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Urban Meyer, Ohio State’s influence obvious across Big Ten teams

Urban Meyer addresses media at the Hilton Chicago during Big Ten Football Media Days.

Kaily Cunningham – Multimedia editor

CHICAGO — Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer and the undefeated Buckeyes were a topic of conversation from the start of Big Ten Media Days in Chicago.

Media Days kicked off at 10 a.m. Wednesday with opening statements and interviews from all 12 Big Ten head coaches.

OSU, Meyer and his pending disciplinary actions were nothing short of a hot topic throughout the nearly entire Big Ten as different coaches took the mic.

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats are scheduled to play against OSU Oct. 5 with home field advantage. Fitzgerald said he “quite frankly hasn’t thought about it yet,” and since that game is Northwestern’s season opener within the Big Ten conference, having an undefeated team coming in is “pretty special.”

Darrell Hazell, first-year head coach at Purdue, worked at OSU for seven years under former coach Jim Tressel before moving to Kent State University where he coached from 2011 to 2012.

“I learned a lot from Jim Tressel in my seven years at Ohio State,” Hazell said. “Coach Tressel was a big influence on the way I do things.”

Wisconsin head coach Gary Anderson talked about his close relationship with Meyer.

“He’s very good to me, I respect him very much,” Anderson said. In regards to the teams’ Sept. 28 face-off, which is the conference opener for OSU, Anderson said, “that’s going to be a big game.”

Meyer agreed there is plenty of mutual respect between Anderson and himself.

“It’s great, Gary and I talk quite often. He was arguably one of the best hires we’ve ever made,”  Meyer said.

Meyer did not talk much about ‘The Game,’ whereas Michigan head coach Brady Hoke mentioned the strength of the rivalry that has been there for so long.

“This is a great rivalry, the greatest there is, it’s competitive, and it’s passionate,” Hoke said.

The Buckeyes travel to Ann Arbor Nov. 30 to finish the regular season for both teams the week before the Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis.

“As far as the back end of the schedule, we’ve got a great schedule,” Hoke said.

Meyer’s disciplinary actions were also a topic up for discussion among other coaches, including Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. When asked how he, as a head coach, sees disciplinary actions, Ferentz compared it to parenting.

“Once the parents, families turn their young people over to you, (for) first time they’re living independently, typically, away from home, (there’s) a whole different set of circumstances, choices to make,” he said.

Despite the attention focused on Meyer and his players’ performance off the field, he chose to focus on the positives, but established a clear “no nonsense” approach to recent disciplinary issues.

“I want to make sure our punishment is as hard or harder than any discipline that’s out there. That’s maybe where I’ve changed over the years.” said Meyer. “Even as a first-time offense from a freshman, I want to make sure we’re setting the tone.”

Running back Carlos Hyde was named a “person of interest” in the reported assault of a woman at a Columbus bar Saturday, according to a Columbus Division of Police report. Hyde has since been suspended from all football team activities pending the outcome of the student code of conduct and criminal investigations.

Cornerback Bradley Roby was scheduled to attend Media Days, but senior safety Christian Bryant was tacked on as a replacement after it came to light that Roby was arrested Sunday in Bloomington, Ind., and charged with misdemeanor battery.

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