Forty-seven years ago last June the US Navy defeated a much larger, more experienced, and more accomplished Imperial Japanese fleet off the shores of Midway Island.
Years after the war, several high ranking Japanese participants were interviewed regarding this engagement and their candor was enlightening. Most, if not all of those interviewed, admitted that Japanese Imperial Navy lost the battle because they grossly underestimated the US Navy and that they were, well, just too cocky.
They even had a phrase for it. They called it “Victory Disease.”
Urban Meyer seems to be working hard to inoculate his players against college football’s strain of “Victory Disease.”
Just this week, Meyer felt the need to “talk” with Tim Tebow about his remarks regarding a perfect season. Not wanting his boys to think too far down the road, Urban saw fit to rein in the Heisman hopeful a bit.
But the line between good-natured cockiness and overconfidence is a very fine one, and Urban, the current grand master of mentally preparing college football teams, is taking no chances that his boys will stray too far over that chalk line.
Goals, according to Meyer, should focus on championships and beating our biggest rivals.
Coaches hate talk of “undefeated seasons.” It distracts the players, paints a huge target on your team, and makes the inevitable loss just that much harder to bear when it happens.
And as Meyer knows oh so well, talk of this nature is motivational putty in the hands of opposing coaches.
This is important since Florida has several games with more at stake than just getting a check in the win column. These teams would love nothing more than to knock them off our pedestal:
Tennessee and Lane Kiffin—Nothing more needs to be said here.
Georgia—The Dawgs are hoping that their version of youthful enthusiasm can prevail in Jacksonville.
FSU—Possibly Bobby Bowden’s swan song. Could the Gators be surprised with a Zook-like win over all odds?
Florida’s schedule may suggest that a perfect season is possible, but history has proven that anything can happen on any given Saturday.
Meyer has come under a bit of criticism for having his talk with Tebow, but who can blame him when the biggest opponent the Gators will face all year will be...the Gators themselves.