Meyer recruiting includes landing top assistant coaches

There probably should have been no doubt Ohio State offensive coordinator Ed Warinner was going to be calling plays from the coaches booth instead of the sideline next season after OSU scored 86 points and gained almost 1,000 yards against Michigan and Notre Dame when he moved there for the final two games of this season.

The only question was why Urban Meyer said he still had to think about whether or not to do that. Now we know.

Once again proving he recruits coaches as well as he recruits players, Meyer announced he had hired Greg Studrawa on Friday as the Buckeyes offensive line coach, a job Warinner continued to do after being promoted to offensive coordinator last fall.

Ohio State’s offense was inconsistent much of last season and hit its low point in a 17-14 loss to Michigan State that cost it a spot in the College Football Playoff.

One week later, Warinner was in the coach’s booth when Ohio State gained 482 yards in a 42-13 win at Michigan. He was there again for a 44-28 win over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl when the offense rolled up 496 yards.

In a press release, Meyer said, “Our offense was as good as it was all year with Coach Warinner and (quarterbacks coach) Tim Beck together in the box. So keeping those two in place during games is something I think our offense will benefit from as we move forward.”

Studrawa, who played offensive line at Bowling Green State University and Fostoria St. Wendelin High School, was Maryland’s offensive coordinator the last two years but lost that job when head coach Randy Edsall was fired. Before that he was offensive line coach and offensive coordinator at LSU for seven years.

Meyer likes to talk about having his coaching staff “aligned” and he certainly is getting someone he knows and someone who knows his way of doing things in Studrawa.

The newest OSU coach was Meyer’s offensive line coach at Bowling Green in 2001 and 2002 and reportedly could have gone to Utah when Meyer went there from BGSU but chose to become the Falcons’ offensive coordinator. He also was rumored as a candidate to join Meyer when he was hired at Ohio State but decided to stay at LSU.

A few other notes:

BACK TO MARYLAND: Studrawa isn’t the only import from Maryland that Meyer is interested in.

Ohio State hopes it is back in the recruiting picture for 4-star quarterback Dwayne Haskins (Potomac, Md.), who verbally committed to Maryland after considering OSU and other schools. But with the firing of Edsall, he might be considering the Buckeyes again.

Haskins is also being recruited heavily by LSU, where his cousin Kevin Toliver, is a defensive back.

Also, 5-star linebacker Keandre Jones (Olney, Md.), who has been verbally committed to Maryland for two years, was scheduled to visit OSU this weekend.

NFL DRAFT: Four Ohio State players and injured Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith are projected as NFL first-round draft choices by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

Kiper says Joey Bosa should be the No. 1 overall choice by the Tennessee Titans. He also thinks Taylor Decker, Eli Apple and Ezekiel Elliott will be selected in the first round.

Smith suffered a knee injury that required major surgery in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State, but Kiper sees him going to the New York Jets with the twentieth pick.

He called Smith “a Pro Bowl talent even if he loses a step.”

Smith’s situation is reminiscent of the severe knee injury Miami’s Willis McGahee suffered in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl national championship game. He was taken in the first round with the 23rd pick by the Buffalo Bills, even though they knew he wouldn’t play his rookie season.

McGahee went on to rush for more than 1,000 yards in three of his first four NFL seasons.

RENT, DON’T BUY: Here’s an amazing number from Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Browns have had 134 coaches (8 head coaches, 126 assistants) since they came back to Cleveland in 1999.

Twenty-one teams have former Browns coaches on their staffs and three current head coaches — Bruce Arians (Arizona), Todd Bowles (Jets) and Chuck Pagano (Colts) — were Browns assistants during that time frame.

ENEMY’S LIST: If Bengals fans think they’re mad at Vontaze Burfict, how about Steelers fans?

It was Burfict’s hit in early November that knocked Pittsburgh’s leading rusher, Le’Veon Bell, out for the season. It was Burfict’s hit last week that caused the concussion which will keep the Steelers’ leading receiver, Antonio Brown, from playing against Denver this week.

And it was Burfict who planted Ben Roethlisberger on his right shoulder last week, which could limit his effectiveness this week.

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.

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