Coach Meyer speaks out on Hernandez

Since all of the Aaron Hernandez news started to break a few weeks ago Coach Meyer has done his best to stay out of the headlines. While many writers have dragged his name into the story to try and gather their own headlines and hits to their stories. I am choosing not to link any of these stories because they are sensational at best and almost entirely unfounded and under researched by the “media members” attempting to lay blame at the feet of Urban Meyer.

When asked about the case recently Coach Meyer declined to comment to respect the family of the slain victim/victims? Aaron Hernandez is being accused of many horrific crimes in the media but so far only accused of one actual murder in the actual Court of Law and not the Court of Public Opinion. Coach Meyer is a public figure and he has many detractors and although most in the OSU fanbase would jump on those bandwagons a few years back when he was at Florida and ruining Buckeyes NC dreams the truth is we didn’t know what kind of program he ran we weren’t privy to the day to day operations and how he handled his players and program. it can be argued we still don’t know fully how he has handled the OSU program but I can see with my own eyes the way he and his coaches spend time preparing the players for a future outside of football. How they bring their principles and beliefs to the program and share those with the players and hold them to those standards. The players are responsible for their own actions and are treated really well when they are doing well and are treated really badly when they don’t but in both cases you can see and feel the love Coach Meyer has for his players. You can sense how when bad things happens it weighs heavily on Coach Meyer and when they do great things how proud he is of his players.

Much of the criticism against Meyer is “Monday Morning Quaterbacking” looking back in hindsight and trying to judge Meyer on what he didn’t do and not what he did do. Some of the accusations against Meyer are incredulous and insane. I have seen people say that Meyer and Florida paid off the police not to charge his players with multiple shootings and assaults. As if it is just that easy to do and that no one in the police or State Attorney General office would notice Florida players getting a pass on murder charges.

Enough of my opinions lets read what Coach Meyer has to say in his own words. Again some on the “media” will twist these words or worse claim he is lying but they don’t have any proof of the contrary and are just spouting their personal opinions and NOT FACTS. So here thanks to Tim May at The Columbus Dispatch we have Coach Meyers own words on this subject….

“I’ve been, on purpose, staying away from this whole thing, but I’m not now,” Meyer told The Dispatch yesterday before embarking on a family vacation. And he added that, foremost, his “prayers and thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim.”
Yet aspersions have been cast in some media circles that the way Meyer and others tried to help Hernandez work through some of his personal challenges might have served to “enable” him. In a brief interview yesterday, Meyer refuted that claim and others:

Question: Have the recent personal attacks on you in relation to this case bothered you?

Answer: Whenever someone attacks your character, our staff — people aren’t aware of all the things we do in terms of being a mentor, dealing with issues and all that. Yeah, I have been avoiding talking about this because you’re talking about a serious crime; you’re talking about families that have been very affected by this. And to pull something back personal that isn’t true from four to seven years ago, that’s mind-boggling to me.

Q: Pat Dooley of The Gainesville Sun wrote a week ago that you and your wife, Shelley, welcomed Hernandez into your home at times back then, offering him family-style exposure among other ways of trying to show him the right path. Do you think now about what else you could have done?

A: Absolutely. When one of our (Florida assistant) coaches started recruiting him up in (Bristol) Connecticut, it was right after his father had died suddenly. There was a lot of emotional trauma with that. Years ago, that would weigh forever on my chest — “What could we do? What could we do?” Then I’d talk with other coaches, and in essence the conversation was you do the best you can. But at the end of the day, there is free will. You can’t change people. You can set the table and try to help them, make sure there is a spiritual component in their life, make sure there is a family atmosphere. And that’s what we try to do — it’s what we’ve tried to do everywhere.

Q: So how do you react when someone uses the term “enabler” to describe how you handled Hernandez?

A: When I hear that, the first thing I know is it’s not true. And second, I don’t spend much time thinking about it. I’m worried about my players and my team and my family. Years ago, (such criticism) used to bother me. That’s why I don’t read much anymore; I just stay away from it.

Q: What do you recall of Hernandez’s brushes with the law during his time at Florida?

A: Relatively speaking, he had very minor stuff. He was questioned about being a witness (to a shooting), and he had an argument in a restaurant (in which Hernandez allegedly struck an employee in an argument over an unpaid bill), and he was suspended one game (reportedly for a failed marijuana test). Other than that, he was three years a good player. That was it.

Q: It has been suggested that Hernandez failed four to seven drug tests in his time at Florida.

