It’s hard to get angry at anybody that brings your team success, especially the kind of success Urban Meyer brought to Gainesville, yet Meyer has done that with the majority of Gator fans. I personally don’t hate him; I am grateful for all he did but I don’t really think he is the best person in the world, to use an understatement.
Look, we all do it. We’re all unethical at some point or another. Everybody makes mistakes, a lot of them out of greed and selfishness. Coaches are no exception. What Meyer did was certainly selfish, but it’s not uncommon. Lane Kiffin did the same thing to UT, and he only stayed one year. Nick Saban fled LSU for the pros, Greg Schiano ran away from Rutgers for the same reason as Saban, Pete Carroll jumped USC for the NFL after many successful years, and Bobby Petrino jumped more ships than a Somali pirate.
The point is, Meyer’s departure was different because he wasn’t honest about it. At least the other guys I just mentioned came right out and said they were leaving for the NFL or for another job. The fan bases were upset, sure, but they didn’t have the license to riot about it (with the exception of Kiffin, because he jumped ship after one year). Meyer’s departure was very shady because, well, we Gator fans know why.
We all knew long ago that Meyer had something special for Ohio State. Something wasn’t quite right when the Gators mauled the Buckeyes 41-14 in Glendale for the national championship. His autobiography even hints at it. He just wasn’t all that happy; you could see it in his eyes.
When asked why, Meyer replied that he was worried that the Gators didn’t have enough talent/experience for the future, which was pure garbage; Tim Tebow won the Heisman the very next year, Percy Harvin became the most explosive player in the nation (sorry DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin), and although the defense wasn’t great in 2007, they became a unit to fear in 2008 en route to another BCS Championship- which I will pause to point out had Meyer much happier than the one two years ago- and 13 more wins in 2009, when the Gators “settled” for a Sugar Bowl win and a #3 ranking.
So he was dishonest about that. And it’s OK. Really, it is. College football is full of coaches that only talk gamespeak language where only other coaches and highly perceptive (or at least experienced) fans know what the coach is saying.
But it was still speculation then. Even after he resigned the first time, it was just talk. After the 2010 season, and his second resignation, despite all the years of buildup, it was still just a rumor.
Then Stan Drayton resigned as the Gators’ running backs coach, and took the job as Ohio State’s receivers coach- because they already had a running backs coach. The most he ever worked with receivers was with Percy Harvin, and when you have talent like that, you almost don’t even need a coach. Plus, he was a hybrid at Florida.
That was when I knew it would happen, and I braced myself for it every day. Sure, it could be coincidence, but how likely is that? Maybe Drayton didn’t know the extent of the Jim Tressel downfall, but come on, he HAD to know that someday, Urban Meyer would become the head coach. WHY ELSE? Why Ohio State? Over 120 schools play D-I football, and about 5 of them are currently in serious trouble with the NCAA, and Ohio State is one of them. (Auburn, Penn State, Miami, USC are the other four, although USC is starting to come out of it). Why else would he pick Ohio State?
To be completely honest, I’m not at all angry at Urban Meyer anymore. He left our program in ruins, and admitted as much to Will Muschamp. He also brought us 2 BCS Championships, brought us close to a third, and developed many great NFL players. There are two sides to this coin, and right now, the bad side is not only up, but glinting in a bright light. It’s a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world in college football, and the last few things Meyer did for Gator Nation were: allow Steve Addazio to play with and mangle our promising offense (I am still, and might be for the rest of my life, furious with him), abruptly ditch us (twice) and then bolt for all the same reasons that supposedly forced him to retire.
That’s all we remember when we think of Meyer.
We instantly forget all the wins he brought to our program. We forget that he brought in superstars such as Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin, Brandon Spikes, Joe Haden, Ahmad Black, the Pouncey twins, Carlos Dunlap, and a slew of others. Even if you want to only credit the players for the championships, remember that Meyer and his staff recruited them.
So before you bash Meyer using all the techniques rival fan bases use- the arrest record, the lying, and the overall classlessness- remember that while they are all accurate to some level, they’re not uncommon. If somebody you don’t like is part of a violent gang that kidnaps the beautiful princess, do you start bad mouthing only your enemy, or the entire gang? Legally, they’re all at fault. They’re all getting arrested. They’re all to blame, not just one. Gator Nation is just picking on Meyer because they all see him as the enemy. Let’s go back to the List O’ Liars/Ditchers: Lane Kiffin, Pete Carroll, Nick Saban, Bobby Petrino, and Greg Schiano- and these are guys that have lied/fled in the past three years alone.
I’m not defending Meyer. I’m only saying that you can’t get mad at only him for doing something a bunch of other guys did. If you rip on Urban, then you have to unload similar insults at Kiffin, Carroll, Schiano, Petrino and Saban. And remember, he DID restore the Gators to national prominence.
Be honest, and be fair. Unlike those guys.
How mad can you really get at him when you think everything through?