Meyer Welcomes Doc Rivers

The Florida football team practiced Friday morning, but that wasn't what coach Urban Meyer wanted to talk about afterwards. Meyer was focused on the "Champions Day" the Gators held Thursday night including the guest speaker, Doc Rivers the coach of the NBA Champion Boston Celtics.

The concept of Champions Day began right after the Gator basketball team won the 2006 NCAA Championship.

UM: "We started this three years ago on the plane back from Indianapolis. We kind of thought this would be a great opportunity to start something in the summer. Our video staff puts together about a 15-minute video of locker room celebrations and champions speaking. When you look at a champions' eyes they look different; so instead of me screaming all the time I wanted our players to see one let's witness one. We had Billy Donovan come in and speak to the team. We've had Chris Carter speak to the team, and we had Doc Rivers come in last (Thursday) night. To think that the NBA Champion Doc Rivers takes time to come out of his own personal time and speak to the Florida Gators, just think about that for a minute. The video was phenomenal; it was one of the best nights I've ever witnessed.

Meyer pointed out that the high profile speakers that address the team come with the recognition it takes to get young players to sit up and pay attention.

UM: "The credibility you earn as a Hall of Fame receiver, as a National Championship basketball coach or a World Champion NBA coach, it's all about credibility nowadays with these young players. There's instant credibility. They all know the Lakers. They all know the Celtics. They all watched those games. I can tell it made an impact in a lot of the people just watching their reaction to him."

He was asked to categorize what Rivers said to his squad.

UM: "The message is really simple. You have to have intensity and passion for what you're doing. He's a big believer in chemistry and character and the message a kind of similar. I think they probably hear it six, seven, eight thousand times."

Meyer also pointed out that his days of praising players after a good practice are over with.

UM: "Well I've learned my lesson since I've been here. I'm one of those guys, I love to give out champion awards and this and that. What I'm finding here is that you do that in some places and it's minimal. I do it here and everybody's going to have a front page story on some guy at practice did good today. So I've toned it down. I've learned. I'm not that bright, but I learned. So you ain't getting' nothin' from me today."

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel


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