Paterno Thinks Highly of Meyer

Joe Paterno and Urban Meyer have maintained a close relationship over the past few years. They spend time together in the offseason, but preparation for the Outback Bowl has allowed them to become better friends. Paterno hasn't needed the recent time together to know how much he respected Urban. The Penn State head coach knew that as soon as he heard Meyer's first name.

"I've liked Urban ever since I found out his first name was Urban," Paterno said Tuesday afternoon. "I figured he'd probably be a Catholic. Only a Catholic would get stuck with 'Urban.'"

Meyer and Paterno have two different perspectives on a pressing issue in college football recently. The worry is that the game is becoming too commercialized. Paterno has been a coach on the Penn State staff since 1950 and has seen the game evolve. However, he's not sure that he likes the recent evolution.

"I am worried about it," Paterno said. "We're losing sight of it. We're becoming ... if we're not careful, we're only in it for the entertainment and for television. You can take those television cameras and they dominate things. We're playing when it's good for television. I wanted to watch Iowa play and they're playing at 10 o'clock at night. Ten o'clock at night, I'll see kick off and then I'll be asleep. I'm with Urban, I'm worried about it. Hopefully we don't diminish something that's a truly great experience for a kid.

"I'm worried about the game. I think that football has been very meaningful to young people and particularly at that age when they've got a competitive spark and the opportunity to understand what it is to be part of something bigger than they are. They can be part of a team and a bunch of guys to make the kind of sacrifices that are necessary to be successful as a group."

The change in the game has effected how coaches work with players. Freshmen coming into college now expect to see immediate playing time, which can sometimes cause friction in the locker room. High school recruits choose the school they are going to play at based on depth charts and their quickest chance to see the field.

It's a different game than Paterno remembers.

"Sometimes you have to do some things that are very unselfish," Paterno said. "You have to take a backseat to somebody else. Maybe your coach is right sometimes, maybe he's wrong but there's a feeling about a good program. I personally am very sad to see guys like Urban get out of coaching."

Meyer was forced to resign because of his struggles to balance coaching at the college level with his family. Paterno has managed to be the head coach at Penn State since 1965 while he and his wife, Sue, also raised five children.

Paterno has heard the rumors that he is going to retire soon for multiple years. This month has been no different, as rumors have spread that the Outback Bowl could be his final game, too.

"To me, I'm different than Urban," Paterno said. "I've got people calling up saying when the hell is he getting out? So I've got a little different slant on it. People think I'm going to quit this year or next year but I haven't even thought of it. I, honest to goodness, haven't thought of it.

"The situation around me is very stable. The athletic director is a kid I recruited as a walk on, we haven't had a lot of assistant coaches leave. Our president has been with us now maybe 14-15 years. We have a lot of fun together. I don't see any reason to get out of it yet. Somebody said they thought I was down at the Hershey Hospital. Hershey Hospital? I was home chewing out somebody for being late for a meeting. It's ridiculous. I don't know when I'll get out. I honestly don't know."

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