Urban Meyer is allowed to walk the halls of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center again.
What does that mean for his Ohio State football team?
Six days a week, they play for the active coach with the highest-winning percentage in NCAA history again.
The next two Saturdays, though, Ryan Day will be in charge, as he was when the Buckeyes blasted Oregon State 77-31 in the season-opener last Saturday.
Meyer met with the players and staff Monday morning, but Day handled the head coach’s typical Monday press conference.
“Coach is Coach, you know?” Day replied when asked about Meyer’s demeanor. “Talked to the staff about moving forward, going to the game. We debriefed on Saturday’s game and now we’re working at game planning today.”
Meyer, who was suspended for six weeks and three games after an investigation found he mismanaged assistant coach Zach Smith’s employment, apparently did not have much of a critique for Day’s first game day as a head football coach.
Per Day: “I think the comment he made was, ‘You only had to punt once, huh? That’s a pretty good day.’”
Next up for the Buckeyes is a 3:30 p.m. visit from Rutgers on Saturday. That will be the Big Ten opener for both teams.
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Meyer should be able to have a huge influence on how the Buckeyes attack the Scarlet Knights even though he once again will be absent from Ohio Stadium.
“I said it last week that so much of coaching is done during the week,” Day said. “Today the game planning, the decisions that are made up to the game is really where most of the coaching is done, and then once we get on the field the game plan is in and now it’s just a matter of calling the plays and going from there.
“So yeah, it’s kind of Coach is back, and we’re going with Coach, and once we get to the game the decisions are almost made before we get there.”
Day called the operation “pretty efficient” against the Beavers, who did not beat an NCAA FBS team last season and are not expected to beat many this year, either.
Rutgers is 1-0 after beating Texas State, an FBS team coached by former Ohio State assistant Everett Withers.
The Scarlet Knights have a true freshman starting quarterback (Art Sitkowski) and a roster hoping to break a two-year scoreless streak against the Buckeyes, who won the 2016 and ’17 games by a combined score of 114-0.
Rutgers head coach Chris Ash is also a former OSU assistant.
Defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, who was the head coach at Rutgers from from 2001-11, is hopeful Jordan Fuller will be able to play this week after missing the opener with a hamstring injury.
He is one of only four returning starters on defense for the Buckeyes.
Youngsters Jahsen Wint and Isiah Pryor took some lumps Saturday as Oregon State ripped off a handful of big plays. If Fuller returns, one of them will still start, but Schiano would not say which.
A product of Old Tappen High School in New Jersey, Fuller is one of four Buckeyes from the Garden State. Joining him are graduate transfer quarterback Chris Chugunov (Montgomery High School) freshmen defensive ends Javontae Jean-Baptiste (Bergan Catholic) and Tyler Friday (Don Bosco Prep).
Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins was chosen the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for 313 yards and five touchdowns against Oregon State, and one of the conference special teamer’s of the week has a connection to the Buckeyes.
Minnesota defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr. and Michigan defensive back Ambry Thomas were named co-special teamers of the week after each had a return touchwon on opening weekend.
Winfield’s father, Antoine Winfield Sr., was a star defensive back for Ohio State in the late 1990s.
Illinois linebacker Jake Hansen and Maryland defensive back Antoine Brooks Jr. shared the defensive honor.