If there were any doubts Mike Vrabel is all Buckeye, his answer to a particular question at the NFL Scouting Combine should take care of them.
Asked about the influence his experience in New England will be for him as an NFL head coach, the first-year Titans leader had this to say first:
“I think that I was lucky to play for John Cooper at Ohio State,” Vrabel said.
Not a bad endorsement, eh?
Vrabel also gave credit to Bill Cowher, his coach with the Steelers, and said he learned lots working for Urban Meyer at Ohio State and Bill O’Brien with the Texans before acknowledging his time as a Patriot that included three Super Bowl wins.
“I’ve been able to try to take everything I can and apply it to things that we’re going to try to do: Things that I liked, maybe things that I didn’t like, and so we’re all better off for having spent time in New England, clearly,” Vrabel said. “I got three championships, college is paid for for my kids. Those are all good things. And I learned a lot from Bill (Belichick), and Bill has remained a good friend and a guy that we’ll compete against.”
The two-time Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year also explained what he learned about being a coach at Ohio State from 2011-13.
After his playing career ended, Vrabel got his first shot at coaching when former teammate Luke Fickell brought him on to mentor the linebackers at Ohio State in 2011.
Not surprisingly, he found the greatest challenge in transitioning from player to coach was learning how to teach.
“I think that as a player, you can be instinctive and you can have awareness and understand the playbook and things kind of come, let’s say naturally, but when you go back and you’re coaching 18- and 19-year-old kids in college, you better have a play. You better have a progression.
“You better have a teaching style that’s able to stimulate them, as well as get your message across to them in different ways. Understanding that they learn differently – some guys need walkthroughs, some guys love to watch film, some guys love to get on the board. I think that was the thing that I learned the most at Ohio State.”