BCS Media Day - Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer took the podium in South Florida participating in Media Day at the BCS National Championship. Here are Meyer's comments from the 40-minute session.

Q. Was there any conversation you had with Tim going into the Heisman this year?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
Tim and I are very close. We've had many conversations. He's as grown up a young player as I've ever been around. Not much. I did see an effect at one time during the beginning of the season. The weight of the world was on his shoulders, and I thought after that Arkansas game he changed back to being Tim Tebow. He was someone else there for a minute, but he came back, and he came back with a vengeance.

Q. Turnover margin, you guys are No. 1, Oklahoma is No. 2. How intriguing is that?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
I think one of the things that does is like the Alabama comment, I made this comment, if you're a young coach and everybody wants to talk about the spread offenses and other elements of the game, like you just said, there's a reason why those two teams are playing for it. I know USC in the last ten years I want to say they have the fewest turnovers, so I think that's one of the correlations.

Q. Do you think any part of that has more effect on the game, or is that a similar question, giving up one or getting one is one or the other or worse?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
Well, that's a good question. They're both critical.

Q. What are the qualities that Dan Mullen has?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
He's extremely intelligent, one of the best I've been around. He's been exposed to a lot of very good coaches, so when I say he's very intelligent, he's not going to go in there and try to change the world, he's going to draw from every coach we've had in our program. If you look at the last eight years now, you have some tremendous coaches, and Dan, I think his intelligence will help him be successful.

Q. Can you talk about Dan McCarty's impact on your staff and the fact that you think he should get another head coaching staff at some point?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
Let me have him for a little while first (laughter). Dan's impact was instrumental. All you have to do was look at the staffs and know what he went from one of the worst defenses in the country to one of the better ones. He also had some maturity, the players really matured. So he was very instrumental. What he did at Iowa State, I think, and that's when Dan and I became close, what he did at Iowa State, I think that's similar to what Coach Snyder did at Kansas State.

Q. A lot of your players have talked about you taught them how to be men. Is that part of your philosophy?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
That's good. Absolutely, that's a big part of it. I'm honored that they would say that.

Q. The remarks by the Oklahoma player yesterday about Tebow not even being in the top three quarterbacks, have you had any reaction and have you had to address your team about those comments at all?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
I heard it this morning, and I don't have a reaction. I've done this for a long time, and I'm sure that someone jammed a microphone in his face and he was having fun. If he feels that way, every man is entitled to his opinion, so I don't really have a reaction.

Q. I know it's not the only aspect that goes into winning a football game, but the emphasis you put on speed, do you go into every game at this point kind of realizing you're going to have that advantage of overall team speed?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
This team we're playing has got a lot of speed, though. We do it when we're facing a team that doesn't match up. You face a team that doesn't match up and that's basically our whole game plan is to somehow get our guy in position so they can't tackle. I'm not sure this is going to be easy because they have great speed on defense.

Q. Your experience two years ago having played in this game with a lot of your players, does that help you in preparation for this week?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
Well, I looked on the roster, and not many of them played. Many of them got free sandwiches and hats and watches and all that but didn't play. I think being exposed to the guys that didn't play, maybe a hunger to get back, because this is top shelf. How many kids get to do this? How many coaches get to do this? It motivates me, so I'm sure it motivates them.

Q. When your kids graduate from the program what do you hope they'll take away?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
The greatest four years of their life, so they can bring their son or daughter or wife back and point to the wall at University of Florida and say, I had something to do with that number in 2006 and hopefully 2008. We just built a $30 million facility and a big part of that is a tribute to our previous players.

Q. Win or lose this week, what's Tim's legacy? Compare him to college football's greatest quarterbacks.

COACH URBAN MEYER:
If I have a vote, which I don't, I think he's one of the greatest players ever to play the game, not just quarterback, not just offensive lineman, but when he's finished playing, which we'll find out when, I'll make a comment that I really have to think about before I make a commitment, at this point in time in my opinion he's one of the greatest players to ever play the game.

Q. Have you had someone as heavily as hyped as him going into a career?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
No. As a matter of fact I see a lot of people crash and burn because he can't handle it. He's better rounded than most adults have been.

Q. That Notre Dame dream job got some play a few weeks ago. What was the context of that?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
Move on. I'm just trying to answer questions.