A: I just received an email from a friend where there is an accusation of multiple failed drug tests by Hernandez covered up by the University of Florida or the coaching staff. This is absolutely not true. Hernandez was held to the same drug-testing policy as every other player.

Q: In regards to the shooting incident, in which two people in a car were wounded, a police report surfaced that showed Hernandez and teammate Reggie Nelson were questioned but never charged. What do you recall of that episode?

A: I don’t remember his name in (the report). I remember it was about a one-hour discussion. One of my coaches came in and said, “Hey, they’re getting questioned for this.” … I said, “Well, what do I need to do?” And he said, “Nothing. They’re not involved.” And that was it. They weren’t questioned for (doing) the shooting. They were questioned as a witness.”

Q: You mentioned that your concern for Hernandez rose most when he occasionally would visit his hometown.

A: His people back home said, “Keep him (in Florida), don’t let him come back home” (because of what they saw as unsettling influences). That was a big part of it, now that I remember it. And I didn’t understand the seriousness of it. People warned me and the coaches warned me, saying, “He can’t go back home.” Again, though, I had no idea we’d be talking about what we are now.

Q: Many look upon college head coaches, despite a three- to five-year exposure with an athlete, as being quasi-parents responsible in part for how an athlete turns out.

A: Absolutely that is part of our responsibility. Now can it completely wear you out in worrying about what’s going on 24/7? Yes. But it is our responsibility. We represent the university. We’re like the CEO of a company, but the difference is we’re in the public eye. And then the stories that get told and printed, with the inaccuracies, that’s what just wears you out.

Our program, in my opinion, does as good of a job as anybody in America in involving families, making it a family atmosphere, getting to know our players and trying to develop our players in all areas of their life — social, spiritual, athletic, everything. Our coaches coach, but that’s a small part of it. … It’s why we work so hard on life after football with these kids.

tmay@dispatch.com
@TIM_MAYsports

In Case You Missed It

Brian Robiskie re-signed by Lions

Former Buckeye Brian Robiskie has been re-signed by the Detroit Lions after being briefly released by them last week. Details of the deal aren’t yet known but his re-signing most likely has to do with the new minimum salary cap put in place by the NFL. Robiskie hasn’t done much to think he has a shot at a starting position and with Nate Burleson (the person Robiskie replaced) coming back and whichever receiver the Lions take in the draft, Robiskie certainly has a lot of work to do to earn a starting spot.

Devin Gardner thinks he’s Colin Kaepernick 

Can’t wait to see what some veteran defensive lines think about that

Yes, the similarities are striking.

Receivers make a splash in Spring Game

Michael Thomas, who I mentioned in last week’s ICYMI again looked very good. However this is eerily similar to last year’s spectacular performance which failed to foreshadow the disappointing numbers he would put up in the regular season. Meyer said about him, ““He’s one of those guys that just makes these great plays and then makes mistakes… That’s just either lack of focus or it’s inconsistency, which great players don’t have.”

Chris Field’s on the other hand impressed enough to earn a starting spot. The senior scored touchdowns for both the Scarley and Gray teams and has been impressing all spring. “I’m going to name him a starter today,” Meyer said after the game. “I told him I would if he finished this spring (strong). Chris Fields has earned a starting job on the offense, which is amazing.”

 Location, location, location

Bob Hunter writes about the Spring Game, “There was still the sense that location is what really mattered, that holding the “game” in an NFL stadium in a city that never really has embraced the Buckeyes made this day special. It added spice that the scrimmage wouldn’t have had were it just another spring day with 70,000 watching practice in the Horseshoe.”

Mike Osiecki fired as OSU head hockey coach

The three-year coach was fired today after what athletic director Gene Smith called, “a difference of opinion over the management of the program that could not be resolved”. During his tenure Osiecki compiled 46-50-16 record. Assistant coach Steve Rohlik will take over in the interim.

Breaking Down the 2013 Ohio State Draft Class

Ohio State has a long-standing tradition of producing quality NFL talent. Since 2000, the program has produced more NFL draft picks than any other school, as 83 Buckeyes have had their names called by NFL teams since the new millennium. Though the program is not graduating any players who will be drafted in the top ten, a number of Buckeyes might be receiving phone calls before the name of Mr. Irrelevant is called on Saturday, April 27.

Below is a rundown of the ten Buckeyes who have a legitimate shot to be drafted or signed as a free agent soon after. Each player saw significant playing time at Ohio State, and has a chance to make an impact, to varying degrees, in the NFL.

