Florida Gators Coach Urban Meyer Has First Real Test With Adversity

Jim FolsomContributorNovember 15, 2010

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 13:  South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier (L) greets Urban Meyer  after winning a game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Gainesville, Florida. The Gamecocks beat the Gators 36-14.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Urban Meyer has been a winner as a head coach wherever he's been. He spent two years rebuilding Bowling Green State University in 2001 and 2002, and the Falcons went 17-6.

He then went to the University of Utah for 2003 and 2004. In '04 the Utes went undefeated, winning the Fiesta Bowl over Pittsburgh. The Utes have been rolling ever since.

He then took over the Gators in 2005 after they struggled for three years under Ron Zook. After a decent first year, Meyer weeded out the players he felt were not buying in, and in his second year Florida went all the way. In year three with a young defense struggling, the offense flourished with a young Tim Tebow at quarterback and he became the first sophomore ever to win the Heisman Trophy.

The Gators won yet another National Championship in year four, and came close to doing it again in year five. They went all the way to the SEC Championship Game before losing to eventual national champ Alabama.

This guy is a coaching genius, one of those rare guys who seems to be able to win anywhere at anytime, until this year.

This year's Florida team is awful. The Gators started the season barely able to move the ball against Miami of Ohio. Ten games later, they still can't move the ball. They have lost three straight games for the first time since 1999 and three straight regular season games for the first time since 1988.

This is all following a 26-game regular season win streak. Now the Gators have lost three straight games in The Swamp in Gainesville for the first time since 1986. This team didn't just have a little drop off; it has gone into free fall.

For the first time in his career, Urban Meyer is being second-guessed. He is being questioned about his coaching, staff and offense. For the first time, Florida fans are grumbling. Many are even questioning if he should remain as head coach after this season. After his brief retirement due to health reasons last December, many are wondering if that is still an issue.

He seems to not have an answer for what ails his team. He cannot decide on a quarterback. The Gators bring in John Brantley to throw the ball and Trey Burton to run it. Defenses know this. How do you expect your offense to work when the defense knows what's coming? Ten games into the season, the Gators have no answers.

For the first time, Urban Meyer looks like he is just another coach. Was Dan Mullen the genius behind his success? Mullen has turned Mississippi State into a competitive team in only two seasons at the helm. Maybe it was him?

Or maybe it was Tebow? Tim Tebow is arguably the greatest college football player ever. Was he the reason for Meyer's success?

These are questions Meyer will have to answer in the coming months following this disaster of a football season. I believe the answer is no. Meyer was the genius behind Urban Meyer. This year he was worried about his health and backed off. His team has felt the effects.

For Meyer and his team to get back to what we are accustomed to, he needs to get the "old" Urban back. He needs an offensive coordinator, not an O-Line coach moonlighting as an OC, but a REAL OC. He needs to get back to coaching the special teams. His special teams were lethal when the Gators were at their best, and Tebow wasn't on the field.

He also needs to get back to ruling with the iron fist he ruled with up until this year. He needs to get back to being the boss. This year he almost looks like a spectator. When asked why Andre Debose is not playing more, he has no answer. When asked why the offense is struggling so much, he has no answer. It's time for him to get some answers. If heads need to roll, then roll them.

I believe we will see this in the offseason. This guy hasn't won all he's won by being an idiot. He also didn't get where he is by being humble. He is super competitive with a monster ego. He is not enjoying this.

Things will get better, Gator fans.