Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer returned to his team in a coaching role for the first time since he was placed on paid administrative leave on Aug. 1.
According to the ruling made by the Ohio State Board of Trustees, Meyer, despite his three-game suspension, is allowed to be with the team during the week leading up to the games until his suspension is complete.
Acting head coach and offensive coordinator Ryan Day said in his press conference Monday that as soon as Meyer returned to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, everything went back to normal.
“A lot of the coaches really hadn’t see him much, again, so a lot of embracing and ‘great to see you back,’” Day said. “But we got back to our meeting and we had our meeting and it was, kind of, business as usual.”
Day said Meyer and the coaching staff debriefed Saturday’s 77-31 win against Oregon State and immediately started to set the game plan for Ohio State’s Big Ten season opener against Rutgers on Saturday.
Despite not being allowed to communicate with the team, Meyer, according to Day, was “right in tune” with what had happened with the team during his absence.
Meyer will be allowed to be around Ohio State until the start of Saturday and will be barred from communicating with the team in the 24-hour period. When Meyer is there, Day said the routine will stay the same, which he said is what the team did last week.
Day said much of the game planning is done during the week. When it comes to the game on Saturday, he will just have to call predetermined plays from the sideline.
“The decisions are almost made before we get there,” Day said.
Meyer’s return to Ohio State is more of a “back to normal” feeling than anything, Day said. In terms of his reaction to the first game of the season, Day thought it was typical Meyer.
“I think the comment that he made was, ‘You only had to punt once, huh?’” Day said. “‘That’s a pretty good day.’”
Day gives credit to line for offensive success
With Ohio State’s offense scoring 10 touchdowns and recording 721 yards of offense in Saturday’s win over Oregon State, Day complimented both the major contributors — redshirt junior running back Mike Weber and redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins — for their impact in the win.
However, much like he described the coaching staff in Meyer’s absence, Day described the offensive success as a “collaborative effort” between the running backs, wide receivers, quarterbacks and the offensive line.
“If there is a breakdown anywhere along the line that’s where, you know, you can disrupt a passing game,” Day said. “So we spend a lot of time talking about that and our offensive line and Coach Stud does a great job in protection. We have to block some really good guys on defense every day so that helps us in these situations. It is a collaborative effort.”
Day also mentioned the offensive line creating holes to get running backs out into open space in the secondary, making safeties and corners miss with their speed.
Haskins learns from interception against the Beavers
Haskins came out of the locker room on Saturday focused on one aspect of his first collegiate start. It was not the 313 passing yards he threw, nor the five touchdowns he threw. It was the one throw he would have liked to have back.
In the third quarter, Haskins threw a crossing route that was intercepted by Oregon State. With the lead already secure, Day said the throw was a learning experience for the first-time starting quarterback.
“I think what happens is as you step up into the conference and some of the games get a little tighter, the decisions that you make become more and more consequential,” Day said. “So he needs to understand that. We all do.”
Day said there was a bit of a breakdown by the offensive line in front of him, causing him to rush the throw on the crossing route. However, with the hustle after the play, Haskins forced a fumble that was recovered by the Beavers.
Even though it was one of the only mistakes Haskins had on Saturday, Day considered the play remarkable just because of how Ohio State ended up stopping the Oregon State defender from scoring.
“It was a crazy play, and the ball squirted out and two guys in particular if you go back and watch the film ended up getting him down was Binjimen Victor and Isaiah Prince and to see 59 running the length of the field to make that tackle was really amazing,” Day said. “It wasn’t a fun play to watch, it was a mess, but the effort on that play to get him down was remarkable.”