The Buckeyes set the stage

Urban Meyer is a master of maximizing his inheritance, a great sign for OSU

Updated: November 13, 2012, 11:17 AM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider
Braxton MillerJim Owens/Icon SMIYou can pencil in Urban Meyer and Braxton Miller as BCS title contenders in 2013.

In 2001, Urban Meyer was taking over a Bowling Green team coming off a 2-9 season. The Falcons didn't have much, but they had a promising young quarterback in Josh Harris. The sophomore was a dual-threat QB, and late in the season, Meyer gave him the reins. Bowling Green finished 3-0, and in the final two games, Harris threw for 670 yards, 7 TDs and 0 INTs. In a twist that's become familiar under Meyer, Harris also ran for 218 yards and 4 TDs.

Something else was becoming familiar too.

Meyer left for Utah in 2003. There, he inherited a sophomore named Alex Smith. Like Harris, Smith was developing as a passer and had great athleticism. Meyer's offense, a varied system that thrives when a quarterback can run and pass, started generating more and more buzz. His success and that buzz got him the job at Florida, where he inherited Chris Leak. Now, Leak wasn't much of a runner, but in Meyer's second year in Gainesville, Tim Tebow arrived and allowed him to augment the Florida offense and get it where he needed it to be. They went 13-1 in 2006 and won the BCS championship.

You can see the pattern. When Meyer took the job as coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes, you just had to nod when you saw what he would be inheriting at quarterback. Braxton Miller has strides to make as a passer, but his 140.1 rating isn't exactly something to sneeze at for a true sophomore, and he's a brilliant runner, a guy who morphs into a borderline elite prospect as a running back the second he tucks the ball away. And Meyer has, once again, timed his arrival at a program with a quarterback situation on the verge. In each of the previous cases, the results represented new heights for the program, or at least clear improvement from the previous years, and Meyer is set to do the same at Ohio State, with contention for a BCS title possible as soon as next season.


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Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst