Urban decay? Sporting News examines a ‘broken’ Florida

The former Florida head ball coach is taken to task by Matt Hayes. (AP photo)

The former Florida head ball coach has been taken to task by Matt Hayes. (AP photo)

The Georgia Bulldogs haven’t had the sunniest of offseasons — and there’s still a whole summer to go! — but Matt Hayes of Sporting News offers a bit of reading guaranteed to warm the Red & Black heart. It’s about Urban Meyer and Florida, and if you happen to hate the Gators this will serve as the feel-good story of the spring.

It commences with a killer anecdotal lead (or lede, as we say in the trade): The Urban Crier, who’s now coaching Ohio State, tells the family of recruit Stephon Diggs he wouldn’t let his son go to Florida because of “character issues in the locker room.”

Writes Hayes: “[Those] character issues … we now know were fueled by a culture Meyer created.”

And then Hayes has at it, detailing — mostly via unnamed sources, we should note — just how the Urbanator created a two-tier system in Gainesville: Either you were a star and a member of his “Circle of Trust,” or you weren’t. (Meyer to Hayes: “I’ve never heard of Circle of Trust before in my life.”)

Hayes reports that Meyer pushed aside an injured player to clear scholarship room and that Florida covered up one-game suspensions for failed drug tests by having stars — Percy Harvin and that Georgia fan favorite Brandon Spikes among them — feign injury. The charming Harvin, Hayes recounts, once threw receivers coach Billy Gonzales to the ground. (Meyer to Hayes: “Something did happen and something was handled. I don’t think it’s fair to Percy Harvin or Billy Gonzales to talk about it.”)

Enough with the teasers. (I’m sorry. Here’s just one more: A former player calls Meyer a “great coach” but “a bad person.”) Just go read the story. It’s a dandy.

By Mark Bradley

306 comments Add your comment

Shug

April 10th, 2012
8:01 am

Nothing new here. Tebow was the only thing Meyer or Florida ever had.

Ten Bears

April 10th, 2012
8:02 am

GT

April 10th, 2012
8:07 am

In four years which SEC team has signed and actually suited up (not talking about over signing) the most players. I say this noticing Georgia has room for 30 scholarships this year, Tech only has 14, not because of probation but because the kids stay in the program 4 years. Does Florida do this too? I wonder if these out of control programs have an agenda. I mean if Georgia could have signed Cam Newton and then had him either play or be booted off the team, they were talking about him being a tight end at Georgia, that would have stopped Auburn from winning a national championship even if it didn’t help Georgia which would know what to do with a Cam Newton. I think these teams should be carefully watched and if they lose players for whatever reason, it shouldn’t open up a spot for another boxcar of players to be run though.

In basketball a senior on the Kentucky basketball team noticed he had played with 40 different players in the 4 years he had been at Kentucky.

Egbert

April 10th, 2012
8:12 am

If I could call three time outs in a row here to rub it into Urban’s face, I would. What a piece of trash. He has left the program in shambles. What’s ironic is that I have a lot of Gator friends (I know, we all have our own baggage) and they all hate him, too.

Silver Creek Dawg

April 10th, 2012
8:15 am

GT, many people believe UGA intentionally didn’t sign many prospects this past February (only 19) because the class of 2013 is loaded and they wanted as many scholarships open as possible. It may be the best ever HS class in Georgia.

GStateBen

April 10th, 2012
8:16 am

Georgia State goes to Sun Belt and you want to talk about a former Coach????? We are the REAL NEWS MARK!! GSU WILL OWN THIS STATE!

Dr. Phil

April 10th, 2012
8:18 am

Why is it that coaches who profess to be the most devout run programs with the most “character issues?”

Bill

April 10th, 2012
8:20 am

Must be part of the job requirments at the ajc sports dept.Trash the University of Florida every chance you get.

K

April 10th, 2012
8:20 am

you mean it will beat the dream team silver. lol

RambleOn84

April 10th, 2012
8:21 am

Georgia State will wallow in sub-mediocrity in the Sun Belt Conference for at least a few more years…not rubbing it in; on the contrary, I’d like to see Georgia State do well.

But the current climate of D1 college football is all about the “haves” and “have-nots.” No room for newcomers…I hope I’m wrong, but I know I’m not.

