Thursday, November 24, 2011

Meet Urban Meyer

1. After his one-loss Gators beat Alabama in the 2006 SEC title game, Urban feared Florida wouldn't wouldn't get a chance to play for the national championship and immediately started politicking against the BCS: "the college presidents need to sit down this week and get a playoff together." Of course, that wouldn't stop Urban from incessantly lobbying his way into the BCS title game. For the next few weeks, Urban begged Forida's case to any media member who would listen. On the other hand, the classy Lloyd Carr, who could've legitimately argued for a Michigan-OSU rematch on a neutral field, stayed silent. One month later, when Urban was happily holding that crystal championship trophy high above his head, where was his conviction for a playoff system? Did he make any reference to undefeated Boise State? Yeah, right. Urban doesn't care about college football. Urban cares about Urban.

2. In a 2008 game against Miami, Coach Meyer decided to kick a field goal with less than 30 seconds left and the Gators leading, 23-3. There are only three possible reasons for this...ain't none of 'em good:

A) Urban wanted to rub it in against Randy Shannon and the rival Hurricanes.
B) Urban, always worried about margin of victory, wanted a few extra computer points.
C) The spread was 21, and Urban needed to cover.

Urban doesn't care about sportsmanship. Urban cares about Urban.

3. Meyer, in a presser, after losing to Michigan in the Capital One Bowl:

"Well, for those guys who just put in their time and didn't make any real contributions, it's time for you to go. It won't be hard to say goodbye to some of those guys who just went through the motions...Just because you’re a senior doesn’t mean you have any value.

Now, surely, there are coaches all across the country waiting for a few trouble-making seniors to graduate and get the hell out of their program. Obviously, they keep those thoughts to themselves. Urban, bitter after losing to the Wolverines, figured he'd throw a few seniors under the bus after their last college game. Urban doesn't care about his players, especially the ones that officially ran out of NCAA eligibility about twenty minutes prior to his asinine comments.

4. You'd think, after two national titles, Urban would be a beloved figure in Gainesville. But Florida's own fan base calls him "Liar Meyer," especially now that's he's coming to Columbus. Moreover, Meyer left the UF program completely bare. He looked at his empty cupboard after an 8-5 season in an ultra-competitive SEC and the loss of Tim Tebow, and panicked. Rather than take his medicine for a few years and attempt to reload, Meyer faked health problems so he could bust out of Gainesville. Oh, he'd tried to sell that in the past. Just hours after losing 32-13 in the '09 SEC title game, Coach Meyer checked into the hospital claiming dehydration (Urban, that's what those big orange coolers of Gatorade are for!!), and the hospital released him almost immediately. Imagine that, they wanted to focus on the patients that were actually sick.

5. You've probably seen this video. You know, the one where Urban verbally attacked young Orlando Sentinel reporter Jeremy Fowler for accurately quoting receiver Deonte Thompson. Never mind that veteran Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi wrote a similar piece about Thompson's excitement toward playing with a new quarterback whose skills weren't as unorthodox as Tebow's. Urban would later apologize, once he realized the vid had gone viral and public sentiment favored Fowler.

My favorite part is when Urban, pretending to be hard, said: "If that was my son, we'd be going at it right now." Isn't Coach Meyer supposed to be treating his players like family anyway, like he spouts when he's making his living room-recruiting pitch? And there's nothing more comical than Fake Tough Guy who insists that if the situation was just a little different, well, then he'd have to kick your ass. Fowler, green and intimidated, had trouble making eye contact with Meyer. I'm betting an older, more confident reporter would've rightly told Urban to go fuck himself.

And what happened to Urban's fatherly instincts when he reinstated talented wideout Chris Rainey, just four weeks after Rainey threatened to kill his girlfriend via text message ("time to die, bitch)? Urban has two daughters. You think he said to Rainey, "If that was my daughter, we'd be going at it right now." Of course not. Florida had been struggling offensively and Urban needed the speedy Rainey to win games.


Disclosure: My most prized possession is a book by Jerry Brondfield, Woody Hayes and the 100 Yard War. On the inside cover is an inscription from my Mom to my Dad, on his 27th birthday- November 20,1974, just a few weeks before I was born. She hoped, in the years to come, the book would be "a reminder of the happy, happy days we shared at OSU." On the cover page, there is an autograph from Coach Hayes. My parents' marriage ended over twenty years ago, but the sentiment and spirit of this gift will be relevant as long as I'm relevant.

See, to me, the head coach of the Ohio State football team is royalty. To a lesser degree, they're like ex-presidents. They endure a lot of successes and criticism, serve the institution, and never work another job once they retire. I loved how Jim Tressel considered Earle Bruce and John Cooper part of the Buckeye family and gave them both close access to the program. I swear Coach Bruce must bleed scarlet, and one of my fondest sports memories is his players carrying him off the field in Ann Arbor after an upset win in Earl's final game. Coach Cooper, along with the Columbus police chief, actually came to the doorstep of our college apartment in 1996 and politely asked us to refrain from setting shit on fire and overturning cars, should we beat Michigan in two days. I always loved Coop, despite his struggles against the Wolverines. And, needless to say, Coach Tress provided the only championship of my lifetime.

I'm not naive enough to think Urban Meyer is completely evil, despite the examples above. I'm old enough to know there are always two sides to a story, and that Urban must have at least one benevolent streak underneath that cocky gator exterior. He's an assassin of a football coach, and his record indicates he'll be overwhelmingly successful at Ohio State. While many observers think the spread offense won't translate to the Big 10 (see Rich Rod, 2008-10), I'm willing to embrace whatever philosophy Urban dictates. But know this: in my humble eyes, the hiring of Meyer has stained The Ohio State University even more than trading memorabilia for tats, and the ensuing cover-up. I know Urban had an out-clause for Ohio State in his Florida contract, counts Coach Bruce as his mentor, and has a picture of Woody in his office. But where were his Ohio loyalties when he jumped ship after only two seasons at Bowling Green? Heath issues or not, Urban will always put himself and his ego before the University. Leopards don't change their spots just because they're coaching in Columbus.