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Urban Meyer opened up at Big Ten Media Day, but will anyone listen?

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We’ve cited it before and we’ll cite it again: according to the New York Times, 31 players were arrested under Urban Meyer at Florida. Some of the arrests were of your basic boys-will-be-boys variety, while others were far more disturbing.

But by adding them all up, Meyer’s developed a bad reputation — fair or not — as a lenient coach who cares more about winning than discipline.

Speaking at Big Ten Media Day, Meyer didn’t even attempt to defend himself against the narrative that unfairly went to a new level with the arrest of former New England Patriots and UF tight end Aaron Hernandez.

I don’t worry about my reputation, I worry about my players,” Meyer said in response to one of several questions related to off-the-field headlines. In fact, there was only one question — one — about how the Buckeyes might perform as preseason national title contenders in 2013. The rest? They centered around Carlos Hyde, dealing with behavior problems, “turning in” Florida for a secondary recruiting violation, and the like.

Meyer had to know those questions were coming. He certainly conducted himself in a way that indicates he’d prepared for them. The second-year Buckeyes coach never got angry and he didn’t call out reporters. More importantly, he didn’t administer blame to anyone or play a victim. Perhaps the closest he came to that was admitting “It’s been a rough couple of days,” toward the beginning of his opening statement.

But that comment set Meyer’s tone for the entire Q&A. It was not one made out of martyrdom, but seemingly, openness. Meyer was reflective and anything but shy, with words like “evaluating” coming up more than a few times. There are plenty of qualities you can debate about Meyer, but he is unquestionably constantly looking for ways to improve.

Even, according to him, in the off-the-field department.

“I want to make sure our discipline is as hard or harder than anything out there,” Meyer said.

Critics can… and will… and already have… scoffed at that statement. But even if Meyer has evolved in his approach to player discipline — he says he has, and wondered aloud if he gave some players too many second chances — the narrative is so strong that few will likely change their opinion about him. That’s the reality that Meyer will deal with for the rest of his coaching days.

The only thing Meyer really can control is how he affects his players, something Nick Saban praised Bear Bryant for during SEC Media Days. The embattled Ohio State coach understands that as well as anyone.

“A head coach needs to set a standard, direct, push,” Meyer said. “But ultimately every person is responsible for the decisions they make.”

Including Aaron Hernandez.

Is Meyer guilty of giving some players one too many chances despite their poor decisions? Sure. Name a coach who isn’t (besides Nick Saban). As Meyer explains, it’s similar to dealing with his own children. Has his approach to off-the-field issues changed? We’ll find out soon enough. For all we know, Meyer may be yanking our collective chain. I would venture to guess that plenty of people think he is. And maybe they’re right.

But here’s something we do know Meyer is being truthful about:

“I’m a human.”

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35 Responses to “Urban Meyer opened up at Big Ten Media Day, but will anyone listen?”
  1. blackhawks2010 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:18 PM

    Urban Meyer would recruit Satan if he could run a 4.4 40…

  2. bucrightoff says: Jul 24, 2013 3:25 PM

    I mean he is right when he talks about personal responsibility. Like when you foster a culture that consistently looks the other way when impressionable young men do irresponsible/immoral/illegal things, you can’t complain when people call you out for it.

    Maybe Urban will change, but I doubt it. His primary goal remains winning, and as such that means he’ll continue to take on players of questionable character if the talent level is high enough.

  3. Mike Ford says: Jul 24, 2013 3:49 PM

    This is so typical and what I have learned to despise about the media: Obsessing on ANYTHING that has traction until it no longer has traction.

    As an Ohio State fan, I am interested in what I’ve heard less of: Preview content for the upcoming season. If I want sensationalism, I can get that anywhere. Thanks media for ignoring the important stuff of the day – Media Day is about the season, not peripheral crap.

  4. nepo784 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:54 PM

    Corrupt and classless

  5. kinggator says: Jul 24, 2013 3:55 PM

    If he recruited a bunch of choir boys and OSU (or UF) went 8-4 he be fired and chased out of town by a bunch of angry fans and alums.

