Seriously. It just don’t get no worse than this.
Haters gonna hate, but Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is becoming somebody to like.
Lots of you don’t like him. What happened at Florida was so awful you’ll never get over it. Up to a point, I understand that. What happened at Florida will follow Meyer for the rest of his career, and that’s the way it goes. Decisions have consequences, whether you’re a college football player telling your girlfriend it’s time to die or whether you’re that player’s coach, telling him — and so many of his police-challenged teammates — that he can stay on your team.
Like I say, his story didn’t end at Florida. Lots of people can’t be bothered to process new information, but there is new information here. Urban Meyer is not what he was.
In fact, Meyer has changed so radically that part of me feels badly about bringing up his Florida era as early as I did. It might look like I’m still hammering him for Florida, but that’s not the case. To show how far a person has come, you can’t just show where he is. You have to show where he was. There’s a before, and there’s an after. Before? Urban Meyer was lax on discipline at Florida.
After? Urban Meyer has become as tough as any coach in big-time college football. And he’s become a lot tougher than you, Les Miles.
Wait – here comes the punch line. Urban Meyer has turned over a new leaf and is now a disciplinarian, because…
Meyer just suspended two of his best players, safety Bradley Roby and running back Rod Smith, for the team’s opener against Buffalo. Haters gonna hate because it’s “just” Buffalo, but that’s the way the schedule falls. Would it be better for Meyer to let Smith and Roby play four games and then suspend them for the Buckeyes’ Big Ten opener against Wisconsin on Sept. 28? Of course not. That’s stupid.
Would it be better for Meyer to suspended Smith and Roby for five games, to make sure they miss the first four easily winnable games and then the truly difficult fifth? Of course not. That wouldn’t be fair to Smith and Roby. The schedule is what it is. The players screwed up when they screwed up. Life is like a golf course — you play it as it lies.
This is fair. More than that, this is beautiful.
Because Roby didn’t have to be suspended at all. From the beginning we had a rough idea of what he did in Bloomington, Ind., on July 21. When it was first reported, Roby was alleged to have attacked a bouncer outside a bar. He was arrested and charged with battery. Sounds bad.
What really happened — based on police reports and video — was that Roby was removed from the bar and then shoved by security three times outside. After the third shove, Roby tried to retaliate.
Quick aside: Being “removed from the bar” is not a good look. Something happened inside the bar, obviously. But what? Roby plays for Ohio State. He was in a bar in another college town — the town that is home to Big Ten rival Indiana. Whatever happened inside the bar, it isn’t why Roby was charged with battery. It was the stuff outside the bar, where the latest information suggests Roby was as much victim as perpetrator.
Meyer suspended him anyway.
Just like Meyer suspended Carlos Hyde even after police decided they didn’t have a case against him. Video is available of the Hyde incident as well, and it shows a woman swatting Hyde inside a bar and then him reacting … somehow. His hand goes toward her face. Did he push her head? Did he miss her? The video is inconclusive. The police dropped charges.
Meyer suspended him for at least three games.
Understand, Carlos Hyde is the best running back on the team, a guy who played 10 games last season and ran for 970 yards and 16 touchdowns. Bradley Roby is even better — a projected top-10 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Hyde faces no charges. Roby’s charges were downgraded and reportedly will be dismissed after he goes through a diversion program.
Meyer hammered them both. And also he suspended Rod Smith — who would have started at tailback, in place of Hyde — for an offseason rules violation.
Got that? He suspended the safety for the game against Buffalo, who went 4-8 last year in the Mid-American Conference, for scuffling with cops outside a bar he’d been thrown out of.
And he suspended the starting tailback for three games – against Buffalo, San Diego State (9-4 last year in the Mountain West, losses to Washington, San Jose State, Fresno State and BYU) and California (3-9 last year, fired head coach Jeff Tedford) – for hitting a woman in a bar.
This – from a coach who had THIRTY arrests (a dozen of them for felonies) in five years as Florida’s head coach when Doyel was giving him a Lewinsky (Did we mention Doyel is a Florida grad? Yeah, there is that) as the best coach in football.
The fact is, Doyel has never stopped fellating Urban Meyer, outside of one small outburst when Meyer’s last Florida team was doing poorly on the field. He certainly isn’t going to stop now. And he hasn’t.
Ohio State’s players were committing MULTIPLE indignities in barrooms in the offseason. That looks a lot like a thug program out of control, no?
Doyel’s columns castigate Les Miles for reinstating the one kid who threw a punch in a bar fight. We don’t know whether Jeremy Hill has been suspended for one game, two games or more for his having thrown that punch; all we know is that Hill will be a member of LSU’s team roster this year.
And meanwhile, Alabama had ANOTHER player arrested over the weekend. Doyel has absolutely nothing whatsoever to say about that; it’s been a constant drumbeat all offseason where Nick Saban’s players are wreaking havoc on the city of Tuscaloosa, and he’s either ignorant or struck dumb about it.
Instead, we get paeans to the virtue of Urban Meyer, whose departure at Florida was absolutely COVERED with rumors about his atrocious performance as a husband and father – rumors which were hardly dissipated by his having signed a “contract” with his kids essentially promising not to be a jerk – and whose reputation in the college football recruiting business is that of the dirtiest and most negative actor in the business.
Meyer spent the summer denying accusations that he covered up failed drug tests by former New England Patriots tight end and accused murderer Aaron Hernandez when the latter was a star in Gainesville. Hernandez’ draft stock took a plunge when he left Florida because the NFL teams all knew he was a gang-banger all the way back in high school and was a thug at Florida, but Meyer to this day denies he facilitated Hernandez.
This is the Urban Meyer that Gregg Doyel has resumed extolling the virtues of…because he’s not going to play his tailback and a safety against Buffalo. And in the case of the tailback, a couple other non-conference teams Ohio State is going to throttle with or without him.
And Doyel is slobbering on Meyer at Les Miles’ expense?
You might not be able to find douchebaggery in a dictionary. It’s a new word. Someday it will be in the dictionary.
With a picture of Gregg Doyel next to the entry.
CBS Sports should present its web readers with better fare than this.
We don’t often call for people to be fired. We’ll criticize what needs to be criticized, but demanding an end to someone’s livelihood is harsh.
So calling for Doyel to get the axe indicates that this piece is just that bad. Particularly considering the usual quality of what he has on offer. At some point there is a straw that breaks the camel’s back.
This isn’t a straw. This is one of those toilet ice meteors off a passing jetliner. It would break anybody’s back.
It should break Doyel’s back. For the purposes of quality control and hygeine, he’s got to go.