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Penn State Football: Rumors That Urban Meyer Would be Next Coach Reached Players

by on October 23, 2012 9:53 AM

The rumor mill spun before and after Joe Paterno was fired that Urban Meyer could be in line to succeed the former Penn State football coach.

Meyer reportedly met with ex-PSU officials Graham Spanier and Tim Curley when he was in town doing a TV broadcast for ESPN last October, and Tuesday, senior defensive tackle Jordan Hill said he saw Meyer attend at least two of Penn State's practices around the time Paterno was dismissed Nov. 9.

"We definitely heard the rumors," Hill said. "I’m pretty sure he was at two of our practices the week after or the week before or something like that. We never know what’s true and what’s not."

Meyer was providing analysis for the broadcast of Penn State's matchup with Iowa the week of Oct. 8. He was also scheduled to call Penn State's matchup with Nebraska the week of Paterno's dismissal but pulled out because of his father's death.

I've been told by a couple of sources there was mutual interest between both sides on a deal. Of course, Meyer chose Ohio State. Penn State settled on Bill O'Brien, and they all lived happily ever after as of today.

Meyer's Buckeyes come into Beaver Stadium on Saturday unbeaten, and O'Brien is coming off the most impressive win of his young career last week in Iowa City. Both are candidates for national coach of the year despite playing under NCAA sanctions for violations committed under the previous coaching regime.

Monday night, a record 140 tents were set up outside the student entrance to Beaver Stadium for a week-long camp out at the tent city known as Nittanyville. Hill anticipates Saturday's game to be one of the craziest environments he's ever seen on the home field.

Meyer will be coaching in Beaver Stadium for at least one day. Penn State, however, is not second-guessing its own coaching hire.

"He wants to win and he wants to win now," Hill said. "There is no coming in and just getting your feet wet. He brought in the gameplan and what he wanted to do with this program, and he's doing everything he wanted to do. He plans to win with that, and he's doing exactly that."

Eugene Lewis Plays the Part of Braxton Miller in Practice

Much of the Lions' defensive focus this week will be containing Ohio State dual-threat quarterback Braxton Miller, a Heisman hopeful who has thrown for 1,384 yards, rushed for 959 and scored 21 touchdowns.

Giving it as honest a look as possible will be Eugene Lewis, a freshman wide receiver redshirting this year who played quarterback in high school, Hill said.

"He's doing a really good job, and it’ll be a test for us," Hill said.

Miller has been cleared to practice this week after being taken to the hospital Saturday and getting his head, neck and shoulder examined. Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said Monday Miller's neck was still sore.

Related coverage:

Nate Mink covers Penn State football and news for He's on Twitter as @MinkNate.
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