    The goal is to win, the trick is to do it enough that the fan base and media are distracted by it so they ignore the ugly part of college sports. (i.e. arrests, lack of academic progress, recruiting violations, etc.) Thanks for the two BCS titles at UF Urban. Now the rest of the BIG 10 can get their collective “shine boxes”.

  6. dkhhuey says: Jul 24, 2013 4:30 PM

    I love the fact that Urban Meyer doesn’t care about his reputation because it would be a pointless and futile activity and a complete waste of time! Like Woody Hayes and countless other great coaches – their reputation outside the program and in the media is usually vastly different from the one they have earned from colleagues, friends, coaches, associates, and players!

    People who love Urban Meyer will continue to do so and no matter what he does, those who hate him will continue to do so! He could donate his entire earnings to charity and still those who hate him would say he was doing it for any other reason but to be charitable! It is what it is and

    Personally, I am glad he is the coach of Ohio State opposed to kicking the sh!t out of them in the NC game!

  7. dkhhuey says: Jul 24, 2013 4:32 PM

    @king – love the Goodfellas reference!!!

  8. MasMacho says: Jul 24, 2013 4:42 PM

    Of course nobody will listen. This is America, where we are encouraged to stereotype everyone and convict at the first sign of trouble, with no hope of redemption without self-shaming.

    And after all, it is Urban, a guy with success in every context (anyone calling Alex Smith a cheater?), vs. internet trolls. The anti-Urban vitriol exists on the Internets, ESPN and other manufactured controversies.

    Fortunately, the people that interact with him daily and know the man understand differently.

  9. friarjack61 says: Jul 24, 2013 5:06 PM

    Major Problem: The schools are recruiting jocks !
    They do not deleve into the character, background, nor the close friends of the recruit, to learn the truth about how any recruit might possibly behave on campus. If the Dallas Cowboys could have institited, years ago, a requirement that every draftee take personality tests, and complete background tests, as is done in the business world, why cannot the schools, and/or the NCAA, do the same ? …..especially since there are far too many issues of criminal and non-student behavior by an ever increasing number of jocks……who, it appears, that almost all, are on campus to play a sport, and not there for an education.

  10. floridacock says: Jul 24, 2013 5:31 PM

    Understand this is a blog, but I am not a Big 10 or Urban fan, but this is just another case of the press trying to make and shape news instead of reporting it.

  11. normtide says: Jul 24, 2013 5:41 PM

    Not an OSU fan. Not even close to being an OSU fan. Don’t care if they win or lose, unless they are playing an SEC team.

    This is getting stupid. Don’t kid yourself, Urban isn’t a professor, he is a coach. So is the coach of everyone’s favorite team. If your coach doesn’t win games, he will be fired, regardless of his players demeanor. A player is responsible for his criminal actions. Stop making excuses for bad behavior, because that is what your doing. People do stupid things, because they are stupid. It really is just that simple.

  12. sportsguy88 says: Jul 24, 2013 6:55 PM

    I want to know who says “boys will be boys.” The only time I heard someone use that phrase seriously was in a “prevent sexual harassment” at the workplace video.

  13. seamus0317 says: Jul 24, 2013 7:05 PM

    Urban Legend lives!

  14. ohiogator says: Jul 24, 2013 7:31 PM

    You can bash Urb all you want….the fact is youd take him in a heartbeat and you know it! Haha don’t hate on the dude because he can recruit and is one of the best coaches in the country!

  15. niallofthenine says: Jul 24, 2013 8:31 PM

    Ohiogator. No Michigan would not take him. Or any other Big school. Your arrogance of taking this type of coach will come back to haunt this school. Please take your school and leave the Big 10.
    Do the numbers 44-58 mean anything to you?

  16. cbass59 says: Jul 24, 2013 10:20 PM

    Niallofthenine,

    Yes, Michigan has the overall record. However, Michigan won 18 of 20 games in the 1920s and 30s, before your dad was even born. What is the record in games in your lifetime or in games since you started watching? My guess is your frustration level from watching losses to OSU is much higher than the overall record might suggest.

