From blocking for legends to coaching the Air Raid new OC Doug Meacham loves his football life
Hired away from TCU during the offseason to serve as offensive coordinator under David Beaty for the Kansas football team, Doug Meacham has a story he can tell any player bummed about undergoing a position switch.
A native of Arlington, Texas, and a linebacker in high school, Meacham played for Oklahoma State. He quickly was changed from linebacker to tight end as a freshman and then the next year was told he was moving to guard. That didn’t sound too good to him so he made the first step toward what he figured would be a path out the door.
“I almost quit,” Meacham said. “I never played guard. I didn’t know what guard was, called my dad and asked him what was the procedure to fill out an application go to General Motors to work with him. It was a bad day, but it worked out. I started three years and had fun.”
Meacham, 52, doesn’t look like an offensive lineman. Even after he forced himself to eat to gain weight, he topped out at “260, 265,” small for a guard, even by that era’s standards.
“We didn’t have to be very good up front because we had two Hall of Famers back there,” Meacham said. “We just had to know the snap count and get out of the way and it kind of worked out.”
Meacham blocked for Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas.
“Someone asked me what are you going to do now that Thurman Thomas graduated," he said. "I said, ‘The guy behind him’s better.’ They were like, ‘No, he’s not.’ Then the next year Barry took the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.”
Playing second fiddle to Thomas as a freshman (325 yards rushing) and sophomore (603), Sanders rushed for 2,628 yards and 37 touchdowns as a junior, won the Heisman Trophy and went to the NFL.
Despite retiring early, Sanders ranks third in all-time NFL rushing yards with 15,269 and Thomas ranks 15th (12,074).
Meacham, 60 pounds lighter than during his playing days, had a jump-start in returning to his natural weight after graduating from Oklahoma State.
“I went to work in a grain elevator right out of college in the summer during the wheat harvest because I didn’t have any money,” Meacham said. “I was going to work at NEO (Northeast Oklahoma) as a grad assistant with my roommate who was from Apache, Oklahoma. So I went back home with him and dumped wheat for a couple of months and lost about 30 pounds in a month. We were working 100-some hours a week, almost died. It was awful.”
Meacham’s receivers won’t have any trouble keeping weight off. He said that in a typical padded workout they run “five to six miles in one practice.”
Four different quarterbacks throw passes on every route, so that four receivers catch a ball on every play. And since receivers don’t jog, they basically sprint most of that “five to six miles in one practice.”
No way the 2017 team doesn't have its most exciting season since Todd Reesing headed back home to Texas.