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Urban Meyer is back with Buckeyes, but not all the way


    Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer walks the sidelines during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Wisconsin in Indianapolis in 2017.

COLUMBUS, Ohio >> Ohio State coach Urban Meyer returned to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center today for the first time in a month, arriving before dawn for a staff meeting.

Under the terms of his suspension by Ohio State , Meyer can be on campus, talk to assistants and conduct practice, but he is required to disappear for the 24-hour period surrounding the next two games. He’ll be back on the sideline for the Sept. 22 home game against Tulane.

Players were off today so Meyer won’t see most of them until practice Tuesday afternoon.

“Coach came back today, we had a meeting early this morning, he met with of the players, so things are back to normal,” acting coach Ryan Day said during his news conference. “Obviously he won’t be there for game day, but everything else is back to normal.”

Day was put in charge when Meyer was put on paid leave and then suspended by the university for his mismanagement of now-fired assistant coach Zach Smith, who was accused of domestic violence and other troubling behavior.

Day led the Buckeyes to an opening day 77-31 rout of Oregon State on Saturday, a game in which new starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. threw for five touchdowns but also raised questions about a defense that gave up several big plays to the overmatched Beavers.

Meyer will be in charge during the week, and Day will manage the next two games from the sideline. The co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach typically works from the press box on game day.

“We’re just going to kind of pick it up from when coach was here,” Day said. “He’ll be with the team on Friday, he can’t be with them on Saturday, but other than that we’ll keep the routine.”

The Buckeyes will be heavy favorites again Saturday when they host Rutgers, but will get an early test against TCU in Dallas on Sept. 15.

Day smiled when asked about Meyer’s critique of the Oregon State game.

“I think his comment was, ‘You only had to punt once, huh?’” Day said.

Defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said Meyer didn’t waste any time this morning.

“It was good,” Schiano said. “Excited to have him back, everybody is. Coach is a very focused guy, as you know, and we got it done, got back to it.”

Day received high marks from players for his running of Saturday’s game.

“He was just happy we stayed steady in the fold and believed in him,” receiver Terry McLaurin said. “He was just happy to be a part of the team.”

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