So What If Urban Is Helping Utah?

Once a Ute, always a Ute? Well, maybe. A couple of items have led many to believe that Florida Coach Urban Meyer is giving aid and comfort to his former team and assistant coach as Utah prepares to face Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Florida and Alabama are both members of the Southeastern Conference, which has an agreement that league teams won't cooperate with opponents of other SEC teams.

Shortly after it was announced that Alabama and Utah would be playing in the Sugar Bowl, reporters had an opportunity to talk with the head coaches of both teams.

Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham was asked about the offense of the Utes and said that the offense that had been installed by Florida's Urban Meyer was still in place. He also said that he and Meyer are good friends who talk on a regular basis.

Florida and Meyer had just defeated Alabama, 31-20, in the SEC Championship Game. Whittingham was asked if he would be calling Meyer for advice.

Although it sounded a little like a joke, Whittingham said he would probably be on the phone to Meyer soon.

Later there was a post on a site called BleacherReport that began with the report that Alabama Coach Nick Saban was helping Oklahoma against Florida. The "story" (it appears these reports are by fans, not journalists) wondered if Florida fans would be upset. At least one of them was furious, because he didn't finish reading the story in which the author said that Saban wasn't helping Oklahoma, but Meyer was helping Utah.

Maybe so, maybe not. In truth, there's not much a coach of one school could do beyond offering videotapes, and those seem to be readily available regardless.

At least twice since Sugar Bowl preparations started, Alabama Coach Nick Saban has been asked about the similarity between the Utah offense and the Florida offense. Saban has pointed out the differences, notably the differences in quarterbacks. Florida has Tim Tebow, a fine passer who is also an extremely effective power runner. Utah has an excellent quarterback in Brian Johnson, but Johnson is not a runner.

I believe Whittingham, who says the Utah offense is similar to the one left by Meyer, and Saban, who says the offense of Utah and the offense of Florida are not the same, are both correct.

I believe that because of 31-3.

In 2005, Meyer's first year in the SEC, he brought the offense that had been the scourge of the Mountain West Conference to Tuscaloosa. Florida was ranked fifth in the nation, but it was early in the year.

Mike Shula's Crimson Tide blistered the Gators.

To his credit, Meyer learned from the Bryant-Denny Stadium experience and adjusted. Now he is expected to win his second national championship at Florida. It's likely the talent available to the Gators has something to do with it, but give Meyers credit. No other Florida coach has won two national championships.

The big thing Meyer didn't realize when he brought the Utah offense to the SEC was that SEC defensive ends are bigger and faster than those he had been playing against while at Utah.

That's something Meyer might share with Whittingham.

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