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Mutual interest between Penn State, Urban Meyer?

Outback Bowl - Florida v Penn State Getty Images

Whether through rumor, speculation or innuendo — or downright trolling in a couple of cases — Ohio native Urban Meyer‘s name has been attached to the Ohio State job even before Jim Tressel “stepped down” and opened it up.

If the Buckeyes are to do the expected and pursue the former Florida coach in a couple of months — here’s a hint: he’s Nos. 1-5 on OSU’s offseason to-do list — they could have some competition from someone inside their own conference for Meyer’s services.  Provided, of course, Meyer decides to end his coaching sabbatical.

In a very, very extensive and comprehensive piece that appears on something called Sports — the Altoona Mirror vouches for the site — the Ohio-based website reports that Meyer met with Penn State president Graham Spanier and athletic director Tim Curley in September while on campus as part of his current job with ESPN.  “Those talks were apparently productive,” the website wrote, although just what productive means as it relates to this situation is uncertain.

The only problem with all of this Penn State talk as it pertains to Meyer is the fact that there’s a living legend currently entrenched in Happy Valley and, even as he’s at the end of another contract, has given no indication that he intends to step down anytime soon.

“Urban would love to have that job,” a source said of coaching the Nittany Lions. “Keep in mind, though, that he doesn’t want to be known as the guy who forced out Joe Paterno. It would have to be done in the right way. I think they could appeal to JoePa’s best interests and allow him to be the king-maker.”

Of course, a couple of things would have to come to fruition before this scenario could play itself out.  First and foremost, Meyer would have to decide to return to the sidelines.  Secondly, Paterno would have to decide to step away from the sidelines and abdicate the football throne he’s sat upon for nearly 50 years.  Based on his own words this past offseason, that doesn’t appear likely, at least not without a firm nudge from a university official or booster

Even then, even if both of those occur, PSU could still have a fight on its hands with OSU for Meyer.  Why the word “could”?  Simply put, Meyer’s interest in becoming the head coach of his home state’s flagship football program will be directly proportional to the sanctions levied on said program by the NCAA.

Again, though, we’re still a couple of months and a few steps — at least — away from any of this going down, if it goes down at all.  Still, it beats the hell out of expansion talk during the middle of the season.

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39 Responses to “Mutual interest between Penn State, Urban Meyer?”
  1. bigd88 says: Oct 7, 2011 7:49 PM

    Even though Ohio State fans yell the loudest on the internet about this, there is a greater likelihood of Urban Meyer coming to Penn State than OSU.
    No NCAA sanctions to worry about, no uncertainty with regards to whether or not the AD will be kicked out, and Meyer and JoePa have a very close relationship.
    Joe would be likely to give his graces to Urban and would be on board with him as his successor. Does anyone here really think that the administration of PSU would go behind Paterno’s back to meet with someone about taking over his job, and let it get leaked publicly in the middle of the season?

  2. florida727 says: Oct 7, 2011 8:45 PM

    Even though Paterno is obviously a legend and deserves to go out on his terms and his terms only, I could see him stepping down and announcing that he hand-picked his successor. It would be PSU’s way to “honor” him by letting him make that kind of an announcement if/when it happens.

    I think John’s right though when he points out that the pending sanctions against OSU might be too much for Meyer to overlook, even if it is his home state’s “flagship program”. Player stupidity aside, he ran pretty clean programs at both Utah and Florida. I doubt he’d want to walk into a situation where he has to wait “x” number of seasons to sniff a bowl game.

    And I don’t think he’d want to sit out another full season. Even if he’s a “hot commodity”, sitting on the sidelines for too long makes people forget your accomplishments pretty quickly. Somebody else becomes the next “it” guy.

  3. lbijake says: Oct 7, 2011 8:54 PM

    How coulsd anyone ever turn down “The” university, sanctions or no sanctions. Meyer proved that he could win without cheating and therefore is a better fit at Penn State. Book it Danno

  4. jmb795 says: Oct 7, 2011 8:55 PM

    Urban betrayed the Gator Nation by quitting after his staff disintegrated and he saw recruiting trailing off. His escape from Gainesville for health issues and to spend more time with family was a hoax. He gamed the system. Good luck with these character traits, OSU or PSU.

