For anyone out there that’s impressed with Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer’s punishment of running back Carlos Hyde, think again. This isn’t a case of Meyer finally getting tough on player’s off-field indiscretions. This isn’t a case of Meyer learning a lesson from what plagued, and arguably is still plaguing him, from his days with the Florida Gators. This isn’t Meyer all of a sudden become a strict disciplinarian; this is far simpler than that. Meyer is punishing Hyde and will continue to punish his players that misbehave away from the field because he can do so without it affecting his win/loss record. In essence, he can discipline his players, because now he can get away with it.
While Meyer was in the SEC, he simply couldn’t afford to crack down on player misbehavior without putting himself at risk for losses on Saturdays. At Florida, Meyer would never be able to get away with suspending his starting running back for three games, no matter how much he needed to send a message to his team about proper behavior off the field.
But things are different now that Meyer is at Ohio State. If last year’s 12-0 record with nothing to play for and absolutely no postseason hopes are any indication, Meyer is poised to dominate the Big 10 in a way that no league has ever seen before. With the way Meyer can coach and recruit, he has already put a significant amount of distance between Ohio State and the rest of the teams in the Big 10.
This allows him to suspend key players without having to worry about losing games, because he knows his team is far superior to their competition. That is never the case in the cutthroat SEC where coaches need to take every advantage they can get, which often times means looking the other way on misbehavior and allowing players to get by with a slap on the wrist.
Meyer is so confident that his team is by far the best in the Big 10 that he can punish his players accordingly, even his star players, and still sleep at night without worrying about his team losing on Saturday. It may sound odd to hear, but at Ohio State, Meyer can get away with punishing his players. That’s why he showed no hesitation in disciplining Hyde, which in the long run, will only make Meyer and the Buckeyes more dominant in the Big 10.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him to your network on Google+.