Talent is not enough

The Florida Gators have fielded some of the most talented teams in college football over the past two decades. But talent will only get you so far.

How far?

To the seven-win mark. At least, that's the contention of current Florida head man Urban Meyer.

"Seven wins comes from talent," Meyer said during this week's SEC Media Days at Hoover, Ala.

OK. So how did his Gators go 9-3, 11-1 and 9-4 in his first three seasons at the helm?

"You start mixing in a little discipline (and you get) up to eight or nine wins," Meyer said.

Fair enough. But how do championship-caliber teams achieve double-digit win totals?

"Somehow," Meyer said, "if you can develop a little leadership on your team – not necessarily seniors but leadership to get you off the field on fourth down ... you make a big play at the end of the game to win – that's when you start having great things happen for your program."

That's what happened for Florida in 2006, when Meyer's second Gator squad improved dramatically as the season wore on and wound up trouncing top-ranked Ohio State to win the national championship.

To recap: Talent equals 7 wins. Discipline equals 2 wins. Talent plus discipline plus leadership equals championships.

"It's really not much more complicated than that," Meyer said. "You mix in a few 40 times, vertical jumps, guys that bench-press very well. That's how you put a good team together."

The 2008 Gators certainly have enough talent to qualify for seven wins. They appear to have enough discipline to get to the nine-win plateau, as well.

"Talent-wise, we have a very solid team coming back," Meyer said. "We have some experience and the discipline is much improved (compared to) last year."

So, how's the leadership on his team?

"Leadership is a question mark which probably 119 teams are dealing with right now," Meyer said. "That's the difference."

Although the coach is unsure how much leadership he will get from his senior class, he's pretty comfortable with the leadership he will get from his junior quarterback, Tim Tebow. When asked at Media Days how good Tebow's leadership ability is, Meyer grinned smugly.

"I'm sure anybody in here can answer that for you," the coach replied. "It's as good as I've ever seen."


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