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
— Zach Smith (@CoachZachSmith) August 29, 2018
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.
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) February 12, 2018
During the interview, Manziel revealed that he suffers from bipolar disorder and used alcohol to treat his depression.
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.
— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) February 13, 2018
This is yet another sign that Manziel is maturing. He seems to be in a much better place mentally as he continues to repair his public image and attempt a football comeback.
Paul Finebaum was not a big believer in the Miami Hurricanes in the week leading up to their game against Notre Dame, but he ate crow in a big way on Sunday.
It started with the ‘Canes themselves getting involved in a little bit of trolling over his criticisms.
— Respect (@CanesFootball) November 12, 2017
Finebaum’s first punishment after Miami’s 41-8 win Saturday night? He had to wear the Turnover Chain courtesy of Jonathan Vilma.
After all that crap Paul was talking last week, it was only right I made him wear the Turnover Chain…..yeah I did that
— Jon (@JonVilma51) November 12, 2017
He wasn’t done there, going on ESPN’s Sportscenter to loudly proclaim that The U is back — with the chain to prove it.
Guys. I am officially scared. HELP! Finebaum has gone wild pic.twitter.com/WIcZQn5w8l
— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) November 12, 2017
Coaches and teams do pay attention to what Finebaum has to say. Perhaps it was used as a motivating factor.
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.
H/T The Spun
Paul Finebaum showed on Friday that he has a pretty good sense of humor.
The ESPN personality changed his Twitter handle and the name of his TV/radio show from “The Paul Finebaum Show” to “The Pete Finebaum Show” as a nod to his beef with Jim Harbaugh.
This is hilarious — The Pete Finebaum Show pic.twitter.com/bU4i8R5PpG
— angelique (@chengelis) February 17, 2017
— Rachel Lenzi (@RLenziCMG) February 17, 2017
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.
In response, Harbaugh slammed Finebaum on Twitter, irreverently calling him “Pete.”
At least Finebaum has shown he can have a laugh about matters. Well played, Paul. Or should I say, Pete?