  5. 78lion says: Oct 7, 2011 9:06 PM

    Having been witness to the recruiting tactics Urban’s staff and Urban have employed while at UF, NO THANKS!

  6. centexhorn says: Oct 7, 2011 9:32 PM

    I agree with the people who say that Joe Paterno has to be allowed to end things on his terms. On the other hand, it’s got to be made clear to him that since excellence is possible at Penn State, excellence is expected at Penn State. If excellence isn’t being achieved, that’s got to be made clear to him. The reality that he’s not as effective as a coach as he once was has to be shown to him. It’s just a simple fact of life that we aren’t as sharp as we were when we were younger when we get older. The fans deserve glory and excellence. If he can’t deliver that, he needs to be honest with himself.

  7. marsh78 says: Oct 7, 2011 10:29 PM

    I wonder if Penn State is his other “Dream job” just like says for all of the other schools he’s interested in! lol

  8. Deb says: Oct 7, 2011 10:41 PM

    Have been saying I’d like to see Paterno stay until he’s ready to go. But just had an eye-opening conversation with my 10-year-old nephew regarding how much actual coaching Paterno is doing during games. He pointed out that Joe isn’t wearing a headset, isn’t sitting next to anyone to whom he’s relating information, and gives no indication that he’s sending any info to the field. So, my nephew concluded, he’s not coaching–the coordinators are coaching. I said, “Well, he’s picking the coordinators.” My nephew said, “He shouldn’t be.”

    I had no rational counterargument for that. Sentiment has its place. But NCAA football is a multibillion-dollar business. JoePa is 85 years old and he can’t do this job anymore. I’m sorry, but whether or not Meyer is available, it’s time Penn State tells him to step down.

  9. Deb says: Oct 7, 2011 10:45 PM

    @jmb795 …

    Urban isn’t one of my favorite people. I think Spurrier was a far superior coach, and that Muschamp has the potential to be a better coach. But in fairness, he didn’t betray Florida by stepping down. A lot of his comments are pure BS, but he has a right to sit out a year and go somewhere else if he wants. He was burned out there, and with what the Gators are building, they’ll be better off without him.

  10. dirtyharry1971 says: Oct 7, 2011 11:26 PM

    I cant figure out why any decent coach would want to go to Thug “U”. After all the only thing psu’s football team has done since “99 is maybe lead college football in arrests. Shameful university if you ask me

  11. lbijake says: Oct 7, 2011 11:39 PM

    @ dirtyharry1971

    Cry me a river.

  12. 78lion says: Oct 7, 2011 11:42 PM

    dirtyharry, nobody asks the clueless.

  13. paulbrownsrevenge says: Oct 8, 2011 12:06 AM


    I don’t think PSU has ever had it’s football program penalized by the NCAA. I’m just sayin’.

  14. tk1966 says: Oct 8, 2011 1:36 AM


    You just may have portrayed yourself as the most clueless person on the message boards – quite an accomplishment based on some of the comments one reads around here. Congratulations.

    Now, back to work. Break time is over. I’d like a Big Mac, and fries.

  15. tomosbornesretirementcostjoepaatitle says: Oct 8, 2011 3:17 AM

    Don’t even need to post on dirtyharry, he humiliated himself for me.

    I’m all for whatever/whoever steps in provided 1) Jay Pa goes and 2) our offense can move the ball on a HS defense, one like Eastern Michigan.

  16. burntorangehorn says: Oct 8, 2011 4:26 AM

    dirtyharry, I’m not aware of any Penn State crime waves that come even close to what happened under the Urban Crime Wave at UF.

  17. chiefagc5675 says: Oct 8, 2011 9:08 AM

    Your 10 year old nephew is comparing apples and oranges. He must be basing his idea of a coach on his little league coach who is required to constantly tell the 10 year olds the same thing over and over. JoePa has never worn headphones. He does speak to one or more of the coaches who are on the sidelines with him- the coaching is done during the week- the game plan is worked out before kickoff time- JoePa makes decisions not covered by the game plan. Your nephew is not ready for prime time- yet.

