SEEKER OF WORK-LIFE BALANCE
The two-time national champion coach at Florida spent the last 10 months as an ESPN analyst. The 47-year-old Ohio native took over the Buckeyes on Nov. 28.
DAN PATRICK:How did the conversation go with your wife when you took the Ohio State job?
URBAN MEYER: Last February, I said I didn't know if I could [be out of coaching], and she looked at me like I had seven heads. She said, "Give it time." I was planning on giving it more time than one year. But when things started to move [at Ohio State], it all changed.
DP:Did you find that after you stepped down at Florida, everyone in your family was busy living their own lives?
UM: It was horrible. My two girls are in college, so that was awful. I only worked Thursday, Friday and Saturday [for ESPN]. For me that was unreal, the amount of free time. I was doing sets of 225 pounds on the bench press, which I hadn't done in 25 years.
DP:Were you mowing the grass?
UM: I refuse to mow the grass—especially down there in that heat.
DP:How much pressure will you feel at Ohio State compared to Florida?
UM: The pressure for me is to keep focused and do what I like to do. I love coaching players, I love teaching, and I love building teams. I'm not a big fan of dealing with all the nonsense in college sports. If I get involved with someone [in recruiting] who's not doing it the right way, I'm going to walk away. If that means we're not going to get a great player, [O.K.]. I'm going to do what I love to do and what I'm pretty decent at, and then I'm going home at the end of the day.
DP:Is this your last job?
UM: I think so. I've made some comments before that have come back to haunt me, because you just don't know. I hope it is.
DP:Were you surprised by the reaction from Florida fans when you left?
UM: I was. I tried to say I didn't listen, but I heard some. There were fans who were upset—I mean really upset—when we beat Tennessee by only 10 points [in 2009]. So I tried not to let that bother me. But I'd be lying if I said it didn't. I heard things like "dishonest," and that couldn't be further from the truth.
DP:How surprised are you by the success of your former quarterback, Tim Tebow?
UM: I'm not surprised at all. Tim's a magical player. But I tell Tim to chill out now because he has to realize he's just a cog in the machine.
DP:How concerned were you about Tebow's throwing motion when you recruited him?
UM: Big time. There were a lot of people who said he couldn't play quarterback, and I was one of them. He wasn't my top-ranked quarterback. Then I went and watched him play a baseball game, and I walked away saying that was the most competitive human being I've ever seen. He moved to the top of the list real fast.
DP:Were you concerned by Tebow's openness about his religion?
UM: My first reaction was the typical human reaction: [It has to be] hypocrisy. Once I got to know Tim, I thought it was fantastic. I think there are so many people doing better things—and I'm one of them—because of Tebow.
DP:Can you bring an SEC style to the Big Ten?
UM: The SEC style is extremely fast defenses. I'd like to have that kind of team at Ohio State.
DP:You're benching 225. Can you take Michigan coach Brady Hoke in a fight?
UM: I'd give him everything I got. I know that.
"My concern is someone is going to overpay. I've got a lot of money but not unlimited money. You don't want all your money going to Frank McCourt. You want to be able to rebuild and invest in players."
—Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, on his interest in purchasing the Dodgers
Lions QB Matthew Stafford is confident teammate Ndamukong Suh's disciplinary problems are behind him. "He's a very smart person," Stafford told me. "Sometimes on the football field his emotions get the best of him. I think he's learned his lesson."... I asked Joe Montana if he ever had a season like Packers QB Aaron Rodgers's. "I don't think so," Montana said. "The way the numbers are going, I don't think anyone has."... Former Colts coach Tony Dungy said Jim Caldwell didn't need to win on Sunday to save his job in Indy. Dungy thinks Caldwell's fate has been tied to Peyton Manning's health all along. "If Manning is coming back," Dungy told me, "you're not getting a new coach and bringing in a new system. That absolutely is not going to happen."... New Mavericks forward Lamar Odom said returning to L.A. will be weird, but he's even more unsure of the reaction he'll get from former brother-in-law Kris Humphries: "That might be a little more awkward."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (PATRICK)
TERRY GILLIAM/AP (MEYER)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (ODOM)
MARC STAMAS/GETTY IMAGES (DUNGY)
DAVID BERGMAN (MONTANA)
JOHN BIEVER (STAFFORD)