CHICAGO—Two things you need to know about Urban Meyer. . .
1. He is 47-3 in Big Ten conference games. Think about that.
2. On Monday, he fired assistant coach Zach Smith, days after an Ohio judge issued an order that forbids Smith from coming within 500 feet of his ex-wife. Other domestic assault accusations against Smith were made in 2009 and 2015.
Both of those incidents were investigated, Meyer said: ``What was reported [in 2009] wasn't actually what happened. In, 2015, there was nothing.’’
This time, he indicated, there definitely was something.
``You gather information, get your mind right and then step up to do the right thing,’’ he told Big Ten media on Tuesday . ``That's the position I hold. It’s The Ohio State University. [It] is bigger than all of us.’’
Smith, who played for Meyer at Bowling Green and coached under him at Florida as well as Ohio State, is the grandson of the late Buckeyes coach Earle Bruce.
``Coach Bruce is the strongest relationship I've ever had other than my father,’’ Meyer said. ``I've made that clear many, many times. So the big picture, that was very important in this particular situation, you know, I think that's one of the hard jobs of a leader. You have to make decisions that are for the best of the program, and I did.’’
1 and 2.
Very difficult things to do.
WHY HARBAUGH HAS LOST HIS CHARM
One storyline at this year’s Big Ten Media Day: Why has Jim Harbaugh, who was always so entertaining in the past, become so. . . terse and boring?[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
One reason: The media is unblinking and Harbaugh has simply run out of eye drops.
Quick aside. . . While newspapers are failing in epidemic proportions, why are sports reporters multiplying like fruit flies?
In short, Harbaugh has pulled in the reins because he realizes the media’s appetite for him is insatiable. He doesn’t want to give 24/7. Who would?
The B1G reason Harbaugh isn’t as fun these days: He is, at bedrock, a competitor. He knows that all the ‘splainin’ in the world won’t change the fact that Michigan needs to beat Michigan State and Ohio State, and win championships.
Prediction: If the Wolverines can start Walking the Walk, Harbaugh will get back to Talking the Talk.
IS THERE AN UNDERLYING MEANING HERE?
A quick history of football media guides. . .
In days of yore, Big Ten Media Day was a bit of a weight-lifting exercise. Scribes would receive—and lug around—a giant stack of media guides, chocked full of statistics and full-color photos.
With the digital age came the debut of the flash drive. You could plug a little stick into your favorite USB port and—voila!— all the media guides would pop up on your laptop.
Now we have progressed to the downloadable era. Anyone—media, fans, Russian hackers—can quickly download the media guides of their favorite schools. This is not only handy, It means the Big Ten, which no longer needs to provide heavy printed books or little digital devices, has more shekels to spend on weight rooms and training-table beefsteak.
But here’s the thing: Two media guides were not available for downloading during Big Ten Media Days. . .
Missing: Michigan. And Michigan State.
Are Harbaugh and Mark Dantonio looking for an edge here? If so, what in the World Wide Web could it be?
THE THORSON INJURY. . .
Will quarterback Clayton Thorson, who suffered a torn ACL knee injury in Northwestern’s bowl game, play in the Wildcats’ perilous Aug. 30 opener at Purdue?
“My goal has always been to play and our doctors are doing a great job of putting me in the best chance to do that,’’ Thorson said. ``I’m setting myself up in a good spot to do that. Sometimes things are out of my control but I’m starting to feel like myself again. I’ve been cleared for everything in camp.”
Camp is one thing. Purdue is another. That decision will be made by the team’s medical staff. Don’t be surprised if it’s announced later than sooner. Fitz wouldn’t mind keeping the Boilermakers—and everybody else—guessing.
“I absolutely promise each and every one of you,” he told reporters, “that you will be the last to know.”
. . . AND FITZ’ PHILOSOPHY OF INJURY DISCLOSURE
The interesting part about that is, Fitz played it cagey not long after pledging allegiance to the concept of an injury report, in light of increased gambling.
``We have an injury report at Northwestern,’’ he said, ``that we've done for a number of years. I've been accused of sometimes being honest and sometimes being less than honest.’’
Although Fitzgerald generally is warm, engaging and candid in media relations, he almost always goes all-name-rank-and-serial-number when it comes to injuries.
Here’s how he gave himself permission to stay tight-lipped regarding injuries if a uniform injury report is adopted.
``If we move forward to where we have to have a fully transparent conference-wide or national one, I'd have no problem with that, as long as we adhere to it. There needs to be accountability. If there's not accountability to it, then I'll do whatever I have to do to protect our players, first and foremost, and protect our program second, in full disclosure of transparency.’’[/membership]