COLUMBUS (WCMH) — In December, Urban Meyer will travel the country via Ohio State’s private jet. He will visit recruits for the classes of 2019 and 2020. He will try to sell those players, and their families, on why they should trust him and OSU with their college futures.
And that’s where Urban’s credibility problem will show up the most.
After the OSU news conference Wednesday night, we learned Meyer was incredibly loyal to an assistant coach who showed zero appreciation or loyalty in return. Zach Smith was, in a word, bad. He was bad for the “culture” at OSU, something Meyer effusively praises.
Smith was not even necessarily a good coach. His receivers endured a miserable season in 2016, yet he remained on staff.
You know all about off his off-field transgressions. And Meyer admitted in his news conference his judgment on Smith was clouded by Urban’s close relationship with Smith’s grandfather, Earle Bruce.
That blind loyalty nearly ended the career of one of the greatest college football coaches of all time.
Urban will get what amounts to a third act in his career. After his Florida run, Meyer spent a year away from football, fighting for his family, priorities and his focus. When he returned at Ohio State, he took an already monstrous program to a new level. After this 3 game suspension, Meyer will get his next chance.
His reputation was destroyed nationally by how he handled this matter, including his news conference performance. You wondered if the man sitting on stage felt if he actually did anything wrong. You wonder if he believes Courtney Smith’s abuse allegations. Much is left to interpretation, and he’ll have time ahead to patch the holes, if he chooses.
But if he’s going to be Ohio State’s most visible figure for years to come, it starts with credibility. Will those recruits believe what he, albeit a football legend, has to say about himself and his school moving forward? Credibility will not be repaired overnight, or maybe even in a year. It will take good works, on and certainly off the field, to fill that gap.
Meyer has proven he’s a winner and he’s a fighter. Here’s hoping he fights for the right things from now on.