Urban Meyer returned to the Ohio State sideline on Saturday afternoon, leading the Buckeyes to a blowout win over Tulane at Ohio Stadium. It was Meyer's first game back from a three-game suspension.
A couple of hours after the game ended, questions about Meyer's future in Columbus started to surface, as The Athletic's Ari Wasserman reported that Ohio State was discussing a plan to make assistant coach Ryan Day the "coach in waiting" for whenever Meyer leaves.
A person close to the program told The Athletic that senior university officials have begun discussions with Day about a “coach-in-waiting” arrangement, meaning he would be Meyer’s eventual successor as Buckeyes coach. The person spoke on the condition of the anonymity because the discussions are not completed. Day doesn’t have any head-coaching experience but did have a three-game trial run as Ohio State’s interim coach.
Day received a three-year deal and a raise before this season, which isn’t typical for Buckeyes assistants. That was Ohio State’s attempt to keep him away from Mississippi State, which offered him its head-coaching position. The Buckeyes also made him the first $1 million coordinator in program history
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Ohio State's athletic director, Gene Smith, released a statement this morning, appearing to address this report.
"We obviously are appreciative of Coach Day’s great work, and hope he continues to be one of our offensive coordinators for a long time, but we are more than confident Coach Meyer will be our head coach for quite some time. Thank you," he wrote.
This doesn't necessarily mean that Ohio State is refuting the Ryan Day "coach in waiting" report, but it does appear to mean that the Buckeyes are confident that Meyer will remain the head coach for several more years.
Meyer signed a new contract extension recently and said this week that his love for Ohio State is as high as it's ever been.
Ohio State is set to travel to Penn State on Saturday night.