Eye gouging. Disputes over game film.
Urban Meyer has quickly returned No. 12 Ohio State to prominence in the Big Ten, but he has rubbed some of his fellow coaches the wrong way. Back in February, there were complaints about his aggressive recruiting tactics. Last week, Michigan State complained that the Buckeyes had sent “incomplete” game video before their game on Saturday.
Spartans defensive coordinator Narduzzi told the Detroit Free Press that Ohio State had deleted pre-snap motions and shifts before plays on video of its first four games. Narduzzi indicated that the Spartans (3-2, 0-1 Big Ten) complained to the league, though Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said he and Gene Smith, his counterpart in Columbus, had settled the issue.
Meyer wasn’t in the mood to revisit the matter Tuesday during the league’s weekly coach’s teleconference.
“I’ve moved on,” Meyer said, and Dantonio didn’t want to talk about it, either.
The Spartans, a preseason favorite to represent the Leaders division in the Big Ten title game for the second straight season, instead lost their second home game in three tries when the Buckeyes (5-0, 1-0) slipped past them 17-16.
“What happened on the game field on Saturday translated into winning or losing, and that’s where I’m going to leave that,” Dantonio said.
Meyer has another complaint, though. He said Monday that he believed Ohio State has sent a tape to the Big Ten that appears to show a Michigan State player gouging at the eyes of Buckeyes defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins.
The short clip appears to show the Spartans’ Jack Allen or a teammate trying to thrust a gloved hand inside Hankins’ facemask. At the same time, Hankins is trying to get his fingers inside Allen’s facemask.
Dantonio said Tuesday that he hadn’t heard from the Big Ten regarding the play, though he mentioned that neither Allen nor Hankins seemed bothered by whatever had happened after the play.
“My review of the play saw two players get up after the play and walk back to the huddle. Probably a little something going on with both of them. If you look at the play cleanly, that’s what you see,” Dantonio said.
Eye gouging, as unpleasant as it may be, is a fact of life in football.
So, too, is sharing game film in its entirety.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke put it bluntly: “We share film, and they share film back.”
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald and Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema both said they’ve never had an issue like the one raised by Michigan State. Neither did a number of Big 12 coaches during their teleconference on Monday.
“It’s pretty much standard issue, I think, which it is for everyone else in the country. We videotape our games the way that the Big Ten expects us to do it,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “Show the scoreboard, videotape the team basically, what would be in essence leaving the huddle, going through the end of the play. And we open share with all of our opponents and we open share with the entire league as is Big Ten protocol.”
Earlier this year, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema was irked when Meyer aggressively worked to beef up Ohio State’s latest class, which included landing players who had previously given verbal commitments to other league schools. Bielema later said the two had settled their differences.
Dantonio also said back then that he thought it was “pretty unethical” to aggressively pursue such players — though he later issued a statement saying those comments weren’t directed at any particular school.
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