Monday, November 21, 2011

MEYER DENIES RUMORS ABOUT OSU JOB, BUT ADMITS HE'S INTERESTED

Urban Meyer (AP)
COLUMBUS — There have been many reports in recent days that former University of Florida head coach Urban Meyer has accepted a deal for the same position at Ohio State, beginning sometime soon after the regular season finale Saturday at Michigan.

Meyer, in an interview with the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun, denied that the reports were true but did insinuate that if the position were to come open in Columbus — and he was offered the job — it would be a decision he would have to ponder deeply.

"If there is a decision to be made concerning Ohio State, there will be a lot that will go into it," Meyer told the Gainesville Sun. "But right now, there is no decision to be made."

Meyer is 104-23 overall in 10 seasons as a head coach — at Bowling Green (2001-02), Utah (2003-04) and Florida (2005-2010) — including 7-1 in bowl games (4-0 BCS) with two national championships.

He left Florida after last season to spend more time with family and rest up from some stress-related health issues. He has spent this season as a college football analyst for ESPN.

Meyer told the Sun that he misses being on the sidelines.

"I love football," Meyer said. "It's what I am. I miss it."

However, if he were to return to coaching next season he admitted that he'll still have to deal with the concerns that caused his resignation at Florida.

"The concerns are still there," Meyer said. "No. 1 — my health. No. 2 — my family. No. 3 — the state of college football. I've done some research into the second one. I've found that it is possible to have balance between your job and your family, that there are coaches out there who are doing it."

As for his top concern (health)?

"I'm in a good place right now mentally and physically," Meyer said. "So if something happens with Ohio State, I'll have a decision to make."

Of course, Meyer's third concern (the state of college football) could possibly be the deal breaker if the Buckeyes receive a harsh punishment from the NCAA for a series of violations committed over the past year.

Earlier this month, Ohio State was notified by the NCAA that they had been charged with "failure to monitor" the football program, something that usually brings along some strict sanctions. The university has already placed itself on two-years probation, vacated all of their 2010 wins — including a Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas — and reduced scholarships by five over a three-year period.

The university will meet with the NCAA early next month.

Meyer, who was born in Toledo and grew up in Ashtabula, is an admitted lifelong Buckeyes fan. He received his master's degree at Ohio State in sports administration and served two seasons (1986-87) as a graduate assistant under former head coach Earle Bruce.

Talk of the Meyer rumors even spilled into the Ohio State post-game press conference Saturday after their loss to Penn State.

Interim head coach Luke Fickell, who will most likely be coaching in his final regular season game for Ohio State this Saturday at Michigan, wasn't interested in addressing the reports.

"I don't think this is the time nor the place," Fickell said. "We're talking about this game, and we're going to move on and talk about Michigan. And when it comes a point in time, then those things are out of my control.

"So I'm not going to waste a whole lot of my energy on it."

Meyer, who usually teams with Dave Pasch and former Buckeye star Chris Spielman as TV commentators during ESPN game telecasts, will not accompany the two in the booth Saturday in Ann Arbor.