If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?
That apparently is Urban Meyer’s thinking as he returns to the sideline this weekend for Ohio State football after a three-game suspension.
“I think I’ll be involved more as a game manager at this point,” the coach said on the Big Ten coaches teleconference Tuesday afternoon.
“I’ve done that before in the past,” he said later when asked about the decision. “I help where I need to help, but I think a high degree of it was the performance of the offense and how well it worked together and obviously the success we’ve had.”
He praised the job offensive coordinators Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson did in his absence.
Not only are the fourth-ranked Buckeyes 3-0 on the season, they have the No. 2 scoring offense (56.3 points per game) in the country and are No. 3 in total yards (608.7 per game).
With Day and Wilson running the show so far, Ohio State’s offense has featured more passing and less runs by the quarterback, though that could be as much a result of strong-armed Dwayne Haskins replacing graduated-senior J.T. Barrett at quarterback as it does Meyer missing training camp and being barred from the sidelines on the first three game days.
The head coach has been part of game-planning meetings the past two weeks after serving a six-week suspension without pay as a result of an investigation that found he mismanaged former assistant coach Zach Smith’s employment.
Meyer discussed several topics on the weekly call, including:
- Having already declared star defensive end Joey Bosa out for this week’s game against Tulane, Meyer said they hope to know more about his status “midweek.” More tests are being conducted on his injured groin.
- Wayne graduate Robert Landers is probable to play this week against Tulane according to the coach. The starting defensive tackle has an undisclosed injury.
- He said another defensive tackle, Davon Hamilton, is among the most-improved players on the team and credited coach Larry Johnson with his work in developing the Pickerington Central product.
- For the second time this week, Meyer called Day — who served as acting head coach in his absence — an elite coach. He praised Day’s organizational skills.
- While the Buckeye linebackers have absorbed a lot of criticism over the first three weeks, Meyer said defensive coordinator Greg Schiano is very pleased with their progress. However, they will need to improve as they gain experience.
- TCU’s up-tempo offense gave Ohio State problems last week. The Buckeyes prepared for it, but seeing it live is different than practice. That caused some alignment issues.
- New starting guard Malcolm Pridgeon endured some hard times after coming to Ohio State as a junior-college transfer, but “everybody in the program loves him,” Meyer said.
- Asked the biggest areas in need of improvement this week, Meyer said that while the kicking game has impressed him so far, coverage units are always a top concern. Nonetheless, he was happy with their performance against TCU. Meyer also wants to see consistency from his kickoff return unit and the offense to continue to take care of the ball. The defense must cut down big plays allowed.
- Demario McCall, C.J. Saunders and Johnnie Dixon will continue competing for reps as returnmen until someone grabs the job and hangs onto it.
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to exclusive deals and newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.