    Also, you may think Fat Joke is the next savior (like you did when Rich Rod was hired) but he’s no Urban Meyer. Compare accomplishments.

    And I’ll remind you that OSU’s 6-7 record in 2011 was one of their worst seasons in the last 100 years. How many seasons in the past decade did Michigan have with less than 6 wins?

    Go save your bankrupt, rundown, crime-filled city (DET) instead of trolling on OSU articles.

  17. atmason says: Jul 25, 2013 2:55 AM

    Urbie is already well on his way to burn-out, just after two years at OSU.

  18. cfballfan1 says: Jul 25, 2013 8:09 AM

    You cant take anything Urban Liar says at face value -especially with cameras rolling.

    He may have a future in politics after his next coaching ‘burnout’.

  19. florida727 says: Jul 25, 2013 9:03 AM

    Face it, everybody hates a winner… unless he’s YOUR winner. Urban’s no different. As others have said, if he coached your team, you’d be his biggest fan. To the idiots that constantly refer to him as “Urban Liar”, do me a favor, list his lies. And don’t bother with the ‘he left coaching for family reasons’ or ‘he left Florida for health reasons’ lines. Both were true… AT THE TIME. Personally, I hate that he left Florida. He was revered here, and rightfully so. He brought TWO national titles to Gainesville. If he brought them to YOUR school, you’d love him too. Critics need to get off this guy’s @$$. Plain and simple. Commence with the thumbs-downs. But you would love him IF you had him.

  20. mediocrebob says: Jul 25, 2013 9:49 AM

    First of all, he’s right. I’m not going to listen to anything cUM says. I don’t like liars. I don’t want to hear about any “health issues” or other BS.

    Secondly, every OSU fan ripped cUM before he came here for being dirty and a cheater. I understand he’s your coach but by just accepting the fact he’s going to bring criminals BC he’ll win games? Come on now. If he’s as great of a coach as you all claim him to be, he shouldn’t need half his team getting into legal issues. There are problems everywhere, but it’s funny that where cUM goes, trouble follows.

    You can look passed it if you want and call me a “hater” all you want. Truth is I liked OSU under Tress. But turning a blind eye is funny considering your take ok cUM before he came to Columbus.

  21. tony34343434 says: Jul 25, 2013 10:05 AM

    heard urban’s going to hire A. hernandez as the new compliance officer at Ohio State!

    Urban is everything wrong with college football, win at all costs, either break the rules or get close enough to break them. Ohio state is just as bad, thousands and thousands of violations and to solve the problem and clean up the program they hire Meyer, great choice!!!

    it is supposed to be a university not minor league football, most of the universities have to realize that, all the SEC, USC, Etc. or just stop the kids from going to class pay them and be done with it.

    Winning the right way is so much more satisfying!

  22. bigbuckeye76 says: Jul 25, 2013 10:10 AM

    Normtide hit it 100% square..

    As for niallofthenine….you are clueless (like most Michigan fans), scUM would not take Urban? Are you serious? Your “superior” school had to BEG for a coach after all the “Michigan Men” turned down their Alma Matter. You wanted Les Miles….yeah, he is a saint.. You ended up with Rich Rodriguez…who got cought cheating (yes, practicing longer than other teams IS cheating, selling your own possessions is NOT).

    I would love for OSU to leave the BIG….this joke of a conference that only relies on the FORMER glory of teams whos players are mostly dead. What a tremendous insight into the average Michigan fan, they sit around all day and talk about National Championships that occured before the Great Depression (self appointed by the way) and how many total wins they have (which includes high-school teams…can you believe that).

    OSU should move to the MAC, we would have a far tougher schedule.

  23. niallofthenine says: Jul 25, 2013 10:30 AM

    BigFatBuckeye
    No we would not take Urban Liar. You will pay the price for going “to the crossroads and making the deal.
    44-58 is the record. Deal with it. Just because you Ohioans didn’t figure out football was better than bangin farm animals doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. That would be awesome if you left the Big. All the Big programs would celebrate.

