Media Days Won’t Be Kind to Urban Meyer
As if Aaron Hernandez, the murder suspect who once played for Urban Meyer at Florida, wasn't going to make things uncomfortable enough for the Ohio State head coach, discipline issues with four Buckeye players have also hit just ahead of Big Ten Media days. Meyer's punishments of these recent offenders might give him some talking points, but it won't spare him the likely grilling he's going to face by the assembled media.
Before Hernandez or any of the OSU players made news, this headline ran in USA Today over a year ago, "Urban Meyer's tenure at Florida was full of off-field issues". The story references overlooked positive drug tests. It references a report that star playmaker Percy Harvin assaulted the team's wide receivers coach and was not disciplined. After landing at Ohio State, Meyer apparently told a star recruit that he wouldn't let his son play at Florida due to character issues in the locker room. Here's a damning quote about Meyer from a former player from his time with the Gators, "...he's a bad person. He'll win at Ohio State. But if he doesn't change, they're going to have the same problems."
And there are problems. Star Buckeye cornerback Bradley Roby apparently is facing misdemeanor battery charges. So far, his known punishment is that he won't attend Big Ten media days. That sound like more of a relief than a punishment. Freshman tight end Marcus Baugh is suspended from the opener against Buffalo after an alcohol-related incident. How will OSU compete? Incoming freshman offensive lineman Tim Gardner will not be part of the 2013 team after Columbus police charged him with obstruction of official business. It's perhaps worth noting that Gardner was one of the most lightly regarded recruits in Ohio State's recent recruiting class. Top running back Carlos Hyde is suspended after an arrest on assault charges against a female. It sounds like an opportunity exists for Hyde to return if he manages to escape conviction.
With all of the talk about the problems Meyer left at Florida, the lack of discipline of Hernandez, and now a quartet of issues before his second season in Columbus, discipline is sure to be a major topic of questioning for Ohio State's head coach on Wednesday. Anyone who thinks Bo Pelini was hasty in booting a pair of players from Nebraska after a single offseason altercation can see why the move can be necessary for anyone in it for the long haul. How Meyer handles the line of questioning Wednesday and any further discipline issues could mean a lot for the long term future of OSU football. Players and recruits alike will surely be listening.