Former Ohio State assistant Zach Smith is clearly still very angry about the reporting that led to his ousting.
Smith broke his Twitter silence on Wednesday to lash out at college football reporter Brett McMurphy, who originally broke the story that has rocked Ohio State, as well as ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum, who has been very critical of both Smith and coach Urban Meyer as the story has unfolded.
Silence = over. I tried. But I cant watch like @Brett_McMurphy@finebaum & others at @espn continue 2 run their mouths-not only w/o knowledge but w/ complete disregard 4 my children. Their mother had plenty of disregard 4 them in this. Time 4 u all 2 face the damage ur causing
Smith may be responding to Finebaum’s most recent comments on Meyer’s future at Ohio State. The coach is set to serve a three-game suspension stemming from his handling of abuse allegations made by Smith’s ex-wife Courtney. His reasons for disliking McMurphy are obvious — his reporting may have come after Smith had already lost his job, but it has blown the whole story open and irreparably damaged Meyer’s standing in the eyes of many.
Smith has used Twitter to lash out before. It’s clear that the evidence is against him, though, and the damage done to his reputation is permanent.
Many feel that Urban Meyer got off easy when Ohio State announced that he is being suspended three games for his handling of domestic violence allegations against a former assistant, but one prominent college football analyst still believes the coach is on borrowed time with the Buckeyes.
Paul Finebaum, who works for ESPN and the SEC Network, said during his weekly appearance on WJOX 94.5 FM Monday that he believes Meyer will not be with Ohio State after the 2018 season.
“I’ve thought a lot about this. And you can look and interpret and say whatever you want, but I’ve come to at least an opinion on Urban Meyer that this will be his last season at Ohio State,” Finebaum said, as transcribed by Brad Crawford of 247Sports.com. “I just don’t know how much longer this can go on, and I say that because I strongly believe his credibility has been shattered.”
In Finebaum’s opinion, Meyer’s relationship with Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith has been strained and university president Michael Drake “wants nothing to do with him.” The longtime analyst also believes Buckeyes fans will turn on Meyer and recruiting is bound to take a hit.
“We’ve seen Urban’s past when he’s under the gun, he bails,” Finebaum said, presumably referencing the way Meyer left Florida.
Before the facts about the Zach Smith case were even released, we saw plenty of Ohio State fans rallying in support of Meyer. Whether right or wrong, it seems highly unlikely that the majority of Buckeye nation will turn on Meyer if the team continues to win. There has already been some minor recruiting fallout in the wake of the scandal, however, so that is certainly something to monitor going forward.
There’s no indication that Alabama coach Nick Saban is going anywhere anytime soon, but ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum thinks there’s only one person who can replace him when that time comes.
Finebaum thinks Clemson’s Dabo Swinney ticks all the boxes Alabama would be looking for, and that as it stands, he’s the only option for the Crimson Tide when the 66-year-old Saban ultimately calls it a day.
“Who knows when Saban’s day will come, but I’m going to put a couple chips down on the long-shot now,” Finebaum told The RoundTable on JOXFM, via Brad Crawford of 247 Sports. “It’s no longer off the board. I saw it. His wife grew up in Alabama. His family is from Alabama. That will be a fascinating gravitational pull when Alabama calls and says, ‘OK, Dabo. It’s time to come home.’ I don’t know if it’s as absolute as it was a couple months ago.
“I’m probably going to upset somebody here, but you get right down to it, it’s Alabama versus Clemson. It’s no contest. If you’re thinking about, ‘OK, where do I really want to be long-term,’ and I think because he’s from Alabama, I’m going to keep pushing that ball up the hill. And the fact that he’s already won that championship … Nobody wants to replace Saban — it’s an impossible task, but I will say this, before anyone says it’s impossible to replace Nick Saban, I think the only person who can replace Nick Saban is Dabo Swinney.”
It may well be a while before Saban decides to retire, and if he even coaches five more years, a lot can change. After all, five years ago, Swinney probably wouldn’t have been near the top of anyone’s list of potential Saban replacements. He would be a logical choice now, but who knows what the state of college football will be when Saban leaves the scene.
Johnny Manziel and Paul Finebaum appear to have smoothed out their issues.
Finebaum, a radio host for ESPN and popular SEC figure, tweeted some praise at Manziel on Monday after watching the former Texas A&M quarterback’s interview on “Good Morning America.”
Watching @JManziel2 interview again and appreciate his candor. Handled incredibly difficult subject with aplomb. Many suffering have already reacted on show and say Johnny helped them immensely by speaking out. Like everyone, hoping for the best.
Manziel seems to be all about the fresh starts, as he told Finebaum he’s letting go of any “dislike” he had for the host.
As we all know you have been one of my biggest critics. I had a certain dislike in my heart about you that I’ve let go of. There’s more to life than just football and my health as a person comes before football everyday of the week. I appreciate you saying this.
