Billy Price: You don't mess with Urban Meyer's career

Bengals rookie says OSU will make right decision
Posted at 3:51 PM, Aug 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-03 00:52:47-04

CINCINNATI -- Bengals rookie center Billy Price heard plenty from his teammates regarding the Ohio State football program the past 24 hours.

"I'm taking a lot of heat in this locker room, I can tell you that right now," Price said Thursday. "(Bengals quarterback) Andy Dalton and (Bengals guard) Clint Boling were like, ‘Yo, what's going on up there in Columbus?'"

A day after Ohio State announced head football coach Urban Meyer had been placed on paid administrative leave in light of allegations that former assistant Zach Smith abused his wife and Meyer knew about it, Price joined fellow Buckeyes-turned-Bengals Sam Hubbard and Chris Worley to discuss the national story with the Cincinnati media.

"Our media and our culture itself likes to get a headline out there before we actually have facts," said Price, the Bengals' first-round draft choice in April. "I can speak on behalf that I know my coach doesn't play that game.

"You can ask anybody I played with -- Sam (Hubbard), Chris Worley or anybody across the league. Coach Meyer doesn't play that. So if it was a situation he knew about it, he gets those things corrected. He always says, ‘You know, you mess with my career, it's going to be a bad day for you,'" Price said.

"Hopefully everything gets figured out the correct way -- Coach Meyer gets reinstated or whatever the case might be. Then the Buckeyes start camp on Friday, so I know guys are excited."

Price plans to soon reach out to his former Ohio State teammates and Meyer.

"It's funny how things work where you start camp Friday and college football season is 30 days away and all of a sudden, boom," Price said. "But I think the administrative leave was probably the correct move done by (Ohio State AD) Gene Smith. And I know Gene very well and I know again he will have this corrected – I know for a fact -- whether right, wrong or indifferent."

Hubbard, the 2014 Moeller High School graduate, was initially recruited by Meyer after the coach saw him play dodgeball in a Moeller gym class.

Now a Bengals defensive end, Hubbard said he receives news alerts on his phone but hasn't read many articles about Meyer's situation. His focus is on the Bengals as the team prepares for its first preseason game Aug. 9 against the Chicago Bears at Paul Brown Stadium.

"I know this is tough on (Meyer) because he wants to do everything the right way," Hubbard said. "That's the type of person he is. It's just an unfortunate situation for the families involved and all that."

Worley, a linebacker, said he was caught off the guard when he heard the news Wednesday and hopes the Ohio State players can still maintain their focus for the start of its training camp Friday.

"I do know that Ohio State, they are going to do what's best for the program," Worley said. "I trust Gene Smith and everything. I know it will get resolved."

Worley, Price and Hubbard say they've had a good rapport with Meyer throughout their playing years in Columbus.

"He is a man that expects a certain amount of respect -- whether that's football, core values, whatever the situation is," Worley said. "Just taking care of your business. Whatever the situation or outcome that comes with the situation, he will definitely handle it with a great amount of integrity and character."

Said Hubbard: "He preaches to us respecting women. He is a very stand-up guy. He tries to the right thing at all times. I know whatever happens he will have done his best. I'm really hoping everything works out."

Worley and Price said they are confident in interim head coach Ryan Day going forward. Price said Day, the Ohio State offensive coordinator, is the best quarterback coach in the NCAA.

"He's a hell of a coach, man," Worley said of Day. "Hell of a guy. Hell of a person. Last year was my first year with him. Throughout that year I gained a tremendous amount of respect for him as well. For the time being of him being the head coach, I think he will handle that job really well."

Late Thursday night, sports journalist Brett McMurphy -- who first broke the story of the alleged abuse -- tweeted the Ohio State Board of Trustees had convened a special independent group to assist in the investigation. 

"Group is current trustees Alex Fisher, Janet Porter, Alex Shumate; former Ohio House Speaker; former acting US Deputy Attorney for Southern District of Ohio," he wrote.