Deny, deny, deny: But don’t be surprised if Meyer leaves

Just a hunch: Meyer takes his trophies and moves on after next season.

Florida's Urban Meyer is just like every other coach: At some point, he's going to need a new challenge.

If Urban Meyer wants to clear the air again about rumors that he’ll become Notre Dame’s next football coach after the upcoming season, he’ll have an opportunity this week at SEC media days in Alabama.

Will it make a difference? No. But at least everybody will have something on tape for reference, just like all those clips of Nick Saban saying: “I guess I have to say it. I’m not going to be the Alabama coach.”

I know. Meyer is different, right? That’s what Florida fans say. That’s what Meyer suggests. So when he all but slammed his fist on the table the other day 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,” we had to believe him right?

Uh, no.

I don’t know Meyer but I know coaches. Never met one — in any sport on any level — who didn’t at some point need a new challenge. This isn’t to say Florida isn’t one of the best college football jobs going right now and possibly even a better job than Notre Dame (the name still has cache even if the current edition doesn’t). But at some point, after another championship and another multi-million-dollar raise, it’s only natural for a coach to think, “What next?” and look around.

Fact is, compared to other coaches, there’s twice the reason to think Meyer’s gone after one more season. He has two things tempting him: 1) We know what the Notre Dame job means to him because he has said it; 2) We can guess what the NFL means. With some teams now using a form of the spread offense, it would be easy for Meyer to convince himself of a smoother transition to the NFL than Saban and Steve Spurrier had.

Personally, I think Meyer’s gone. Gator fanboy needs to understand something: Coaches lie. They do it because they think they have to. They do it to keep recruits from getting cold feet and to keep their players focused. They do it because they think it’s none of your business whether they take that next job or not.

And, yes, Meyer has done it. The Orlando Sentinel dug up a couple of quotes from the Gators’ sainted coach.

♦ “I was contacted by one, but I’m not interested. I love it here. We have a lot of work to do. That’s the bottom line.” — That was Meyer in 2002 when he was the Bowling Green coach. Six days later, he took the Utah job.

♦ “All I keep saying is I plan on being the coach here at Utah.” — That was Meyer in 2004. Five days later, he took the Florida job.

Still feel the same about Meyer?

Get ready for a season of denials. But they mean nothing.

233 comments Add your comment

Maybe Next Year

July 20th, 2009
7:17 am

As a Gator fan I love these columns. One, it shows that columnists have nothing else to write about and they’re too lazy to actually try and find a story and two, local columnists, rival fans and teams hold on to the hope that Meyer will leave so their team can get back to their winning ways. I’m not gonna worry about the future, I will enjoy the present. What’s next Jeff, you gonna rehash the UF/UGA game in Jacksonville or are you gonna write another Francouer story? No wonder the newspaper industry is in such shambles. No creativity.

Atlanta Gator

July 20th, 2009
7:18 am

Okay, Jeff, now we are merely recycling for the sake of AJC website hits. This topic was just covered in greater depth by Tony Barnhart. The AJC columnists really need to do a better job of coordinating column topics . . . aren’t there any sports editors left on staff?

Here’s the simple reality of why Urban Meyer isn’t going to be the head coach at Notre Dame any time soon:

In 2002, Utah was a better job than Bowling Green.

In 2004, Florida was a better job than Utah.

In 2009, Notre Dame is not a better job than Florida.

Now, there’s a truth upon which you may rely. A truth that “means something,” Jeff.

Maybe Next Year

July 20th, 2009
7:21 am

One more thing..same good cop (Tony Barnhardt), bad cop (Jeff Schultz) routine from the AJC. Except Tony Barnhardt is a respected journalist.

Hey, Gator fans...

July 20th, 2009
7:25 am

…don’t shoot the messenger – if I were you guys, I, too, would defend your coach and his denials. But, facts are facts, and he did lie on two occasions regarding other available jobs.

