Larry Vettel: Urban Meyer's a Keeper

One of the things Bernie Machen must have wanted for the University of Florida was a head football coach who looked and played the part. There is no member of the University of Florida community who is more visible than the Head Football Coach. Thus, there is no overstating the importance of having someone in that role that conveys the class and personality of the institution as a whole.

With that as a goal, Urban Meyer scored a perfect "10" Tuesday afternoon and evening in Gainesville. The new Gator coach balanced his own excitement with paying homage to the Steve Spurrier era. And he found room to credit Ron Zook's nationally respected recruiting abilities. He talked about discipline in very basic, matter-of-fact terms: " If you don't go to class and don't live life the right way you will not play."

That line reminds me of a great line from long-time LSU Basketball Coach Dale Brown who once pointed out the NCAA manual was some 850 pages while the ten commandments can fit on an index cards. The point being, rules do not have to be showy or detailed to be effective.

If You Wanted Stoops, You Got Stoops

Many of the wealthiest and most generous UF alums wanted to take another shot at bringing back Bobby Stoops to run the Florida program. And they did. While the Oklahoma Head Coach rejected third-party overtures, you could make the case the Gators ended up with Stoops anyway.

I enjoyed getting to know Bobby Stoops in his three years in Gainesville and have tremendous respect for what he has accomplished at Oklahoma…. Shoot, only a fool could find fault in his performance. But watching Urban Meyer Tuesday was like watching Bobby just a few years ago. They both have a seriousness in their approach, which makes their substantial sense of humor even more effective. They both portray a confidence without arrogance. A humility about their opportunity with a resolve to reach and exceed expectations. Heck they even look a little bit alike, and both have beautiful wives who come across as such positive, interesting people you forget how attractive they are after a few minutes.

Coaching Approach Also Impressive

Personality platitudes aside the bottom-line will be the results Urban Meyer produces on the field for the Gators. While he was careful not to be specific in praise of any aspect of the roster he is inheriting, he did reference Chris Leak in his press conference. I like the fact he pointed out if (Utah QB) Alex Smith didn't have a great year, he wouldn't be the new coach at Florida. He pointed out Chris Leak could have much to say about how successful his first year in Gainesville is.

Meyer pointed out college football is a coaches' game, which he doesn't like, but that's life. Coaches get too much credit and too much blame. (And let me add too much compensation and too much severance pay)

But the best line of all came in discussing his high-powered (46.3 pts/game) offense and whether the Gators had the personnel on hand to run it:

"I've got to make that clear, there is no offense. The offense is molded around the personnel we have and I think we do that better than anybody. The offense at Bowling Green with Josh Harris who is now playing for the Ravens is significantly different than the offense for Alex Smith, 'cuz they're different players. So, it's an adaptable offense and is has to be. People fail when they don't adapt their scheme to their personnel."

For the second time in a decade I believe the University of Florida has struck gold with the hiring of a great coaching talent with a tremendous perspective and intellect for the position. A man with the background, commitment and vision to be a phenomenal success. Billy Donovan has taken Gator Basketball to a level few ever thought it could reach. Urban Meyer has a tougher standard to match with the Steve Spurrier era, but I'm convinced the Gators have hired college football's next superstar.

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Have a great week.

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