CHICAGO – For the first time since firing Zach Smith, Urban Meyer publicly addressed the media, as he took the podium at Big Ten Media Days on Tuesday morning.
While the Smith storyline dominated his session on the podium, Meyer also discussed the 2018 team. The main takeaways, including his comments on Smith, can be seen below.
- Meyer said it was in the "best interest of our team" to part ways with Zach Smith.
- Said he told his bosses about the 2009 report about Smith and advised for counseling. Added he found nothing about the 2015 report when he inquired about it.
- Said there has no been decision made about who will replace Smith. He has not yet discussed the replacement with the staff. Expects to make a decision later in the week.
- "The decision was made, it's time to move forward," Meyer said when asked if he fired Smith because information became public. Added he had to do what was right for the program.
- When asked about his relationship with Earle Bruce and how that played into Smith's firing, Meyer again said he made the best decision for the program.
- Said his personal "core values" played a significant role in the decision to fire Smith. Added he was taught his core values by his family at a young age and has carried those with him since.
- On Dwayne Haskins, Meyer said the expectation is for him to be the best quarterback in the Big Ten. Added that filling the leadership shoes will be the biggest question with Haskins.
- "If we took a snap today, Dwayne would be the quarterback. That could change in 30 days," Meyer said of the quarterback position.
- On Tuf Borland, Meyer said he is "doing great." Said he is "on course" to play at some point during the fall.
- Said that the Smith situation is "unique" in that he has never had to replace a coach this close to the season. Praised his young coaches, saying they are some of the best he has ever had.
- On the conversation with Joe Burrow before he transferred, Meyer said it was "very tough, in a positive way." Added that the Burrow family was gracious in the process. "That relationship will continue for many years."
- On the conversation of the Big Ten missing the playoff last season: "I don't blame others, I blame ourselves."
- Said the Big Ten East is the most competitive division he has ever coached in.
- Said he has no template yet on how he will approach the new freshman rule that allows first-year players to play four games yet still maintain redshirt eligibility. "I am excited to see how we utilize it, but I don't know how we will do that yet."