By Jon Sofen
Urban Meyer cited health and family as his reason for leaving Florida in 2010. Yeah, right. I’m no Florida fan, but I found this hard to believe even back then. Now I’m certain it’s hogwash. Urban simply took his ball and went home. He looked at the Florida roster for 2011 and said “oh hell no!”. If you’ve seen Florida play at all this year you know there’s really nothing Will Muschamp could do. Allegedly, there was one NFL scout at the Florida-Furman game a couple weeks ago. He was there to see a Furman player. Ouch.
Urban is a good coach and he knows talent. His recruiting classes were always ranked highly. But he admitted to looking at “stars” as opposed to actual talent. Scouting companies such as Rivals.com and Scout.com work hard to evaluate high school talent. But the truth is, a high percentage of their highest ranked prospects never amount to squat in college. The problem with Florida right now is their 2008-2010 recruiting classes just aren’t performing – especially on the offensive line and at quarterback.
If a program has 2-3 consecutive recruiting class flops, it will set the the program back 3-5 years. It doesn’t matter if it’s Florida, Texas, or Arkansas State. Urban was a victim of buying into the recruiting rankings hype instead of doing what he’s good at – evaluating talent. That has hurt Florida, and will continue to hurt them for the next couple of seasons. That’s why Urban left. It didn’t matter who was coaching Florida, the cupboard was bare. Yeah, they’ve got a couple of talented speedsters such as Chris Rainey and Jeffrey Demps, but there just isn’t much more. They can’t block opposing defensive lines and John Brantley consistently makes poor decisions. That’s a horrible mix.
I don’t think Urban Meyer is a bad guy. I think he’s simply a competitive guy that is worried about his legacy. Sure, he’s got two national titles. So he will go down in history as a good coach. But once you have a couple of down seasons (they were 8-5 last year), everyone starts to forget about what you did in the past. We live in a “what have you done for me lately?” society. Go ask Mack Brown how that 2006 BCS Title is treating him right now.
Urban has won everywhere he’s been. He will likely win at Ohio State (though I think we are overrating this hire. They are Ohio State – they compete for BCS Bowls and Conference Titles 9 out of 10 years already. How does this hire change that?). But he is an attention whore. He likes people talking about how awesome he is. Florida was 8-5 last season and wouldn’t have fared much better than the 6-6 record Muschamp’s squad put up this year had he stayed at Florida. Realistically, Florida probably isn’t going to win more than 7-8 games next year. So Meyer was looking at at least 3 straight down seasons. No way would an attention whore like that want to go through that. He took his ball and went home.