Tale of the (Doctored?) Tape – Michigan State Spartans’ Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi Claims Ohio State Buckeyes Provided Incomplete Game Film
October 3, 2012
Ohio State University head coach Urban Meyer may have had plenty to celebrate this past weekend as his Buckeyes eked out a 17-16 win against Michigan State on the road in East Lansing, but quickly found himself awash in a sea of questions regarding the possible doctoring of game tape of his team required to be sent to the Spartans in the days leading up to Saturday’s game.
Allegations regarding the doctored footage originally surfaced late Saturday night / early Sunday morning after Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi told reporters following his team’s loss that tape sent to MSU’s football office of Ohio State’s four games prior to Saturday’s win at Spartan Stadium was absent of all pre-snap motions and shifts.
“We had tape cut off all week, where they changed the tape, I’m not going to lie to you,” Narduzzi commented outside of Michigan State’s locker room Saturday night. “They send you tape and they’ve got it all cut off, and you don’t get to see shifts or motions or anything else.”
“A few other teams we talked to that [Ohio State] played … we compared what they were looking at on tape to what we were looking at,” Narduzzi continued. “We’re like, ‘We don’t see any of that. We see it on their tape, but not on our tape.’ So that’s something I’m sure the Big Ten office will hopefully take care of.”
The Big Ten, reports USA Today, requires member teams to provide game film of each other well in advance of conference games, film which also includes footage shot by each team’s respective video staffs.
Narduzzi stated Michigan State was forced to contact Ohio State’s non-conference opponents in order to get accurate film of the Buckeyes, however, and by the time the Spartans coaching staff received it on Thursday, it was too late.
“It doesn’t help you,” Narduzzi commented.
Michigan State’s defensive coordinator mentioned that a formal complaint had been lodged with the Big Ten’s front offices, but ultimately MSU Associate Athletics Director John Lewandowski, Spartans Athletics Director Mark Hollis and Ohio State Athletics Director Gene Smith all “settled the issue” amongst themselves with no involvement from conference officials.
When initially asked about his thoughts on Narduzzi’s claims, Meyer responded he was unaware there was ever an issue with his team’s game tape.
“I don’t handle the video,” OSU’s head coach continued. “What are they saying?”
Meyer then asked someone from his staff if he was aware of any pending issues regarding tape sent to Michigan State’s football staff the previous week.
The staff member pled ignorance on the subject as well.
By Tuesday of this week, Meyer had clearly grown tired of the subject, telling The News Tribune, “I’ve moved on.”
He did, however, acknowledge that in speaking with Ohio State football’s video staff on Monday, he’d been told there was some sort of “issue” which arose on Tuesday of last week regarding game film of the Buckeyes, but that it was “corrected immediately.”
He also added that there was “no intent or deception or hiding anything, nothing like that.”
Head coach of Michigan State Mark Dantonio also seemed anxious to avoid discussion of the matter, explaining to members of the media participating in the Big Ten’s weekly football teleconference Tuesday, “What happened on the game field on Saturday translated into winning or losing, and that’s where I’m going to leave that.”
Oddly enough, discussion of Naduzzi’s claims turned to talk of a second issue regarding game tape, Ohio State and MIchigan State, with Meyer informing reporters he believed OSU had submitted to the Big Ten footage from Saturday’s game purported to show the Spartans’ Jack Allen or a teammate trying to thrust a gloved hand inside the facemask of Buckeyes defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins with the intent of gouging Hawkins’ eyes.
Those familiar with Big Ten football history may recall that Ohio State linebacker Robert Reynolds was previously suspended for one game after film showed Reynolds trying to choke Wisconsin quarterback Jim Sorgi down at the bottom of a pile during a game played against the Badgers on Oct. 11, 2003.