Unlike the past two years, John Madsen is looking forward to an Urban Meyer phone call about Branden Bowen.

Madsen played for Meyer at Utah before a three-year NFL career as a tight end. He then became a personal trainer. Bowen became his client as a high school junior.

Bowen was well on his way to becoming the behemoth he is now at 6 feet 7 and 312 pounds. Though his play at Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Utah, was underwhelming, Madsen pushed Meyer to recruit Bowen. Madsen knew Meyer and his staff would push Bowen hard to fulfill his potential.

But in Bowen’s first two years at Ohio State, the results were disappointing.

“I called him the last two years and ripped him apart,” Meyer said on his radio show Tuesday. “ 'Why did you send me this guy?’ ”

Meyer said he hadn’t called Madsen yet since naming Bowen the winner of the long battle for the right guard spot. The redshirt sophomore will make his starting debut against Indiana.

Madsen said he and Meyer talked often the past two years about how to tap into Bowen’s vast potential.

“Urban would just try to gain some insight from my past working with him,” Madsen said. “That’s why Urban is one of the best coaches in the country. He tries to dig in and find out what makes players tick. We just tried to find out what was holding Branden back.”

Bowen hasn’t been made available to the media, but others said something clicked this summer.

“I think Branden really figured the OSU program out,” said his mother, Natalie Bowen. “He realized that he wasn't just playing for himself and his family, but for the guys. It truly was for ‘the love of his brothers.’

“I don't think people realize that those players say that all the time but they also live it. When he got the big picture everything changed in his life — academics, football and personal life.”

Ohio State strength coach Mickey Marotti said Bowen learned not to take criticism personally.

“He embraced the hard approach,” Marotti said. “He finally understood that the reason everyone was hard on him is because he has been blessed with talent, and if you don’t develop it and harness it, you will never reach your genetic potential.”

Bowen wasn’t the favorite to win the job entering training camp. In fact, he was viewed as more of a tackle than a guard. But Bowen outlasted his competition, mainly Matt Burrell and Malcolm Pridgeon.

“The kid just went in with a clear mind and went out and hit people,” center Billy Price said. “He’s been in the program two or three years now and something finally clicked. His home life is good. He’s got a great girlfriend. Everything in his life outside of football is in line. I think that’s the biggest thing.”

Madsen is delighted to see Bowen start to blossom. He described Bowen as an intelligent, humble kid from a good family.

“I truly don’t think he knows how good he can be yet,” Madsen said. “Sometimes that’s a little detrimental. You kind of have to walk that line of knowing how good you can be without being cocky.”

And just how good is that?

“We’re talking about him now as a redshirt sophomore, but think about him two years from now as a senior and how dominant he’s going to be,” Madsen said. “I think he’s a first-round draft pick, honestly.”

As for the next phone call from Meyer to Madsen, it’ll be different this time.

“Now,” Meyer said, “it’s going to be very positive. ‘Hey, thanks for sending me this guy.’ ”