Under normal circumstances, it’s not wise to try and follow a legend. But replacing Joe Paterno might not be as tough now as it always appeared that it would be. And whoever steps in at State College will inherit a team that’s currently got just one loss on its record (to Alabama). In other words, the cupboard won’t be bare and there are no NCAA vultures circling overhead (as would be the case at Ohio State).
So guess whose now being mentioned as Paterno’s successor by anyone and everyone today? Yep, former Florida coach Urban Meyer.
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Who will take the reins of Penn State’s football program?
“Former Florida coach Urban Meyer appears to be the overwhelming favorite to become the new head coach.”
The Gainesville Sun: Could Meyer go to Penn State?
“I do miss (coaching). I miss a lot of things about it, but I also am really enjoying another part, that’s I get to watch my kids play sports.”
The Orlando Sentinel: Could former Florida coach Urban Meyer replace Joe Paterno at Penn State?
“Surely, Meyer will be high on Penn State’s list. But with a scandal unlike any seen before in college sports, will replacing Paterno be something that Meyer wants?”
That is a key point.
Students rioted last night over the news that Paterno had been fired (and they should have been tear-gassed and billy-sticked as a result of flipping a news van over and endangering lives over a football issue). But students would forget JoePa in heartbeat and profess their undying loyalty to Meyer if he signed on with the Nittany Lions. Such is youth.
The big issue for Meyer might be the administration. Who will be the new athletic director? Who will be the new president? When will those jobs be filled permanently and what will Meyer know of the men hired as his superiors.
From purely a football standpoint, Penn State appears to be in better shape than Ohio State. But in terms of who Meyer would be working for… well, that’s a bit more murky.