Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer said on Monday that he isn’t going anywhere. The question that remains is whether his current team is capable of doing so.
The No. 8 Buckeyes (7-1) are coming off an off week and face visiting Nebraska (2-6) on Saturday. It has been a week of soul-searching and issue-fixing after OSU’s humbling 49-20 loss at Purdue on Oct. 27.Join the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
The loss came after spotty play for several weeks, and it has led to many questions. Among them was Meyer’s future. It has been a trying season because of his three-game suspension to start the season, headaches related to his arachnoid cyst and the team’s performance.
Some have questioned whether this might be Meyer’s final season at Ohio State. Asked if he was considering retirement after the season, Meyer replied, “I plan on coaching.”
Asked if that means he would definitely be back next year at Ohio State, he said, “Yes.”
For those who have seen Meyer’s anguished looks on the sideline, he sought to allay their concerns.
“I appreciate it and I’m fine,” Meyer said. “I want Ohio State to be successful in the worst way. We’re working extremely hard to make sure that’s happening.
“I love Ohio State and I love our players. I don’t want people to worry about me. I want to make sure we’re getting some things right around here. That’s what 100 percent of our focus is on.”
Video: All the hard questions
Meyer said that the off week was spent trying to fix the Buckeyes’ run game and red-zone issue on offense. He said that it was too late in the season to make radical changes schematically, but said they had three areas of emphasis.
“No. 1, making sure we structurally have the right play call,” he said. “No. 2, get more movement, and No. 3 is running through tackles.
“The No. 1 thing is getting guys in space and we haven’t been able to do that. That's kind of our trademark — get guys to the second level and let them do their thing.”
Despite the Buckeyes’ problems, they can still win the Big Ten without needing help from others. If that happens, their chances for a College Football Playoff berth are still quite viable.
But the weaknesses that came to a head against Purdue must be fixed.
“There’s a tremendous amount of urgency,” Meyer said. “We understand November and where we’re at. We understand what’s at stake. We understand our shortcomings.
“Urgency is probably the key word around here. It’s hard to say I’ve ever seen a staff work as hard as we’ve worked to try to fix the issues, and the same with our players. Purdue week, they worked their tails off. It’s frustrating not to see the rewards.”