Just in case you're wondering, this opinion is wholly mine, and does not reflect the official stance or presence of an official stance of Alligator Army regarding our former football coach.
As Andy posted earlier, Matt Hayes of the Sporting News has finally confirmed, with a measure of journalistic integrity, exactly what Florida Gators fans have long suspected about Urban Meyer: That he ran a fast, loose ship designed to coddle, win, and ultimately crumble. While Hayes delivers the facts, the ultimate verdict on how we should feel about Urban Meyer is left undecided. As a reader/commenter/writer, this is unacceptable. PEOPLE NEED TO BE TOLD WHAT TO THINK. Especially me— left with nothing but my own imagination, a set of facts, and an unending love for the concept of a multiverse, I’ve come up with multiple-case scenarios for playing feelingsball with Urban Meyer’s tenure at Florida (it’s actually two, because there’s only two universes, Regular Universe, and ours, Pirate Universe).
Option 1: Meyer is an ass who deserves nothing but scalding water and bees.
Corch is a meanie, you guys. He said he loved us and just like stupid Sally Thompson in the second grade he left us for stupid Brutus. Well, Sally and Urban, guess what? I didn’t need you anyway and I have a swimming pool now and I’m throwing a party and neither of you poopfaces are invited.
URBAN OWES US BECAUSE WE GAVE HIM HIS FIRST OPPORTUNITY. Running away for greener pastures just because it got tough to beat Saban with something less than 15 first round draft choices is a cowardly move, and all the bullshit about his health was just to get a sympathetic response and rally some support to his side.
Meyer didn’t win those trophies; Tim Tebow did. And Meyer didn’t recruit Tim Tebow; Tebow was a Florida Gators fan when he was just a swaddling clothed babe laying in a manger. He was going to come here anyway, so why should Meyer get any credit for something that he simply hitched a ride to the top to? HE SHOULDN’T THAT’S WHY HE GETS BEES, HORRIFYING STINGING BEES.
Give him bees for failure to moral Percy Harvin, Brandon Spikes, Joakim Noah, Janoris Jenkins, and everyone else on the team. Give him Bees for moraling Cam, and ruining the 2010 season. Give him bees for the betrayal and move to most-hated rival, Ohio State, who Florida hates so much that they’ve played a grand total of twice ever. Give him bees for everything he ever did because everything that was bad that happened to Florida was his fault and everything that was good was because Tim Tebow is the best.
Option 2: Meyer is a college football coach and he did college football coach things.
Let’s dispel the common misconception that college athletics are more like little league than they are like their respective pro-leagues. Urban Meyer, and college coaches in general, aren’t doing this because their wives are tired of them hanging around the house and drinking beers after work, and they aren’t doing it to stroke their massive egos, no matter how big-headed they seem. College coaches coach because of the baller-ass dollars they’re making, and don’t ever forget that. College coaching is their job, and they would like to remain employed far more than you would, Mr/Ms Reading This Blog At Work.
You know what looks good on a coach’s annual review? A championship. You know how you win those? You get the best players. You know what that sometimes means? Making stupid sacrifices to keep those best players happy/eligible. Meyer may have chose the easiest route, by coddling his stars and looking the other way whenever anything happened, but nobody can argue with the results of that route.
Would he have survived to quit in 2010/2011 if he had kicked Percy Harvin, Brandon Spikes, Aaron Hernandez, or Janoris Jenkins off the team? No, probably not. In fact, the only star player he did fully doghouse, transferred then won a national championship and a Heisman another SEC school. If you’re going to play Morality Police with Urban Meyer, then you better not have ever said "I would’ve given you a laptop, CAM!"
Let’s not forget that every guy that Meyer "coddled" ended up in the NFL. So the "Circle of Trust" was responsible for everything that is wrong with Florida football today? Well, it was also responsible for that 2008 championship and the 2009 13-1 season (Meyer’s guys played less of a role in 2006 and I’m not sure how much "trust" he would’ve put on a bunch of Freshmen).
If anything, Meyer’s tenure is a celebration of merits of sticking with players through their mistakes. Did his philosophy ultimately cause the blowout 2010 season and everything that was wrong with last year? Probably. The lack of care/control led to more off-field mistakes, transfers, and a lot of locker room apathy, but don’t forget those two championships. You know who else has won two BCS championships at the same school? Nick Saban at Alabama, and that concludes our list of coaches with success on par with Urban Meyer.
Ultimately, your opinion of Meyer comes down to what you value. I’m very clearly in the "value the wins and to hell with everything else" camp. Football coaches aren’t here to play daycare with athletes, and that perception that athletes need a parent/role model at 18 years or older is very condescending. They may not be grown-ass men, but they’re men, and deserve as much responsibility in making their own choices as anyone else in that age range. Could Meyer have kept a closer eye on his players’ behavior? Yes, he could; he could’ve also screwed up whatever magic he had going for him in doing so, though.
So when you’re wishing him nothing but the worst, try to keep in mind exactly what it is that you want out of a college football coach. I'll take the crystal balls, even if that means some subsequent five- or six-loss seasons.