- Austin Ward, ESPN Staff Writer
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The work for the 2013 season is already underway for Ohio State with the strength program in full swing, but the first moves that started shaping the potential encore effort from a perfect campaign began almost two months ago. BuckeyeNation is counting down the five biggest early developments for the team since last season ended and how they will impact the Buckeyes moving forward.
No. 1: Urban Meyer keeps his staff in one piece
Development: Jobs of all kinds were open all over the country during a busy offseason in the coaching ranks, and on the heels of an undefeated season, the Buckeyes had plenty of guys in demand to fill them. There were apparently four of them, in fact, who had opportunities to move on and lead their own programs elsewhere. But there apparently wasn't anything tempting enough to prompt anybody on Urban Meyer's first staff to walk away from what Ohio State has going now, and every member of that group will be back to honor the two-year commitment the boss asked for when he took over -- and potentially make a run at a championship it couldn't compete for last season.
What it means: There is no shortage of benefits for Meyer in keeping his collection of assistants intact for a second season, starting with the continuity it provides for the players already on campus and extending to the class of recruits that the coaches built relationships with while representing the Buckeyes. In the short term, keeping offensive coordinator Tom Herman and giving him another season to help install the uptempo spread offense should help take it to a higher level as the players get more familiar with the playbook and the pace of play. On defense, the Buckeyes won't have as many experienced players returning as the other side of the ball will have, but there's plenty of young talent and they won't have to learn a different way of doing things with Luke Fickell, Everett Withers, Mike Vrabel and Kerry Coombs all back for another season trying to restore the proud tradition of the Silver Bullets. And while maintaining the same sort of communication that had been expected by recruits from the staff is invaluable as well, there also figures to be a stronger bond and more understanding between all the members of the staff just within the meeting rooms at Ohio State. Chemistry doesn't typically happen instantly, and the coaches should be plenty comfortable with each other now.
He said it: "The fact that our coaching staff remains intact is important. We had four guys that had some people trying to discuss head coaching opportunities for them, and I hope that happens for some of them, kind of glad it doesn’t happen after just one year. After two years -- I always ask for just a two-year commitment -- I think that’s fair." -- Meyer
2dDan Murphy and Mitch Sherman
2dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
3dMitch Sherman and Dan Murphy