Meyer wrong–again–in confrontation with reporter

 Today’s column was supposed to be about my visit to Gainesville, Fla., on Monday and Tuesday. The topic was going to be the Florida players discussing how disappointing the 13-1 season of 2009 was because of the constant pressure of trying to maintain the No. 1 preseason ranking. I sat down with three Florida players—Ahmad Black, Mike Pouncey, and John Brantley. To a man they agreed that given the lowered expectations and pressure, the 2010 season was going to be a little more relaxed and more fun. 

 

Little did I know that on Wednesday, the day I left, head coach Urban Meyer would REALLY make things fun.

 

 By now I’m sure you’ve read the story and seen the video of Meyer, who has limited his contact with the press this spring, confronting an Orlando Sentinel reporter at practice. When I was at practice on Monday Meyer did not speak to the press after it was over, which is fine. Other players and coaches were made available. But on Wednesday Meyer walked right up to Jeremy Fowler and objected to a quote that wide receiver Deonte Thompson gave on Monday when he was surrounded by several reporters. The question dealt with how the offense would look with John Brantley instead of Tim Tebow as quarterback. Here is the direct quote and again, Thompson said it in front of a group of reporters who all had their tape recorders going: :

 

 

“Things are going to get better here in the future,” Thompson said. “Any receiver would be happy. You have a guy like (John) Brantley throwing the ball, spreading it around to everybody. … You never know with Tim. You can bolt, you think he’s running but he’ll come up and pass it to you. You just have to be ready at all times. With Brantley, everything’s with rhythm, time. You know what I mean, a real quarterback.”

 

 “A REAL quarterback.”

 

 Obviously, what Thompson meant was that Brantley is a more CONVENTIONAL drop back quarterback than Tebow, which is also obvious. Life for Florida’s receivers is going to be different with John Brantley as quarterback. It will be more conventional. Everybody in the program agrees that is true.

 

 But in today’s 24/7 news cycle quotes like Thompson’s get picked up in the blogosphere and not everyone puts them into context. Thompson was reportedly upset because he has such a high regard for Tim Tebow and the quote made it look like he was ripping perhaps the most honored player in school history. Meyer’s reaction was to defend this player and so he goes after the source in front of everybody and has his Mike Gundy moment. He threatened to ban the entire newspaper from practice and called Fowler “a bad guy.” Meyer even went so far as to suggest that if Thompson were Meyer’s son, he and the reporter might come to a physical confrontation.

 

 Go here to see the video:

 http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/sports_college_uf/2010/03/urban-meyer-uh-passionately-defends-deonte-thompson.html

 

 Enough.

 

 I have defended Urban Meyer and bent over backwards to be fair to the man. And let me say that he has always been good to me, personally. But he is flat wrong here. There was a right way and a wrong way to handle this issue and over the last two years, when the media has been involved, Meyer has been pretty tone deaf. The issue was never the quote by Thompson. The issue was the way others outside the program picked up the quote and used it out of context. That is wrong and it is unfair to the kid.

 

 But when that happens, the smart coach doesn’t go after the reporter who quoted the kid CORRECTLY in an attempt to intimidate the rest. You sit down with all the reporters and explain to them that the kid is upset and, if there is any doubt about the context of the quote, Meyer as the head coach provides it in a calm, rational manner. Then the story goes away. But now this story has gone viral and, like Gundy, Meyer will soon be in the YouTube Hall of Fame. Not smart.

 

 Meyer made the same mistake when linebacker Brandon Spikes got caught with his hand inside the face mask of Georgia running back Waushan Ealey last season. By suspending Spikes for only one half, Meyer took what should have been a one-day story and turned it into a four-day story. After the national uproar, Spikes “volunteered” to sit out a whole game. It never should have happened. Somebody should have told Meyer that a half-game suspension was wrong and Meyer should have listened.

 

 The media is so large now that it can’t be controlled. But it can be MANAGED with a little rational thought. Meyer has made it clear that he believes he does not have to manage media as part of his job. And that is certainly his right. But it’s not very smart, and Urban Meyer is a very smart man.

 

 And on this I feel strongly: For Meyer to personalize this issue is not only unprofessional, it is not in keeping with the standards of behavior that are generally accepted in the Southeastern Conference.

 

 Urban Meyer doesn’t need my advice but, if asked, I would tell him this: Given the drama of last December’s “retirement” and then “un-retirement” then “extended leave of absence” by Meyer, an incident like this will get the chattering class talking yet again about Meyer’s overall stability. Is that fair to him? Probably not. But if you don’t want people taking shots at you, why in the world would you hand them a gun and do it for all the world to see?

