Skip to main content

Gene Smith Addresses Report Of 'Friction' With Urban Meyer

A closeup of Urban Meyer with his arms crossed on the sideline during an Ohio State football game.

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 18: Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes watches a replay on the scoreboard during a timeout during the second quarter of the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini on November 18, 2017 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

For the second year in a row, Ohio State football suffered a blowout loss to what looked like a middling Big Ten West team. This year, with the rumors and scandal surrounding Urban Meyer serving as a backdrop, the Purdue loss seems even more impactful than the one at Iowa a year ago.

After the game, FootballScoop reported that there was "friction" within the program itself, and between Meyer and athletic director Gene Smith, who served a suspension at the same time as Meyer earlier this year, amid the Zach Smith scandal.

From the site's initial report:

The past few weeks industry sources have mentioned to FootballScoop issues at Ohio State between the football staff and athletics leadership as well as within the program itself. Multiple times, the term “friction” has been used to describe issues between Urban Meyer and Gene Smith (and their respective key lieutenants). Within the football program itself, it has been said there is a tension that hasn’t been present in previous years.

Purdue’s beat down of the Buckeyes brought considerable additional attention on the program and has many talking about the issues within the program.

After that report, FootballScoop tweeted that an industry source reached out to say the issues are "worse than you wrote."

Meyer responded to the report on Tuesday, stating that while there is "urgency within the staff" to fix the issues that have caused a few weeks of rough play, there is none of the reported friction.

Now, Gene Smith has also responded to the reports of friction between he and Urban Meyer at Ohio State.

From Bill Landis of The Athletic:

The full report is behind The Athletic's pay wall, but Smith assured reporters that he and Meyer remain close, and that there's "no basis" for the reports.

If Ohio State rebounds and knocks off Michigan, wins the Big Ten, and goes back to the playoff, it will probably solve many of these issues. It's not surprising to hear that some relationships may be strained after what has gone on at Ohio State this year, and especially after a 29-point loss in West Lafayette.

[The Athletic]