Putting the cart slightly before the horse, the most accurate comment on the whole kerfuffle involving Alabama head coach Nick Saban, former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and former OSU assistant coach Zach Smith about a job interview and offer, or non-offer, in January 2018 probably came from Smith’s Twitter account on Saturday.
“It’s a non-story, just like all of this other nonsense,” Smith said in a Tweet.
Still, given the prominence of the names Saban and Meyer in the college football world, any allusion to Saban or Alabama in a 2,000-page document dump from Ohio State which came out Friday was bound to attract attention.
In the smallest of nutshells, Meyer’s e-mail exchanges indicated Smith told him he had been offered a job at Alabama and Meyer responded by talking Smith out of it. There was also an e-mail in which Meyer raised the possibility of “leaking” a story about Alabama offering jobs to Smith and two other OSU assistants in an apparent attempt to impact recruiting, which speaks to Meyer’s character, or the distasteful side of recruiting, or both.
Smith, who was interviewed while still on staff at Ohio State and thus prior to full public knowledge of accusations of domestic violence by his ex-wife, was not hired. Alabama instead hired Josh Gattis away from Penn State. After one year at Alabama, Gattis took the offensive coordinator job at Michigan.
On Saturday, Saban was asked about his side of the story.
“I think it’s pretty common that sometimes people that get interviewed someplace or someone calls and shows interest in them,” Saban said at the initial press conference of August practice. “It’s the way this profession works — you go in and use that as leverage to try and improve your situation where you are now, especially if you have a job or you decide that that’s a better opportunity for you. We talk to a lot of coaches about a lot of things. I really never did ever offer this guy a job. He (Smith) did a nice job in the interview. But … when we did the background check, we decided that there was a better opportunity to hire somebody else, and that’s what we did.”
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @cecilhurt