While he is a great coach, Jeff did write truths about the ego’s desire to see if it really can meet the next challenge. Notre Dame may not be a better job than UF, but the challenge is bigger than going from Utah to UF, at least at this time when the ND program is in distress.

Jeff Schultz

July 20th, 2009
7:35 am

For what it’s worth, I think there’s a better chance Meyer takes an NFL job over the Notre Dame job. But for everybody who poo-poos the ND job, think of this: How big of a job is that if Meyer turns it back into a winning program? Those are the kinds of things coaches think about.

hop

July 20th, 2009
7:38 am

meyer is like most all coaches today,they have little loyalty any school or team only to themselves and their family.

this guy will be gone after tebow leaves!

JSS

July 20th, 2009
7:40 am

Why are you folks worrying about who coaches a bunch of 17 to 22 year old boys? Not men, B-O-Y-S!!! I don’t care if he leaves for Cal Ply San Luis Obisbo… Division 1 BCS College football is a cartel for fools to follow… As long as you bring back Galen Hall, you’ll still be GA every 4 out of 6 years and TN the same… SEC stands for Sure Every fan is Crazy!

bull-gator

July 20th, 2009
7:41 am

Like I stated once before in another column on this subject: Meyer will be leaving UF in the next 3-5 years to coach in the NFL to perfect the spread at the pro level. The NFL is already tinkering with it and Meyer will be the one to take it to the next level.

missed it

July 20th, 2009
7:53 am

I don’t know Jeff Shultz but I know sportswriters. These guys will say anything to get hits going on their blog. They will regurgitate a story over and over and make it sound as if it’s some new version of it. They will jump on anything to make the locals go crazy. They will refuse to admit wrong when proven to be. They are desperate in a desparate drying up industry. They will write a weak story throw a weak opinion on it cite little facts and think it’s good because rival fans of who their writing about will eat it up and the fans of the team or coach they are bashing will get pissed about it. Weak.

Biff - Gator Hater

July 20th, 2009
7:57 am

Hey, Urban Meyer!

Why don’t you make like a tree, and get out of here?

gagata

July 20th, 2009
8:04 am

I think Urban was lying about Notre Dame being his dream job.

tim

July 20th, 2009
8:05 am

bottom line…..if a complete novice became the Gators next coach they would still kick the puppies sorry butts even witn CMR mr nice guy himself…..who will never win a MNC

Gen Neyland

July 20th, 2009
8:11 am

Other famous quotes from the morning after : “Of course I love and respect you”…”Can I have your phone number and call you sometime?”…”You’re the one for me. Now, get in the kitchen an’ fry me up some breakfast.”

Satan Sabin

July 20th, 2009
8:12 am

I will never leave Alabama because we are know at the best cheating school in the nation. If it had not been for Fulmer squealing on us , the ***, we would still be doing it. Er, I think we still are. Don’t take my lies out of context.

” No. But at least everybody will have something on tape for reference, just like all those clips of Nick Saban saying: “I guess I have to say it. I’m not going to be the Alabama coach”

Jeff Schultz

July 20th, 2009
8:12 am

Hop: People dump on coaches a lot, but what you said really describes most people. Loyalty to ourselves and family comes first.

Missed it: I don’t know Jeff Shultz, either. Jeff Schultz, him I know.

Gagata: Now that’s funny.

Paddy

July 20th, 2009
8:14 am

JSS… if you hate sports as much as it shows, why bother turning to the sports page??

Urban Liar

July 20th, 2009
8:15 am

Just because you caught me in the bald faced lies below do you think I would ever lie again????

♦ “I was contacted by one, but I’m not interested. I love it here. We have a lot of work to do. That’s the bottom line.” — That was Meyer in 2002 when he was the Bowling Green coach. Six days later, he took the Utah job.

♦ “All I keep saying is I plan on being the coach here at Utah.” — That was Meyer in 2004. Five days later, he took the Florida job.

