Let me be the first to congratulate Florida coach Urban Meyer. He’s already won two national championships and two SEC titles in Gainesville, but he just pulled off something that I never imagined was possible: He turned Lane Kiffin into a sympathetic figure.
Most of us who watched the Florida-Tennessee game were amazed how the Gators were relatively held in check by the Tennessee defense. It made anybody who screamed, “They’ll cover the 29 points!” look like a complete idiot, and I should know, because my throat still hurts. Florida won only, 23-13.
Why did this happen? Three reasons: 1) The Vols were able to run the ball early and used a conservative game plan to limit Florida’s offensive snaps; 2) Monte Kiffin, Lane’s father, proved again he’s one of the greatest defensive coordinators ever; 3) Florida, which lost Percy Harvin to the NFL, was exposed as not having nearly as much downfield speed as we thought, shortening their passing attack.
We all know about the buildup to the game. We all know what Kiffin said and what Meyer thought of it. We all know how Meyer can hold a grudge and how he will rub his opponent’s face in it if given a chance (see: timeouts vs. Georgia).
But what did Meyer say Monday when he met with the media? Here’s excerpts on the subject of his own conservative play-calling: “When I saw [Tennessee] start handing the ball off, I didn’t feel like they were going after the win. The way we lose a game there is throw an interception. Why put yourself in that position? We’re not trying to impress the pollsters. We’re trying to win the game.”
So, basically Meyer: 1) Ripped Tennessee’s game plan, which actually gave Tennessee the best chance to win; 2) Claimed he’s not trying to impress pollsters, this from someone whose team since 2007 has had point totals of 62, 56, 56, 51, 63, 49, 56, 70, 49, 59, 59,49, 51 and 59.
Meyer looks like a tool. How about just say, “The other team played great and it turns out the other coach is not a moron.” Instead, he alibied that several of his players had the flu.
To Kiffin’s credit, he didn’t fire back much, at least not beyond this crack: “I guess we’ll wait, and after [the next game], if we’re not excited about a performance, we’ll tell you everybody was sick.”
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BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!
OK, slight exaggeration. But I’ll be back on 790 The Zone again today with the somewhat chemically imbalanced but otherwise nice guy Mike Bell. Show-time: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., assuming I can wade to the studios in time. Bell insists I get there no later than 3:58, so as to give us a solid two minutes of show prep. I once again will be substituting for former Georgia All-American David Pollack, just as I did a few ago. I can only assume Pollack no longer has the conditioning to work five days a week. Maybe all that Twittering has worn him down. Anyway, even if you’ve Twittered, emailed, Facebooked and column-commented me before, you now have another opportunity to actually SPEAK to me. Actual conversation. What a concept.