  18. imasturbate says: Oct 8, 2011 9:21 AM

    I personally hope that Joe does step down. I think Penn State will be lucky to win two more games this year. I also think Pete Carroll would be better than Urban. Urban is to wishy washy, he’s to stressed, he wants to be with his family, his health was detiorating…he’s in, he’s out. I think Pete is in the same league as Saban, a great college coach and a awful NFL coach. Carroll would bring the program back to a contender. Carroll will be available by the end of next year if not sooner.

    Just my take.

    Couldn’t agree with you more Tom…Jay is awful.

  19. dirtyharry1971 says: Oct 8, 2011 9:50 AM

    i see a lot of PSU fans cant handle the truth, well if i was wrong why did HBO inside sports do a show detailing all the arrests on the penn state team since “99? Hmmm denial perhaps? I’m not surprised by the response since i live in PA and i happen to know a LOT of psu fans and they are all the same. The least knowledgible fans your ever gonna find and PSU’s schedule is a joke year in and year out. I mean look at the first 5 games of this year? 4 of them are tune up games! Who gets 4 tune up games? PSU does, joke!

  20. Deb says: Oct 8, 2011 1:09 PM

    @chiefagc5675 …

    Yes, my nephew plays Little League and Pee Wee football, but he also watches the slate of NCAA games and NFL games on the weekend, and attends Alabama’s games, watching how Nick Saban performs on the sideline.

    What he sees in those games–and what I’ve seen in a lifetime of being a football aficionado–is head coaches interacting on the sidelines with players and assistants. I have never seen any coach go through an entire game without commenting to anyone on the team. But as my nephew pointed out, during the Penn State/Alabama game, JoePa sat in the booth, staring blankly at the field, and interacting with no one. I’ll give him major points for making an observation I didn’t make during that game. Joe wasn’t connected to the field by equipment and wasn’t sitting with anyone who was connected to the field by equipment. That means he had no involvement during the actual game. And, honey, you can spin that any way you want, but that is not how coaching works. A coach needs to be able to make adjustments when necessary.

    At least I was smart enough to know the 10-year-old had seen something I’d missed–and not afraid to admit it. Bless your heart.

  21. lbijake says: Oct 8, 2011 1:11 PM

    How is life in your mother’s basement? does it get lonely down thee? I am sure that you have “lots ” of friends, and some of them may actually be real. Now go supersize that order.

  22. chiefagc5675 says: Oct 8, 2011 7:16 PM

    I know what that southern BS “bless your heart” means. Now you’ve narrowed your little nephew’s complaint to the Alabama game- yes JoePa did sit in the press box- right next to three assistant coaches who were in contact with the sideline coaches. The kid should stick to Little League- several big name coaches keep a “low profile” during games, allowing the people they’re picked to assist them to do THEIR job. Little league coaches can’t do that-
    they have to repeat the same instructions over and over and over- cause their little players don’t really know much- but bless their hearts anyway.

  23. chiefagc5675 says: Oct 8, 2011 9:04 PM

    No Pete Carroll at PSU- cheaters need not apply.

  24. Deb says: Oct 8, 2011 9:36 PM

    chiefagc5675 …

    Whether or not there were assistants in the booth that my nephew didn’t see when the camera showed JoePa, his observation that the man is past his prime is a good one. I’ve always been a great admirer of Paterno’s, but time catches up to everyone. And it’s caught up to him. Only a fool would argue that. Since you were able to decipher our Southern “bless your heart” code, I’m sure you can catch my meaning with that.

    And yes, I expect my nephew’s Pee Wee coaches do rely heavily on repetition … considering that’s a tool also used by NFL coaches. Since at age six he scored with a college-level reading comprehension, I’m sure he keeps up. Actually, he seems much quicker than you do. 😀

  25. chiefagc5675 says: Oct 9, 2011 10:11 AM

    “Since at age 6 he scored with a college-level
    reading comprehension…”
    Scored? Really? Scored what? 2
    college-level reading comprehension what?
    You must be comparing the kid to yourself –
    maybe that makes him seem bright. Was this an Alabama test? Anyone can “score” on a test just by Christmas treeing it- passing it is something different.

  26. paulbrownsrevenge says: Oct 9, 2011 10:09 PM

    Paterno and Mack Brown are both nothing more than recruiters at this point. The difference is JoePa used to be a great coach in his prime. Mack is a politician. A figure head. A face. What other coach fires almost his entire staff, and gets noneof gthe blame for their 5-7 record?

