Urban Meyer: I learned from Bill Belichick to get players I like to coach

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday April 14, 2017


How does Bill Belichick find players out of obscurity and win Super Bowls with them? It’s a simpler idea than you might think.

Belichick spoke at Ohio State’s coaching clinic on Thursday, and Land of 10 got video of some of the speeches. A few weeks ago, Belichick visited Ohio State’s pro day, and that’s when Urban Meyer learned a lesson.

“I’m always amazed how he takes these non-stars and makes them stars,” Meyer said. “He takes these players that you really haven’t heard much about and all of a sudden they’re making great plays in the biggest games of the year.

“I started asking him about it and he made this point to me and I shared it with our team. He said, ‘At this point in my career, I want to coach guys I like. I want to coach guys I want to be around and that’s it. I’m not going to coach anybody else.'”

Former Buckeye Nate Ebner is an example. Ebner came from a rugby background, but walked onto the Ohio State team as a junior. He was a special teams player, but the Patriots drafted him in the sixth round in 2012, and he's still on the team.

“When you look at his players, they’re doing the right thing, they’re in the right spot at the right time,” Meyer said. “We had one here in Nate Ebner, a former walk-on at Ohio State, now a Super Bowl champion on special teams for Coach Belichick.

“He surrounds himself with players who he likes to coach. That’s a life lesson for me when I go out and recruit now and when I talk to our players. I’m at a point in my career, the same thing. I want to be around people I like to coach. That’s the selfless, tough individuals that will help your team win.”

As Belichick always says, do your job. That’s all he wants from players, and that’s what he’s got

“Nate Ebner is a great example,” Belichick said. “Came to Ohio State, walked on the football team, was drafted into the NFL, and he never played a down defensively for Ohio State. What does that say? Is there an NFL career for a specialist who doesn’t play on offense or defense? There is, and Nate’s proven that not only to our team, but the whole league recognizes it.

There are role players on your team, role players that you need for your team to be successful. Which guys are they going to be? For me, tough, smart, dependable. That’s where I start with that group.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.