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Urban Meyer prepared Ohio State to be without him and it’s paying off

The base that coach Meyer built around the program has the Buckeyes cruising without him.

NCAA Football: Ohio State Spring Game Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

“The training that’s happened over the last year and obviously what Coach has done here for the six years leading up to this, there’s been a foundation set here. So when you go through something tough, if you have a good, strong foundation, then you can make it through the other side and that’s what’s happened.”

- Ryan Day via Doug Lesmerises,

This Saturday’s tilt against TCU marks the last game Ohio State will be without head coach Urban Meyer, serving the final game of his three-game suspension. Ryan Day, the acting head coach for the Buckeyes, has done a great job of keeping the team atop the polls and performing at a high level. Two blowout victories over Oregon State and Rutgers has Ohio State 2-0 heading into the game against the Horned Frogs. But while the Buckeyes aren’t really missing coach Meyer, there’s a reason for that.

Meyer has done an outstanding job of surrounding himself with exceptional assistant coaches, including Day. But it also includes guys like Greg Schiano and Kevin Wilson—all of which have head coaching experience. So while Meyer has been away, I’m sure the players can attest to things still running smoothly and on schedule. And while coach Day faces his toughest challenge against TCU, all signs point to him being able to meet any challenge.

“Well, it’s a big challenge. No. 1, it changes all the math. When the quarterback carries the ball and can do it well, then the defensive math changes. Really, playing good defense is getting people to the point of attack and then making the tackle. So when the quarterback runs it you need to get another guy to the point of attack. And on the passing downs, if he has the ability to scramble, you have to account for that. And [Robinson] is a very good runner.”

- Greg Schiano via Austin Ward, Lettermen Row

Ohio State’s defense has improved from its performance against Oregon State, but there’s always room to improve even more. And the Buckeyes will need to when they face Shawn Robinson and TCU on Saturday. The Horned Frogs’ quarterback is a dual-threat who can make defenses pay, as he’s showcased so far this season. The secondary will be tested, and Jordan Fuller will be a big part of that. Kendall Sheffield, Damon Arnette, Jeffrey Okudah and company will have their hands full with trying slow down TCU.

Robinson leads the Horned Frogs in both passing and rushing yards this season, with 336 of those yards through the air and 112 on the ground. He’s also accounted for seven of TCU’s touchdowns. Robinson’s ability to run will likely keep the linebackers busy as well, with Pete Werner, Baron Browning, and Malik Harrison among others.

“We are just going to try to find ways to get him [Shaun Wade] on the field. So he can play corner, he can play in the nickel as he did this week and I think eventually he’ll be able to play at the safety position. That’s good for him because that’s as many opportunities as you can have in the secondary to play”

- Greg Schiano via Bill Landis,

If you watched the Rutgers game, especially in the second half, one player that might have stood out on defense was defensive back Shaun Wade. Wade had an injury last season that kept him out for the whole year, but now he’s back and is in contention for that second safety spot alongside Fuller. Isaiah Pryor and Jahsen Wint are also competing for the spot, and both have had their moments in games. But against the Scarlet Knights, Wade stole the show with a couple of tackles and, most importantly, a really nice interception.

Pryor seems to be the favorite for the job as of right now, but should Wade keep pushing, it’s worth keeping an eye on this battle for the remainder of this season. And with the game against TCU sure to test the defense, we could see some rotation in the secondary to try and mix things up.