Report: Penn State Targeting Urban Meyer To Replace Joe Paterno, Coach Denies Report

Sports Rapp Up's Jeff Rapp reports Penn State administration has reached out to the two-time national champion.

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7 Total Updates since October 7, 2011
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Urban Meyer Offers Additional Comments On Reported Talks With Penn State

It's been almost a week since Sports Rapp Up's Jeff Rapp first reported former Florida coach Urban Meyer met with Penn State administration in September to discuss taking over as head coach for Joe Paterno, and the two-time national champion is still denying any such talks took place.

Meyer offered these comments to the St. Petersburg Times' Greg Auman on the report.

I have to show respect for coaches that have jobs. Most of those programs have coaches. When rumors are out there — last week, a guy hit me with something, "Did you meet with so and so?" Of course not. I don't know how those things get printed, just, "Source says." Who's your source? A guy walking down the street? Those things bother me, but it comes with the job, I guess.

The coach then goes on to talk about the stress he faced while coach at Florida, and how it might deter him from getting back into the coaching arena in the neat future.

This is Meyer's second denial of the talks with Penn State's administration, and athletic director Tim Curley has as well. Of course, that all goes with showing respect for Paterno, too, so the denials should be taken with that grain of salt, but at least for the moment, it looks like Meyer is trying his best to put the issue to bed.

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Urban Meyer Slips Up During Penn State vs. Iowa Broadcast

Early Saturday morning, former Florida coach and current ESPN college football analyst Urban Meyer denied a report that he's had discussions with Penn State administration about replacing Joe Paterno as the Nittany Lions' head coach.

A remark during his call of the Penn State-Iowa game at Beaver Stadium, however, may have betrayed his true feelings about taking over as head man in Happy Valley. Check out the video below.

At about the :08 mark of the video, Meyer says "Someone has to help our...the Penn State quarterbacks out."

Obviously, there is a good chance this was simply a slip of the tongue. Meyer is new to the broadcasting game, after all, and not far removed from having to talk about his Gators players as "ours" on a daily basis. That said, if this was a mistake, boy, was it a poorly timed one. Penn State fans and media are hanging on his every word at this point, and this is just the kind of ammunition people need to keep the Meyer-to-Penn-State chatter going from now through the rest of the season.

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Patriot-News: Tim Curley Denies Urban Meyer Rumors

On Saturday, former Florida coach Urban Meyer denied a report that he has had discussions with Penn State about replacing current football coach Joe Paterno. On Sunday, Penn State athletic director Tim Curley offered his take on the report. Hint: it's pretty much the same as Meyer's.

Bob Flounders of the Harrisburg Patriot-News reports.

Curley, reached by The Patriot-News Sunday morning by cell phone, was asked if the internet story was true and if PSU administrators had met with Meyer about the PSU coaching job.

"It's not true,'' Curley said. "It's not true. I'm not going any further with that, okay?''

With denials from both sides of the story now, it's unlikely we'll hear a whole lot about this in the near future. As the end of the season approaches, however, expect the gossip and rumors to pick up steam. Speculation about Joe Paterno's future and his potential successor always heats up toward the middle of November, and with a report like the one that dropped on Friday hanging around out there, expect that to be especially true late this fall.

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Inquirer: Urban Meyer Denies Reports Of Talks With Penn State

Friday night, Ohio State beat writer Jeff Rapp reported on his blog, Sports Rapp Up, that Urban Meyer discussed succeeding Joe Paterno as Penn State's football coach in September.

Meyer sang a different tune to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Joe Juliano early Saturday, however.

Former Florida head coach Urban Meyer said Saturday there is "no truth" to a report that he had spoken with Penn State officials to gauge his interest in succeeding Joe Paterno when Paterno retires.

Approached in the parking lot at Beaver Stadium, where he is part of the ABC/ESPN broadcast team for Saturday’s game between the Nittany Lions and Iowa, Meyer said, "I’m not going to say anything. There’s no truth to" the report.

 

Make no mistake, though, Penn State fans and media will be talking about this for a while to come regardless of what Meyer says. His credentials are simply too good for folks to desire anyone else as Paterno's successor. It'll be interesting to see if anyone asks Paterno about this report postgame. If they do, you'll find Paterno's answer here at SB Nation Pittsburgh as yours truly reports live from Beaver Stadium. 

Stay tuned.

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How Does Urban Meyer Compare To Other Potential Joe Paterno Replacements?

Urban Meyer is the latest name to join a long list of potential replacements for Penn State coach Joe Paterno. How does the former Florida coach compare to some of those other candidates, though? Let's investigate.

Meyer won two national championships at Florida and guided Utah to an undefeated season in 2004. He has a career record of 104-23 (an .819 winning percentage) and has a 7-1 record in bowl games. He's also coached two two quarterbacks, Tim Tebow and Alex Smith, who went on to become first round picks in the NFL draft.

Tom Bradley, currently Penn State's defensive coordinator, has been a member of Paterno's staff since 1980. Under his watch, the Nittany Lions' defense has consistently been among the top ranked defensive units in the country. Currently, his defense is seventh nationally in points allowed per game at 12.0 and fifth in yards allowed per game at 250.4.

Pat Fitzgerald is currently in his sixth season as head coach at Penn State's conference foe, Northwestern. He has a career record of just 36-31 and has yet to win a bowl game, however, he took the Wildcats from a 4-8 record in 2006 to a 9-4 record in 2008 and has appeared in bowl games in each of the last three seasons. At 36, he's one of the youngest coaches in major college football.

Kirk Ferentz, and Upper St. Clair native, is currently the head coach at Iowa. In 13 seasons with the Hawkeyes, he's compiled a 92-61 record and has earned at least a share of two Big Ten championships. He's signed to a contract with Iowa through the 2020 season.

Tony Dungy, former head coach of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts, was connected to Penn State early last winter. In his 13 seasons, Dungy posted a 139-69 record and won six division titles in addition to a Super Bowl victory in 2006.

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Is Urban Meyer A Good Fit For Penn State?

On the surface, reports that Penn State is in active pursuit of former Florida head coach Urban Meyer to replace Joe Paterno would appear to be welcomed news for Nittany Lion fans. Meyer is a two-time national championship winning coach, after all, and built Utah into one of the nation's best mid-major programs before his stop in Gainesville.

Meyer has never been one to stay in one place for very long, however. His first head coaching stint at Bowling Green lasted just two years, as did his tenure with Utah, and he only managed six seasons at Florida, the last two of which were dominated by questions by his future with the Gators. Simply put, if Penn State is looking for stability post-Paterno, hiring Meyer would be a bit of a risk.

Meyer would also likely command a big salary if he were to return to the coaching ranks with the Lions, one Penn State might be hesitant to pay. Administration didn't exactly open its pocket book this past summer in hiring new men's basketball coach Patrick Chambers. And while his hiring has been praised by many, it certainly doesn't indicate Penn State is ready to truly be a player for a big name in football.

Ultimately, though, Meyer's Florida recruiting ties and .819 career winning percentage might be simply too good for athletic officials to pass up if the coach is interested in taking over in Happy Valley. For those same reasons, it'd be hard for anyone to be too critical of the hire should it come to fruition. 

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Report: Penn State Targeting Urban Meyer To Replace Joe Paterno

Sports Rapp Up's Jeff Rapp reports Penn State administration has reached out to the two-time national champion.

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