  27. Deb says: Oct 9, 2011 10:30 PM

    @chiefagc5675 …

    No. At six he tested as having the reading comprehension of a 21-year-old. He’s an exceptionally bright child. That’s a blessing from God. It’s genetic and has nothing to do with his state of origin.

    I’m sorry you don’t understand what I’m talking about, but that’s been evident throughout this exchange. Your IQ is also genetic and has nothing to do with your state of origin. However, you’ve chosen to be an ass.

  28. Deb says: Oct 9, 2011 10:46 PM

    Incidentally, chiefagc5675, I used a story about my 10-year-old nephew because the child made a valid observation. If you have a problem with my posts, attack me, not a 10-year-old.

    People are people, no matter what state they come from. Some are bright and open-hearted while others are foolish and ignorant. Your comment about whether it was “an Alabama test” demonstrated your ignorance, as did your blathering about children being tested on their reading comprehension. Yes, genius, in many schools, they are. Although my nephew is extremely bright, I’m more impressed by his heart than his intellect. Somehow I doubt you’ll ever impress anyone on either account.

  29. mdnittlion says: Oct 10, 2011 1:19 PM

    As a Penn State fan I wanted to weigh in on this, like I told southernpatriot, before a change needs to happen. If next year Urban comes to town and 5-6 yrs later the school has had 25-30 arrests & at least one National Championship I don’t know if any fan will really care?

    My only real question about Meyer is the same one I have about Bill Belichick is he really that good or is it the QB? Cause last season Florida without Tebow really wasn’t that great.

  30. Deb says: Oct 10, 2011 2:09 PM

    @mdnittlion …

    I’m not a Meyer fan, but he did win National Championships with two different quarterbacks–so it’s not all about Tebow. On the other hand, the sum of Belichick and Brady together is probably greater than the parts, but I still think each of them was a big talent without the other.

  31. imasturbate says: Oct 11, 2011 7:35 AM


    Good luck with that!

    Besides, look at Miami….they were labeled the worst program ever and the NCAA gave them a mini-slap on the wrist so apparently it’s okay now. All you have to do is deny it!

    I do believe that the only infraction with Carroll’s program was the Reggie Bush incident. I’m not there was anything right about what happened there but I’m not going to dismiss a head coach because one knucklehead goes and does his own thing without the coaches knowledge and gets caught.

    That would be like if Silas Redd got caught with a bag of cash from a booster and now we’re going to say that Joe Pa’s tenure as a coach was a fraud.

    Just sayin

  32. jeffro33 says: Oct 11, 2011 10:26 AM

    As a PSU alum and rabid Nittany Lion fan, I have to put in my two cents here given most of the comments I have read…

    For the longest time I have been a JoePa apologist and supporter. And while I still feel that Joe should be able to step down when he chooses, I feel that time has come.

    The “my son is an honor student at ____” posts aside, the truth is buried in the content. A coach above anything is a leader. When your coach is in a press box and not on the field it helps the team in no way. It is even worse when he spends the first half on the sideline and then ascends to the press box. I mean really, it’s a charade that has to end…. I have watched at least 200 games over the past 25 years. JoePa’s interaction with his staff is wayyyy down. The only communication you see now is Joe griping to Mike McQueary about offensive play calling, which is limited to “run a draw!” or “what was that??”

    To the post where someone said that JoePa is only around for recruiting- JoePa has been on two recruiting trips in the past 4 years. Two. Tom Bradley, Larry Johnson, and two other assistants head up this department. How does JoePa help recruiting?? How does he answer the question of if he will be around in 4 years? Could this be why we are losing our foothold in Maryland and North Jersey?

    I’ve loved Joe. Don’t get me wrong. But I just feel that it is beyond him to restore the program to where it was 15 years ago.

    Bringing in Urban as his successor restores instant credibility to a program that only becomes more in flux as JoePa approaches 90.

