Even if you’re a Gator hater, there is no joy in Meyer’s departure

It’s a tough business. I get that. And over the course of six seasons a head football coach in the SEC can rub a lot of people the wrong way, especially the people he beats.

But if you’re a Bulldog or a Volunteer for a Gamecock or a member of the Crimson Tide Nation, you really shouldn’t be celebrating today over the news that Urban Meyer is leaving as the head coach at Florida.

I’ve had my own issues Meyer.

 He was flat wrong when he suspended linebacker Brandon Spikes for only one-half game after Spikes clearly tried to hurt Georgia’s Washaun Ealey (sticking his fingers in the facemask). Only after the public outcry did Spikes “suddenly” decide that his suspension should be for one game.

He was wrong when he dressed down a reporter in practice in front of cell phone cameras. If he had an issue with the reporter, then there is a right way–a professional way–to address the concern. He chose the wrong way. I don’t know if Meyer was trying to put on a show for his players but it was unprofessional behavior. You don’t use people as props because you want to win football games.

He was flat wrong when he allowed Chris Rainey to return to the team and I said so. There are certain lines in life that you do not cross and threats against women is one of those lines. The rationalizations about who Rainey was and his background, etc., may have all been true. But all that pales in comparison to a text message that said “Time to die, ——-.”

The more success Meyer and the Florida program had, the more withdrawn and insular it became. They became like rock stars who once basked in the attention that brought them fame and fortune but ultimately found it suffocating and just tried to block it all out.

But instead of managing the media  and managing the very high expectations,  which successful people do every day, Meyer chose to throw up walls and pull in the ranks and adopt this silly “us agains the world” mentality. Coaches do that because it’s easy and the players will easily buy into it. It’s much easier for a coach to tell a player “they are all out to get us” instead of “dealing with the media–good and bad–is part of growing up. If you want to play at the next level you need to learn how to deal with these people and be smart about it. We will teach you how to do that.” But that takes work and, in some coaches’ narrow view of the world, it has nothing to do with winning and losing and so it should simply be eliminated as a factor. It is short sighted but if you win enough games, being short sighted eventually becomes a virtue.

Having said all that, Meyer is/was a helluva coach and the record certainly proves that. He won two national championships in three seasons (2006, 2008) and was certainly good enough in 2009 to win a third but for Alabama. For five years at Florida his star burned as brightly as any I’ve ever seen. But on Wednesday he announced, in so many words, that he was burned out.

I know you love your school but most of you I hear from also love your conference and college football as a whole. And so there is no reason to celebrate when the sport burns out a talented coach. You would rather he stay so that when you finally beat him it is all the more sweet.

Florida will find another talented coach. Frankly, I’m going to be surprised if its not Dan Mullen. Whoever it is will be very successful. Steve Spurrier forever changed Florida’s football program in his 12 years (1990-2001) at the school. Before Spurrier arrived Florida had never won 10 games in a season and had never won an SEC championship. Spurrier raised the bar and so Florida will never go back for more than a year or two.

And for Urban Meyer? I predict that he will be out of coaching for only one year and will surface again. This year he got caught in the perfect storm of talent losses and coaching losses and the inability to summon up the fire in the belly that had burned white hot for five seasons. We were all guilty of thinking that Florida could just reload after four years of Tim Tebow. The Florida program took a dip as all programs do (see Texas). The Gators will be back sooner rather than later but Urban Meyer will no longer be their coach.

If you love the game, there is no reason to celebrate that.

 And one last thing: If Urban Meyer goes to the Denver Broncos in the next two months, I take it all back.

