Love for Ohio State strong as ever, Urban Meyer looks ready for long haul

On3 imageby:Austin Ward09/24/18


The speculation, debate and conversations about Ohio State never end, and Lettermen Row is always ready to dive into the discussions. All week long, senior writer Austin Ward will field topics on the Buckeyes submitted by readers and break down anything that’s on the minds of the Best Damn Fans in the Land. Have a question that needs to be tackled, like the one today on Urban Meyer, Ryan Day and the coaching situation? Send it in right here — and check back daily for the answers.

The speculation about Urban Meyer’s future really never ends, and he’s not going to be able to stop it until the day at some point in the future when he actually does step away from Ohio State and retire. But based on the passionate, affectionate, fired-up coach that the Buckeyes saw on the sideline on Saturday, the safe bet at this point would be that he’s going to be honoring that contract extension he signed earlier this year.

If there were concerns that the investigation and suspension had done damage to his relationship with the university where he finished up his education and launched his decorated career, Meyer has left no doubt that his feelings are as strong as they’ve ever been.

“Part of my family didn’t want me to coach again,” Meyer said last week. “And I came back because of my sincere love for the state. I grew up here. I played high school football here. Played college football here. I love this school. I have a master’s degree from Ohio State.

“My love is unwavering for Ohio State. Even more so now.”

Those deep ties should help ensure that Meyer is around to keep enhancing the Ohio State machine he’s built into one of the most efficient in the country. But those whispers about the future once again got louder on Saturday night when The Athletic cited an anonymous source indicating the Buckeyes were beginning discussions about a coach-in-waiting arrangement with Ryan Day.

So, that’s the elephant in the room for Ohio State now, and the timing is far from ideal with a massive trip to Penn State for a top-10 showdown looming on Saturday. It’s hard to believe that Meyer or anybody else would be spending time this week on contract negotiations given the huge stakes against the Nittany Lions. And from Day’s perspective, there seemingly wouldn’t be much incentive to go down that road right now — from the possibility of angering his boss by angling for his job or potentially limiting his options as one of the most coveted coaches on the market at the end of the season.

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Ryan Day could one day make a worthy successor to Urban Meyer at Ohio State. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State also acted swiftly on Sunday morning to respond, making it just as clear as Meyer last week that it’s expecting the three-time national champion to be around for a while.

“We obviously are appreciated of Coach Day’s great work and hope he continues to be one of our offensive coordinators for a long time,” athletic director Gene Smith said. “But we are more than confident Coach Meyer will be our head coach for quite some time.”

Every possible signal during his return to the Horseshoe pointed in that direction as well, from the sincere appreciation for a standing ovation at Skull Session to the hugs for every single member of the roster all the way through a special Carmen Ohio celebration with his family.

The Buckeyes always have to be prepared for the future, and there will come a time where a decision has to be made to try to keep Day around. But at this point, there’s no reason to think Urban Meyer is going anywhere.

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