 

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www.twitter.com/MrCFB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

327 comments Add your comment

Dawgs2010

March 25th, 2010
5:28 pm

I would love to go to YouTube and watch Coach Meyer drop dead from a heart attack.

carl wilkins

March 25th, 2010
5:28 pm

Sir:

I have read several of your articles and for you to say you have been fair or imply you have been fair in your reporting of the Florida Program or to Coach Meyer is a lie.

Sign Retired.

atlbrave426

March 25th, 2010
5:35 pm

People are dumb…Urban Meyer is wrong
direct quote from Fowler’s blog (look it up if you dont believe me)

“New quarterback John Brantley is what Thompson calls a “pure passer,” which makes him happy. The two have connected on thousands of passes the last three years in practice, Thompson said.

“You never know with Tim,” Thompson said. “You can bolt, you think he’s running but he’ll come up and pass it to you. You just have to be ready at all times. With Brantley, everything’s with rhythm, time. You know what I mean, a real quarterback.”

Thompson’s comment was either intentional or he meant to say Brantley’s a more conventional style of quarterback.

I’ve received plenty of feedback Tuesday from Thompson supporters vouching for the guy. I’ve interviewed Thompson numerous times in the past and he never said anything inflammatory.

Either way, Thompson’s ready to be the top receiver for Florida.”

-Fowler did not make it look like Thompson was bashing Tebow. Urban Meyer obviously did not read the article and just heard from someone incorrectly that Fowler had said “Thompson bashed Tebow.” When he didnt. Meyer had no reason at all to go after Fowler, he did nothing wrong, he quoted a guy correctly. Meyer doesnt even deserve to be mad at Thompson either, the kid just said something wrong he probably meant to say “conventional quarterback” but accidentally said “real” he’s a kid, he is going to make mistakes, this shouldnt have even been a story but Urban Meyer, who everyone knows is a huge a**hole had to make a scene.

Mark Richt

March 25th, 2010
5:52 pm

I wish the GA media would pay as much attention to my team as they do to all things Gator. Sigh.

Suspended SEC Officiating Crew

March 25th, 2010
5:59 pm

Bama kicked all things gator ……REAL GOOD

Suspended SEC Officiating Crew

March 25th, 2010
6:00 pm

Urban is smart ass YANKEE

Suspended SEC Officiating Crew

March 25th, 2010
6:01 pm

GO AT IT SKINNY ASS NERD URBAN

Dave

March 25th, 2010
6:12 pm

Chris Lowe had a column saying he thinks this had to do with Urban was being sensitive to comments about Tebow and his lack of being NFL ready at first I agreed until I read about another incident in Urban recent past where he wanted to ban ex-Fl QB Shane Mathews for the offense. I am going to call a spade a spade here. I believe Urban has a real problem with criticism and is probably the classic definition of a person who is a control freak. This is the incident I refer to it is very similar and happened only one year ago http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/sports_bianchi/2009/04/is-tim-tebows-coach-urban-meyer-trying-to-blackball-gator-legend-shane-matthews-.html

GT

March 25th, 2010
6:28 pm

I like this kind of communication, I wish more coaches would stop being politically correct and show their real colors. I mean no one in this conversation has a real job anyway. Tony there is a real world out there somewhere and none of this has anything to do with it.

Buzz

March 25th, 2010
6:37 pm

Dave – don’t put too much stock in Bianchi’s “analysis.” All Meyer said was that if you want inside access to the program as a former player, then support the program. If you want to be negative and rip the program, then buy a ticket. But you can’t have it both ways. I’ll bet that all coaches feel that way. Don’t be my buddy on Saturday when you want a sideline pass, and then rip me the rest of the week. Coaches have a job to do, and if someone is undermining their efforts, why would the coach want them around?

Whiskeydawg

March 25th, 2010
6:42 pm

I thought your article was very well written, Tony. I agree. UM didn’t handle the situation well. As you said, Myer is a very smart man, so why did he choose to create more stress and tension? Could it be that he needs a certain amount of that to operate? I’ve worked with people over the years, and I’m sure you have too who aren’t comfortable unless the atmosphere is always “charged”. They can only function in crisis mode. I have a neighbor like that. He’ll use any excuse, no matter how minor, and turn it into a Federal case. Most people like that are prone to suffer from high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. I don’t wish that anyone, but Myer’s resent health history also seems to fit the profile.

