Fiu's Daily Cavalcade of
Urban Meyer's Lost Focus ... May 13
Frank Costanza's Festivus Airing of the Grievances ... or the obvious attempt to keep readers coming to the site on a
regular basis during the off-season.
What's your beef? ... Fire
“From now on, the official language of San Marcos will be Swedish.
Silence! In addition to that, all citizens will be required to change
their underwear every half hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside
so we can check.” …
To go cliché, there might be only one team that can beat Florida this
year and that’s Florida. That needs to be put on a bumper sticker and
slapped on head coach Urban Meyer’s car after getting involved in yet
another kitten fight.
First, Stewie Griffin, a.k.a. Lane Kiffin,
did the equivalent of “I’m not touching you,” while holding his finger
one inch away from Meyer’s face, by claiming the Gators violated
recruiting rules. Meyer and Florida AD Jeremy Foley where in the right
by saying Kiffin was out of line, but instead of blowing off the new guy
who was obviously trying to stir the pot, they got involved and let him
get under their skin. Meyer has even taken jabs at Kiffin for the
now-infamous stunt of ripping off the shirts of recruits in a gimmicky
tough-guy ploy. Kiffin is in Meyer’s kitchen and he’s making biscuits.
Now, Meyer is taking on former Florida quarterback and radio show
host Shane Matthews, who criticized the offense and the team after last
year’s loss to Ole Miss, by basically saying in a talk to the Gator Club
that outside opinions will not be tolerated or accepted unless there’s
an I Grok Gators attached to it.
“You’re either a Gator or
you’re not a Gator,” was the exact line Meyer used, and while he didn’t
call out Matthews by name, it was well known who the intended target
Meyer is violating a time-honored rule that you never debate
down. If you’re in a superior, high-profile position, you’re going to be
open to swipes, jabs, and put downs to try to knock you off your
pedestal. By acknowledging the slap and trying to fight, you’re showing
weakness instead of being confident in your place in the world. By
fighting back against the inferior opponent, gas is being poured on the
Act as if.
Act as if you’ve won two national titles
in three years.
Act as if Shane Matthews is Shane Matthews and
you’re Urban Motherf’n Meyer, one of only four current college football
head coaches, along with Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden, and Dennis Erickson,
who have won multiple national championships (yes, I’m aware of Pete
Carroll’s work, but it’s BCS or bust at this point).
Act as if
nothing can get to you and the criticisms roll off your back.
as if you’re not freaking over trying to sustain your current level of
Most of all, act is if you have the best
college football team in America.
The defending national
champions are beyond loaded with everyone coming back on defense, a
veteran offense that will be more than fine once a few receivers emerge,
and with No. 15 under center, who’s making a bid to be considered the
greatest quarterback in college football history if he can pull off
another national title and/or a second Heisman.
works out extremely well with only three dangerous games, at LSU,
Georgia, and at South Carolina. If the Gators are fully focused and play
up to their capabilities, they won’t be touched in the other nine games,
they’ll likely overcome the emotion and the spotlight to beat the
Gamecocks, and they’ll be the better team than Georgia. They can even
lose in Death Valley to the Tigers and still wind up playing for the
national title by beating everyone else and winning a rematch in the SEC
This will be the No. 1 team in the country in every
preseason poll that matters, and most of the ones that don’t, with
anyone picking someone else for the top spot doing it just to be
contrary. There’s simply no reasonable argument to put anyone but
Florida on top of the rankings based on returning talent, but that
doesn’t mean it can’t all be undone if the pressure proves to be too
much for Meyer.
So how could it all go wrong? How could this
near-perfect team blow it? They could start to let all the outside
distractions become a problem.
Coaches preach over and over and
over again to be confident, but not cocky. Stay focused, don’t get
caught up in the silly stuff, do your job, blah, blah, blah. While 94%
of that goes in one ear and out the other, there is something to the
rhetoric if teams don’t actually adhere to those basic principles.
Essentially, barring a rash of major injuries, if Florida can handle the
periphery parts of being the defending national champion with a
bull’s-eye on its back, and if it doesn’t get caught up in its own hype,
it should win another national title. But Meyer has to be a steadier
If Meyer loses it every time there’s a little bit of
criticism, the team will be tighter. He can’t be distracted by every
shiny ball of tin foil that rolls past him, and better yet, he needs
embrace the critiques and keep improving rather than bunker down and get
defensive. If he can’t handle the jawing, how is his team supposed to
react the first time someone steps up and get all chest-thumpy? Remember
the celebration by Georgia after its first touchdown in the 2007 win
over the Gators and how Meyer’s team effectively wilted? Again, it all
starts at the top.
Matthews actually had a valid point after the
Ole Miss game, claiming the coaches didn’t take advantage of certain
mismatches on offense. He wasn’t criticizing to be mean or vindictive;
he was saying it out of love for his team and his beloved program. Being
off-base would have been to criticize the team’s lack of effort and
focus, but he didn’t have to go there. Tim Tebow took care of that for
him and was immortalized for it with a plaque that hangs on Florida
Matthews has taken the high road through all of this and
hasn’t used the controversy, if it really is one, to further his own
radio show host profile, but it hasn’t hurt. Now Meyer has to act like
an adult and embrace his newfound role as a head coaching God.
Leave the petty stuff to the rest of us, Urban, and come up with the
best answer possible by winning another national title. And be prepared
to sit back and groove on the criticism if you don’t.