I believe Urban Meyer. Do you?

Media and fans have become justifiably skeptical any time a college football coach says he isn’t interested in a particular job and professes shock and dismay that the media would even enquire about such a thing. The problem is that usually in his denials, the coach always leaves himself a little wiggle room with phrases like:

 “I intend to be here the rest of my career” or

 

 

 “I have the best job in college football”

 or the always crowd-pleasing: “This is the only job I want.”

Urban Meyer did none of that when he returned my phone call on Wednesday. The Florida coach was emphatic:

He is not going to Notre Dame. Ever.

Well, well.

The speculation about the Florida coach and Notre Dame has been on a low burn under the surface for a while. The speculation was natural. There are ties there. He worked for Lou Holtz. His mother loves the place. She named him after a pope.

But that low burn was turned up to a full flame last week with an internet column from the state of Alabama that said “Urban Meyer is probably leaving Florida after the season to go to Notre Dame.”

“I got back from a family vacation and got hit with that by one of our recruits,” Meyer said. “He told me that other schools were saying it. So I knew I had to be very definite, very clear.”

Meyer was attending Pat Dooley’s (Gainesville Sun) charity golf tournament last Saturday when he stood before the crowd and said: “I’m not going to Notre Dame. Ever. I’m going to be the coach at Florida for a long time, as long as they want me.”

Then he told the media in the room to print it.

“It (the speculation) was just getting ridiculous,” Meyer told me. “I have a great deal of respect for Notre Dame but there is nothing there on either side.”

Now if Meyer wins his third national championship in four years and flies off to South Bend, then you can let him have it and he’ll deserve the wrath that comes his way. But I believe the guy and here’s why: It’s simply logical.

Like Meyer, I have a great deal of respect for Notre Dame. In fact, I’m going there this weekend for the College Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement ceremonies. It’s a special place. But from a football standpoint, it is simply not the same place where Holtz won a national championship in 1988.

We have had a generation of players grow up with Notre Dame rarely relevant on the national stage. They have never heard of Knute Rockne or Ara Parseghian. They know Lou Holtz because he’s on television.

Yes, Notre Dame has its own television network (NBC) but now every game is on television so that it is no longer an advantage for Notre Dame. The SEC has two television networks (CBS, ESPN). Just like the schools in the Big Ten have had a tough time recruiting the great speed players from the South, so has Notre Dame. And in today’s game you are not going to win without speed.

My Georgia friends are not going to like this but it is an undeniable fact: Steve Spurrier (1990-2001) turned Florida into one of the top three jobs in all of college football. It is the state university in the state that produces a ton of Division I-A prospects. Meyer does not have to travel very far to recruit all the talent he needs. That would not be the case at Notre Dame, where you have to recruit nationally just to have a chance. There are reasons why Urban Meyer chose Florida over Notre Dame in December of 2004. Those reasons have not changed.

Now is it possible that Urban Meyer, who just turned 45 last Friday, might someday want different challenge than winning the SEC? Sure, it’s possible. Anything is possible in the crazy business of coaching.

 But in my experience coaches leave because somebody offers them a better job for more money. Notre Dame, for all of its great tradition, is never going to be a better job than Florida. The world has changed too much. Meyer is making  $3.25 million now and his president, Bernie Machen, is on record saying Meyer should be the highest paid coach in the SEC. LSU’s Les Miles was the league’s highest-paid coach last season at  $3.751 million. Alabama’s Nick Saban will average $4 million over the life of his eight-year contract.

So Meyer is going to get paid. If he ever leaves Florida, it’s not going to be because of money. Florida athletics director Jeremy Foley stayed ahead of the curve and made Steve Spurrier the first $2 million college football coach in 1997. He is not going to let Urban Meyer walk out the door over a few million dollars.

Meyer is like any other football coach in that he has his supporters and his detractors. His supporters will almost always give him the benefit of the doubt. His detractors will not. They want him out of the SEC, just like they wanted Spurrier out when he was dominating the league. They will question the veracity of everything he says and does. That’s part of the game.

 But even Meyer’s biggest critics will admit that the man is not stupid.  After such a definitive statement, he knows that if he leaves for Notre Dame the fan and media  backlash will make what happened to Nick (“I am not going to be the coach at Alabama”) Saban look like a walk in the park.

So I believe him. Do you?

Please follow me on Twitter at:

http://twitter.com/MrCFB

 

236 comments Add your comment

CharlotteGator

July 16th, 2009
5:02 pm

shankit,

Impressive analysis. Just a couple of questions…

- What winning % designates a powerhouse?
- How did you determine that UF only wins the conference in the ‘weak years’?

