COLUMBUS, Ohio — Urban Meyer hit the ground running Monday morning in his first day back as Ohio State’s head coach, according to his assistants.
Acting head coach Ryan Day said there were a few hugs and a very short staff meeting Monday morning before the coaches went their separate ways while starting to prepare for this weekend’s football game against Rutgers.
“Coach came back today, and we had a meeting earlier this morning,” Day said Monday. “He’s been meeting with some of the players. So things are back to normal. Obviously he won’t be there for game day, but everything else is back to normal.”
Ohio State’s administrators suspended Meyer on Aug. 22 after a two-week investigation found he mismanaged former wide receivers coach Zach Smith and failed to uphold the standards of the university when speaking to reporters about Smith this summer. Smith was investigated for domestic assault accusations in 2015, part of a long list of questionable behavior during his time with Buckeyes.
Meyer has mostly been absent from the program from Aug. 1 through Monday morning. He is allowed to rejoin the program this week, but is prohibited from coaching games against Rutgers and No. 16 TCU in the coming two weeks. There is a 24-hour period starting Saturday mornings during which he’s not allowed to be with the team.
Meyer is not expected to speak with reporters until his suspension ends.
Meyer arrived at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center shortly after 6 a.m. Monday and was back in his office before the sun was fully up in Columbus. Players will not practice Monday, but they were at the facility for meetings and film study after Saturday’s 77-31 season-opening win over Oregon State.
Day said Meyer is back in control this week and the staff won’t be doing anything out of the ordinary to prepare for Meyer’s game-day absence during the next two weeks.
“So much of coaching is done during the week,” Day said. “So today, the game planning, the decisions that are made up to the game is really where most of the coaching is done. And then once we get on the field, the game plan’s in, and now it’s just a matter of calling the plays and kind of going from there. So it’s kind of, ‘Coach is back and we’re going with Coach.'”
He said the detail-oriented Meyer was “in tune with everything” when he arrived at the office Monday morning, needing no time to be caught up on what happened during his time away.
Meyer met briefly with the team once during August, the day after his suspension was formalized. Otherwise, his first time seeing players since training camp convened is this week. Players said after Saturday’s victory that they were looking forward to having him back at practice.