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By Matt McCoy
John Simon, the Buckeyes miss you already.
This past spring, Urban Meyer said that replacing the leadership of Simon and the other seniors from his 12-0 Buckeye team of 2012 was a major concern. It looks likes he's right.
In the span of 48 hours, two of Meyer's biggest stars were involved in bar room incidents. One of the two, running back Carlos Hyde, has been suspended from team activities pending the outcome of student code of conduct and criminal investigations.
Hyde has not been charged but is named as a 'person of interest' in a Columbus Police report. The senior running back is accused of assaulting a woman at a bar on South Front Street early Saturday morning.
Two early mornings later and in another bar 225 miles away in Bloomington, Indiana, pre-season All-American defensive back Bradley Roby was arrested for misdemeanor battery. (Mugshot below)
According to Bloomington Police, Roby was removed from the Dunkirk Bar after attempting to start a fight. Roby then tried to get back into the bar but was stopped by bouncers and hit one of them in the chest.
Two guys, supposed be leaders on the 2013 Buckeyes, in major hot water...especially Hyde, who, if guilty, has violated Meyer's 'no tolerance' policy for violence against women.
The trouble didn't end with the two Buckeye veterans. Freshmen tight end Marcus Baugh and defensive lineman Tim Gardner had run ins with the law as well. Baugh has been removed from team activities and will sit out the opener against Buffalo after his arrest for underage possession of alcohol and possessing fake identification.
Gardner has been sent back to his home in Indianapolis and is done for the 2013 season for obstruction of official business. He was reportadly ran from police.
From a football standpoint, this is all bad...but from a public relations standpoint, it's worse. Four incidents in a very breif period of time. It's the last thing Meyer needs.
Fair or unfair, Ohio State has a national perception of a being a 'Football Factory' concerned only with winning. The Buckeyes are the program that others love to hate and the Jim Tressel tattoo scandal was fuel for the fire.
Then Urban Meyer came in. His record on the field was impeccable but critics still pounced noting that 31 players were arrested during Meyer's tenure at Florida, adding to the 'win at all costs' perception.
Now the Buckeye coach will head to the Big Ten media days in Chicago, having to answer questions about two stars, supposed to be team leaders (Roby was scheduled to appear in Chicago) who are facing serious off field accusations. Not a great start to 2013.
By no means is it a reason to write off the Buckeyes but as Meyer noted in March...it's a major concern. Forget about the on the field ramifications of Hyde's dismissal and Roby's questionable status, the leadership question burns brighter now than it did when Meyer talked about it in the spring. Who will lead this team? Who will be the motivator? Who will make sure things are done properly on and off the field?
Urban Meyer needs answers...and fast.