Since we’re having fun with statistics, why don’t you take the year you were born and start compiling statistics from then. That way our ‘precedent’ of setting the year is broken and your parents got to pick.

Tide Rising

July 16th, 2009
5:08 pm

Shankit,

I’m assuming your a dawgs fan. Nothing wrong with that. But jeeez. Who cares about what the average sat scores of the football players is. I don’t care if its Bama, Georgia, Florida, LSU, etc. lets be honest about it. Most of these guys aren’t geniuses and that goes for anywhere in the sec save Vandy.

The only criticism I’ve heard of Florida’s football team is that almost all of their players are steered into the 3 easiest majors on campus. Don’t know if that’s true or not. Its just something that was written in the AJC. But even if it is true and your players aren’t exactly a bunch of Einsteins its better that a player get a degree in sociology than not getting a college degree at all.

Some of the gator fans may not if UF has a policy of steering or not but that’s a topic of discussion for a whole other time.

In the meantime Urban aint going anywhere and I’m glad for it. Looking forward to more great contests against him.

Otto

July 16th, 2009
5:12 pm

Shankit, why don’t you look at UF’s record against UGA, Tenn, and LSU since SOS became the coach. They have dominated the series between those 3 teams for the past 20 years. I think you’ll find out why nobody in the SEC excpet maybe Auburn looks forward to playing them.

Charlotte, Why do we have to use HIS age? I want to use my Great great Grandfather’s age.

CharlotteGator

July 16th, 2009
5:17 pm

shankit,

Facts can be fun….

Checked out your survey….

http://www.ajc.com/sports/content/sports/stories/2008/12/28/acadmain_1228_3DOT.html?cxntlid=homepage_tab_newstab

Never saw that 850 score you cited in your post. Did see this…

“The University of Oklahoma and the University of Florida, whose football teams play Jan. 8 for the national championship, ranked near the bottom in standardized test scores. Florida’s freshman football classes of 2002-04 ranked 50th in average score out of 53 schools for which football SAT averages were available, and Oklahoma’s freshman football classes of 2001-03 ranked 42nd.”

- Surely not something to be proud of at all, however, please take a look at the years. Mr. Meyer wasn’t there.If you look at Meyer’s tenure, the GPA’s are going up, so he’s probably doing something right.

http://blogs.tampabay.com/gators/2008/01/gator-football.html

Also, let’s not cherry pick from the survey either. Your beloved dawgs haven’t limited their recruitment to Rhodes Scholars yet either..

“Many schools routinely used a special admissions process to admit athletes who did not meet the normal entrance requirements. More than half of scholarship athletes at the University of Georgia, Clemson University, UCLA, Rutgers University, Texas A&M University and Louisiana State University were special admits. ‘If the university says they’d help us meet team needs, that’s as important as finding an oboist for the orchestra,’ said Nancy McDuff, the University of Georgia’s associate vice president for admissions and enrollment management. The numbers, however, show special admissions exceptions are used far more often for athletes than oboists. At Georgia, for instance, 73.5 percent of athletes were special admits compared with 6.6 percent of the student body as a whole.”

jumbeauxtiger

July 16th, 2009
6:15 pm

I for one hope UM stays. I have been to every LSU-FL game home and away but one since 1981 and enjoy the intensity and electrifying atmosphere at the Swamp. I like the competition and is certainly better for the league.

Geaux Tigers
Go SEC

GatorGloryDays

July 16th, 2009
6:20 pm

Why would anyone in there right mind leave the a football program that is loaded with talent for 3 to 4 more years (including a QB that will play at the same or higher level when Tebow leaves in John Brantley), is continuing to load up on the nation’s best talent, has the best faclilities, the best statium with the loudest and most supportive fans, is surrounded in ones own state with the best high school talent in America, gets Gator Nation support anywhere the head coach travels, gets big bucks to coach and will get bigger bucks soon, is adored by his players, and his family for bringing them to Gainesville and out of Utah, and has a chance to win the SEC and National Championship every single year. Oh, yeah, Urban wants to give all this up to go to Notre Dame. If anyone believes that, then that person is a total idiot. If you are dreaming it, you are a Bulldog fan, a Vol fan, a Wildcat fan, or a Vandy fan. Meyer is keeping his head coaching skills right here in Hogtown, USA…that’s Gainesville, Florida, folks. Keep on wishing and dreaming because that is all the hope you have.

