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The Football Fever: Meyer reacts to Barrett injury, Schiano candidacy at Tennessee

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COLUMBUS -- (AP) Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer says injured quarterback J.T. Barrett is now "probable" for the Big Ten Championshiop Game against Wisconsin Saturday night.

Barrett left the Michigan game after aggravating a knee injury he's been nursing all season. Meyer said that injury was complicated by Barrett being bumped by a camera person pregame at Michigan Stadium Saturday.

Meanwhile, OSU defensive coordinator Greg Schiano appears to be staying in Columbus after multiple reports Sunday had a deal in place to make him the next head coach at Tennessee.

Tennessee athletic director John Currie is defending his coaching search and vouching for the character of Schiano a day after negotiations between the two parties broke down amid a public backlash.

Currie issued a statement Monday acknowledging the Ohio State defensive coordinator had been a leading candidate for the Volunteers’ coaching vacancy without explaining why the two sides parted ways.

“Among the most respected professional and college football coaches, he is widely regarded as an outstanding leader who develops tough, competitive teams and cares deeply about his student-athletes,” Currie said.

Tennessee Chancellor Beverly Davenport issued a statement saying, “I deeply regret the events of yesterday for everyone involved.” Davenport added that “the university remains steadfast in its commitment to excellence, and I look forward to John Currie continuing the search” for a new coach.

The school and Schiano were close to an agreement Sunday before the deal fell apart after heavy criticism from fans, state lawmakers and gubernatorial candidates. Their complaints stemmed from Schiano’s background as an assistant at Penn State during Jerry Sandusky’s tenure as the Nittany Lions’ defensive coordinator. Sandusky is serving 30 to 60 years in prison for his conviction on 45 counts of sexual abuse.

Court documents released last year of a deposition in a case related to the Sandusky scandal suggested Schiano might have been aware of Sandusky’s sexual abuse against children, though Schiano has said he never saw abuse or had any reason to suspect it while working at Penn State.

Currie said Tennessee “carefully interviewed and vetted” Schiano and that the former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach “received the highest recommendations.”

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