Urban Meyer Returns, Discusses Zach Smith Situation, Suspension and More

By September 17, 2018 (12:36 pm)Football, James Grega
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After serving a three-game suspension, Urban Meyer returned to the podium at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Monday to address the media.

Meyer opened his comments by naming champions and players of the game from the TCU game, despite not being involved in the game day atmosphere, as he finished his suspension.

He also gave thanks to Ryan Day, saying, “His professionalism and what he has done is phenomenal.”

The Ohio State head coach was then peppered with questions concerning the investigation, his suspension and his handling of the allegations regarding Zach Smith. What follows are the main takeaways from his time with the media.

Meyer Notes:

  • Meyer named champions for the TCU game, adding Dwayne Haskins and Dre’Mont Jones were the players of the game.
  • “There was zero intent to mislead,” Meyer said of his comments at Big Ten Media Day.
  • Said he sent a mass text to Gene Smith, an assistant athletic director and sports information director Jerry Emig, wanting to make sure he addresses the media correctly.
  • “I have to to a better job of listening,” Meyer said of the questions asked to him at media day.
  • Meyer said he made the decision to hire Zach Smith as a coach because he had received high marks from his previous employers and because he had a reputation as an excellent recruiter.
  • When Gene Smith approached him with Zach Smith’s alleged domestic violence situation in 2015, Meyer said he informed Zach Smith that if he was found guilty of domestic violence, he would be fired “within minutes.”
  • After no charges were filed and the situation was described to him as a “messy divorce,” he decided to keep Zach Smith on staff. In addition, he decided to send Zach Smith to counseling and monitored him closely. Through counseling, Meyer said he was also informed Zach Smith was abusing prescription drugs at one point.
  • When Zach Smith was accused of trespassing, Meyer said he brought him in from vacation and was “very angry” with Smith. Was upset he had to hear about from outside sources and not from Zach Smith himself.
  • Meyer said he was “devastated” that he had to watch the first three games from home. Added not being there for training camp was more difficult.
  • “I only watched the good plays,” Meyer said about watching the games on TV.
  • “My love is unwavering to Ohio State, even more so now,” Meyer said of his relationship with the university and its leaders.
  • Meyer said his Twitter statements, especially early in the process of the investigation, came from things he was told by his family.
  • “I apologize for putting him in this situation,” Meyer said of President Drake. “I went too far trying to help a staff member with work related issues.”
  • “I can’t be more impressed,” with a coaching staff, Meyer said of the work his assistants did in his absence.
  • Regarding the reports of his memory loss, Meyer said he has had multiple procedures, including one surgery, to remove a cyst. Added, “I am very healthy.”
  • “I have never been perfect,” Meyer said of his coaching career.
  • “Did I turn my back to domestic violence? No. I would never do that,” he said. “I erred in going too far to help a guy with work related issues.”
  • “I did not hire the right guy,” Meyer said of hiring Zach Smith in 2012.
  • “I needed to ask more questions,” Meyer said of Zach Smith’s situation in 2015.
  • “I have not been that involved with the offense, I just give my ideas,” Meyer said.
  • Confirmed that Nick Bosa will not play against Tulane as he continues to get tests on his lower abdomen injury.
  • Meyer said he told the “two coaches” involved in the strip club report down in Florida that if that ever happened again, they would be fired.
  • Said he has sent out letters to recruits and families of players to try and mend the damage done to his reputation or the university. Reiterated that he and the program never turned their backs on domestic violence.
  • “To this day, I struggle with that,” Meyer said of trying to help troubled staffers, players too much.