Vulcan Alex

July 16th, 2009
8:00 pm

Try this – Notra Lame is a rotten job, you don’t get enough good players to meet the foolish expectations of your fans. There are several better jobs with UF way better. Living in South Bend and raising your children there rather than in Gville, once again a winner for UF. I can see Urban retiring and being an AD or sports announcer, but only after the fire simmers down. Should be 5 – 15 years more if he can learn to delegate more!!

dawes

July 16th, 2009
8:07 pm

urban meyer will be at north dame next year don,t let cry baby fool you all he is a cry baby cry your eye out

Dawg1

July 16th, 2009
8:53 pm

As far as I can tell, this guy has pretty much lived up to his word. Give him credit, he has done a great job at UF. Why would he leave for N.D.? It isn’t a better job. Granted, he no longer has to play in the SEC and could design a ‘cake’ schedule and make USC the big game every year, but again why leave? They love him in Gainesviile. Half the state of Indiana is in Florida during the winter. I would call that a clue.

Sounds more like wishful thinking to me. Quit worrying about UF Dawg fans. Learn to take care of our own and the wins will with UF will come. Outside of the butt kicking we received last year, the games have actually been tight. And even in that butt kicking, there were two or three critical plays that blew it open.

Show a little class, wish UF well and go out and take care of business.

Dawg farts

July 16th, 2009
9:26 pm

Those dumb Georgia fans here said Meyers offense spread would not work in the SEC…Two national titles for Meyers and zero nc titles for Mark Richt.

MVP

July 16th, 2009
9:32 pm

Nick Saban called UF Jeremy Foley and said after Urban leaves UF, Saban dream job is coaching at UF.

Urban win Championships

July 16th, 2009
9:39 pm

Georgia Football team not man enough to win championships….

third quarter fan

July 16th, 2009
9:39 pm

Where is play that funky music ND guy? What is his take? And what will the Dow do tomorrow?(ND guy knows)

SEC this year… One big rock and a bunch of pebbles.

LSUFanatic

July 16th, 2009
9:45 pm

LSU beats Florida this year in Baton Rouge baby—mark it down! Fla and Tebow will melt down with all that noise from 90,000 drunk cajuns yelling the entire game. LSU 30 FL 24. LSU wins the SEC!!!!

Chuck Uga

July 16th, 2009
9:59 pm

Notre Dame will have to pay Meyer $6 or $7 million to get him. He would also command a huge budget in order to recruit. I am the biggest UGA fan out there, but I accept the fact Florida is currently the Miami Hurricanes of the 1980s and 1990s. They are going to win titles because FSU can’t get rid of Bowden and Miami can’t keep a good head coach anymore. They have taken over what they should have had years ago…dominance in recruiting in Florida, the top State for college football talent (sorry California). UGA will win a fair share of games against Florida under Richt, but it will get ugly quickly if UGA loses Richt. I think UGA will find a way to win in October, but injury situations may prevent that. All we can do is wait and see.

Mike T.

July 16th, 2009
10:14 pm

On a College Gameday in 2004, Urban Meyer said the very same thing that Barnhart reported
here,he said that he was not leaving Utah to coach at Florida. He has been down this road before.

Vince Neil - The King of Rock N Roll

July 16th, 2009
10:28 pm

None of you loser mutt fans got the scrotum to party with me

Urban "Legend" Meyer

July 16th, 2009
10:32 pm

I could care less about Georgia. There a bunch of losers and their coach is a dork who tans on a daily basis.

gatordc09

July 16th, 2009
10:45 pm

Why isnt media talking abt Pete Carrol or Bob Stoops going to ND…

tp

July 16th, 2009
10:56 pm

Charlotte Gator, Otto, and others. Do you realize what Tebow’s room looked like his Sr. in high school. It was more Gatored out than Mr. Two Bits house, Both parents were Gator grads, they had a Gator head on thier mailbox….. Dude was inheited by Urban Myer.

Ga fans. Loran Smith is from Wrightsville, GA. Hershcel as we all know is from Writesville, as is some car dealership dude that chipped in. Yes, Mike Cavan recruited his “ass of” but HW was inherited by JV Dooley, trust me.

Myer and Dooley are great leaders. Myer broke down in crocodile tears after a game. Let’s see what he does with a very avg. Johnny Brantley in 2010.

Paul Pondscum

July 16th, 2009
11:02 pm

There is a storm brewing over Bama!! Seems that Nick Sabans “dream job” is Florida, so he has been fueling the rumors of Meyer to Notre Dame so he can slip slide over to Gainesville! Only problem is they would also have to get rid of Jeremy Foley whom they know would never hire Tricky Nick.