TommyP

July 20th, 2009
8:19 am

Jeff: I learned last week that most people are unable to project or see “what could be” with the discussion in Barnhart’s blog on the issue. If Meyer wins another one this year, there is no reason for him to stick around.

And Notre Dame is the PERFECT spot for him to land.

But people only see what they currently see. You’ll hear stuff like “Florida’s a great job” and “the Florida job is way better than the Notre Dame job.” Over and over and over.

Write it down…if Urban goes to Notre Dame, he has a GREAT chance to be the Joe Torre, Phil Jackson, Rick Pitino of college football. Not many coaches carry the “superstar” tag but he’ll be the most talked about coach in all of college sports and right up there with the pros.

R Cagle

July 20th, 2009
8:22 am

There was a Pope named Urban who only lasted thirteen days. He died of malaria or something, but it still gives you pause to think.

Ted Striker

July 20th, 2009
8:24 am

Urban Meyer is a trinity. First Urban Meyer is man…HUMANITY. (This is somewhat distasteful to Urban Meyer, as humanity is common.) Thankfully, Urban Meyer is also LEGEND. Finally, Urban Meyer is FOOTBALL.

Urban Meyer will grow football into more than it has ever been because Urban Meyer is supremely steeped in awesomeness and championshipishness.

Gen Neyland

July 20th, 2009
8:24 am

Any truth to the rumor Pahokee High School is being renamed Pahokee-Saint Urban Catholic High School..?

UGASlobberknocker

July 20th, 2009
8:26 am

It looks like we have found the Gator’s hot button..They all go nuts when the subject of Urban removal comes up. They get so worked up you would think someone had just outlawed wife beater T shirts and flip flops at the GA/Fla game this year.

Keep up the good work, Jeff. Tomorrow could we have a column about Paul Johnson leaving Tech? (since that will happen pretty soon as well…as soon as regains his senses),

[...] Jeff Schultz of the AJC writes that despite Urban Meyer’s denials, don’t be surprised if the Urbanator leaves Florida. [...]

Ted Striker

July 20th, 2009
8:26 am

The difference between God and Urban Meyer: God doesn’t think he’s Urban Meyer.

TampaGator

July 20th, 2009
8:30 am

Jeff, but a load of bull story. Also very misleading. First, the Notre Dame job would be like buying and then driving a Chevy (Notre Dame) vs. buying a driving a Farrari (Florida). Give me a break. No way Meyer leaves Florida for Notre Dame. Plus, Notre Dame has a good coach as is going to have a fine season next year. Plus, the AD likes and supports the current ND coach. So, how does Meyer get the ND job. I guess he will become the assistant head coach to Weiss. Concerning the NFL. Meyer had absolutely no interest in the NFL, period. Finally, Meyers entire family loves Gainesville. Ms. Meyer does not want to move again. She has established solid roots in Gainesville and has a lot of friends there, including the Donovans (who know a thing or two about leaving the U of F and what kind of mistake that is). Just another AJC article to get U of G readers excited for now reason. And all you HS recruits out there, Meyer is a Gator for life. Believe it. He will be almost sainted when he retires there in about 35 years.

TampaGator

July 20th, 2009
8:34 am

Ted Striker. The difference between God and Meyer. God is what you want him or her to be and most people thing God is the creator and leader of the Republican Party. Meyer is simply the god of college football coaching right now. Get used to it.

TampaGator

July 20th, 2009
8:37 am

Final blog…Miami will need a new coach next year. Guess who will be replacing Shannon. No doubt, Mark Richt is the perfect coach for the situation. Mark it down. Richt leaves Georgia next year (after another beat down from the Gators) for a better opportunity to win a national title at Miami. Now, that is something that might happen. Not someones fantasy story about Meyer leaving Florida.

