Meyer vows to improve channels of communication

Tim May
In this April 14 photo, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer watches the NCAA college football team's spring game at Ohio Stadium. [File photo]

Since Ohio State started 3-0 under acting head coach Ryan Day, some assumed that Urban Meyer wouldn’t want to storm back in like a bull in a china shop.

“That’s a good way of putting it: bull in a china shop,” Meyer said Monday as he returned to full-time control of the team.

It was one of the few times he smiled during his first news conference since Aug. 22, when he received a three-game suspension.

Video: Administrative changes?

Meyer might not want to charge in and make adjustments to the football game plans, but in the wake of allegations of domestic abuse and unprofessional behavior by former receivers coach Zach Smith, it seems certain that he will more closely scrutinize his assistant coaches.

“I need to do a better job creating an atmosphere — football, especially during the season, is so intense. Obviously (I’m) a very intense focused guy,” he said of his demeanor. “And people need to feel comfortable coming to me if there are any scenarios or situations like this. I’ve started that process.”

He has said in the past he prefers to have positive news coming across his desk. So he was asked whether he thought that those under his command were reluctant to bring negative information — such as the revelation that Smith had sex with an administrative staffer in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, and that Smith had sex toys delivered there.

“I hope not,” Meyer said. “That’s something that (athletic director) Gene (Smith) and I have talked about that I need to do. I always thought I had that atmosphere. If someone was aware of somebody’s behaviors and did not bring it to my attention, I obviously have to work on that, and I have.”

When negative things have been revealed to him, such as the episode of Zach Smith and former OSU offensive coordinator Tom Herman, now the Texas coach, entertaining one or more high school coaches at a strip club in Florida during a 2014 recruiting trip, Meyer said he reacted immediately.

“When I was told what had happened, I was extremely upset,” Meyer said. “I called them into my office immediately. I told them they would be fired if it ever happened again. That day, I instituted a morality clause in the program.”

Now he said he intends to be even more vigilant, starting with the hiring process.

“When I was hiring (Zach Smith in 2012), I believed I hired the right guy,” Meyer said. “In hindsight, now I look back with all these other issues that took place during that time period, I did not hire the right guy.”


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