Anyone else out there see Urban Meyer's weekend press conferences as an epic failure in the UF PR department? After this weekend, we've learned a few facts about Urban and UF: 1) Urban is bigger than the Florida Athletic Department and can put the program on hold for a year while he reorganizes his life. 2) The current and potential athletes at Florida are more important to Urban than his own kids. 3) The person in charge of UF's public relations is an idiot and has absolutely no control over what information reaches the public.
Point 1. How can a coach hold a program hostage? Is UF so indebted to Urban Meyer that they can allow him to put their program in a proverbial holding pattern for a year while he sorts himself out? What happens if he never comes back? What happens if he comes back at half mast and never really regains steam?
If I were recruiting against UF (e.g. Tennessee, Miami, FSU, uga), I would tell high school kids that UF is a captain-less ship. I'd tell kids that the coach at UF can't handle the pressure. He picks and chooses when to coach and when to abandon his players while players have no choice. If players choose to sit out a year, they may not have a scholarship when they come back. To me, a high school recruit should have an incredibly tough time attending UF in the next couple years unless this whole Urban-gate gets swept under a rug (as SEC scandals tend to do) and Urban continues coaching as usual.
The second point of players > kids is an interesting issue, to me. This is also where it ties Urban into GT. He said he wanted to relax and "watch volleyball games." I'm assuming he's referring to daughter Nikki Meyer on Tech's volleyball team. This is kinda where you feel for Urban. He got so caught up in the machine that is big program football that he left his kids behind. Looking at Urban's meteoric rise in coaching prominence, we can see how this happened. In 2001, he was at Bowling Green and by 2009, he's the coach of the most powerful football factory since the Nebraska and Miami dynasties. In 8 years he went from a top 3% American salary to a top 1% American salary... That's a helluva lifestyle change.
Finally, who in the Hell is in charge of Florida's PR? They've got millions of dollars rolling through the door from Gator-stamped jean shorts yet can't afford a decent PR guy. Amazing. Someone needs to hire a media relations consultant pronto. When someone wants to talk to the media, they talk to the consultant first. Here's what a conversation would look like...
Urban: I'm gonna suspend a player for a quarter 'cause he raped and murdered 6 people.
Consultant: Maybe we should say, "[Name redacted] is being indefinitely suspended for violation of team rules." The public doesn't like it when players are given elite treatment.
Urban: You guys are silly. This is football! Who needs the real world? This is stressful. I'm quitting tomorrow.
Consultant: Let's think this through. Maybe we can say, "Urban is stepping away from the program to be with his family for health reasons. He is not vacating his post and will return as soon as possible." It'll be like when Joe Pa got run over by his backup tight end and had to coach from a press box.
Urban: You are a wizard with words.
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