Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer had no comment on a report next year could be his last year as the head coach of the Buckeyes.
The question arose during a press conference to preview the Big Ten championship game between Meyer’s Ohio State squad and Northwestern on Saturday night.
Earlier in the day, FootballScoop.com reported offensive coordinator Ryan Day has been retained and given a raise with the understanding he will take over for Meyer whenever Meyer does decide to hang up his whistle.
With that said, sources tell FootballScoop Ohio State is taking Ryan Day off the job market, with a significant raise coming and with the (most likely) unwritten understanding that he is in line to become head coach once Urban steps down. What’s that you say? Urban stepping down? So about that…
While Urban has stated repeatedly publicly that he plans to coach next year, sources tell FootballScoop that the Ohio State head coach continues to contemplate his future on an ongoing basis, and we hear he has told Gene Smith that he doesn’t expect to continue to coach past the 2019 season. One source told us we should expect Urban to address this in the days following Saturday’s Big Ten Championship.
In response to a question about his future Monday, Meyer said he plans to coach next season.
Earlier in the year, he revealed he has been suffering from a recurrence of headaches that result from an arachnoid cyst on his brain, but he said at that time he was dealing with it as best he could.
Meyer had surgery to reduce the cyst in 2014, but it is not uncommon for such cysts to grow again in size over time.
Day served as acting head coach while Meyer was suspended for the first three games of the season as a result of an investigation that found he mismanaged the employment of former receivers coach Zach Smith.
As far as the game, Meyer had a few notes:
- Senior Demetrius Knox, who is out for the rest of the season with a foot injury, is a big loss for the offensive line, but redshirt freshman Wyatt Davis is ready to go as his replacement. He had been practicing wee enough to earn playing time earlier, but the coaches didn’t want to upset the cohesion of the group.
- Meyer said the offensive staff has spent countless hours trying to figure out how to get big plays against Northwestern because that is something the Wildcats don’t give up.
- The No. 1 factor in this game will be field position because Northwestern’s defense forces teams to execute play after play to put together scoring drives.
- Aside from Knox, the health of the team is good.
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald also shared some thoughts on the game and more:
- The Wildcats are making their first Big Ten championship game appearance, but Fitzgerald said the program has been “built on bedrock, not sand.”
- He credited Meyer with bringing “a national championship pedigree” to the Big Ten when he was hired in 2012. That involves recruiting and fan experience. “I’ve had the utmost respect for him for a long time. We’ve known each other for a long time. I tip my hat to him. He does a great job.”
- Fitzgerald said recruiting academic fits from Ohio has been a priority for Northwestern going back to the days of Ara Parseghian, though he admitted he has never won a recruiting battle for an Ohio guy Meyer wanted.
- Sidney freshman Isaiah Bowser became the team’s starting running back midway through the season as a result of injuries, winning an open competition after Jeremy Larkin went down with a career-ending injury. “All the guys competed trying to fill in the role to the best of their ability. To Isaiah’s credit, he really took it over. I think the Rutgers start gave him a lot of confidence and every week he’s just gotten stronger and stronger.”
- Asked about playing up Northwestern’s status as an underdog, Fitzgerald said, “I don’t think I really have to. I think everyone has done a good job of that so I really appreciate that.”
- That said, when asked about how his program compares to the Buckeyes, Fitzgerald replied: “We’re nowhere close to Ohio State. We’re never going to be close to Ohio State. We’re very different… we want to be the best Northwestern we can be. If we do that consistently, we’ll be in this game. As we sit right now in the structure of the Big Ten, that’s the goal. To win the Big Ten West.”
Kickoff is set for 8:17 on Saturday night.
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