Urban Meyer is widely-regarded as one of the best head coaches in college football having won two national titles with the Florida Gators and has the Ohio State Buckeyes positioned to challenge for one this season, but it’s a head coach with five championship rings in the NBA that Meyer is trying to learn from to bring a winning culture to Ohio State.
Gregg Popovich won his fifth NBA title with the San Antonio Spurs last week with a dominating performance against LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat as they won in five games, with all four wins coming by way of a blowout, and Meyer noticed the way Popovich conducts his business and how superstars like Tim Duncan, Tony Parker buy into his system.
That winning philosophy and culture is what Meyer wants to bring to Columbus. Coaches are known to sample from other coaches in the industry and pick up different tricks of the trade from college and pro coaches, but Ohio State can see the benefit from the NBA ranks.
“[Popovich] talks about the culture, and if you don’t fit in the culture, you’ve got to go,” Meyer said in a Q&A with The Columbus Dispatch. “Now, it’s easier when you’re talking about six or 10 guys (on a basketball team) instead of 120 (on a football team). But that’s what I got out of it.”
“We really study the NBA,” Meyer said when asked how much he pays attention to the pro basketball league. “This is exactly what we’re trying to get done here — culture, culture, culture.”
The team culture exemplified by the Spurs where their beautiful ball movement was on display during the series vs. the Heat and throughout the postseason showed that you don’t need to rely on one player to carry a team and a belief that you expect to win can carry the Buckeyes in 2014 and beyond as it has for the Spurs for the better part of the last two decades.
Popovich’s Spurs are also known for their nasty defense and disposition when they need to dig deep and get a big stop and that’s the biggest priority moving forward for Meyer as the Buckeye defense has not been the typical Ohio State defense we have grown accustomed to seeing.
After dropping the Big Ten Championship Game to Michigan State and another heart breaking loss coming in the Orange Bowl to Clemson the Buckeyes enter the 2014 season without momentum, much like the Spurs who lost in the Finals last season, but if Meyer can instill this Popovich style in Columbus it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them as one of the four teams in the new College Football Playoff in 2014.