What Was Urban Really Responsible For?

Upon seeing this question, there are two main answers: Gators glory and Gator demise.

But what specifically was he responsible for? A lack of discipline? Recruits? Wins?

Here are the good things he was responsible for:

The 2008 BCS Championship

Using his own recruits, his own offense and his own coaching staff, Urban Meyer led the Gators to the national championship in 2008. Credit his assistants and his players too, but remember that Urban was responsible for bringing almost all of them to Florida. This goes to Urban, no doubt.

Tim Tebow

Without an offense so tailor made for Tebow, it’s unlikely he would have had such tremendous success. He might have still won games, but not the way he did at Florida. Tim Tebow came so close to signing with Alabama, and if not for Meyer’s great recruiting skills, he would have. Credit Urban Meyer 100% for making Tim Tebow a Gator.

NFL Pipeline

After the days of Steve Spurrier, many wondered who would be the next coach to lead Florida back to glory. It turned out to be Meyer after three years of Zook (who we as Gator fans owe a big sincere thank you, I’ll get there later) and he did it by bringing in a truckload of future NFL players, such as Joe Haden, Percy Harvin, Brandon Spikes, Aaron Hernandez, Janoris Jenkins, Cam Newton (who, people forget, spent more time in Gainesville than in Auburn), Major Wright, Louis Murphy and many, many more.

Now, here are some negatives that Urban was responsible for:

2005 season

Many people forget it but the Gators were downright horrible in 2005 offensively and would have been under .500 if not for a dynamic defense led by Charlie Strong. If you don’t remember, the 2005 season opener against Wyoming was actually worse than the 2010 opener against Miami Ohio. He tried to force a foreign offense on Chris Leak, who had enough trouble adjusting to a new staff, and the Gators really struggled. It raises questions about how good of a coach Meyer really was.

Steve Addazio Era

I made a few jokes in my Addazio to Gator Nation articles about Addazio recruiting 8th grade girls to run his offense. He might as well have- with all the talent he wasted with his awful “offense”, he still couldn’t run it for any success, so why not use the 8th grade girls? I also hinted at him being a Sandusky once. Well, I obviously hope he never molests a young girl, because that’s disgusting and horrible- but if he had, Florida would have benefitted greatly. He would have been of more use sitting in jail on molesting charges- or any charges, for that matter- than he was calling plays. Quite frankly, he was the worst play-caller and coach I have ever seen, and his idiocy set the Gators back three years in prestige by killing recruiting.

Players’ Character

Will Muschamp is rebuilding the UF program with character, not characters. Specifically, the kind of characters Meyer brought in. I’m not blaming him for a lack of discipline, but the players he brought in were just not the best people. His players’ arrest record says that clearly. A few of them were silly mistakes, such as Chris Rainey sending a threatening text message, but a lot of them reflected the kind of kids Meyer wanted.

Here are some positives that Urban is not responsible for:

2006 BCS Championship

While nobody would argue that Florida could have pulled this off without three superb freshmen- Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin and Brandon James- this was a Ron Zook generated result. So Gator fans do truly owe Ron Zook in two ways. The first is the way he recruited. He brought in enough pure talent to field a national championship team- beating eventual champion LSU on their home field proved that. The other thing Florida fans must thank him for is employing Chrlie Strong, the brilliant defensive architect. Of course, Meyer did keep him on in 2006, but that’s like crediting the people who built the Enola Gay for ending World War II. Thanks, Zook.

The 2009 season

No, this was simply a preview of Tebow’s NFL career- great defense (Strong again), an OK offense around him and he just finds ways to win. If Florida had won it all, then you could credit Meyer for bringing Tebow in, creating the offense, etc. But Florida could have played Alabama 999 more times and they wouldn’t have ever beaten them unless the defense pitched a shutout. The success that Florida did have was due to the defense for keeping Florida in it and Tebow for pulling it out.

Now, here are the bad things Meyer was not responsible for:

Discipline

You cannot blame Meyer for having such an arrest issue when he brings in so many thugs. You blame Meyer for bringing in the thugs, not for them misbehaving. It’s really that simple.

The Broken Program Label

All good things must come to an end. Florida’s NCAA dominance ended eventually, like all things do. While you can blame Meyer for letting Addazio ruin our program, you cannot blame him for not bringing in more Tim Tebows. Jeff Driskel was supposed to be the next one, and even if he does turn out to be a star, it won’t help for 2010 and 2011. That’s over. Tebow was made to run Meyer’s system, and while that doesn’t mean he can’t succeed with other offenses, the focus on Meyer is that he can’t simply reload. If you want to blame somebody, blame God for not littering the state of Florida with diehard Gator fan replicas of Tim Tebow. Without him, Florida really struggled, both before and after he got to Florida. The “broken program” is simply a synonym for “lack of Tebow”. The defense is still great, the offense still has playmakers… but the Gators do not have Tebow.