Jonathan Hankins: Leading this year’s Ohio State draft class is Jonathan Hankins. The defensive tackle decided in December that the grass was greener in the NFL and bypassed his senior year for a chance to play in the pros. According to Dane Bugler of CBSSports.com, Hankins is a lineman with a “rare combination” of size, foot speed and strength. Hankins had a stellar junior year. In his second year as a starter, Hankins racked up 55 tackles, five tackles for loss and a sack. Big Hank was versatile at the position, demonstrating that he can fit into either a 3-4 or a 4-3 scheme in the NFL. He defends the run well and possesses good awareness and instincts. He will most likely be picked towards the end of the first round or at the start of the second. Hankins is not the best defensive tackle in this year’s draft class, but will make a nice prize for the team that chooses him.

John Simon: Few fans of the Scarlet and Gray can forget John Simon. The dedicated Buckeye who plays with passion and drive, Simon made a reputation for himself in Columbus. He was a consistent playmaker at OSU who could be relied upon for energy and big plays. Despite all of Simon’s positive qualities, he faces a challenge in the NFL. Too small to play defensive line and too big to play linebacker, he has already been deemed a “tweener.” In spite of this, Simon is an intriguing prospect for NFL scouts. Simply looking at his stats during his senior season could give a quarterback a case of the jitters. Simon totaled 44 tackles, nine sacks (first in the Big Ten), and 14.5 tackles for loss. He garnered the Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year and the Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year awards for his efforts. The intense lineman also earned All-Big Ten and 3rd team AP All-American honors. Over the course of his career, he started 37 consecutive games over three seasons before suffering a minor knee injury in the week prior to the Michigan game.
Known for his non-stop motor, Simon is a great tackler with “excellent recognition skills.” A relentless player, Simon is dedicated on and off the football field. Head coach Urban Meyer compared the talented athlete’s work ethic to that of the coach’s well-known quarterback at Florida– Tim Tebow. But as stated before, Simon is too small to play defensive line as he did as a Buckeye. This will hurt his draft stock. He will get used to sitting back in coverage and running one-on-one with backs and tight ends. This will be a major adjustment. In Pro Bowl practice, he looked like a “fish out of water,” according to Bugler. Simon doesn’t yet have the footwork needed to succeed at linebacker. He will need coaching to become a mainstay at the position. Regardless, Simon’s remarkable work ethic and motor will likely earn him a spot on an NFL roster. He is currently projected as a third rounder.

Etienne Sabino- Many thought when Sabino chose the Bucks that he would join a long line of great Ohio State linebackers. But the five star recruit out of high school never seemed to put it all together in college. Not to say that Sabino didn’t have a solid career, but he didn’t become the all-star he was projected to be. He also missed much of his senior year with a broken fibula. Sabino did manage 45 tackles, two sacks, four tackles for loss, a forced fumble and two interceptions in eight games, though. There are many NFL greats who didn’t shine in college. Sabino has the raw athletic ability to succeed in the pros. The linebacker “flies all over the field” and blitzes well downhill. Though he has to improve at processing information and taking good angles, Sabino will likely be taken around the fifth round.

Reid Fragel- The most memorable characteristic of Reid Fragel is his height. Standing at 6’8 and 310 pounds, Fragel is an imposing figure. A converted tight end, the Grosse Point Farms (MI) native played offensive tackle during Meyer’s inaugural season at Ohio State. Fragel recognized that tight ends don’t usually play a large role in Meyer’s offensive scheme, so Fragel made the transition to offensive tackle. He added 20 pounds of muscle in the offseason, bulking up while keeping his quickness. The switch was ultimately successful, as he provided a solid senior presence on the offensive line. Fragel performed well this season, never relenting his starting role. But going into the NFL, he is at a bit of a disadvantage. As one would imagine, his technique at the offensive tackle position is not refined to a professional level. But with time, Fragel can develop into a solid offensive tackle. One potential worry is an undisclosed injury that held him out of the Senior Bowl, but Fragel probabaly will still go off the board around the fifth or sixth round.

Zach Boren- Another player who flip-flopped positions his senior year, Zach Boren established himself as a leader at linebacker as the season wore on. Originally a fullback, Boren transitioned to linebacker early in the 2012 campaign, as Meyer’s offense doesn’t typically call for a bruising back. Since Boren played linebacker in high school, he soon readjusted to the position. He became a mainstay of OSU’s talented defense, growing into a fearless inside linebacker. Boren showed good awareness and agility at the position, posting impressive stats. He racked up 50 tackles, a sack and five tackles for loss en route to being named the team’s Defensive Player of the Year. Due to his late switch, it is unlikely that Boren will be drafted until the later rounds. At the very least, Boren should get a chance with an NFL squad as a special teams player, thanks to his tenacity and drive.