JackDennis

April 10th, 2012
8:22 am

Any piece knocking anything Gator, is ok by me.

GaTruth

April 10th, 2012
8:22 am

@GT – Players stay four years at Tech because, “What else are they going to do?” If you have pro talent, they leave – from every program. Dismissals for a lack of character is a different story. HELLLOOOO MR. METTENBERGER!

RambleOn84

April 10th, 2012
8:24 am

As for the article, Meyer isn’t much different than most of these other coaches. His ego is the most important thing in his world.

He might have exalted guys like Harvin, but you can rest assured it wasn’t because he had any love for those particular players. The more guys he put in the NFL, the better it made HIM look.

Though we many times fall on the wrong side of the scoreboard, it makes me thankful to have a good guy like Paul Johnson at the helm.

Georgia fans should feel the same way about Mark Richt.

GStateBen

April 10th, 2012
8:24 am

@RambleOn84 – Your program will not survive much longer when we start owning everyone! Our City Now Bees!

WTF

April 10th, 2012
8:24 am

Love, hate or ambi – stories based upon “mostly via unnamed sources, we should note” should never be written. And should never be ‘reported’ on by downstream writers. If you aren’t man enough to say it to one’s face or for actual publication, it isn’t worth 2 cents.
Just more mid-week space filling for Bradley and the AJC – to surround the video ads and pop-ups that make up the bulk of the paper and the online version.
At least Bradley notes the unamed-ness of the tellers of these tales. Just know it could be fiction, but it is surely prosaic.

RambleOn84

April 10th, 2012
8:25 am

Plenty of guys have left Tech with eligibility remaining in recent years. NFL, desire for more playing time, graduating early, etc.

Don’t throw stones…

RambleOn84

April 10th, 2012
8:26 am

Wrote about Urban (and other coaches like him) being only about themselves and their inflated egos…got lost in the filter…

But I’m sure plenty of inflammatory and derogatory comments will pass unscathed through that same filter.

Worm

April 10th, 2012
8:27 am

Sounds like Ohio State just hired “Jim Tressel” 2.

RambleOn84

April 10th, 2012
8:28 am

GStateBen,
You have a very poor attitude and disposition against a clearly superior team. How did GSU do last year? Lost to some NAIA team, if I remember correctly (along with nearly everyone else).

Considering I was being quite civil, I don’t understand your constant hostility towards Tech.

Did some Tech graduate hurt your feelings somewhere along the line?

tim

April 10th, 2012
8:33 am

and through it all the Mighty Gators kicked the living crap out of the dogs, and rubbed it in there collective faces…so after we kicked your flea bitten butts you can say anything you want …what I say is…2 National Championships…

GStateBen

April 10th, 2012
8:34 am

Superior? Please

It is our time to bring a football team this city can be proud of.

Your stadium attendance is shrinking and you are TERRIBLE.

Our time is now! GO PANTHERS!!!!

DawgInaTruck

April 10th, 2012
8:40 am

Don’t waste your time RambleOn, Tech is a national brand and plays in a BCS conference. Apples and oranges…if that.

Gator Phil

April 10th, 2012
8:42 am

It’s embarrassing if even 25 % of the article is true. Thankfully, the cancer is now Ohio State’s potential problem. The jury’s out on whether Muschamp will be the answer. Certainly, only one season with only 72 scholarship athletes isn’t a fair chance, but at least he showed backbone than Meyer ever did by kicking Jenkins off the team. I believe the team had more high character guys than Tebow (Ahmad Black, Pouncey twins), but I wonder how those guys survived. The story about Meyer telling Diggs not to go to UF came straight from Diggs, so I have no reason to doubt that one.
I’ll still defend the TWO timeouts(not three) called by Meyer in 2008 as payback for for a far cheaper shot of rushing the field in the first quarter by uga in 2007-one that could’ve been dangerous by Coach Good Christian.

GStateBen

April 10th, 2012
8:42 am

@DawgInaTruck – Talk about a team that has not done anything.

Best Recruits = ????

Nothing… you have done NOTHING! We will be the flagship!

DawgInaTruck

April 10th, 2012
8:44 am

The article is interesting to be sure but it still consists of a story regarding a program and it’s former coach. You will always have hurt feelings in such a scenario so it is hard to know exactly where the truth/fiction line is.

