COLUMBUS — Urban Meyer was having fun watching a replay of Ohio State’s game-tying drive that led to an overtime win over Purdue with Kenny Guiton sitting next to him last Sunday night at the team’s victory dinner.
“We went to the victory meal and I wanted to sit with him and watch the television version of the drive. I just kept yelling, ‘Kenny Guiton, Kenny G or something like that,” Meyer said. “The players were all laughing and we’re watching him.”
Defensive back Travis Howard said, “It was unique to see how happy he (Meyer) was for him and how he kept saying his name.”
While Meyer was having fun Sunday night, watching film is ordinarily much more than fun and games for college football coaches.
OSU offensive coordinator Tom Herman says coaches watch film to analyze it and maybe also enjoy it, but never solely to revel in a win.
“You can do both but they don’t pay me to be a fan, they pay me to be a coach,” he said. “So my main job on Sundays when I watch the film is to figure out what went right and what went wrong and what changes need to be made.
“You can look at it as a coach and try to dissect what went wrong and if you had a chance to do it over, what would be the things you’d change or do differently and at the same time realize its place in the game and the season and what that drive meant to the game and the season,” he said.
What Herman saw in Ohio State’s 29-22 overtime win against Purdue was often disappointing and the Buckeyes’ players heard about that.
“You say, ‘Boys, you beat Purdue. Congratulations. Hell of a job. You found a way to win and you continue to do so. But you didn’t play good,’” Herman said. “You didn’t and I’m not going to sugarcoat it.”
Finding the “why” is what coaches are looking for when they watch film.
“The whole world knows what the ‘what’ is and the ‘what’ is that we didn’t play good enough,” Herman said. “Everybody who watches on television or watches a tape can say, ‘They didn’t play good enough on offense.’ Our job as coaches is not to figure out the ‘what.’ That’s the easy part. Let’s figure out what the ‘why’ is.”
Herman calls Ohio State’s offensive plays from the press box and says he likes having a seat high above the action.
Meyer told the story after last Saturday’s game about how the offensive line and running back Carlos Hyde were campaigning to run for the two-point conversion against Purdue in the fourth quarter instead of passing for it, as Herman had called.
Herman prevailed in that discussion and Guiton threw a two-point conversion pass to tight end Jeff Heuerman to tie the game 22-22 with three seconds left in regulation.
“I find the sterility of the press box allows you not to get caught up in the emotion. It allows you not to get caught up in the moment and how big the moment is,” Herman said.
“You can say, ‘I’ve got it right here. We’ve been practicing it for three weeks, it’s our two-point play. I don’t care if the offensive line wants to run it, I don’t care if Carlos Hyde wants to run it. I know everybody is excited and jumping up and down and their heart is racing but I’ve got it right here.”