An Interview with Urban Meyer: His Offensive Background and Philosophy in His Own Words (With Annotations)

Always blunt and informative

Our own Kyle Rowland had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion with Urban Meyer regarding the history of his offense and general philosophy. Meyer provided some wonderfully in-depth answers regarding how he came to run his own brand of spread football. Though this story has beentold elsewhere, it is particularly insightful to hear the answers from Meyer himself.

What follows is largely Meyer’s own words. I add some annotations to provide context and background to his answers. Thanks to Kyle for providing these responses.


Question:  When did your offensive philosophies change?

Urban Meyer:  About 1998 or 99 when I was at Notre Dame, we were looking at adapting some of our offensive plans. I was in the I formation for a long time. At Colorado State, I was all one back with Sonny Lubick. I was with Coach Bruce for a long time; it was really tradition I and pro set. The complexity and talent of defenses made it harder and harder to move the ball at Notre Dame.

In 1999, Dan Mullen was my GA at Notre Dame. John L. Smith was the coach at Louisville and Scott Linehan was the offensive coordinator. I started watching them on film and said I want to go study them. He said sure go ahead. We ended up staying four days and had to go buy a toothbrush. I was so enamored with the style of play. That was spread the field and be extremely aggressive. The biggest issue was how to handle pressures. The tighter the formation, the more pressures. It’s really a numbers game. It was a different philosophy I had never really…after that, both Dan and I really attacked it. I started getting phone calls about being a head coach and thought about what I would do offensively.

Linehan, Gregg Brandon, Dan Mullen, Greg Studrawa at LSU. We all sat in that old nasty meeting room in Bowling Green, Ohio. Every time it rained, water would drip down on the table. Doyt Perry Stadium. We sat there for the month of February to the month of March and sat there for 10 hours. From huddle to snap count, there was no other model. Northwestern was doing some of it and Rich Rodriguez was doing some it, but we developed our own. That was one of the greatest experiences I had, because there’s no model. Imagine trying to build something and there’s no book to go build it. We really enjoyed that. I had some great coaches.

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