Meyer: This is my Dream Job

During the week leading up to the SEC Championship Game, there was just one more aspect to the frenzy that Urban Meyer calls the "Florida nonsense." There was speculation surrounding the head coaching job at Notre Dame and naturally Meyer's name came up. After Tuesday's practice, he set the record straight.

"I'm trying to be extremely respectful for all involved," Urban Meyer said. "I say some things, I've probably been asked that question 400-500 times. I've given my life and the staff has given its life to Florida football for a long time, and we plan to for a very long time. I grew up in the North and [Notre Dame] was my dream job. It probably always will. That has nothing to do with it. This is my dream job and I hope to be at it for a very long time. I hear that out there, and it's my fault. This is everything I want in a school. It's probably the best job in America. You don't give your whole life to a school like our whole staff has, and we plan on doing it for a long time."

Now, as the Gators begin preparations for their second BCS appearance in three years, Meyer has to deal with another distraction. Offensive coordinator Dan Mullen is now the head coach at Mississippi State and needs to focus his attention on rebuilding that program. So where does that leave him with the Gators? Meyer hopes he's in the press box running the Florida offense on January 8.

"I think he's going to coach," Meyer said. "I talked to him yesterday. He'll come back after Christmas, that's the plan. The goal is to win the game. Right now, unless something changes, I think it's going to happen."

Mullen will be out of Gainesville, but Meyer said there's not much game-planning going on for Oklahoma, anyway.

"Right now, recruiting is the emphasis," Meyer said. "I have great respect for him. The best chance of winning that game, the mechanics of the game, is if he's here. So right now the plan is that he'll be up in the press box."

Meyer said he doesn't have a timetable for hiring Mullen's successor, but he said he is making some progress. He's looking at both internal and external candidates.

"The factor is to win this game," he said. "The good thing is that we have one of the best offensive staffs in the game. This is not a dictatorship. The plays are scripted. Dan did a tremendous job. I understand, it's going to take a life of it's own. The offense will be fine. He's the third coordinator I've had. All three have turned out to be head coaches. Probably the fourth one will and the fifth one, too. I've been blessed with good coaches."

One thing the Gator offense will likely have going for it is the return of Percy Harvin. He missed the SEC Championship Game after spraining his ankle against FSU.

"He's doing good," Meyer said. "He was out there today. He's not running yet. Him and Carl Johnson and Louis Murphy, they had a little knee issue, but they'll be fine for the game."

Meyer has been impressed with Harvin's attitude throughout the injury.

"I'm going to tell you something about Percy, he's done a phenomenal job," he said. "Most guys with the same injury wouldn't have dealt with it, statistics and the impact he's had in games with big plays. He'll be 100 percent ready for this game. That heel injury he had was not a normal process."

Meyer has taken some time watching the Oklahoma offense. Like Florida's offense this season, he has attributed most of their success to the guys in the trenches.

"It all starts with the offensive line," Meyer said. "A lot is made out of their scheme and their tempo, but once again it's like when someone asks me about the spread. If you take that no huddle offense with average players, you got a problem. It all starts with the offensive line."

The success of this year's Florida team can be attributed to two things. More experience and more leadership. Last year's team didn't have those two elements and the way last year's season ended is a perfect example.

"Last year was a bad team," Meyer said. "We had some really good players and it was now the third best offense we've had in history. So there was some good stuff, but it was a bad team. The accountability and leadership wasn't there."

"The correlation between having a good team is - I don't know if you've seen that sign in our team meeting room - it's talent gets you about seven wins and we had nine wins last year, so we had some talent. Experience will get you 8-9, but if you add leadership in there, you have a good team."

Notes

  • Brandon James wasn't himself over the last few games, but Meyer expects that he'll have more of an impact against the Sooners. Said Meyer, "I think we have to do a better job of blocking for him. He always says he's fine, but I don't think he's 100 percent. He had a sore ankle and some injuries, but he's a tough kid."

  • Meyer was not shocked that Tim Tebow didn't win the Heisman, but was more shocked that he was left off of so many ballots. Said Meyer, "I think there's 190 something ballots too many. If there's 194 that left him off, than there are 194 too many."

  • Meyer said Brandon Spikes was deserving of his first-team All-America honors. Said Meyer, "Well deserved, he's going to get a brick out front. Everyone who comes here will see it forever."

  • Meyer has not spoken to the star-studded group of juniors that have a decision to make at the end of the season. Said Meyer, "At poker time, I'll address that. It's getting close to poker time."


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