Yesterday brought us this – an article by Matt Hayes of the Sporting News exposing the real Florida Gators under former head coach Urban Meyer. For some, it was shocking. For most, it was on par with many of the rumors we’ve heard over the last few years. For all, it put another item (or two, or three) under “Cons” on the list of our thoughts about Meyer.
I’m not a Meyer supporter – although some would paint me as such – I just choose to remember certain things. That selective memory is because of a desire to be happy for certain things that occurred while not wasting the time to be upset about other things that can’t be changed. If the article by Hayes is true and former Florida defensive back Bryan Thomas is telling us what really happened under Meyer, so be it. It doesn’t make me proud as a fan by any means, but I’m also much more interested in discussing Will Muschamp and season two under the man we currently refer to as the head coach.
What I do choose to remember and bask in when it comes to Meyer are the two national championships and the athletes we had a chance to witness – Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin and Brandon Spikes to name a few. I don’t know if there was preferential treatment for those three and the other Gators stars during Meyer’s tenure, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was. That’s not an admission that I believe it’s right, it’s just a statement that, again, those rumors have been present well before Monday when the article was posted.
What the article does provide is justification – justification to those Florida fans that no longer consider Meyer a friend. Gators fans are a passionate bunch and among that passion will be certain feelings for not only Meyer, but also Steve Spurrier and any other coach or player that ever spent a day in The Swamp. What they choose to celebrate or condemn is their choice and they should be proud of whatever stance they take. My stance just happens to be one of the now and not the past.
That doesn’t mean I believe the arrests are justified in any way and it doesn’t mean I will go home today and dust off my Urban Meyer shrine. It simply means I don’t treat Monday as a groundbreaking day in the history of the Florida Gators football program. It keeps my feelings right about where they were when Meyer was named the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes, which is somewhere between “meh” and “sigh.”
Meyer’s tenure will be discussed at length for years to come. It will probably even be summed up by many just as Thomas did when asked to comment for the article:
“As far as coaching, there’s no one else like (Meyer); he’s a great coach. He gets players to do things you never thought you could do. But he’s a bad person.” – Bryan Thomas, Former Florida Gators Defensive Back
That may be accurate and, if you believe the article and the rumors you’ve surely heard, you probably don’t doubt it. I don’t either, but I am continuing to look forward more than I’m looking back. For your own sanity, I recommend you try to do the same.