  33. rawed says: Oct 11, 2011 3:59 PM

    I must say, being a Penn State fan I love Joe Paterno. If Penn State ever forced his retirement, I would never cheer for them again. However, I feel Joe Pa is now hurting the team instead of helping. As jeffro33 said.. Could he tell a recruit he will still be there in 4 years? Joe Pa may not be living in 4 more years. I hate to say it, but he will be 85 in December. I personally would not want to sign to a program where I may be getting a new coach half way through. No matter who the new coach is, I hope the new coach keeps Larry Johnson as his D-line coach. Larry Johnson is a great coach and will continue to produce great Penn State defensive linemen. Other than Larry, I would actually like to see the rest of the coaching staff gone. Another good person for the coaching staff would be retired NFL running back, Gary Brown. Gary was a running back for Penn State and has been a running back coach for the Cleveland Browns the past few years. He also has coaching experience at the college level. He would make a great running backs coach or Offensive Coordinator. Penn State needs a head coach that is well known. Someone that can bring in a lot of high ranked recruits. Urban Meyer would make a great head coach at PSU. Another guy who once said he would come out of retirement to coach at PSU is Bill Cowher. I can’t remember when he said that exactly but I know he did. A third coach is Kirk Ferentz from Iowa. He is from PA and would be a good fit. The last person I heard stood a chance is Greg Schiano, who is Rutgers head coach.

  34. gators56 says: Oct 11, 2011 4:35 PM

    This UF fan is glad Urban left. Funny how he split town when all the assistants that were in place during our National Championship years left and Tebow was about to graduate.

    Urb is a faker – take him PSU!

  35. bayoubauer says: Oct 11, 2011 6:04 PM

    @ Deb & chiefagc5675 ,

    Exactly how old are the both of you?

  36. chiefagc5675 says: Oct 11, 2011 6:13 PM

    Deb and I are not a team- I have no idea how old she is. When Rip Engle was near the end as a head coach at Penn State I was a young Navy guy. I am younger than JoePa but older than dirt.

  37. ck52107 says: Oct 11, 2011 11:31 PM

    As a young boy in the 70’s, i would often find myself on JoePa’s knee during Sunday afternoon halftime at Rec Hall talking to he and Sue like they knew me. So it pains me to haave to read the posts that simply call for the man’s dismissal because they are so short sighted. Not because their authors always are, but because “we” have lost sight of something that transcends this debate.

    Does it occur to anyone on this post that success at this level is more than just W/L records? Because I read nothing about the man as a leader and mentor. Has any thought been given to the academic record JoePa has amassed– even REQUIRED– over the years by consistently ranking among the best graduation and graduation success rates in D-1 athletics? For instance, in 2009 he posted an 89% graduation rate which was #1 in FBS — which is astounding when compared to the 55% FBS average for that year. Is he old? Yes. Might he not be on earth for another season? Certainly possible. But when the man has embodied the importance of that athletic/academic/guidance symbiosis to the degree he has, suffice to say that I want him on that sideline- in the press box– using a cane– on a Rascal– or just standing there– but part of that program in whatever capacity he is capable because of the LIFE influence he has on the young men who are fortunate enough to benefit from his tutelage.

    If I could be so lucky as to have JoePa last another 13.5 years I would give near anything to have my 4 year old son play football for him– or maybe just learn from him. And as a man that bleeds blue and white, I would suffer through some ill-timed draw plays and cupcake openers because I understand what is important in this debate. The man and the message, not JUST the record.

  38. vomitingliberals says: Oct 14, 2011 1:43 PM

    Nobody has mentioned this as of yet, but as a diehard UF fan I will say this, last year’s pitiful performance by my Gators is directly correlated to the departure of Dan Mullen. Urban was there, but he could not right the ship. He stood by and allowed Steve Addazio to run the program into the ground. He also never recruited a proper replacement for Tim Tebow when Cam Newton left. He should have already had a QB to fit his system in place for when Tebow made his exit. He didn’t and it killed us last year. Brantley is a legacy player, but did not fit the system. Meyer knew this, but did nothing. Florida can have almost any recruit they want, there are no excuses for this.

    I am beginning to wonder if Dan Mullen wasn’t the real mind behind Urban’s system.

  39. paulbrownsrevenge says: Oct 14, 2011 6:07 PM

    Dan Mullen was the mastermind. Urban had Alex Smith at Utah, who does not fit that mold of the Tebow/Newton style of play.

    I personally think Dan Mullen should have a much better job than Miss State, not to take anything away from the Bulldogs of the west.

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