Monday's college football: Ohio State fires WR coach

Associated Press
Ohio State fired receivers coach Zach Smith, who was charged last week with misdemeanor criminal trespass after a dispute with his ex-wife.

Columbus, Ohio — Ohio State fired receivers coach Zach Smith, who was charged last week with misdemeanor criminal trespass after a dispute with his ex-wife.

Coach Urban Meyer announced Smith’s dismissal in a two-sentence statement on Monday.

The move came after multiple media outlets reported that Smith’s ex-wife has filed for a protective order against him. The Columbus Dispatch reported that Courtney Smith wrote in a sworn document that her ex-husband has stalked and intimidated her.

At the time of the trespass charge, Zach Smith’s attorney said Smith’s ex-wife accused him of driving to her apartment after she told him they would meet elsewhere so he could drop off their son.

Meyer was scheduled to speak to reporters at Big Ten Media Days on Tuesday. According to his statement, “coaching staff adjustments will be announced at a later date.”

Smith is the grandson of former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce. He had been on the Buckeyes’ staff since Meyer arrived in 2012, and he previously worked as a graduate assistant under Meyer at Florida.

Tennessee rape trial starts

A prosecutor in the trial of former University of Tennessee football players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams says they used their status as athletes to rape a woman in a “case about power, privilege and protection.”

Defense lawyers countered that the woman voluntarily had sex with both men before lying out of embarrassment.

The aggravated rape trial for Johnson and Williams finally got underway, nearly four years after the incident in question. Johnson was a linebacker and Williams a defensive back for Tennessee when a woman says both men raped her in the early-morning hours of Nov. 16, 2014. Both men were suspended less than 48 hours later and never played for Tennessee again.

“They pass her back and forth like a rag doll,” Hixson said. “To them, that’s all she was.”

Defense lawyers offered a starkly different account of what happened during a party at Johnson’s apartment in the early morning hours of Nov. 16, 2014 — hours after a Tennessee home victory over Kentucky.

David Eldridge, Williams’ lawyer, said the woman agreed to have consensual sex with both players at the same time as long as they “just don’t tell anybody, pinkie promise you won’t tell anybody.”

Defense lawyers say the woman changed her story only after she left Johnson’s bedroom, saw Tennessee wide receiver Von Pearson and realized she wouldn’t be able to keep what happened a secret. Stephen Ross Johnson, the lawyer for A.J. Johnson, said the woman then “got locked into a lie that has caused her to make a false accusation.”

“As soon as she came up with that lie, it went beyond her control,” said Stephen Ross Johnson, who isn’t related to A.J. Johnson. “She was made to call 911, and that’s when she lost control of her lie and became locked into it.”

ACC poll favors Clemson

Clemson is once again the favorite to win another Atlantic Coast Conference title.

In voting results released Monday, the Tigers were the pick to win the league and the Atlantic Division, while Miami was selected as the favorite to win the Coastal Division. Clemson won its third straight league title last year by beating the Hurricanes in the championship game.

Clemson was picked to win the overall league title by 139 of the 148 voting media members last week during the league’s media days. The Tigers received all but three votes in a separate vote for the division race, with the others going to second-place Florida State (one) and third-place North Carolina State (two).