When Urban Meyer was hired in November of 2011, the Buckeyes had two head coaches for about a month while Luke Fickell prepared the team for the Gator Bowl.
This year, Ohio State once again has a pair of head coaches, with both Meyer and new head coach Ryan Day preparing the Buckeyes for the Rose Bowl.
In 2011, an NCAA rule allowed Meyer to go out and recruit for the Buckeyes, despite OSU having more than the permitted number of coaches.
Fickell stayed back in Columbus and worked on bowl prep.
This year, there are no extra coaches, but there is still a plan in place and it involves Ryan Day hitting the road and Urban Meyer staying home.
“Ryan will be the head coach out recruiting,” Meyer said this week. “I’ll visit with recruits on campus. And then I’ll have conversations with them if they feel necessary because I’m still really close with that class.”
Throughout Tuesday’s press conference, Meyer noted the importance of recruiting, as well as the urgency involved, given the timing of the announcement.
In fact, the early signing date was one of the reasons Meyer stepped away when he did.
“When recruits started asking me, ‘will you be here for four or five years?’ Recruits I’m very close with. And this early signing date has put pressure all over this world — the college football world,” Meyer explained.
“Ryan’s going to be in four states tomorrow, I imagine. He better be. Because we lost a week of recruiting. And the signing date’s coming up and over 92 percent of the kids sign on that date. Also, if you sign a scholarship and the coach decides to leave after that they’re free to go.
“People will say, ‘why would you let recruiting get in the way?’ That’s a silly question. That’s the blood — you want to have a good team you recruit. And you recruit very hard. So that put a little push on it. And to be honest, I didn’t want to mislead recruits.”
The immediate focus for Day and the OSU coaching staff, even while he was at the press conference announcing him as Ohio State’s new head coach, was on the recruiting that he would be doing later in the day.
“After we get done here, it’s going to be a sprint to get out and get in homes and get around some of the families,” Day said on Tuesday. “Obviously, a lot of relationships that are already built there. Some other ones, especially on defense, that maybe aren’t as strong yet. But the response has been great. The response has been strong. Excited to get on the road.”
The work must have been productive, as Day received his first verbal commitment as OSU’s head coach on Thursday from Cleveland linebacker Tommy Eichenberg.