Off-Field Woes Follow Meyer to Chicago
By Rob Ogden
Photo by Dan Harker
Urban Meyer’s voice dripped with disappointment as he bluntly described the events of the past few days surrounding the Ohio State football program.
“In the last 12 months we've had three legal issues, and it all happened in three days,” Meyer said in response to a question posed to him at Big Ten Media Day in Chicago on Wednesday.
“I think furious might be the word that would best describe when I first got the phone call, because, like I said, for 12 months it's been really, really good.”
Eight of the 11 questions asked to Meyer during his media session were regarding off-the-field issues at either Ohio State or Florida.
The questions came in the aftermath of what has been a turbulent week for the Buckeyes. On Monday, news broke claiming that starting running back Carlos Hyde had been kicked off the team for an altercation that occurred over the weekend involving a woman in a bar.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Starting cornerback Bradley Roby was arrested over the weekend for allegedly punching a bouncer outside a Bloomington, Ind. bar.
Freshman tight end Marcus Baugh was suspended for the opening game because of an arrest for underage consumption while freshman lineman Timothy Gardner was removed from the team entirely for a police altercation.
Recent reports on Hyde have painted a different story, claiming that a surveillance video vindicates the running back of any wrongdoing.
Meyer said he has not yet seen the video, and that he will wait for the all facts to come in before deciding whether to hand down any punishment.
Either way, the events have caused somewhat of a distraction as team discipline became a recurring theme as each coach stepped to the podium.
“It drives you insane that you have to deal with that nonsense,” Meyer said. “And I don't want a disruption for this team. The guys work too hard. To have a couple of knuckleheads make some decisions that reflect the entire program...”
Photo by Dan Harker
When asked whether he expected Bradley Roby to play this season, senior safety Christian Bryant, who attended media day in Roby’s stead, first said he would leave that decision up to Meyer. He later said that he did, in fact, expect Roby to be back, but that his teammates need to do a better job of staying out of trouble if they expect to accomplish their goals this season.
“Young guys in college making boneheaded mistakes,” Bryant said. “As a college athlete, you have to know your boundaries and know that there’s a microscope on you at all times.”
In order to prevent future discipline problems, Meyer said he would consider changing his staff’s summer schedules, leaving less time for freshman to be away from their coaches, and allocate harsher penalties than he has previously.
“The head coach needs a set of standards, needs to direct, guide, mentor, push and direct these guys,” Meyer said. “Ultimately, though, every young person – every person, not young person, every person is ultimately held accountable for the decisions they make.”
Senior offensive lineman Jack Mewhort said he didn’t think it was fair for the blame to fall on Meyer.
“He’s not walking with us everywhere we go,” Mewhort said. “He has a set of core values in place and we know them. He’s got a system in place that he expects us to follow.
“There’s so much positive going on in Columbus right now that it’s hard to focus on a couple speed bumps,” he added.
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