NoGaGator

March 25th, 2010
6:52 pm

Here’s the best perspective I’ve read about what went on and why:

http://andreu.blogs.gatorsports.com/10392/this-wasnt-about-tebow/

Bob

March 25th, 2010
7:21 pm

Urban might to run that Orlando Sentinel ban past his sports information department. I’m guessing they might not be on board. What a dumbazz.

indianman

March 25th, 2010
7:22 pm

coach meyer show is low down coach and i don.t think tebow will be aquarterback inthe nfl some body will not his brain out

Georgia Fan

March 25th, 2010
7:32 pm

I guess the leave of absence didn’t work…

ControlFreak.com

March 25th, 2010
8:06 pm

Nick Saban and Urban Meyer are PremaDonnas……..

Nachos

March 25th, 2010
8:06 pm

That’s what happens when you have to coach against a man named NICK SABAN.

R.I.P. to all SEC football programs, its just getting started.

ga gator

March 25th, 2010
8:11 pm

Nacho, enjoy it until uncle nick gets a. a better offer or b. you get put on probation.

.......

March 25th, 2010
8:21 pm

PROzac

March 25th, 2010
8:23 pm

Nick and Urban need to move to Milledgeville

Remerton Police Chief

March 25th, 2010
8:27 pm

I saw Urbans daughter with that UGA QB.

grow up

March 25th, 2010
8:30 pm

Urban goes off
Urban lashes out
Urban is a tired act

BS Patrol

March 25th, 2010
8:40 pm

The “standards” of the SEC?

Tony, did you realize there are thousands of comedians out of work?

ga gator

March 25th, 2010
8:45 pm

Dawgs2010

March 25th, 2010
8:45 pm

Urban’s daughter is the star of the new release “Anal Assault 15″

ga gator

March 25th, 2010
8:47 pm

Dawgs2010, I’m glad you aren’t typical of most Dawg fans. When do you get kicked out of your trailer?

Bull Gator

March 25th, 2010
8:56 pm

Mark my words…………Urban Meyer will be DEAD in 10 years or less. He obviously has a type A personality and is driven beyond belief. However his ability to deal with criticism and adversity will ultimately undue this man. He should have stayed retired…he owed this to his family. His health is bad…chest pains, and a cyst on the brain. Urban Meyer you cannot stop being Urban Meyer and you know it – your personality won’t let you. Please for the love of your family quit putting yourself inot such a stressfull situations…if you don’t then ultimately you are going to kill yourself. You are NOT being fair to yourself or your family. Get some help before it is too late. You will be the death of yourself if you don’t stop – and stop quick. May the good Lord bless you and your health!
Bull Gator

ga gator

March 25th, 2010
9:03 pm

dont see how anyone can disagree with you Bull Gator.

ga gator

March 25th, 2010
9:08 pm

gotta to love it. The great Big East just lost another, Butler over Syracuse.

poopdawg

March 25th, 2010
9:20 pm

Bull Gator , stress doesn’t stop when you stop coaching. He may need coaching more than we realize. He loves it or he wouldn’t be doing it . I bet his family has pressured him to quit also. But he’s a warrior and too young to play old.

Wil Bradley

March 25th, 2010
9:57 pm

Love the Gator hate coming out of the ATL. I like your blog, and now have been compelled to comment.

Of course I couldn’t disagree with you more, but it’s not homerism.

You said it yourself, no other reporter chose to run with that story the way Fowler did. Why was that? You know better than I do, that reporters are all about breaking a story. If anyone else there thought this was the gist of Thompson’s statement, surely they would have ran with it.

I understand the media protecting Fowler, that’s what you do. And all you media guys, including ESPN are all over the airwaves and internet blasting Meyer. Why?

He’s doing what you guys are doing, defending his family so to speak. Again, you pointed out that Fowler’s use of the quote was misleading. So why did he do it the way he did? Especially when you get a chance to hear the entire interview (link below).

http://ufrsports.com/review/index.php/2010/03/25/deonte-thompson-urban-meyer-and-tim-tebow/

Anyway, Gator Nation is accustomed to this type of envy. We actually relish it.

athdog

March 25th, 2010
9:59 pm

This is the first head job Meyer’s had for more than two years, making this the first time the beat writers’ for his team have really gotten to know him the way you only know someone after a few years. He is, was and will always be a controlling egomaniac, and my guess is that WonderDawg is dead on: He (Urban) and ‘manboobs’ Johnson are both the type that would crap themselves if someone had the cajones to stand up to ‘em. Having said that, I’d love to have Urban’s record of achievement over the last few years,

Players and Recruits

March 25th, 2010
10:37 pm

Urban M-e-y-e-r! Urban M-e-y-e-r! Urban M-e-y-e-r! THE MAN!!!

ga gator

March 25th, 2010
10:52 pm

athdog, the 2 years in the same job is not it; however it is the first job he’s had in a 24 hour pressure cooker like being the head of an SEC program. He simply hasn’t been able to stand up to the pressure of being #1 for an entire season, few can.