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621 comments Add your comment

anonymous

December 9th, 2010
11:52 pm

jeff = angry, little man

Matt

December 9th, 2010
11:56 pm

This just in. Urban Myers is resigning as head coach of the University of Florida. It is rumored he is getting ready to accept the position of head coach of the Denver Broncos. The number one reason for this is he is desperate to have his boy toy Tim Tebow back.

hind tit

December 9th, 2010
11:59 pm

I agree with Tide Rising on the Newton deal. I also see Meyer leaving because he will loose most of his starters on both sides of the ball plus a below average QB returning. He’s in the same place Richt was a few years back. Both coaches lost the main cogs that made the machine run.Richt lost his defensive coach to the NFL, plus the offensive line coach to UAB. Meyer lost both offensive and defensive coordinator coaches in the same year. All of these coaches were some of the best in the country and it just goes to show what happens when you lose certain special coaches placed together to makeup that winning chemistry that’s so delicate in college football. Meyer is no fool. He seen what happened to Richt with top of the line players and seen he was headed down the same road. Richt is still the same person and coach as he was when he came to Georgia and so is Meyer and both are good coaches. Richt chose to try and find that same chemistry and winning combination he put together when he came to Georgia. Meyer on the other hand sees a possibility of a loosing season next year and if that happened Florida fans would be calling for his head just like Georgia fans are calling for Richt the last two. He’s gettin out while the gettin good.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

December 10th, 2010
12:39 am

The Pine cone liquor will flow like water in Athens this weekend..they have a shot, however miniscule, of winning a game in Jacksonville in the next 5-10 years with the departure of Urban..but now with a resurgent Spurrier..will the dogs win in Columbia anytime soon?

sam

December 10th, 2010
1:06 am

The sport did not burn him out; his own actions did. He drove himself hard. I bet he could dial it back 20% and still be successful. I think sometimes the idea that being in the office means you are working harder than everyone else when it might be insecurity. Also fatigue means you make mistakes. So working while really tired can be counterproductive.

mdr

December 10th, 2010
1:10 am

“Florida will never go back for more than a year or two”

Based on what? Miami and F$U both took steps back, and they play in a weaker conference than UF. If Jimbo gets the Noles going again, and Miami makes the right hire, Florida will almost definitely fall off for more than a year or two.

The Grinch

December 10th, 2010
4:56 am

The same person who used to impersonate me is doing so again; this is my first post on this blog. You were warned before; get your own damn username.

Alphare is a troll

December 10th, 2010
6:59 am

I slob knobs

The Grinch loves this time of year

December 10th, 2010
7:01 am

Come on fella stop stealing my name. You are making me so angry. On another note, anyone up for a meeting at Bulldogs in Atl?

Jim

December 10th, 2010
7:02 am

WHINE!! WHINE!!! WHINE!!! This is football, not brain surgery. He wants to spend more time with his family after making 20 million dollars. POOR GUY!!! As my father said, “If you can not stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”. Good riddance to a small man.
If he had to work for a living, you might understand. It is football!!

TrishaDishaWarEagle loves Auburn

December 10th, 2010
7:02 am

But I hate men

anonymous and top

December 10th, 2010
7:03 am

The Grinch we will meet you there

BBro

December 10th, 2010
7:03 am

I believe Coach Meyer would have great joy leaving at this time knowing he’s going to be temporarly retired and enjoying his wife and kids and being able to be part of their activities for once and not the other way around.

BBro

December 10th, 2010
7:06 am

How old are you all 12?

BBro

December 10th, 2010
7:10 am

Wow Barnhart lets list all the things you were wrong about Mr. Perfect, that’s right there’s not enough time to type all the things you were wrong about and don’t be asking us the fans to help you up on that pedistool.

[...] AJC’s Tony Barhart says that even if you are a Gator-hater, there’s no joy in Meyer’s departure. Plus, Matt Hinton of Yahoo Sports on the Gators that time will [...]

Dan

December 10th, 2010
7:14 am

hop

December 10th, 2010
8:00 am

who really cares tony,he is just another millionaire coach who decides to leave.

Old Tackle

December 10th, 2010
1:03 pm

Stark > Gaines

Dean

December 10th, 2010
5:12 pm

It must have been ‘roid-rage when Brandon Spikes tried gouging out eyeballs last year.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/football/nfl/wires/12/10/Brandon.Spikes.ap/index.html

Warhorse

December 10th, 2010
7:53 pm

TB is my favorite sports writer, but this is way beneath him to shoot a guy in a lifeboat. Tony sounds like the TV types who cannot muster enough grace to let a guy slip away quietly.

Your worst moment ever Tony, but I am sure you will regain your grace.