Urban Meyer on his way to print/internet podium:
- The circus at SEC Media Days that always surrounds the Alabama head coach is matched by the attention given representatives of the defending national champ Florida Gators. Urban Meyer gets his share of cameras and handlers, but Tim Tebow attracts more notice than anybody else here. I nearly got trampled a couple minutes ago when I was looking down at my phone and a moving herd of about 20 camera people steamrolled me out of the way as Tebow was moving to another media room. Got to keep your head on a swivel like a linemen when the Gator QB is around.
- With so many people expecting great things from Florida, I’m not sure the Gators can meet the hype. They’d have to win every game by double-digits and dominate every opponent. It’s asking a lot for this team not to slip up. Jay Barker, former Alabama QB turned sports talk radio host (and husband of singer Sara Evans), made a good point on his show this morning … he mentioned that so many of the Gators’ goals are product-oriented (undefeated season, another national title, setting various records on offense/defense), while winning teams usually focus on the process of getting ready for great things (off-season training, summer workouts, etc). It’s an interesting point and one the Gators will need to be wary of. If any team can navigate a 3rd national title run in four years it would be the fast, deep, and talented men from Gainesville. Having the best football player of the generation on your team doesn’t hurt either.
- One other note while awaiting Meyer, the Gators better win every game because a 1-loss Florida team is unlikely to get voted into a national title game over an undefeated USC, Ohio State, Texas, or Oklahoma. The non-conference schedule is embarrasingly weak (Charleston Southern, Troy, Florida International in addition to traditional rival FSU).
Meyer now at the podium:
- Very concise comments before questions … Meyer says team has had excellent off-season and that he is looking forward to this season more than any in his career.
- On keeping people happy with so much depth … competition and promoting unselfishness has been a key.
- On knowing about Bear Bryant (although growing up in Ohio as a Woody Hayes fan), Meyer mentioned that he had general knowledge like most fans/coaches and that his mentor Earl Bruce spoke frequently of Bryant and his methods.
- On Florida’s offensive play-calling process (with the departure of OC Dan Mullen to Miss State) … Meyer said the Gators are still working through that. No one single person calls plays at Florida (it is a collaborative effort between plays), and one of the issues is that Steve Addazio will be on the field (while Mullen was up in the press box during games). The process is not finalized heading into fall camp.
- Interestingly (and true to his nature), Meyer does not back off the overwhelming praise his defense is receiving (all 22 players on the two-deep return from 2008) and believes it could be a historically great defense. Most coaches would downplay such expectations, but Meyer is nothing if not confident, noting the flexibility of the unit.
- When asked about Tebow playing under center, Meyer said the tailback position will determine whether the offense gets out of the shotgun on occasion. To run a traditional offense, he believes a team must have a top-flight running back. Additionally, the defense typically has an extra defender against an “I” team (whereas against the spread the defense has to read the option … effectively eliminating one defender).
- Tim Tebow will come to the main podium next