Coach Urban Meyer will miss Ohio State’s first three games because of suspension and won’t be at practice until Sept. 3, yet something interesting happened Thursday in regards to the odds of the Buckeyes’ having major success this season.
“These moves can be attributed to the influx of action on Ohio State as well as the fact that we believed that there would be much stiffer penalties for coach Meyer, and most of the prices factored in that he would be missing a significant part of the season,” wrote Kevin Bradley, sportsbook manager for Bovada. “With him only missing three games they should win easily, most odds on Ohio State have moved back to where they were before this story broke and some even beyond that.”
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Ryan Day was named acting head coach for the Buckeyes when Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave Aug. 1 while the school investigated his handling of domestic violence allegations against fired receivers coach Zach Smith.
By all accounts, Day has pressed on as Meyer would have, directing the team through preseason camp and now toward the opener Sept. 1 against Oregon State at Ohio Stadium.
But Meyer has been and will be missed in one way in particular way, former Ohio State linebacker Joshua Perry said.
“Simply? Security,” said Perry, part of the 2014 national championship team. “It’s having that trusted, known leader on the sidelines, a guy who has been preparing in such a pointed and specific way for all these years, a guy who has done it well for so many years. … Coach Meyer is a name, a guy who has done it before, the guy with a plan that everybody trusts.
“Otherwise, when you really break it down they’ve got the experience with the coaches, they’ve got former head coaches (in defensive coordinator Greg Schiano and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson). They’ve got Ryan Day who is running the show, a guy who has been moving up through the ranks pretty steadily. (Linebackers) coach Larry Johnson has been around the game for a long time. It’s a great group.”
Meyer is pretty good himself, said Glen Mason, a former head coach, Ohio State alumnus and analyst on the Big Ten Network.
“Urban Meyer is an elite coach — look at everything he’s accomplished,” Mason said. “More than that, though, he’s not just one of those figurehead head coaches. He is very involved in every aspect of the game.
“On the other hand, what’s happened is an Urban Meyer-Gene Smith-Ohio State thing. The players had nothing to do with it. And when something like this happens, it can lead to one of two things: The team can be drawn closer by it, or it can pull the players apart.”
Mason indicated the new odds probably reflect what’s coming.
“I happen to think Ohio State has tremendous player leadership,” he said. “I think this will bring the players together to focus even better than if nothing had happened.”