Jake Stoneburner- Though he did flirt with other positions, Jake Stoneburner was mostly used as a tight end at OSU. A tall, athletic player talented at catching and blocking, Stoneburner saw time as a tight end, H-back, fullback and wide receiver at Ohio State. While he didn’t rack up monumental stats his senior year (16 catches for 269 yards and four touchdowns), Stoneburner displayed a number of good qualities, such as “smooth” footwork, “tenacity” as a blocker and “excellent” body control. He had a good enough career as a Buckeye to at least earn a chance with an NFL team as a late-round flier. But repeated holding penalties and limited stats will hinder his draft stock. Right now, he is projected as a sixth to seventh round pick.

Travis Howard- A cornerback with some definite talent but some significant shortcomings, Travis Howard is a player who has the talent to play in the NFL but needs some work. Howard enjoyed a solid career with the Bucks, especially during his senior season. He recorded 40 tackles, six passes defensed and a Big Ten best four interceptions, earning him Honorable All-Big Ten honors. As he displayed in 2012, Howard has good ball skills and foot quickness. Though a bit lean for a cornerback at 6’1 and 198 pounds, Howard makes good reads and is aggressive in run support. But the playmaker has to work on his timing, positioning and discipline. He has the potential to be a contributor in the NFL, but must fix these areas of his game. Howard looks to be a third day pick, as he will likely go in the seventh round.

Nathan Williams- A defensive line/linebacker hybrid, Nathan Williams is, in a way, a lesser-known version John Simon. Williams is a physical tackler who plays with a lot of energy just like Simon, though Williams struggled with a knee injury during his time at Ohio State. He missed the 2011 season because of his knee, but worked his way back into the lineup in 2012. By the end of his senior campaign, Williams looked fully healthy. He certainly played like it, notching 40 tackles, two sacks and four tackles for loss on the year. Scouts may doubt about his ability to stay healthy, but Williams could improve his draft stock with a good Combine. As of now, he is projected to either be picked in the seventh round or go undrafted.

Orhian Johnson- A versatile safety who had to fight for playing time at Ohio State, Orhian Johnson is an intriguing prospect. During his career as a Buckeye, he not only played both safety positions, but also spent time at outside linebacker and cornerback. Though he often had to battle for playing time with higher-ranked recruits, Johnson always found a way onto the field. His size and athleticism certainly had something to do with that. With the talent he displayed at OSU, he could be a solid special teams player in the pros. But Johnson has some obstacles to overcome if he expects to play on defense. He needs to add some muscle, eliminate the “dumb” penalties he has been known to incur and also take better angles in run support. Still, Johnson should earn a spot on an NFL roster, whether he is taken very late in the draft or signed as an undrafted free agent.
Garrett Goebel- As a defensive tackle for the Bucks, Garrett Goebel posted impressive stats. During his senior season, he compiled 86 tackles, two sacks, 12 tackles for loss, two passes defensed and one fumble recovery. Goebel flew under the radar, though, as he was not well-known as a Buckeye. He has not been noticed too much by scouts, either. Though he started every game of his junior and senior seasons, Goebel will most likely not be drafted. He still has a shot to be picked up by a team via free agency, though. Goebel will have to establish himself on special teams or on the practice squad before he gets a major opportunity with an NFL team.

Information from CBSSports.com, OhioStateBuckeyes.com and NFL.com was used in this article. Phrases in quotation marks are words used by Dan Bugler of CBSSports.com.

Week #15 Open Thread

With the dearth of posts around these parts, you’d think the college football season had ended. Sure, it ended for the Buckeyes 2 weeks ago, there’s still a lot of football being played. Man, did this season fly by. Here’s our last chance to hold on to that sweet nectar that is our favorite sport. Enjoy it while you can, especially before BCS Hate Week starts in earnest tomorrow shortly after the Bowl Selection Show.

Here’s our last regular season Open Thread. Feel free to fill the comments with whatever is on your mind. Like: “What is up with those Army uni’s?”

Update:
Yes, there is some great football going on, but Michigan just upset #4 Duke (talk about mixed emotions) and Ohio State is beating #7 Notre Dame at last check. I don’t have ESPNU for the same reason no one else does, so I’m just watching the ticker when I get a chance.

