Big Ten Media Days: Urban Meyer addresses Zach Smith firing, staff changes

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CHICAGO — Hours after making the decision to fire wide receivers coach Zach Smith, Urban Meyer found himself face-to-face with hundreds of sportswriters looking for answers.

Some even asked questions about the Ohio State football team.

Meyer spoke for roughly 20 minutes about Zach Smith, his quarterbacks, his relationship with Earle Bruce and more. What did the Buckeyes coach have to say?

Urban Meyer on Zach Smith’s termination

“In 2009 Zach was an intern, a very young couple. As I do many times, most coaches and people in leadership positions, you receive a phone call, first thing you do is tell your boss, let the experts do their jobs. We’re certainly not going to investigate. It came back to me that what was reported wasn’t actually what happened. And Shelley and I actually both got involved because of our relationship with that family and advised for counseling and wanted to help as we moved forward. 2015, I got a text late last night something happened in 2015. And there was nothing. Once again, there’s nothing — once again, I don’t know who creates a story like that. And then this recent one was you press pause, it’s something our team lives by, E + R = O, you press pause and get your mind right and step up, press pause and gather information, get your mind right, gather energy, and then step up to do the right thing. That’s the position I hold. That’s how we did that.”

“You’re talking about people’s lives, et cetera. So the decision was made. It’s time to move forward. And we are in a public world. I try not to operate, especially when you’re talking about personnel and people, making things because it became public. But to say that doesn’t have something to do with it, it does a little bit. I’m one of those ones I really don’t care about that. I try to stay focused on what’s the most important thing. That’s our players and our team. But I do understand the value. It’s The Ohio State University is bigger than all of us. So you have to do what’s right by them. And the timing. It wasn’t just my decision. It was a group effort on several people that I rely on.”

Urban Meyer on Ohio State’s core values of respecting women

“The core values is something that — there’s a difference between a mistake and a core value. When I was six years old, I was sat down by my father, and it was explained to me about what core values are and what mistakes are. Mistakes are correctible. Core values are who you are.”

What Urban Meyer thinks of Dwayne Haskins at this point

“The one — the void is going to be the leadership component that that guy — I can’t remember his name — was there for four years prior, J.T., who I love that guy, always will. And what he did for our team inside, not many people were aware of, I’ll forever be indebted to J.T. Barrett, that’s how good a person, leader he was. This guy is very skilled. The guy behind him is very skilled. We took the snap today, I made it clear that Dwayne would be the quarterback, but 30 days from now, a lot happens in 30 days.”

Urban Meyer on Tuf Borland’s injury

“Tuf Borland is doing great. He’s got the same pain threshold as J.T. Barrett. J.T. Barrett, when the doctors told me after our rivalry game it’s going to be several weeks, I kind of laughed as I walked out of the room, said: That means he’ll be five days. Same with Tuf Borland. Well, it’s a really tough injury. I’m looking at Tuf, smiling, he winks at me. He’s on course to perform this fall.”