Urban Meyer’s departure offers opportunity for Jim Harbaugh, Michigan—but also pressure

COLUMBUS, Ohio — After spending most of the first 25 minutes of his introductory news conference as the next head coach at Ohio State, 39-year-old Ryan Day turned his head to the left and fielded a question about recruiting. 

The question was aimed at Day and his legendary predecessor, Urban Meyer. It was about how Ohio State plans to move forward. The type of question the head coach answers. 

Day then turned to his right and looked at Meyer, deferring to him for an answer. 

"Ryan will be the head coach out recruiting," Meyer answered. "I'll visit with recruits on campus (until stepping down after the Rose Bowl)." 

If Ohio State's fortunate, Day will never look to someone else for an answer again. 

And if Jim Harbaugh is fortunate, Tuesday's news will finally shift the balance of power in one of football's most storied rivalries. 

Day became the official successor to Meyer on a strange day in Columbus on Tuesday, when Meyer announced he will step down at the end of the season, after coaching the Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl, and Day will take over after coordinating one of the most explosive offenses in the country this season. 

It was the end to a tumultuous year for Meyer, who was forced to battle through a legitimate medical issue and also a national media firestorm.

Meyer has spent the bulk of his career grinding toward becoming one of the greatest on-field coaches in the history of the game. He has three national titles — he had two when he took over a loaded roster at Ohio State in 2011 — and he has brought instant football credibility with him everywhere he has gone. 

And he also has owned Michigan.

But his off-field problems cut that tenure short. Meyer, 54, admitted Tuesday he'd thought about the close of his football career before entering his seventh season at Ohio State earlier this summer.

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