DALLAS -- Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said Wednesday that the time isn't right for him to talk about the deal he had to become Tennessee's football coach before a public backlash changed things.
Schiano said he wanted the focus to be on the fifth-ranked Buckeyes' preparations to play No. 8 Southern California in the Cotton Bowl on Friday night.
"There will be a time. I really think there will be a time that it will be appropriate for me to speak about all of that," he said. "When I do, it will be good."
Schiano didn't elaborate on what he will have to say.
A memorandum of understanding for a six-year, $27 million contract was signed last month by Schiano and Tennessee athletic director John Currie, who days later was suspended and replaced by the school.
When word got out that Tennessee had contacted Schiano about its coaching vacancy, four Republican gubernatorial candidates and at least three Tennessee state representatives issued tweets or statements criticizing the school for considering the former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach. About 100 people participated in a protest on campus.
They said 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 included hearsay testimony suggesting that Schiano might have been aware of Sandusky's sexual abuse of children, though Schiano has said he never saw abuse or had any reason to suspect it while working at Penn State. The prosecutors involved in the case didn't investigate Schiano's comments.
Currie said Tennessee officials conferred with Ohio State officials, who conducted their own investigation after the 2016 document release. The former AD also said Schiano wasn't mentioned in the 2012 report on the Sandusky scandal led by former FBI director Louis Freeh and "was not one of the more than 400 people interviewed in the investigation."
USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin, the quarterback on Tennessee's 1998 national champion team, believes that Schiano would have been a good coach for the Vols.
"It was a tough deal," Martin said Wednesday. "I have a lot of respect for Greg and what he's done in his career as a football coach. When his name came up, I thought, 'Wow, he's a really good football coach.' I thought it would have been a good fit."