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Urban Meyer is Ready for the NCAA to 'Get Rid of the Damn Rule'
By Patrick Murphy
 

COLUMBUS – Urban Meyer is a perfectionist. You have to be to reach the level of success he’s had in major college football. Part of trying to be perfect means avoiding penalties, especially the silly ones.

When Meyer’s players get flagged, you can see the frustration on his face. But what about when it’s him who commits the penalty?

“I don't know if I'm allowed to say this or not. I don't care,” Meyer said on Monday. “This should not have been a penalty.”

After Ohio State was given a sideline warning early in Saturday’s overtime win at Wisconsin, the Buckeyes began a drive at their own 32-yard line. Curtis Samuel was tackled for a loss of two yards and as the official in front of the OSU bench was windmiling to signal the clock to keep running, his arm hit Meyer in the head.

The head coach didn’t know what happened at first.

“He barely grazed my headset,” Meyer said. “Even Shelley said, ‘Did you get hit in the face?’ I said, ‘What are you talking about? Oh, that.’”

OSU was flagged for sideline interference, which happens if called again after the warning, and the Scarlet and Gray lost 15 yards, which killed the drive.

“It was my fault, but it should not have been a penalty,” Meyer said, “and we’ve just got to do a better job of staying back.

“That broke my heart. To put your players 15 yards back. A 15-yard penalty for that in a big game? Some will say, ‘Well, that's just the rule.’ Well get rid of the damn rule. That's not a good rule.”

On the play, Meyer stood in the white area for officials between the field and the Ohio State bench when the official backed up and made contact. The head coach said he spoke with Big Ten’s Director of Officials Bill Carollo, who confirmed the slight contact to the headset should not have been a penalty.

“You have to stay off the white and I think I had one foot on the white, and I was behind the ball, though,” Meyer explained. “So I always try to stay, for that reason, stay behind the ball. We all have to do a better job. I'm not being critical, but 15 yards on that?”

Whether correct or not, the flag was thrown on Meyer and the Buckeyes will not be getting those 15 yards back. OSU won the game so all is forgiven, but did the players give their head coach a hard time about it?

“You can ask him about that. I’m not touching that one,” defensive end Sam Hubbard said when asked about the flag.

Defensive lineman Jalyn Holmes didn’t even know what happened.

“He got hit in the face by the ref,” Holmes asked. “(Did) he hit him hard? That’s crazy. The ref should get a fine for that.”

Holmes, who was shown the play by a member of the media laughed when he saw it, but also didn’t think it wise to let Meyer hear about the call.

“I’m gonna let him have that one,” he said.

Although Meyer wants to be perfect, 15 years as a head coach is a long time. According to him, he’s been called for one other penalty in his career, a five yarder in an SEC Championship Game while at Florida.

Like this most recent one, Meyer said he wasn’t the one at fault then either.

“They apologized and said they were wrong,” he said with a smile.

In Meyer’s eyes, he’s still perfect.

Player profiles relevant to story:
Coach - Meyer, Urban
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