2 days after stop in Michigan, Meyer visits Pa
Urban Meyer created a minor stir at a news conference Friday for
a high school All-Star football game between Ohio and Pennsylvania
without saying a word.
Imagine what Ohio State’s new coach could do on the recruiting
trail in Pennsylvania, long fertile territory for prospective
talent for the Buckeyes. There’s an added twist, too, in the
interstate recruiting battles: Ohio State, Penn State and Pitt each
have new coaches.
”There’s change. There’s maybe a little level of discomfort in
what had happened in Columbus,” Meyer said when asked about how
the dynamics of having three new coaches at each school might
affect recruiting tussles. ”Just keep fighting through it, and
work as hard as you can moving forward.”
Ten minutes late, Meyer was seated before a bank of microphones
right next to the Big Ten’s other high-profile new hire, the
Nittany Lions’ Bill O’Brien, at the news conference to promote the
Big 33 high school football game between Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Also in attendance were Pittsburgh Steelers star quarterback Ben
Roethlisberger, new Pitt coach Paul Chryst and Temple coach Steve
Addazio – Meyer’s offensive coordinator at Florida.
Among the Pennsylvania contingent of coaches at the podium,
Addazio was the dean of the delegation – and he’s only in his
”I’ll take all the advice I can get,” O’Brien joked.
”Let me tell you something. I’m in no position to give any
advice, OK,” Addazio retorted, drawing chuckles. ”It’s hysterical
to me sometimes how fast our business moves.”
Each member of the Pennsylvania contingent offered Meyer a
cordial welcome upon his late arrival. Later, when they walked out
on stage during a high-tech introduction before at least a couple
hundred people inside an auditorium, Meyer was introduced before
O’Brien – but O’Brien drew the biggest round of applause.
This is still Nittany Lions territory, after all.
”If you compare head coaches, I would say that Urban’s got the
proven track record. I’ve never coached a game yet,” said O’Brien,
the former New England Patriots offensive coordinator entering his
maiden season as a head coach. ”What we try to do at Penn State is
talk about Penn State …. At the end of the day, we worry about
the kids who choose Penn State.”
For Meyer, it was his second trip this week into a hostile
football territory that also lies in a Ohio State recruiting target
area. Meyer was at a high school football camp outside Detroit on
Wednesday to speak to attendees from across the country. Michigan
coach Brady Hoke and Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat
Narduzzi were among other coaches in attendance.
”You don’t have to think about the difference in how it was or
how it’s going to be,” Meyer said Friday about recruiting,
”except that it’s a street fight every day and you work as hard as
Meyer and O’Brien are acquaintances from when Meyer was an
assistant at Notre Dame and O’Brien an assistant at Georgia
Chryst, a former assistant at Wisconsin, concurred with O’Brien
that recruiting was about finding the ”right fit.”
”Our job is to let players know, prospects known, who we are.
Then to me it’s about finding a fit,” Chryst said. ”You want
football to be great in this state … we can all be strong with
Chryst made those comments with O’Brien and Addazio sitting
before the microphones – but before Meyer arrived.
Tight end Adam Breneman, who has verbally committed to Penn
State for the Class of 2013, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in
his right knee during offseason drills Thursday and will miss his
senior season at Cedar Cliff High School. Breneman, considered one
of the prospects in the country, chose Penn State over Ohio State.
He told The Patriot-News of Harrisburg that he now intends to
enroll at Penn State early, and that he’s working with Penn State’s
medical staff within NCAA guidelines.