Dunn and Meyer may not be a fit

Todd Porter
Updated: Monday, November 28, 2011
GlenOak High School running back Bri'onte Dunn has rushed for more than 3,800 yards the last two seasons. REPOSITORY FILE PHOTO<br /><div id="dfp-300x250" style="float:right;"><script type="text/javascript">googletag.display("dfp-300x250");</script></div>
GlenOak High School running back Bri'onte Dunn has rushed for more than 3,800 yards the last two seasons. REPOSITORY FILE PHOTO

In 2007 before the BCS National Championship Game in Phoenix, Ohio State fans still can hear the echoes of chants from Florida fans. In a thick southern drawl, most every time a Buckeye fan passed a Gator fan, the Florida fan would yell, “Gay-tah bait!”

GlenOak High School running back Bri’onte Dunn — once hook, line and sinker a Buckeye — now has his recruiting line back in the water.

Ohio State hired former Florida coach Urban Meyer, a year removed from the game as a television commentator, Monday to be the Buckeyes’ new football coach. While the move is wildly popular with most OSU fans, Dunn seemed lukewarm at best Monday.

“I don’t know what to think about it,” Dunn said. “I know he’s a good coach. I know he’s a winning coach. I know in the past he ran the spread. I have to talk to him and see. I don’t want to go to a place that runs the spread.”

Meyer is expected to run the spread offense at Ohio State that will feature quarterback Braxton Miller running the football. While Meyer almost made Tim Tebow a 1,000-yard rushing quarterback, he never produced a 1,000-yard running back in 10 seasons at Florida, Utah and Bowling Green.

Dunn is a 6-foot-1, 221-pound power runner with 4.5 40-yard speed. He is not a fit for a shotgun spread offense. Dunn rushed for 1,749 yards this season, one that was hampered by a hip injury for three weeks. The bruising, powerful Dunn gained 2,030 yards as a junior.

“He can play in the spread, but I don’t think that’s the ideal offense for him,” GlenOak head coach Scott Garcia said. “He has good hands and he can do a lot of different things. In my opinion, he’s more of a downhill guy who needs to get the ball 25 to 30 times a game.”

Dunn and Garcia expected to hear from Meyer before Wednesday to see how Dunn fits into Ohio State’s plans. Dunn tweeted late Monday that he spoke with Meyer by phone, but did not elaborate. He verbally committed to the Buckeyes in the middle of his junior season.

But so much has changed. Jim Tressel was forced to resign, and it appears a multiple offense, heavy on the I-formation, is gone, too.

Dunn attended the Ohio State-Michigan game in Ann Arbor on Saturday as a guest of the Wolverines. He also took in the Nebraska-Michigan game earlier this season.

His cousin, Marlington junior linebacker Dymonte Thomas, verbally committed to Michigan earlier this season.

Michigan head coach Brady Hoke has told Dunn he plans to change to a power offense out of the I-formation. Greg Mattison, Michigan’s defensive coordinator who was on Meyer’s staff at Florida, is recruiting Dunn and is expected to be at GlenOak this week. Garcia is well acquainted with Hoke. They spent time together when Garcia was an assistant coach at GlenOak and Hoke an assistant at Michigan when Garcia was learning Hoke’s defense.

“I’m still committed to Ohio State,” Dunn said. “I have to wait and see to talk with Urban Meyer.”

But Garcia said, after talking with Dunn on Monday morning, his college decisions “was more up in the air than it’s ever been.” A decision probably will be made after the holiday break in December.

“I told him what it comes down to is he has to make himself happy first,” Garcia said. “He has to do what’s best for him. When he sits down with his family and once they have all the information they need, they can decide where that is. It’s at least four years of his life and he needs to be comfortable and happy with his decision.

“He was comfortable with the guys at Ohio State from Jim Tressel, Jim Bollman and Luke Fickell. He’s talked to the guys at Michigan, and he has a decent relationship with those guys. Now it’s the fear of the unknown. He’s never talked to Urban Meyer and some of the assistants that will be down there.”