As Butch Jones’s position grows more and more tenuous with Tennessee, talk of potential replacements is beginning to heat up.
One popular name for any high-profile opening will be former Oregon coach Chip Kelly, who is currently serving as an ESPN analyst after his firing by the San Francisco 49ers. Jones is still employed, so it would be premature to say anything is close, but Kelly has at least talked about the Tennessee opening.
We know this because his ESPN colleague Paul Finebaum said so.
“It’s an awkward kabuki dance every Sunday morning about 7:15 when I bump into him, because I have the same response wherever I have previously been,” Finebaum told WJOX 94.5, via Michael Wayne Bratton of Saturday Down South. “I say ‘Chip, I was in Knoxville yesterday, saw a lot of signs with your name on it. Anything new?’ He says, ‘Haven’t gotten a call yet.’
“I mean, I’ve talked to him. I don’t want to speak for him because I don’t know him that well… I think he clearly wants to coach. He’s up there (at ESPN) studying college football, and I do believe he will be back very quickly.”
Kelly has, in the past, kept his focus on NFL jobs. That may change if a big college job comes available, and he’ll be linked to any that do.
Finebaum, who is an SEC expert, has been critical of Harbaugh since the former 49ers coach’s arrival at Michigan. This week he accused Harbaugh of “cheating” by hiring the father of a top 2019 quarterback recruit to his Wolverines coaching staff.
What had Harbaugh so heated against Finebaum, a longtime SEC talk show host?
On Wednesday, Finebaum questioned Harbaugh’s recruiting tactics during an appearance on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”
While Finebaum believes Harbaugh taking his team out of the country is “genius,” he calls Michigan hiring the father of a recruit for a coaching job”cheating.”
“This is wrong. It may not be illegal by NCAA standards and bylaws by this moment, but to me it’s cheating. It’s blatantly disregarding the spirit of the NCAA rules. We all know why he’s doing it,” Finebaum said on the show. “In my mind he’s cheating.”
Harbaugh has been one step of the NCAA every year since taking over at Michigan. First he organized satellite camps, forcing the NCAA to look into that. Then he took his team to Florida for spring practice, leading to a rule change. Now he’s going abroad and has many more of those trips planned. He is forcing the NCAA to close every loophole they have.
But hiring a recruit’s dad for a job in order to have a good shot at the recruit? It’s nothing new for coaches, but it does seem somewhat fishy.
Is that cheating or unethical? That’s up to everyone to decide. And maybe the NCAA will, too. But Harbaugh does have some good defenses to his hiring considering Mike Johnson does have a strong coaching background as a former 49ers offensive coordinator.
Nick Saban and ESPN’s Paul Finebaum got into a heated discussion during SEC Media Days on Wednesday that got even more animated when the two were off the air.
It all started when Saban was asked about two of his players, All-Pro offensive lineman Cam Robinson and defensive back Hootie Jones, being arrested back in May on drug and weapons charges. The charges ended up being dropped, and Saban implied that neither player will be suspended for the season opener against USC as long as they continue with their community service efforts.
Finebaum wasn’t satisfied with the conversation ending there, noting that people are going to be critical of Saban if he doesn’t suspend two players who were riding in a car with drugs and weapons. Saban began to lose his cool. Here’s a video:
“I don’t really care to answer the critics, because I’m gonna do what’s right for the players,” Saban told Finebaum. “If the players really did anything that wrong, they would have gotten charged with something. There were four people in the car. Why did the two football players get arrested and the other guys not get arrested? There’s no law about concealed weapons in Louisiana. Why did they search the car just because there was a gun on someone?
“There are reasons why there weren’t charges brought against these guys. Do we condone the behavior? No, but you’re innocent until proven guilty in this country regardless of whether you get convicted in the media or not, which is what you’re doing to these players.”
Saban said that was the “end of the conversation,” but he was still fuming when the cameras stopped rolling. AL.com captured some footage of Saban ripping into Finebaum off the air:
We have video of a HEATED exchange between Saban and Finebaum once they went to commercial break: https://t.co/AKUo7gUbQb
Within earshot of media, Saban launched into a four-letter tirade directed at Finebaum. In it, he used his fingers to note the small amount of marijuana found in the car and insinuated the arresting officers were disgruntled LSU fans.
Saban typically has very little patience with the media, and you can see a great example of that in this video. While Finebaum is a known agitator, he has a point in this situation. Even if there wasn’t enough to prosecute Robinson and Jones, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t face more than a slap on the wrist for riding around with guns and drugs — no matter how small the amount.
Finebaum also went on ESPN to talk about the move and said, “I think it’s a home run hire.”
Finebaum also credited McElwain for elevating the Alabama program.
McElwain had tremendous success as the Tide’s offensive coordinator, and he was doing phenomenal work with the Colorado State program, but calling someone the next Urban Meyer is as lofty as it gets. Outside of Nick Saban, who is a better college football coach than Urb? Those are the two guys, and Finebaum is putting McElwain in that class.