A Florida high school football coach says his friendship is a little strained with Urban Meyer these days. It has everything to do with recruiting.
Robert Weiner directs Tampa’s Plant High, the Florida powerhouse which has won two out of the last three state championships. Plant High also boasts two prospects ranked among the nation’s top 100, quarterback Aaron Murray and tight end Orson Charles. Both are headed across the state line for college ball, which isn’t sitting too well with fans of the reigning BCS champions. Weiner counts Urban Meyer as a friend.
“I’m sure, at least for a short period of time, there will be strained relations with Urban and the Florida coaches,” Weiner told the AJC on Wednesday. “But eventually we’ll be back to business. I’ll have other players that the University of Florida will want in future years, and I’d love to get players to the University of Florida. Anytime you have two players so highly recruited, things can get pretty intense. But in the end, there are no hard feelings. Everything will be OK.”
These days, however, Weiner is feeling the heat from all directions. In forming an unlikely alliance with the Gators, some Florida State and Miami fans are also disappointed to see two elite recruits depart the Sunshine State. However, the Gators carry the most powerful voice because they are the reigning champs.
“There’s some history there,” Weiner said. “The University of Florida lost Aaron Murray to Georgia. Orson eliminated Florida State first, and then Florida. When you lose one of the top recruits in the state, and then lose another kid [Charles] who decides to go somewhere else, I can see how they need someone to point back at. You know, ‘Hey coach, there’s some consistency there with your top two players leaving Florida. What’s going on?’”
“I know some people are thinking ‘That high school coach must not like Florida. He must not like Urban Meyer.’ That’s not true. I love the University of Florida. Urban Meyer is one of the greatest coaches I’ve met in my life. He’s a great person, a tremendous leader, and his job excellence speaks for itself with two national championships … However, my only agenda right now is for the kids at Plant High. It’s about the kids. I support whatever they do with their college decisions. Business is business with recruiting, and I’m sure everything else will take care of itself in time.”
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