Report: Mounting 'Friction' and Tension Building Between Urban Meyer, Ohio State

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2018

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - OCTOBER 20: Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes is seen during the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium on October 20, 2018 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Ohio State Buckeyes reportedly have bigger problems than just one loss after Purdue beat them by 29 points Saturday. 

Scott Roussel of Football Scoop cited sources who said there is "friction" between head coach Urban Meyer and athletic director Gene Smith. He also noted "there is a tension that hasn't been present in recent years" inside the football program as a whole.

This comes after former Ohio State quarterback and current ESPN commentator Kirk Herbstreit appeared on the Dan Patrick Show and pointed to the "big problems" within the program as Meyer appears stressed and troubled on the sideline:

Herbstreit's comments are notable after Meyer collapsed on the sideline during an Oct. 6 victory over Indiana, per Steve Helwagen of 247Sports. The head coach pointed to a headache he suffered during the game as the cause.

The Buckeyes were also the center of attention in the college football world this past offseason, as there was a lengthy investigation into domestic violence allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith and how Meyer and others handled those allegations.

As a result, Ohio State ultimately suspended Meyer for the season's first three games.

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After the Purdue loss, Patrick Mayhorn of SB Nation wrote, "Ohio State had the chance to fix their biggest problem in August, and chose to suspend it for three games instead."

Mayhorn pointed to lackluster performances from assistant coaches Meyer has recently hired, including offensive line coach Greg Studrawa, linebacker coach Bill Davis and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano.

"Studrawa—who was hired because he and Urban Meyer had been longtime friends—has been out of his element for three years," Mayhorn wrote, while Davis—the best man at Meyer's wedding—has struggled to coach an impactful linebacker group. Mayhorn added that Schiano "was once again out-schemed by the opposing offensive coaches."

While those glaring weaknesses cost the Buckeyes on Saturday, they still have time to bounce back if they figure out said issues and overcome any reported tension.

They have a Heisman Trophy contender at quarterback in Dwayne Haskins and are still in control of their Big Ten title chances. If they win out, they will finish 12-1 with victories over TCU, Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan and the Big Ten West champion, which figures to be a playoff resume.

Meyer is 77-9 with a national title and two Big Ten championships at Ohio State, but the tension and lackluster showings from different coaches and positional groups present a significant challenge moving forward.