College Confidential

All in there: Urban Meyer’s cell phone might help Buckeyes win national title

Oregon running backs coach Gary Campbell jokes in his office about his 32-year career in Eugene with the Ducks. He relayed a story about Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and an Oregon practice at the Fiesta Bowl two years ago.
Oregon running backs coach Gary Campbell jokes in his office about his 32-year career in Eugene with the Ducks. He relayed a story about Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and an Oregon practice at the Fiesta Bowl two years ago. Star-Telegram

If Urban Meyer still has his cell phone from a few years ago, he might be in good shape preparation-wise for the national championship game.

The Ohio State coach spent part of his year away from college football studying the Ducks, picking up whatever he could about the offense — practices, structure, organization — from his friend, Chip Kelly, when Kelly was the head coach at Oregon.

“He was around for several practices,” Ducks coach Mark Helfrich said. “I don’t remember the level of involvement. He wasn’t in meetings or anything like that, but he was around.”

Running backs coach Gary Campbell remembers. He laughs.

“We were all concerned because one day, he was at our practice at the Fiesta Bowl, and he had his cell phone, videoing practice,” Campbell said with a wide grin. “We’re going, ‘Wait a minute, Chip! What the heck are we doing? We might have to play him again.”

Campbell, an Ennis native who has been at Oregon for more than 30 years, laughs at the story.

“Chip had introduced him — he was at our dinner one night — as ‘retired Coach Urban Meyer,’ and he said, ‘Wait a minute, I’m not retired, I’m going to coach again,’ “ Campbell said. “We’re going, ‘Chip, this guy’s going to coach again!’ “

Some of the Oregon influence can be seen in the Ohio State offense, notably tempo.

But the Ducks are used to seeing other teams try to do what they do.

Helfrich doesn’t sweat it too much.

“We steal stuff, too,” he said. “We’re equal-opportunity thieves.”

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407

Twitter: @calexmendez

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