Recruitnik

July 16th, 2009
11:14 pm

Tony,
You really are clueless. If you believe meyer then I have to question your common sense and intelligence.

dawes

July 17th, 2009
12:15 am

i die before i wish florida idon.t care if they ever win another game i am georgia bulldog diehard fan

Spike

July 17th, 2009
7:15 am

I think he will stay, but if Spurrier could leave UF so could Meyer.

rocksteadyfreddie

July 17th, 2009
7:20 am

Tebow was class of 06, not 05. Meyer inherited Leak from Zook.

Jeff

July 17th, 2009
8:18 am

who cares???????????? who really cares???????? did you write this for the Gator fans?????? Seems last time I looked, you worked for the AJC….as in Atlanta paper- who the h cares about Urban. How about some articles about UGA- heck- even tech. You’re in love with Fla and it shows……..

CharlotteGator

July 17th, 2009
8:28 am

TP,

Nice try. The recruitment actually came down to UF and Alabama and it was neck and neck. No one knew which way he’d go. Try and give Meyer some credit, I know it’s hard. By the way, how’d you get into Tebow’s room back then? That’s some great investigative blogging.

As far as average John Brantley, please keep thinking that. We can’t wait to see what Meyer does with him either.

CharlotteGator

July 17th, 2009
9:23 am

Jeff,

Tony doesn’t write for the Athens Banner Herald. It may surprise you but a lot of graduates of the various schools in the SEC actually reside in Atlanta which is the paper he writes for, so he writes about the SEC in it’s entirety. If you’re a Jacket fan then you may have a complaint as that school is actually in Atlanta, and doesn’t get as much pub. Either way, I think most are happy with Tony’s column and topics. If you’d like, feel free to remove the gun that someone’s pointing at you that’s forced you to read this column. That might help.

DawginLex

July 17th, 2009
9:34 am

Charlottegator,

No doubt Brantley is talented but I have said it before and will say it again, you only get 1 Herschel and Tebow is your Herschel.

CharlotteGator

July 17th, 2009
10:56 am

DawginLex,

100% correct. I just think Brantley has a chance to be our Knowshon, Robert Edwards, Garrison Hearst, etc. type QB. And hopefully not Danny Ware :)

Clearly he won’t be close to Tebow, but I think he’s certainly got a shot to be a good talented QB that impacts games and that other coaches have to plan/adjust for.

"Governor Tyree's fan club"

July 17th, 2009
12:51 pm

In response to “Gov Tyree”: The economy is terrible and people are losing their jobs (hence the overwhelming amount of comments on this page). As “Governor” shouldn’t you find something more important to do with your time than licking Urban’s hind parts on the internet??????????????????????????????????????????? I’m glad the people of Florida’s tax dollars are well spent!

ThaMan

July 17th, 2009
1:27 pm

IRISH25 – I don’t blame you. He would ruin your decade long tradition of losing.

Irishcane

July 17th, 2009
1:53 pm

I’m a Notre Dame fan who does not want Urban Meyer to come. I also believe Urban Meyer. However, I often see the “why would he” comments from Gators.

Meyer has won two national titles at UF in an impressive start to his career. What does that get him? Erikson did the same at Miami in ‘89 and ‘91. He’s now toiling in the desert.

Holtz won one at ND in ‘88 and he’s basking in the glory of the Hall of Fame this upcoming weekend. Win at UF and UF fans remember you. Win at ND and everyone remembers you.

BeachGaBulldog

July 17th, 2009
3:20 pm

Who cares? He is a CLASSLESS LOSER! Crier acts like a baby when he doesn’t get his way, and he lets his THUGS who have done sick acts like assault and battery continue to play. That is why UF is known as The UNIVERSITY OF FELONS!
By the way, COMMON SENSE says that when you win all of your games, you are CHAMPION, regardless of what a bunch of BIASED idiots think. Therefore, Utah Utes 2008 National Champions ALWAYS and FOREVER! Likewise Boise State 2006 National Champions ALWAYS and FOREVER!
F— the FELONS!

Dawg Tired

July 21st, 2009
9:47 pm

Tony – I believe Coach Meyer believes what he says! However, you asked whether I believe what he says. Having been good friends with several college coaches, I have learned that the really good ones, and Coach Meyer is about as good as they come, often get intrigued, even obsessed, with the idea of turning a big time program around. It makes them tick. They love the challenge.

So, do I believe Coach Meyer when he says he will never be the coach at ND? My answer, never is a long time and one should never say never.

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