TommyP

July 20th, 2009
8:37 am

Tampa: C’mon, man. All this “roots” stuff with Urban is, well, a myth. Have you read the litany of quotes by Meyer at all of his stops?

IF he wins another title, there’s no reason to stick around anymore. Florida will be part of the “been there, done that” conversation for him.

turkey

July 20th, 2009
8:37 am

This rumor was started by Paul Fienbaum and any one who listens to Fienbaum knows he wants Meyer to leave more than anyone. Fienbaum is a total bammer and he knows as long as Meyer is at Florida Bama will not be #1 in the SEC.

TommyP

July 20th, 2009
8:38 am

LOL @ Tampa. You’re so incensed at this article about Urban leaving that you’re going to throw the “Miami” thing out for Georgia fans?

LOL

Two truths you can take to the bank...

July 20th, 2009
8:42 am

…Urban will be the next ND coach; and, Paul Johnson will be the next UF coach!

TampaGator

July 20th, 2009
8:43 am

TommyP…Richt to Miami makes more sense than Meyer to Notre Dame. In fact, Meyer to Miami makes more sense than Meyer to Notre Dame.

Ali Akbar Allah

July 20th, 2009
8:47 am

First, Steve Spurrier, Now, Urban Meyer. Next, Paul Johnson. :)

Golden Tornado is about to go on a 17 out of 20 run.

Jeff Schultz

July 20th, 2009
8:48 am

Turkey — Meyer-to-Notre Dame wasn’t started by Paul Finebaum. He just repeated it last week. Speculation has been out there for at least a year.

Jack G.

July 20th, 2009
8:50 am

Jeff

Have you noticed that when someone agrees with what you write you are smart and preceptive. When they disagree you are a dumb bum who dosent know diddly.

I guess it depends on wether or not your ox is being gored.

GatorFans=Delusional

July 20th, 2009
8:50 am

TampaGator and MaybeNextYear, I don’t blame you guys. As a bleeder of Bulldog Red, I am sick of having our heads handed to us by Meyer, Zook and Spurrier just as y’all were having it handed to you by Dooley all those years. I pray every night to the football gods that Meyer leaves and Bill Lewis takes over in Gainesville. Fact is, Urban has a huge buyout to leave…unless he leaves for ND. That says a good bit about his feelings for the ND job, and no Weis is not a good college coach, he has proven that again and again. With his schedule he may have a decent year, and that’s all it takes to get ND into a BCS bowl, the rules are slanted in their favor, but he will then be blown out when they play a legitimate BCS team in their bowl, starting the ’sack Weis’ talk all over.
Urban’ll leave, maybe not this year, but soon. I wouldn’t if I were him, but I’m am not he. ND was once the premier job in all of college sports, and could be again. Urban knows that.

[...] "……So when he all but slammed his fist on the table the other day 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,” we had to believe him right? Uh, no. ……….. Personally, I think Meyer’s gone. Gator fanboy needs to understand something: Coaches lie. They do it because they think they have to. They do it to keep recruits from getting cold feet and to keep their players focused. They do it because they think it’s none of your business whether they take that next job or not. ….. Get ready for a season of denials. But they mean nothing." Deny, deny, deny: But don’t be surprised if Meyer leaves | Jeff Schultz [...]

Eric

July 20th, 2009
8:53 am

If Jeff is such a lousy writer, why do you morons still read his column? I think he’s right on target most of the time. In this case I’m sure of it. College football coaches are notroious liars. They could all be “family values” republicans in congress!
Good job, Jeff!

[...] can deny it all he likes, but no one should be surprised if he leaves Florida.  In fact, he says, “Personally, I think Meyer’s gone.”This writer offers up five storylines to watch during SEC Media Days later this week.  (Lane [...]

DawginLex

July 20th, 2009
9:00 am

UM ain’t leaving anytime soon. Let’s hasten his potential departure by WINNING IN JACKSONVILLE.

