Urban Meyer finally talks Hernandez; says blaming him is ‘irresponsible’

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Urban Meyer, for one reason or another, has had a lot of splainin’ to do recently.

A report from Fox Sports earlier this week accused Meyer of “turning in” a former Florida assistant for a secondary recruiting violation, an accusation Meyer denied relatively quickly. Of course, that was nothing compared to the heat Meyer’s been taking in regards to the Aaron Hernandez situation, to which Meyer’s had no comment.

Until now.

In text messages to multiple outlets, including Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch, Meyer broke his silence on his supposed role in the Hernandez case as an enabler. Any blame directed toward him or Florida, Meyer said, is “irresponsible.”

“He was an athlete at Florida 4-to-7 years ago and there are some comments being made that are not correct,” Meyer said. “Our staff, myself and our families worked very hard to mentor and guide him. Prayers and thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim. Relating or blaming these serious charges to Univ. of Florida, myself or our staff is wrong and irresponsible.”

Hernandez, formerly with the New England Patriots, was connected to a 2007 shooting when he was just 17 and a freshman at UF, but police later said Hernandez was not a suspect and he declined to speak to police on the right to have counsel present. When asked about that shooting, Meyer said he was informed by an assistant that the players were questioned as witnesses and “I didn’t think about it again until a couple of days ago.

Still, there are many who question if Meyer did enough on his own to get to the bottom of the incident, and it’s a fair question to ask. Then there’s Meyer’s reputation for recruiting and playing athletes with questionable character during his time with the Gators. Add it up, and Meyer’s narrative as an enabler is as bad as its ever been.

That narrative doesn’t appear out of thin air. There has to be some reason for critics to believe the things they do. But the 2007 shooting, despite the release of the incident report, is still full of question marks as it relates to Hernandez. And it’s the only incident (that we know of) during Hernandez’s time with UF that even comes close to throwing up red flags predicting a future (alleged) murder.

Not getting busted for drugs. Not punching someone at a bar.

If Meyer knew more than he’s leading us to believe and there was some sort of cover-up for Hernandez, then that’s one thing. That’s not known for sure, though, and the rest — the drugs and the fights — doesn’t accurately predict an alleged homicide.

Until it’s proven Meyer knew more about the 2007 shooting, persecuting him for what happened to Odin Lloyd doesn’t make sense.

VIDEO: UCF head coach Scott Frost shows off wheels running the option as scout team QB

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In terms of accomplishments as a college football player, few coaches have the resume of Scott Frost.

After all, the now-UCF head coach won a national title back in 1997 with Nebraska and compiled a 24-2 record as a starter with the Cornhuskers. What made him so dangerous? Well, he was the perfect fit for the team’s triple option offense and was one of the best in terms of using his arm and his legs in leading the team to all those wins.

“I love option football,” Frost told the Associated Press “I lived it. I feel like option quarterbacks now are kind of like giant pandas, they only exist in zoos and military academies now.”

That’s particularly relevant this week, as his Knights are set to play Navy on Saturday in a huge AAC matchup that will have an impact on who receives this year’s Group of Five bid. Given how well the boss is at running the option, it seems he decided to put on a helmet and run the scout team offense to better prepare his defense for what they’ll see out of the Midshipmen and signal-caller Zach Abey.

From the looks of things, Frost still has it even if he’s got 20 years on his players.

Ohio State reportedly opting for all-gray alternate uniforms for Penn State game

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Recruiting never stops, even for a blue-blood like Ohio State. That’s one reason why the team is reportedly set to go with an all-gray alternate uniform for the team’s biggest game of the year when Penn State rolls into Columbus.

Team site Eleven Warriors posted that they have obtained images of the retail uniforms the Buckeyes are set to wear, which includes a top that is completely gray with only a sliver of scarlet for the team’s logo on the chest:

OSU opting for alternate uniforms in big games is nothing new for the program under Urban Meyer, especially since a new Nike deal kicked in a while back. They donned some for the Michigan game last season and have worn several versions in other contests. This latest monochrome look, which is still a report and subject to change mind you, still seems a bit bland all things considered.

If nothing else, it could make things very hard for the broadcasters despite all eyes being on the horseshoe for one of the most important Big Ten games of the year.

ESPN apologized to Washington over cupcake stunt during broadcast

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It seems that budding feud between ESPN, Washington and Huskies head coach Chris Petersen is starting to die down just a bit.

ESPN has apologized to the school for a stunt on a broadcast two weeks ago during the Washington-Cal game, in which commentators took the team’s weak non-conference schedule to task and used literal cupcakes to represent the Huskies’ opponents during the first few weeks of the season.

“I felt more like that was such a disrespectful move for the people we play,” athletic director Jen Cohen told the Seattle Times. “For those that do this, we do this because we love the kids. These are somebody’s sons, somebody’s brothers. They’re 18- to 22-year-old kids, and so I was more offended, not for us, as I was for our opponents.

“It was a class act (to apologize), and he made the right call.”

According to the Times, Cohen received a call from Peter Derzis, ESPN’s senior vice president of college sports programming and events, offering the apology.

As nice as the mea culpa was from ESPN, Cohen and Petersen were probably even more elated to hear the news that their October 28 game against UCLA was slated to be televised at 12:30 p.m. PT after an oft-criticized string of night games that made the head coach quite ornery last week. It might not make up for the fact that the team lost to Arizona State on Saturday but there are definitely a few baby steps being taken to repair the relationship between the school and one of the Pac-12’s primary broadcast partners.

Athletic director Tom Jurich officially fired by Louisville board

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It’s official: Tom Jurich is out as Louisville’s athletic director.

The Cardinals board of directors voted 10-3 to oust the embattled AD on Wednesday afternoon, completing a pair of sweeping changes in the department following the growing college basketball scandal that has enveloped the school. Once one of the most powerful people in college athletics, Jurich was fighting to remain in his job ever since he was placed on administrative leave after the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York announced details of a wide-ranging investigation.

Vincent Tyra will continue to serve as acting athletic director until a permanent hire is made.

Perhaps the biggest effect on the football program following Jurich’s ouster is on the contract of Cardinals head coach Bobby Petrino. Notably, his buyout is set to be halved if Jurich was ever fired… which means it could be more likely he leaves the school this offseason for another job. Given potential openings such as Tennessee, it’s not out of the question that the halving of the buyout will come into play for some schools if the dominoes fall in the right way to allow somebody to hire Petrino away.

Oh, and for those wondering, yes that is indeed the Papa John of the pizza chain fame who voted to fire Jurich on Wednesday.