you a chance to -- first of all, the MAC conference is pretty much every team that jogs out of the tunnel is even, because they recruit all -- you look at them, they are all the same body types, the same size. Some guys have a quarterback and that's usually the team that wins, and a good defense."

Basically, the conference puts every program on even footing, and it is then up to the head coach to build a successful program. It ends up being tremendous experience for a head coach, and one that Meyer thinks would serve plenty of coaches extremely well.

"But I just think it's -- I think everybody, almost everybody, should go coach in that conference," he said. "I remember helping pushing up our -- you know, so you can take videos of the practice -- it's much better now, the money is much better in that conference. We had no video coordinator. The video coordinator was a student who would come by the campus, and I'm not kidding you, and he would stand like this and video practice. Not, you know, one of those big ones, but the (small cameras). So we obviously got some things changed there."

The suspension of defensive tackle Adolphus Washington put the Buckeye defense in a tough spot right off the bat, so when Urban Meyer mentioned late last week that nose tackle Tommy Schutt might not be able to go in the Fiesta Bowl as well, it opened up a lot of questions about the interior of the Ohio State defensive line.

"Tommy Schutt hurt his foot," Meyer said. "I don't know how bad yet. But we've got depth issues inside right now on defense. Mike Hill has been playing pretty good. You have Joel Hale, Donovan Munger. There's another guy in there -- [Tracy] Sprinkle. Sprinkle has actually been playing much better. It will be a rotation. And then Joey Bosa goes in there quite a bit."

There are certainly enough bodies to compensate for the missing duo, and in fact it was Hill who started at nose tackle against Michigan. However, getting production out of the replacements is the true goal, and that goes beyond just getting snaps out of them.

At least one Buckeye thinks they'll be okay.

"I mean Michael Hill seemed to come along as the season went along," said defensive end Joey Bosa. "Tracy Sprinkle did too. Joel Hale.

"I think all of them have had a pretty good week. We’re all getting reps inside and outside so yeah we’ve all been rotating at that three technique, so it’s definitely gonna be a group effort but I think we will be able to pull it off."

And if the Buckeyes aren't getting the kind of production that they need at Washington's vacated three technique position, they can slide Bosa on down a bit more and let him play like the eventual No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft that many believe him to be.

"Right now I’ve been getting some work there just in case just as a last case scenario kind of thing but we’ll see what happens," he said.

Player profiles relevant to story:
5 - McMillan, Raekwon | 97 - Bosa, Joey | Coach - Meyer, Urban | Coach - Schiano, Greg
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