Urban Meyer: 'We don't evaluate on size and completion percentage'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday February 07, 2017

Tate Martell was one of the most sought-after quarterback recruits in the country, but his 43-0 record as a starter meant as much to Urban Meyer as anything.

At 5-foot-10, 203 pounds, the 5-star Martell is small, coming out of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. He committed to Washington at 14 years old, then Texas A&M in 2015, before ending up with the Buckeyes. Meyer recently joined Fox Sports’ college football podcast and was asked what Martell brings, and Meyer noted the wins.

“We are in an evaluation-friendly business as a coach and as a player, especially at quarterback,” Meyer said. “We do not evaluate on size, on completion percentage. We evaluate on wins and losses. J.T. Barrett is a winner. Cardale Jones is a winner. Braxton Miller was a winner.

“Then you’ve got this guy coming in, a big-time one. I don’t know if he’s ever lost. You can see that in his personality, the way he handled himself. He’s been here three weeks, and that’s all people say. He’s just a relentless pursuit of being a great player, but also picking up those around him. I’m very impressed with him.”

Back in September, Meyer listed the top four factors he looks for in a QB: Competitor, toughness, intelligence and leadership, and then throwing ability. That’s what he likes most about Martell, though the physical talent also needs to be there.

“Everybody gets enamored with a guy and how he throws it,” Meyer said in September. “But what about in the rivalry game? What about 4th-and-2? What about when they need you the most? Do you bring your best? Those are the things. You think about the quarterbacks I’ve had now, the one thing is, in a tough situation, they’re going to give their best.”

But before Martell gets a shot, Barrett has his senior year. Back in 2014, Barrett was a Heisman candidate as a redshirt freshman, breaking Big Ten records. But then he suffered an ankle injury against Michigan, Tom Herman left for Houston, and Barrett hasn’t been the same.

Meyer added Kevin Wilson as offensive coordinator and Ryan Day as quarterbacks coach. The goal is to get back to 2014.

“If you look at 2014, that’s the offense we want to be,” Meyer said. “We rushed and passed for 250, a high-scoring offense, playmakers very much involved. We had a strong, vertical passing game, and J.T. was part of it. He broke Drew Brees’ record as a freshman for most touchdowns accounted for. We just have to get back to that.

“There’s a variety of reasons. You start with protection and go to the ability of receivers to separate, and then the accuracy of the quarterback. That’s the focus. The amount of time we’re going to spend on that has already started. We have to get there. Any championship-level football team, you have to have balance, you have to have toughness and balance. When we won it all, we had that. We have to get back to it.”

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.