A more likely scenario is Johnson leaving GT and going to a school that actually has a chance to win something. I don’t want him to leave either until he gets whipped a few times, then “m” will buy him a bus ticket.

KimmerFan

July 20th, 2009
9:06 am

Meyer isn’t going to ND. Like a Gaytor fan said, it’s not as good a job as the UF job. Lazy, cheating Steve Spurrier managed to gain an undeserved reputation for being a great coach by virtue of being able to rake in the State of Florida’s incredibly rich recruiting talent. An average coach can be a great coach at UF because of the talent that is readily available. Meyer would have to be a complete fool to leave that for ND. Meyer will leave UF for only one thing: the NFL. The NFL is the only place that can outbid UF.

jconservative

July 20th, 2009
9:09 am

If Meyer wants to win at ND he had better get the academic people to relax the admission & graduation equirements. Better get it in his contract.
Remember the Paul Hornung rant a few years ago? He apparently was correct.

FloridaHomer

July 20th, 2009
9:09 am

UHHHHHHHH look at all the the dawgs praying UM to leave the gators. Can’t beat them on the field eh? Now that is funny.

Comin' Down The Track

July 20th, 2009
9:10 am

TampaGator,
Yeah, pretty funny. I mean, I don’t know about Coach Meyer leaving or not. I wish he would, but I won’t believe it until I see it, and I’m not holding my breath. I think Coach Richt feels the same way, and he’ll keep preparing for Coach Meyer’s Gator squads until someone tells him otherwise, I bet. As for Miami and comparing Coaches Richt and Meyer, TampaGator, you’re out of your mind. The difference between them is that Richt has had ONE head coaching job, and has been clear about the fact that he wants only ONE coaching job. His role model has been at the same job since Moses was a paperboy. So, what you say is cute, but don’t project. It’s unbecoming.

Bill

July 20th, 2009
9:13 am

The operative line in this article is that the writer admits he doesn’t know Meyer.

Dawg Man

July 20th, 2009
9:13 am

Weis should get fired in the next year or two–he can’t coach at that type of program. Meyer will take the job if offered, for $5-6 mil per year—-mark it down! Florida will probably hire some assistant coach on their staff who will be another Zook! Then, the dawgs will start winning again almost every year like the old days!!!

Exley DAWG

July 20th, 2009
9:14 am

Next year Notre Dame will offer Meyer THE BIGGEST 10 YEAR COACHING CONTRACT EVER. And he’ll take it.

Otto

July 20th, 2009
9:23 am

For ND to get URban they would have to not olnly spend a large amount of money to get him out of UF but also upgrading facilites. The average fan does not realize how far ND has fallen in that area.

UF has loads of ins tate talent along with great facilities and SEC contracts that will bring the Univ. alrge sums of money well into the future. ND needs to be completely rebuilt facilities, schedule, recruiting base everything but TV and bowl contracts. If Urban stay at UF he could be the next Bowden or Saban but if he moves he could give up the best years of his career rebuilding a program that may or may not become a national power.

Jeff I think you are correct that Urban has better chances of jumping to the NFL but IMO he lvoes the power of a CFB coach and does not want to deal with a GM and superstar players. As for a challenge winning the SEC, Florida recruiting battles, LSU, WLOCP and FSU, UF is one of the most challenging coaching jobs out there.

Tampa I agree with your last comments.

PMC

July 20th, 2009
9:34 am

It would be sort of interesting to see if he could adapt his coaching style to the NFL. He’s easily detailed enough and dedicated enough to make it happen. I tend to believe the ND stuff is in the past. If he wanted it he could have had it, he turned it down.

gatorman770

July 20th, 2009
9:34 am

Richt will be back at Florida State long before Urban leaves the Gators!
Notra Dame is a “has been” from the 20th century!

If I remember correctly “Dawg Man” Zook beat the curdawgs every time but once and that was 3 days after the Gator team was shocked by his midseason firing and even then almost came back and beat the curs.