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18 I Friday, Dec. 10,2010
Could Meyer have been the next JoePa?
By Brendan Monahan
COLLEGIAN STAFF WRITER
Good friends Joe Paterno and
Urban Meyer seem like an odd
pairing with 37 years separating
them in age.
But that’s not the only irony
existing between the two coach
The Penn State icon has stayed
at one place for 61 seasons as an
assistant and head coach, while
Meyer spanned seven programs
in less than half that amount of
time 25 seasons.
Meyer became a coach in the
modern culture of college foot
ball, characterized by primetime
TV and star-studded recruits.
Paterno had his start when
quarterbacks still called the
plays on the field, and headsets
were as alien as 90,000-seat sta
One of them will walk away
from the field and into the tunnel
with no imminent return when
the clock hits zero Jan.l at
Raymond James Stadium in
Tampa Bay and perhaps more
ironic than all the above, that
coach isn’t Paterno. Kickoff for
the Outback Bowl is 1 p.m., and
ABC will televise.
“Joe’s been coaching for 45
years,” said Mick Hubert,
Florida’s play-by-play announcer.
“Urban’s 46 years old, and he’s
Meyer walks away from the
game at the prime of his coach
ing career. The decision is almost
unfathomable when looking at
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Time: 1 p.m.
Date: New Year’s Day
the decision in light of Paterno,
who has transcended the culture
of modern college football 45 sea
sons after he took over the helm
at Penn State.
“To have what you have at
Penn State, that will never be
duplicated,” Hubert said. “The
money’s too great. The pres
sure’s too great, and it’s a grind.”
Meyer, who spent time at
Bowlrng Green and Utah before
coaching the last six seasons at
Florida, has two national titles
and one undefeated season in
2004 with Fiesta Bowl-winning
Utah. Paterno didn’t have two
national championships after
1975, his 10th season, but he did
have three undefeated years.
Score: Florida 24, PSU 17
What’s good: Young players take
advantage of bowl practices.
What’s bad: Season ends, still no
QB of the future.
What to look for Royster chasing
another 1,000-yard season.
Paterno leaving after 1975
would have meant no 400 wins, no
coaching rivalry with Alabama’s
Paul “Bear” Bryant and no
Patemo’s saints versus Jimmy
Johnson’s rebels in the 1986
national championship, in which
Penn State defeated Miami.
Paterno was 102-23-1 in his
first 126 games as a head coach,
while Meyer is 103-23. Meyer left
despite a lot of future success
and history at stake, and his sim
ilarities with Paterno leaves one
to consider: Would Meyer break
Patemo’s 400-win mark if the col
lege football culture was different
or if he had somehow managed to
At his current pace, Meyer
would need 28 more years to
reach the 400-win plateau. That
would make him 74, which would
be about 10 years younger than
Paterno, a true example of
Meyer’s dominance in a decade.
“He’s got a great feel for the
game,” Paterno said of Meyer.
Score: Florida 27, PSU 20
What’s good: The Lions keep it
fIHB What’s bad: Team loses momentum
heading into 2011 season.
What to look for: An emotional
“To have what you have at Penn State, that will
never be duplicated. The money's too great.
The pressure’s too great, and it’s a grind.”
“I’ve looked at a lot of tapes of his
games through the years
because he seems to be always
one step ahead of the people he's
playing against. ”
Yet Paterno the winningest
Division I-A coach churns on
after decades of coaching, as
Meyer the only college coach
to win two BUS national champi
onships at one school leaves at
the height of his career.
But time changes, as do priori
Paterno, avoiding retirement
for years, seems time proof.
Meyer, though, understands
there aren't enough moments for
everything, such as coaching a
premier FBS program and run
ning a family at the same time.
Coaches constantly find their
jobs on the line in today’s pres
sure-filled college landscape,
marred with instant success.
Meyer met more adversity in
2010 than in any previous season
at Florida, posting a 7-5 record,
the worst record in a season for
"There's certainly a lot of frus
tration and a lot of disappoint
ment,” Meyer said Tuesday, “but
that’s also a part of college ath
Considering signs before this
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[;;<>•/ hlri:w nnnouncer
season, the oddity of both deci
sions becomes greater.
.Just months ago, Paterno did
n't attend at least three summer
events because of illness and
appeared frail when he publicly
returned in early August in
Rumors swirled all season as
to whether the soon-to-be-84
year-old coach would step down
with one year left on his contract,
and though Paterno said he'll be
back, he still has to undergo an
end-of-season review meeting
with president Graham Spanier
and athletic director Tim Curley.
Just months ago. Meyer looked
reinvested in Florida's program
after he retired in December of
2009. reversed his decision the
next day and then took a leave of
absence for health reasons.
Though ironic. Meyer is leav
ing for the immediate future
with still much left to gain.
“He was a guy that came in
here and reunited the fan base,"
Hubert said. “This was a place
that had success previously, and I
think he felt he could get the job
done here ... There are so many
positive things that he did.”
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Score: PSU 23, Florida 20
What’s good: Lions notch third
straight bowl win against SEC.
What’s bad: PSU ends season with
out a signature win.
What to look for: Possibly for the
last time, two legendary coaches
greet at midfield.