Q. Just generally speaking, though, that place is still very special for anybody who worked there such as yourself?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
Sure.

Q. Why is it special?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
Next question.

Q. How important is it to have Percy Harvin back?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
Well, we want to win the game and I want Percy to finish his career at Florida. Number one is to win the game and he gives us a great chance to win. A guy that works as hard as he does and is competitive as he is, to not play in the two showcase games, that's hard on him, and I want him to play in this game.

Q. Do coaches sit in the back room rubbing their hands together saying, aha, we've got our weapon back?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
That's a good way to put it.

Q. (Inaudible.)

COACH URBAN MEYER:
I was asked that question yesterday. I'm not making those decisions, but Charlie has every quality you'd want in a head coach. I don't want to lose him, but coaching, in my opinion, is about seventh in terms of what makes a good coach, leadership, strong family values, a guy that can recruit. He has it all.

Q. I'm doing something on Louis Murphy. How has he changed since you got him?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
He was a non-functional guy when he went to Florida. Without getting too harsh on him, he knows, and I think this is such a positive, he would not have survived at the rate he was going, academically, socially, football-wise, no chance. And now he's a graduate, on his way to the NFL and playing for a National Championship.

Q. How important was it for you to get to St. Pete after he lost his mom?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
Well, thank God we had a school plane. I was in SEC meetings and I knew what was helping. I left the meetings early and went. Louis and I are that close, and I'd expect if something happened for the rest of our lives we'll be there.

Q. When the time comes for Tim to be in the NFL do you think he'll sort of be a more conventional NFL quarterback?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
I think it depends on the system and if someone is going to try -- it's amazing to me when someone tries to take a guy like a Chris Leak and put him in a spread offense and say Chris can't do it. Fire the coach and get another coach in there that knows how to utilize his skills. If someone knows what they're doing, he'll be a great NFL quarterback. We don't run the west coast, so I don't know that.

Q. What do you think that old thinking that quarterbacks can't run in the NFL because their bodies get abused?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
I think there's some truth to that. If you notice, NFL is not much different from the SEC, with all due respect. If you're a player and start in the SEC you're going to the NFL, that's just the way it is. What's the difference between Oklahoma's defense or Alabama's defense? That's the difference because all those kids are going to play at the next level. I think we were educated a little bit, and on Tim we've done a little bit of this with Tim.

Q. You've limited his exposure this year?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
Yeah, because his longevity in the NFL will not be very high. I ran him 28 times against Ole Miss, and I will not do that again.

Q. (Inaudible.)

COACH URBAN MEYER:
If you're asking my concern, that's a huge concern, and it's hard to simulate, especially when you've got some guys banged up. Louis Murphy and Carl Johnson and some guys haven't practiced a lot, so it's a big concern.

Q. (Inaudible.)

COACH URBAN MEYER:
We went about a 40-play scrimmage with officials and game clock going and substitution.

Q. Was that an unusual thing for you to do?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
No, we did it two years ago.

Q. Would you prefer that the Bowl season where it is?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
I kind of like it. I made this comment two years ago when we were the first team to go the whole week away from the other Bowls, I think that's great for college football. The whole country is going to watch us. It's great for Florida, great for our players and great for college football.

Q. Do you worry a little bit about the motivation Oklahoma is feeling, kind of the underdog?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
Sure.

Q. Do you worry about the relationships your players develop with the commentators and all that?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
I worry about it all, everything you just said, and multiply it by 6, 700. We lock them down and try to get right in the middle of their minds. The thing is we've got a very mature team. We played the loss of respect and no respect card two years ago, and it worked. I'm not quite sure which direction we're going to head here, but we're going to head real soon.

Q. It's kind of like the roles are reversed?

COACH URBAN MEYER:
It feels like that but I don't believe that. I know their coaching staff and their players, I think they're top shelf. I think these next 48 hours, what you said is going to be really critical to this game, getting in the right mindset for this game.

Q. Talk about what you told Coach Stoops about your decision to go to Florida.

COACH URBAN MEYER:
He was a guy that I knew I'd get an unbiased opinion. He was one of the few guys that had nothing to gain. He's from northeastern Ohio, we share a lot of the same values, family values, and as I would expect, he was very fair to me.


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