Lots of Ties in the Miami Game

The huge rivalry with Miami is now the news for the week and Florida head coach Urban Meyer does not take it lightly. There are players on both teams that have huge emotional and personal ties to the other program and that is something that must be dealt with by both programs this week.

The recruiting wars between the University of Florida and Miami have been huge in the last couple of years. They have always been there but with the prowess of both staffs in the recruiting game, the heat has been turned up a notch or two. Both sides win and lose some, but there is always going to be some deep emotions riding when two programs meet that are only five hours apart and recruit from a hotbed like the state of Florida.

Freshman defensive tackle Matt Patchan probably has more ties than anyone to the opposite program. Patchan's father and uncle both played at Miami and the recruiting war for him was as hard as any this last year. Meyer knows this will be special for Patchan.

"I think it will be very emotional and that was a knock down, drag out full swinging recruiting (battle)," Meyer said. "When you deal with high character people like his mother, dad, and (uncles), it is fun to recruit that way...I am going to try and keep him sheltered all week. He's out of his mind to begin with, so...."

Another big time prospect that came to Florida after highly considering Miami is former Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas High School All-American Major Wright. Wright chose Florida over Miami in the end and his family played a big part in the recruitment according to Meyer's memory.

"If people knew the time effort and energy that goes into recruiting someone that is in the grasp of someone else...," Meyer said about recruiting someone geographically close to another big time college football program. "I think his mom is a very intelligent (lady) and she wanted him in a very safe environment. I could tell that when I met her. I think she was very involved with that. She is very well educated and understood the quality of a Florida education."

Meyer knows there are more connections to the Miami program on his team and understands the players want to get after it just a bit more because of the rivalry. Meyer treats it like another game.

"I could care less but for them I think it is motivation," Meyer said. "I read one of our player's comments and he isn't allowed to talk to the media anymore. We don't do that. We want players to talk about our own teammates and that's it. I am sure guys are texting each other back and forth."

"I think there will be enough motivation because they know about the players. I asked (former Florida head coach Steve) Spurrier and he said he always came out in public and said 'we want to play them...want to play them, but deep down I didn't want to play those guys.'"

The recruiting theme is a very hot topic when it comes to Miami and Florida. The two have sparred for many top prospects over the years and the trend will continue. One of Meyer's stated goals in recruiting is to become the fastest team in America. To that end, he feels the staff has done a good job of portraying what they can do with the speed that is recruited. Miami and the surrounding areas is of course one of the major producers of elite speed prospects in college football every year.

"Some of them don't want to come because there are too many of them (already at Florida) and they don't want to compete...you have to do what you have to do," Meyer said about luring the top players. "The other thing is there is not a lack of knowledge on how to use speed at Florida, and that is what we sell. We watch the film, the production, you watch how we play...we know how to get fast guys the football and not a lot of (teams) can do that."

All of the recruiting wars have paid off huge dividends for both programs, but Meyer has nothing but respect for the talent Miami will bring to Florida field on Saturday.

"I consider them the most talented team in college football," Meyer said of the Hurricanes. "You see their speed, size, athleticism, there isn't a team we will play...they are the most talented team in college football. That is what we see when we watch film."

"We will be very careful in what we ask certain personnel to do. We already made a couple of adjustments in our goal line because we think we are over matched, that is how good their personnel is. Same with safety, we can't ask them to cover someone they can't cover, that is what is going on all day today and tomorrow. We are going to cover that up so there are no substantial issues."

Miami will come in with a freshman quarterback starting in his first game on Saturday. Robert Marve of Tampa Plant redshirted last season after a serious hand injury. He comes into the game after being suspended for the opener and will play in front oaf a hostile crowd. Meyer recruited Marve and knows what kid of talent he is.

"We know him very well, he is a tough guy and I don't think he will be phased," Meyer said. "He is a tough guy from a great high school program. We will do what we have to do...It is a tough crowd and I can only imagine what it will be like. That does play a factor, but I know him and his family and he is a tough dude."

Florida will be a big favorite in the match up but Meyer isn't blowing the Hurricanes off. He understands rivalries and knows his team has to show up and play well to win. The crowd and the night time atmosphere will make sure his team is stoked, but the fact they are playing their friends and enemies is enough reason on its own.


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