Big Crimson 75

April 10th, 2012
8:45 am

Saban ran Urban out of the SEC.
It all started @ the ‘09 SEC CG.
The new Sheriff came to town.

GStateBen

April 10th, 2012
8:45 am

So Mark… where is our article?

DawgInaTruck

April 10th, 2012
8:47 am

Phil I think it does demonstrate how tough Muschamp’s job has been to date but it also demonstrates how well he is apparently doing when you consider he is recruiting lights-out under these circumstances. I believe Florida will return to prominence a lot sooner than many seem to.

Dr. C

April 10th, 2012
8:51 am

Sporting News… Florida… I assumed from the link that this was a story about the demise of baseball spring training. I wistfully recall Sporting News as my baseball stat/story source in the days before cable tv and internet.

Facts

April 10th, 2012
8:52 am

The Florida fans love the story to smack Urban Around, and the Ohio State Fans say he is the greatest thing since Archie Griffin.

The real thing is we have seen the drugs, the arrest, the lack of care about the program, the individualism and the coaches having favorites. And THAT IS NOT FLORIDA, it is at GEORGIA.

Signing dumb players( which UGA does) requires the Head Coach to keep much tighter leashes on the lower I.Q. players. CMR just lets them run wild, smoke dope, beat women, bust up bars, and drive around without licenses. What Urban let happen at Florida also happened at FSU with Coach Bowden and has permeated the program at UGA because the Head Coach is weak and will do anything to get a win.. All the while the graduation rates fall, and the arrest go up.

And those are todays facts. It hurts UGA fans doesn’t it.

gdawginkalamazoo

April 10th, 2012
8:57 am

At least the OSU coach could keep his motorcycle upright.

BG

April 10th, 2012
8:57 am

Meyer ran a shaddy program while at UF.

Trojan

April 10th, 2012
8:59 am

It’s called corruption. Meyer is full of cr_p.

reckingball

April 10th, 2012
8:59 am

The SEC seems to produce a lot of slimeball coaches and football programs.

Trojan

April 10th, 2012
9:01 am

Gator Phil: How can anything be dangerous on a football field? Your heart felt concern for player safety is touching.

Urban was (and is) a cheater and you were ok with it as long as you won. Now enjoy karma.

GT

April 10th, 2012
9:09 am

GaTruth, DUI, driving with expired driver’s licenses, stealing stuff from you roommates, hitting girlfriends, drugs, and flunking out of school are exactly what the pros are looking for. It matches the set they already have. Georgia arguing about character with Florida is like two bald men fighting over a comb. At least if Florida is in the sewer they were winning in that sewer, Georgia runs the same kind of program and doesn’t get the same results. Urban won national championships and settled for SEC championships, nuff said.

redcoat

April 10th, 2012
9:09 am

Meyers = Sean Payton….?

Gator Mike

April 10th, 2012
9:14 am

I admit that I was snookered by Meyer’s “holier than thou” attitude. I ahave a number of friends who are UGA, SoCar, UT and BAMA fans who often told me that they saw something phoney in Meyer. They were correct, but I was wearing rose colored glasses which tainted my perception. The indicators were there. I remember the Hawaii game in ‘08 when Harvin, Spikes and Hernandez showed up wearing ankle boots. The guy sitting next to me said something like “this smells like @@@@”. Meyer imploded from SEC pressure and BAMA caused him to freak out. Having Addazio as the O Coordinator was a recipe for failure.
Meyer’s decision to take 3 time outs aginst UGA the year after the silly DAWG Dance showed his true character. He should have stayed above the issue. Meyer should have not been allowed back after he quit the first time. Will Muschamp has his hands full, but indications are that he is fixing the program. I am on the Muschamp band wagon, and I really like the guy even if he is a DAWG because he is a good person.
It will be fun watching meyer fold at ohio state and then hid under his wife’s skirt once again. He did great things for UF, but he also created a lot of problems which are still being corrected.
The irony is that he won the BCS Title in 06 with mostly Zook’s players.
Go Gators.

RambleOn84

April 10th, 2012
9:14 am

At least Richt doesn’t cover up his players’ indiscretions, “GT.”

Say what you want about Richt, but he’s a stand-up guy.

So is Paul Johnson.

