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Ohio State AD Gene Smith believes Urban Meyer is done coaching

Rumors of Urban Meyer to USC are floating around, but the Ohio State athletic director thinks Urban Meyer is done coaching.

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Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual - Washington v Ohio State Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

“I have a hard time believing that. Is it possible? You can never say never. He’s still young.”

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith on rumors of former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer coaching again via George Schroeder, USA Today

Even before Urban Meyer closed out his Ohio State coaching career at the Rose Bowl, there was speculation at the next spot where Meyer would coach. Even though Meyer cited health issues as the reasons why he was stepping away from the sidelines, many people saw parallels of how things ended for Meyer at Florida, with the head coach taking a year off before taking the Ohio State job.

The hot rumor when it comes to Meyer’s future is he’ll be the next coach at USC after the school finally moves on from current head coach Clay Helton. The Trojans will have a couple former players recruiting for them, as Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart will be working this fall with Meyer at FOX, where the former Ohio State head coach will be a studio analyst.

While most people seem convinced it is only a matter of time before Meyer is back coaching, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith feels the opposite. Even though Smith reports that Meyer is in good health and isn’t experiencing of any of the painful headaches that he dealt with during the fall, it won’t bring Meyer back to the sidelines.

A big reason that Smith is so optimistic that Meyer is really done coaching is because he has a better understanding of how to stay busy. Not only will Meyer be working with FOX this fall, but he is also Ohio State’s assistant athletic director. Who knows how Meyer might feel once college football returns in the fall, but Smith thinks Meyer is finally understanding there is more ways to make an impact than just being a college football coach.

“The more confident he became as a blocker, he runs off the ball more, so he creates more power. He plays with better leverage, so he’s a more competent blocker. He’s always been a good receiver, but he’s a more competent blocker and he’s doing a great job.”

Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson on tight end Jeremy Ruckert via Tony Gerdeman, The Ozone

Tight end has been a tough position for Ohio State to see a lot of production out of for years. When Jeremy Ruckert committed to Ohio State, it looked as if the Buckeyes might have a tight end who could be a game changer. In his freshman year, Ruckert didn’t do much to stand out, catching just one pass for 13 yards in 12 games.

Even though he didn’t put up any numbers, that doesn’t mean that Ruckert can’t still make a big impact for the Buckeyes going forward. Much of Ruckert’s freshman year was spent teaching him how to be a better blocker, which is something he didn’t have to do in high school. Heading into his sophomore year, Ruckert is making strides as a blocker and earning the praise of offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson.

As Ruckert becomes a better blocker, he’ll see more time on the field, which could also lead to a bigger role in the passing game. Ruckert improved throughout his freshman year, but he’s still going to have to put in a lot of work this year since Ohio State with every tight end of last year’s roster returning. Even with a number of tight ends competing for snaps, Ruckert has the talent to earn his spot, and is starting to become an even more complete player.

“Carton has the potential to be as good as Conley and Russell were in a Buckeye uniform, but that alone won’t determine whether he’s a one-and-done player.”

Stephen Means,

Ohio State has brought in a couple high-level point guards in the past 15 years, who outplayed expectations and left Columbus early. The first was Mike Conley, who teamed with center Greg Oden to lead Ohio State to the 2007 NCAA Championship Game. Many had expected Conley to stick around Ohio State for a couple years when he first arrived, but his performance throughout the year led him to enter the 2007 NBA Draft, where he was taken by the Memphis Grizzlies with the fourth pick.

The next top-rated point guard to come to Ohio State was D’Angelo Russell back in 2014. Even though Russell was a five-star recruit, there was a thought he might be at Ohio State for at least two years. All Russell did was turn into one of the best players in the country during his year in Columbus, leading the Buckeyes to the NCAA Tournament. Russell would end up entering the 2015 NBA Draft and was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the second overall pick.

Now, four-star guard D.J. Carton is on his way to Ohio State to take over at point guard for the Buckeyes. While there are projections of Carton staying in Columbus for two or three years, it’s possible he could exceed expectations and declare for the draft after the 2019-20 season. If Carton is able to match some of the production or Conley or Russell during his freshman season, it’d be hard for him to pass up the jump to the NBA.

What could help Carton stick around Columbus for more than a season is there are a number of elite point guards in the NBA, who possess more size than Carton does. Not that a talent like Carton wouldn’t be welcomed on any NBA roster, but he might have to show his skills for more than a year in college to see him become an early first round NBA Draft pick. Whether Carton stays at Ohio State for just a year or sticks around beyond that, he’ll be a delight to watch on the court, and his leadership will have the Buckeyes poised to make some noise once the NCAA Tournament rolls around.

Greg Oden will return to the basketball court this summer, as he was taken with the seventh overall pick in the BIG3 draft last night by the Aliens. The last time Oden played professionally came back in 2016, when he averaged 13.6 points per game, 12 rebounds per game, and two blocks per game in China for the Jiangsu Dragons. Following his stint in China, Oden returned to Ohio State to finish his degree and was the student manager for the men’s basketball team.

Oden came to Ohio State as the top player in the country back in 2006, finishing with 15.7 points per game, 9.6 rebounds per game, and 3.3 blocks per game for the Buckeyes, who would make the championship game of the 2007 NCAA Tournament before falling to Florida. Oden declared for the NBA Draft following his freshman season, and was drafted by the Portland Trailblazers with the No. 1 overall pick.

Injuries severely derailed Oden’s NBA career, as the big man played just 82 games over the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons for the Trailblazers. Oden made some strides in his second season in the league, finishing with 11.1 points per game and 8.5 rebounds per game in 21 games, but he wouldn’t play again until the 2013-14 season with the Miami Heat. The 23 games in which Oden appeared in for the Heat would be his last season in the league.

Oden has expressed a desire to become a basketball coach, but that plan will have to wait just a little bit now that he has been drafted into the BIG3. The former Buckeye will join Kendrick Perkins, Shannon Brown, and Andre Owens on the Aliens. This year will be the inaugural season for the Aliens, who are coached by Nate Archibald. If this year follows a similar schedule to the first two years of the BIG3, expect the league to begin their regular season towards the end of June.