September 1, 2018 / 3:21 AM / 10 months ago

College football notebook: Meyer tries to clarify report

Urban Meyer issued a statement Friday attempting to clarify his position on several points related to the Ohio State University investigation into his actions surrounding the domestic violence claims made by Courtney Smith against her husband, the since-fired Buckeyes wide receiver coach Zach Smith.

FILE PHOTO - Aug 22, 2018; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer listens as university president Michael Drake at Longaberger Alumni House speaks on the Ohio State University campus. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Meyer, who is under suspension and will not coach in the first three games of the season, said he “was not suspended because I knew about or condoned Zach Smith’s alleged domestic abuse.” He pointed to the lead investigator’s findings that, “Overall, Coach Meyer impressed us with a sincere commitment to the Respect for Women core value that he espouses and tries to instill in his players.”

Further, Meyer says investigators wrote that if Meyer “ever came to learn or believe that Zach Smith had physically abused his wife, Coach Meyer would have fired Zach Smith or any other coach on the spot.”

“My fault,” Meyer said, “was in not taking action sooner against a troubled employee about his work-related issues.” Meyer also pointed to findings and a statement from Ohio State Michael Drake that Meyer did not “blatantly lie” at Big Ten Media Days when pressed on his knowledge of Smith’s legal standing and alleged domestic violence incidents.

—Quarterback Wilton Speight, the former starter at Michigan who transferred to UCLA in April for his redshirt senior season, will be UCLA’s starter when the Bruins open their season at home against Cincinnati on Saturday, coach Chip Kelly said.

Speight, beat out redshirt sophomore Devon Modster and freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson for the job. Speight started 11 games for the Wolverines in 2016 while battling a shoulder injury, finishing with 2,538 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions for a rating of 139.8.

Kelly, who is returning to the college ranks after stints with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers, had said a day earlier that the coaching staff hadn’t made a decision.

—Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Bailey Hockman has left the team and will transfer, according to multiple reports. That leaves the Seminoles with two scholarship quarterbacks on their roster.

Hockman was competing for the starting job with redshirt junior Deondre Francois. When coach Willie Taggart released the depth chart on Monday, Francois was on top with Hockman and sophomore James Blackman listed as the No. 2 quarterbacks.

Francois suffered a season-ending patella tendon injury in his left knee in the 2017 opener against Alabama. Blackman replaced him. Hockman addressed the media on Thursday but made no mention of his intention to transfer. By doing so now, he can sit out this season and be eligible to play next season at a different school.

—Field Level Media

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