Urban Meyer seems to wear his emotions on his sleeve.
Standing in his normal stance — feet spread apart with hands on his knees — the Ohio State head coach looked visibly defeated on the sideline watching his team fall to Purdue 49-20 on Saturday.
Over the course of his coaching career, through stops at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State, one of the main characteristics of Meyer is he puts everything into his job, even while working through mental health and medical issues on the sidelines.
But Meyer said Monday that he will not be done any time soon.
When asked directly if retirement was an option after the season was over, Meyer was extremely brief.
“I plan on coaching.”
He then quickly affirmed his intention to stay on as Ohio State’s head coach for the 2019 season, seemingly trying to move on from the subject of himself as quickly as possible, something he has done countless times before when asked about topics such as his health or the investigation regarding his knowledge of domestic violence allegations made against former wide receivers coach Zach Smith.
Meyer knows fans have been worried about him, especially with the report of the head coach suffering through the effects of a surgically repaired cyst, including a headache that dropped the head coach to his knees on the sideline during Ohio State’s win over Indiana on Oct. 6.
He wants the fan base to know he’s fine.
“I want Ohio State to be successful in the worst way, working extremely hard to make sure that’s happening,” Meyer said. “I love Ohio State. I love our players, so the issue — I don’t want people to worry about me. I want to make sure we’re getting some things right around here, and that is what the effort is. That is 100 percent of what my focus is on.”
But what Meyer does not realize is that he is the face of Ohio State football.
Meyer said his reactions on the sideline, the reactions people might describe as anguished or pained, are nothing new for him — that he has had the same enthusiasm for the past 30 years.
But what’s causing these reactions is something Meyer is not used to: leading a team with areas of needed improvement that Ohio State is usually very secure in, such as the running game or secondary play.
With that, Meyer wants to do what he always does — fix the problem for good and put the pressure to solve the issues on his shoulders.
“We’re not playing well, and, you know, I’m one of those guys that I want to help fix the issue, and like all coaches do,” Meyer said. “So I’m not sure what anguish means. Like pissed or upset, and you know when you see some things that we’re doing, it’s really uncharacteristic of our teams. So that might be what it looks like.”
This is a mentality Meyer has integrated through the bye week and into a game week as Ohio State prepares for a Nov. 3 matchup with Nebraska.
Meyer has been here before. He knows, from previous years at Ohio State and his time at Florida, the expectation of his team on a national scale. After the loss to Purdue, there is a sense of panic and urgency around Ohio State, a feeling with which the head coach is familiar.
“We understand November. We understand where we’re at. We understand what’s at stake, and we understand our shortcomings,” Meyer said. “So urgency is probably the key word around here.”
Instead of saying blatantly he and his team are living in this pressure to perform, that one more loss could cost Ohio State a chance at a Big Ten title and a playoff appearance, Meyer said what he always says.
“Just get to Monday practice,” Meyer said. “Got to stay away from all that.”
With Meyer as the face of Ohio State, the coach who will be on the sideline in the same stance he always has, feet spread apart with hands on his knees, that’s his focus. No matter what Meyer’s future is at Ohio State or even as a head coach, it’s simple.
“Just get to Monday practice.”