I am not a Good Ol' Boy Gator, so I have no attachment to Shane Matthews or really any player pre-Wuerffel (sorry Terry Dean). Which is why I get upset when I see Matthews criticize the Gators' offense. From Mark Schlabach's ESPN column this week...
"The first couple of years, I wasn't sure the spread offense would work in the SEC...Honestly, it didn't work until last year, when he had the right personnel running his offense."
Couple? You mean the first two years? Does Matthews know UF won the National Championship in Urban's second season? Of the four years Meyer has been in command, only the first year was bad offensively when they tried to make Chris Leak into Alex Smith. By year two, Meyer changed the playbook and they won a National Championship. In year three, he changed it again and centered it around Tebow. In year four, he changed it again and centered it around a stable of running backs.
Matthews continues in Schlabach's column to imply that Meyer benefits from following Ron Zook and not Steve Spurrier. On that account, we agree. Rarely is one successful guy followed by an equally successful guy. You need a mental midget in the middle.
For Matthews, that is the closest he will get to complimenting Meyer. Following the Ole Miss game, Matthews leaned into Meyer and Dan Mullen for not exploiting the man coverage the Rebels used. Matthews apparently missed Ole Miss blitzing nearly every down, a strategy that won them the Cotton Bowl. Matthews also takes the Kiper/McShay route and goes after Tebow's mechanics. Et tu, Shane?
Ripping a guy in January for comments he made in October is a bit much, but the comments in the Schlabach column show that nothing has changed. I don't expect Matthews to be a mouthpiece for the football team, but he is not honest about it. Matthews criticism of Meyer is directly from Matthews having problems with the way Meyer and Mullen operate, i.e. without Matthews' influence. Meyer has embraced former players (Emmitt Smith, Wuerffel) and Florida's traditions, so Matthews can't play that card. He is simply angry that Meyer won't pay attention to him. If he would just man up and say, "I don't like Urban Meyer, no matter how many games he wins," at least people would respect that.
Matthews needs to get over it. Besides, he should stick to coaching his non-existant Team Florida in the AAFL now that Florida has hired a pro-style quarterbacks coach.