Pot calling Kettle

April 10th, 2012
9:21 am

Drive-by murder and rape much, GT?

heartofdarkness

April 10th, 2012
9:22 am

I wonder whether the boards of trustees deliberations at these universities, assessing their athletic programs, ever rise above the level in these blogs.

GT Alum

April 10th, 2012
9:23 am

Just win, baby.

bucket

April 10th, 2012
9:24 am

The Sporting News article does nothing to change the fact that Florida was a dominant force in the NCAA while Meyer was at Florida and they have 2 MNC’s to prove it. What it does do is shine the light on the fact that generally speaking whenever a team rises to national prominence there are almost always very serious discipline issues simmering below the surface. No one blows the whistle on it because they don’t want the good times to end. However, whenever there is a coaching change and/or the winning stops people start to spill the beans.

Tommy O'Flatulence

April 10th, 2012
9:24 am

Who hasn’t seen MEET THE PARENTS and heard of “Circle of Trust” in pop-culture?

I’m calling “Shenanigans!” on Meyer.

Facts

April 10th, 2012
9:25 am

Urban Meyer is such a sleeze bag. The funny thing about that article is the divided of comments about the article between Florida Fans and Ohio State Fans. To OSU fans he is the savior to the program. The even more funnier thing is that MANY UGA fans are blinded by their pride that they do not see the same thing going on at their program in Athens. Failed Drug test, multiple arrest, players getting special treatment, and embarrassing headlines by players. Some coaches just do not have backbone and allow their program to be taken over by lower I.Q. student athletes who the coaches believe will save their jobs with wins.

Coach Bowden let players take over his program at FSU, Coach Trussel let players take over his program and it cost him his job, Mark Richt has let too many players take over his program and it looks like until TG came along some players maybe were completely out of control and some players with the suspensions still are.

CMR is weak and if he keeps signing these lower IQ high school stars who are only about “me” he will soon find himself coaching somewhere else who wants to let the players run the program.

These are your FACTS of the Day!

Dawg Tired

April 10th, 2012
9:26 am

Mark – The Hayes article in Sporting News is an interesting read but I would take most of it with a grain of salt. It seems to clearly be written with some kind of agenda. He seems to be upset with Meyer because he left Forida for “health reasons” and a year later is signing on to coach OSU.

I don’t believe many folks ever thought Urban Meyer was a “good person.” However, he is a very good football coach. Would I want my son playing for him? No, but I wouldn’t want my son playing for Nick “I’m not going to be the football coach at the University of Alabama” Saban or Bobby “you wanted go fro a ride on my motorcycle” Petrino either. But you gotta admit, all three can coach a football team to the highest level.

Bottom line: In the culture you and I live in today, none of the scumbag stuff matters as long as you “win baby win.” And Urban Meyer will win and win big at OSU because he will be the only coach in the Big 10 (ther are actually 12 teams in the Big 10?) who will openly, even proudly, not honor the so-called ‘gentleman’s agreement” the other coaches are honoring. He will also win because he is an outstanding football coach. In this day and time it is totally irrelevant that he is “not a good person.”

Auburn Fan

April 10th, 2012
9:26 am

“Nothing new here. Tebow was the only thing Meyer or Florida ever had.”

Yeah, except UF won without Tebow in 06. Try again.

Highlands

April 10th, 2012
9:26 am

Well obviously the program was run by a complete hypocrite; the past two seasons have shown us exactly what type of man you have in Urban Meyer. That seems to be fairly indisputable. To his credit, though, he did win two National Championships so each fan must decide ON THEIR OWN what they will tolerate in order to win.

On a side note, GStateBen: I admire your school spirit.Since you are obviously new to the state, allow me to fill you in on the logistics here: UGA is more popular than GT, GSU, the Falcons the Hawks COMBINED. Your school is just below Parkview and Brookwood in terms of local interest. If you have to troll stories abut other schools for anyone to notice you, you are not “big time”.

Auburn Fan

April 10th, 2012
9:27 am

“I mean if Georgia could have signed Cam Newton and then had him either play or be booted off the team, they were talking about him being a tight end at Georgia, that would have stopped Auburn from winning a national championship ”

But they didn’t and Auburn did win the national championship.

Lena Lei

April 10th, 2012
9:27 am

Georgia arguing about character with Florida is like two bald men fighting over a comb.

And Muck Richt is an even bigger sleazebag than Meyer. By a mile.