GENEVA - Urban Meyer talked to a host of sixth, seventh and eighth grade aspiring football players Thursday morning.
He stressed the name on the back of their jerseys was quite important to each and every one of them.
"Every great football player I've been around, I've been coaching 25 years, every great team I've been around, it doesn't matter if they're black or white, jump high or run fast, that's not what makes a great player," said Meyer, who is preparing for his first year coaching The Ohio State University. "What makes a great player is his reputation."
Nowadays, Meyer has noticed some players get their reputation sullied by acting like an idiot on and off the field.
"I've had players with great ability," Meyer said during Thursday's Urban Meyer and Dean Hood Football Camp at the SPIRE Institute. "They don't want to be a great player. They rather get noticed some other way."
Getting through to the 200 campers going into grades one through eight was the purpose of this camp, Meyer said. He said he and Eastern Kentucky coach Dean Hood wanted to start this camp to help those young, aspiring athletes.
Tribune Chronicle / John Vargo
Ohio State football coach?Urban Meyer talks to kids during the Urban Meyer-Dean Hood Football Camp on Thursday at the SPIRE?Institute in Geneva. Meyer and Hood are from nearby Ashtabula.
"This is more than just football - self-discipline, self-respect and being a purpose-driven individual," Meyer said.
Both Meyer and Hood are Ashtabula natives. Meyer, 47, is a graduate of Ashtabula St. John High School (now called SS. John & Paul). Hood, 48, played at the former Ashtabula Harbor High School. Ashtabula Harbor and Ashtabula High combined to make Ashtabula Lakeside.
"There's a lot of reasons why we came back, but the number one reason why we came back is to say thanks to the community where we grew up and realize what a great place this was to grow up," Meyer said. "I can't imagine a better place."
Nineteen Ashtabula County coaches donated their time to the camp, which was filled quickly after it was announced.
"I was just humbled by the fact that in 16 hours, we had 200 kids that wanted to come to camp," Hood said.
They came to hear the words of the new OSU coach, who has won at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida. How he won is to have players that had great reputations - something he's working hard to develop as the new Buckeyes coach.
"Talent will get you seven or eight wins," Meyer said. "Discipline will get you eight or nine. Then if you get leadership, that's when magic starts happening and rings get put on fingers. Really cool things happen.
"If I can't watch them, I just listen. I'll see them walking through the hallways, tell me what's going on it's all positive. If there's resistance on your team, you're going to have a really bad football team. Coaches and fans and everybody complicate this thing. If you get some really good kids with talent that love the game and love to compete and go work on their game, you have a really good team. If they don't, you're going to be really lousy. Everything I'm hearing back is really positive right now."
POSITIVE: Meyer said he remains positive despite having running back Jordan Hall out 10 weeks after he cut his foot on a piece of glass last month.
The 5-foot-9, 198-pound feature back had 10 stitches put in, but Meyer said there was surgery later because of a torn tendon.
Hall could miss the Miami (Ohio), Central Florida and California games - the first three on OSU's schedule.
Meyer did go on to say Hall finished the year with a 3.4 GPA.
"He's on my leadership committee," Meyer said. "He's one of the hardest working guys. He's changed his whole life around. I love the guy. He'll be find, though. We've got his back."
PLAYOFF: Meyer didn't commit one way or the other on the new four-team college football playoff system coming in 2014.
"I think it's great," Meyer said. "I don't know enough about it. I thought the old system was great, too. I think people wanted playoffs, so they got one. You go play the Rose Bowl and you say, not so fast, you've got one more. That's going to be different. It's great for college football. Obviously, the fans want it. I'm not worried about the fans as much I am the players and coaches because they are the ones who are going to drive it.
"I was 50-50 on it. I didn't study it. I have other things to worry about."