DALLAS – When Urban Meyer took a year off from coaching, he made a trip to Oregon to visit a friend – then-Ducks defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti – and to find out how Chip Kelly was running the show in Eugene.
Both Meyer and Kelly had an affinity for spread offenses, but Xs and Os were not necessarily Meyer’s most important takeaway. Oregon had become a program in synch from top to bottom, from ball boys to the quarterbacks.
Some of the former Oregon coach’s methods were nothing like what Meyer would have ever considered, but everyone on campus seemed to be buying in.
“You know, you go in (to Oregon’s practices), they are playing ‘Lion King’ music,” Meyer said. “They have like a DJ at practice, bizarre stuff now. I remember even I was like, ‘What is this?’ ”
It was nothing like what Meyer’s mentor, former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce had ever done, but now it is part of the Buckeyes’ routine. Leading into the Michigan game, LL Cool J’s “It’s Time for War” was blaring at practice to get the Buckeyes pumped.
After Ohio State beat Alabama to earn a spot opposite Oregon in the first College Football Playoff national championship game on Monday night, Meyer spoke so glowingly about how well the two programs know each other some might have thought the coaches were exchanging Christmas cards.
“I think that was the relationship that Chip and Urban had, I’m not privy to that. But we’re very friendly,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said earlier this week with a smile. “It depends on how much we know the other party, but we try to gather more information than we send out.”
Ducks leave two behind
Oregon was forced to bench two players because of failed drug tests, coach Mark Helfrich said Saturday.
Wide receiver Darren Carrington and running back Ayele Forde did not travel with Oregon for Monday’s national championship game after each failed NCAA-mandated drug tests. Carrington tested positive for marijuana; the results of Forde’s test weren’t disclosed.
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