Updated again:
I’ll be honest, I didn’t think that Alabama, at this point in the third quarter, would be in this game. But after a drive that took over half the third quarter, the score is tied 17-17. I don’t think anything would make me happier than seeing Urban Meyer lose. (Update – And of course, Florida rips off 14 points like they’re free)

Oh, and congrats to the Buckeyes on upsetting two top-25 teams this week, beating Notre Dame. Also, congrats to Teh ESPN for preventing just about everyone in Buckeye Nation from seeing it. Why, again, do we have the Big Ten Network?

Week #5 Open Thread

This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but have just now gotten around to it. Feel free to use this as an open forum to comment on everything else going on this fine Saturday of College Football.

Right now, two major upsets brewing, both involving hated Florida Teams. Go Ole Miss!

Florida: 30
Ole Miss: 31

It’s parity in the SEC, people. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Holy CRAP! I leave for dinner at the half of the Wisky/UM game and come back to a huge upset? Luckily, those Baja Fresh tacos were worth it. What happened in the second half?!

Update: This PSU/Illinois is fantastic and the UGA/’Bama game is pathetic. Alabama is absolutely hammering the #3 team in the Nation. Oh that’s right. Forgot about that parity.

Pitcock retires after one year

FootballQuinn Pitcock, ex-OSU captain and All American defensive tackle (the one with the Wolverine blood on his thigh to your left), has announced his retirement from the NFL, after only one season with the Indianapolis Colts.

“After much deliberation and careful thought, Quinn resolved to retire from the NFL… Quinn is grateful for the opportunity the Colts gave him, and he wishes his teammates and the whole organization nothing but the best going forward.”

As of now, there are no reasons being given. However, rumors indicate that Pitcock simply lost his desire to play football, and didn’t want to mislead the team, where he was expected to be instrumental in the four-man rotation at DT this season.

 

Don’t worry, Manningham can’t read this

Michigan’s proudest WR, Mario Manningham, managed to score a 6 on the NFL’s Wonderlic intelligence test.

6.

An average score on the Wonderlic is 21, right were OSU’s Vernon Gholston landed. That’s supposed to represent an average IQ. But how bad is 6?

“Charlie Wonderlic Jr., president of Wonderlic Inc., says, ‘A score of 10 is literacy, that’s about all we can say.’ ” (Link)

But wait! Manningham still hopes to earn a degree one day:

“That was kind of hard, leaving without getting my degree, but I’m going to go back and get it.”

Uh, sure. Best wishes with all of that.

And before someone posts “Reggie Germany 0.0 LOLLERCOPTERSeleventy!1″ in the comments section, note that there is a huge difference between getting a 0.0 for not showing up to class, and going to college for three years without becoming literate.

Link – “More Wonderlic Scores”

Congrats, Big Guy!

All of us (including you, our faithful readers and fellow Gholston man-crushers) at the Men of the Scarlet and Gray congratulate Vernon Gholston on his selection as the 6th pick in the 2008 NFL draft, traveling down the Columbus — East Rutherford pipeline.

Kids say the darnedst things

“Look, daddy, a girl football player”

- My five year old daughter, watching Sports Center with me, watching a bit on Jeremy Shockey with his golden locks flowing out from under his helmet.

Weak, pathetic Colts embarrass themselves; division

FootballThe Colts are finally being exposed as an overrated team that doesn’t deserve to compete for the title. I mean, losing to a team with more losses than you? How pathetic.

Sure, they’ve won a Super Bowl title and competed in multiple AFC championship games over the past few years, but that’s only because they benefited from a weak schedule. Plus, the NFL playoff system is a joke anyway.

In fact, I think we should all agree that the Colts should never be allowed to compete for the title ever again. The fact that they have contended for the big game multiple times in recent years, but only succeeded in winning one title, is proof that the team is an embarrassment to everyone in its division. After all, it doesn’t matter how good you are year-after-year, only how many Super Bowls you have won.

Peyton Manning is a decent caretaker QB, but he’ll never be able to compete against his foes. They’re faster. Besides, his numbers were clearly built up on that soft competition.

Let’s just make the NFC championship game the Super Bowl from now on. The parity in that league is proof of its superiority.

Oh, and you fans of the Colts: You have nothing to be proud of. Your team is slow, and it loses games occasionally. You could save a lot of time if you just listen to the sports dumbdits and think what they tell you to.