  24. CBFAN says: Jul 25, 2013 11:10 AM

    Of course all the Big programs would celebrate if Ohio State left the Big. They would be celebrating the fact that they might have a chance at a conference championship without Ohio State standing in the way. LOL….

  25. mediocrebob says: Jul 25, 2013 11:26 AM

    Osu has yet to play in the B1G championship game…

  26. CBFAN says: Jul 25, 2013 11:34 AM

    Really Mediocrebob? I think we all know who the best team in the B1G was last year.

  27. cbass59 says: Jul 25, 2013 1:05 PM

    Will one of the haters please tell me what any coach would have done differently to stop Hyde and Roby?

    Nailofthenine,

    What priced are we paying? OSU will still beat Michigan, with or without Hyde and Roby. It doesn’t matter. We don’t lose to Double A teams and except for one game in the last decade, we don’t lose to Michigan (the state who’s biggest city is a crime-filled dump that just went bankrupt).

  28. cbass59 says: Jul 25, 2013 1:09 PM

    Mediocre bob,

    You are correct. OSU has not played in the B1G champ game. But they will likely dominate the conf over the next decade. Why is everyone picking them to win it easily this year? Michigan doesn’t have any scholarship restrictions yet OSU is picked to win the conf? Weird.

    I agree with the post above that OSU should leave the B1G. I’d rather play in the SEC with actual competition (but save homecoming for Michigan).

  29. mediocrebob says: Jul 25, 2013 2:13 PM

    Yeah they should dominate the B1G. It’s pathetic if they don’t. They shouldn’t lose a game in the next 2 years. That has more to do with who they play. Their out of conference schedule is every bit as pathetic as their conference is.

    And I was just stating that the bucks haven’t been to the B1G championship game yet. It hurts. I know.

  30. niallofthenine says: Jul 25, 2013 2:15 PM

    44-58. Losers. pOSU. (piece Of Shit University)

  31. CBFAN says: Jul 25, 2013 3:10 PM

    Niallofthenine….You are so witty, to come up with something like pOSU is genius. You must be a UM grad.

    Listen, I feel for you. Your team has had nothing for so long and there is no foreseeable change. Must be difficult to be a UM fan, realizing that the program is a shell of what it once was.

  32. cbass59 says: Jul 25, 2013 8:25 PM

    Nisllofalltime, keep clinging to that all time record. It’s all you got. Too bad you’ve likely watched more losses to OSU in your lifetime. And by the time Urban retires, OSU will be on top.

    Again, go save that armpit of a city named Detroit. You know, that city that’s so dangerous the locals tell me not to go out at night when I’m there for work. Oh and the largest bankruptcy in US history.

  33. grcarlson12 says: Jul 26, 2013 11:06 PM

    When you coach at a second level school (UF) in a conference that doesn’t care about academics (SEC). Where winning is everything. Then you take who you can get. Even if they are thugs.

    I think Urban is smart enough to know that at a first rank school (OSU), in a conference that cares about academics (BIG10), you can be more selective and still field a first class football team. At OSU Urban is under a microscope. He knows that.

    Meanwhile the press still has to produce a column every day and promote controversy so as to get hits on their website. And so on and so on and so on…….

  34. normtide says: Jul 26, 2013 11:12 PM

    Wow, someone is begging for attention.

  35. niallofthenine says: Jul 30, 2013 1:31 PM

    cass69
    “Keep clinging to the all time record”? Please tell me what else is there?
    Big Championships ? UM 42 Ohio 34. Is that ok?
    How about National Champs? UM 11 Ohio 7. Good?
    All time win %. UM .734 Ohio .716. Should we use that?

    Nah. Head to head is what matters: UM 58 Ohio 44
    We’ll even count the Maurice Clarrett days.

    Really? Bashing Detroit when you have Cleveland. That’s what you come back with? Weak.

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