Pete Spyke

March 25th, 2010
10:52 pm

I can understand Coach Meyer’s frustration and anger. It’s clear that the media people who are rallying around Jeremy Fowler STILL don’t get the point. This isn’t about Urban Meyer — it’s about Deonte Thompson. The implications by the highlighted “A REAL quarterback?” in the articles was hurtful to Deonte. Deonte didn’t diss Tebow — the media dissed Deonte. Fowler needs to take responsibility for that, as does anyone who did the same thing. Deonte is the only one in this whole dynamic that deserves an apology, and no one has offered one. That’s the problem, pure and simple. A good person was hurt, but instead of focusing on him, all the hubbub’s about the guy who hurt him — whether it was deliberate or accidental isn’t the issue. Deonte and his family deserve an apology. Will we hear that, or more blather about stuff that isn’t even germane to that central issue?

John Martin

March 25th, 2010
11:29 pm

I think the real issue here is not a coach defending one of his players but is why you and other so call “journalist” are not calling out one of your own for taking a qoute out on context to try an create a story. It is another case of lazy jouralalism which seems to be the norm today.

Real Georgia Dog

March 25th, 2010
11:29 pm

Meyer’s going to blow a gasket even before the season starts. He’s lost it and needs to retire. With meyer and the uf staff in disarray, look for the Dawgs to dominate the SEC east this year. Richt will really run it up on florida’s weak D this year as payback for those 2 timeouts in 2008!!! Dawgs v. Bama for the SEC title—mark it down!

Chris

March 26th, 2010
1:54 am

It is baffling how many articles just as clueless as this one are being published on this matter. This has nothing to do with “managing the media” – this is entirely about Meyer making it clear to his players he is going to stand up for them and to deflect the media pressure off them onto himself. This is a brilliant, unselfish move on his part and the fact that nobody is picking up on this is a clear sign how little knowledge of reality one needs to write about football for a living.

kevin

March 26th, 2010
2:01 am

Barnhart is a Donkey! A bunch of babble about nothing.

Mark Richt is a Hypocrite

March 26th, 2010
5:08 am

Urban says whats on his mind. Mark Richt what a joke. Seat will get hotter for Hypocrite Richt in 2010.

Jim007

March 26th, 2010
5:12 am

Never been impressed by Urban Winer, this just confirms / validates it.

Gators 49 UGA Balls lickers 10

March 26th, 2010
5:12 am

Mutt nation playing that same old broken record that they play every year.

Real dumb Georgia Dog

March 26th, 2010
5:16 am

Timeouts are legal. The pain will hurt for fleabag nation for ever.

When will UGA win another NC?

March 26th, 2010
5:21 am

I’ll take Urban over Richt anytime. Urban wins championships and takes up for his players. As for Mark Richt? My tan and hair looks great!

The Refs,coaches and god hates Georgia

March 26th, 2010
5:35 am

after that stupid endzone dance. Georgia will always be Urban Meyers bitch!

BuLLdawg

March 26th, 2010
6:33 am

Urban Meyer has LOST IT for all to see.

BuLLdawg

March 26th, 2010
6:34 am

Urban Meyer clearly has underlying reasons why his HEALTH remains in the news.

He cannot keep coaching. It is NOT good for his HEALTH.

Is that not obvious, if not before now when I said it after he took back his retirement.

Certainly now.

BuLLdawg

March 26th, 2010
6:37 am

In fact even before the, un-retirement and I will be back and coach in the Fall, presser, I said that Urban Meyer had a problem years ago when he started CRYING when he LOST.

BuLLdawg

March 26th, 2010
6:40 am

Jeremy Foley will be held responsible, and the University of Florida president too, for how his health CONTINUES to FAIL from these high-strung personality flaws he CONTINUES to demonstrate at EVERY opportunity.

It has nothing to do with managing or controlling the press. It ONLY has to do with his HEALTH and what causes his HEALTH to be as it CLEARLY is.

Top Dawg

March 26th, 2010
7:00 am

I’M A MAN!!! I CAN TAKE IT!!!
– Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State)