Florida Football: 5 Things the Gators Will Miss Most About Urban Meyer (Video)

Joe MorganSenior Analyst IJanuary 3, 2011

Florida Football: 5 Things the Gators Will Miss Most About Urban Meyer (Video)

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    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    With the Florida Gators' 37-24 victory over the Penn State Nittany Lions in the Outback Bowl, the Urban Meyer Era in Gainesville officially came to an end on New Year's Day.

    Six years, 65 wins and two national championships later, Meyer will leave the Gator Nation to spend more time with his family and to take a well-deserved break from the daily grind of coaching.

    And while Florida fans are very excited about new head coach Will Muschamp, the moment is very bittersweet.

    Here are five things about Meyer that Gators fans will miss the most.

Honorable Mention: His Sense of Humor

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    Okay, so he's never compared his team to the German soldiers at Normandy on D-Day like Derek Dooley or proclaimed his manhood like Mike Gundy, but Urban Meyer is a pretty funny guy.

    Whether it was his gleeful "no comment" about Lane Kiffin leaving for USC at this year's SEC Media Days or his joke about joining Joe Paterno's staff as a graduate assistant during the Outback Bowl press junkets last week, Meyer's always got a few good ones up his sleeve.

    With his sharp wit and his great football knowledge, Meyer has a bright future as a college football analyst on ESPN sans mascot heads, of course.

Honorable Mention: The Spread Offense

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    During his introductory press conference, Will Muschamp said that he would run a pro-style offense as the head coach of the Florida Gators and by hiring Charlie Weis as the offensive coordinator, it looks like he meant it.

    There certainly isn't anything wrong with a pro-style offense and the Gators have the potential to score a lot of points with Weis at the helm, but don't expect to see as many reverse plays or wide receiver runs.

    Florida's possessions probably won't be as exciting under Coach Muschamp, but as long as the Gators put points on the board, nobody in Gainesville will be complaining.

5. His Dominance in The Swamp

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    When Ron Zook was the head coach of the Florida Gators, "The Swamp" lost a lot of the mystique that Steve Spurrier's tenure had brought to the bright orange stadium.

    Not only did Zook fail to defeat a ranked foe at home during his time in Gainesville, but he lost more games at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in three seasons than Spurrier lost at home in 12 years as coach.

    2010 excluded, Urban Meyer helped make "The Swamp" a feared place for visitors to come and play a football game.

    In his first five seasons, Meyer lost just two contests at home and even after a lackluster 2010 season, Meyer leaves the Gators having lost just five games in "The Swamp" in six seasons.

    Will Muschamp will have one of the country's best fan bases behind him in each home game and if he can use that to his advantage, then he will be very successful.

4. His Recruiting Skills

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    Urban Meyer had some of the finest resources in the country at the University of Florida, which helped make him one of the best recruiters in college football.

    Meyer signed six classes during his time in Gainesville and half of those classes were ranked as the either first or second-best class in the country, according to Scout.com.

    And who could forget his 2006 recruiting class, which had future Gator legends Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin and Brandon Spikes sign letter of intent to suit up for the Orange and Blue.

    Will Muschamp may be a great recruiter, but he'll have to work hard to live up to Meyer's success in spotting and signing young talent.

3. His Domination of the Rivals

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    When Urban Meyer came to Florida, he emphasized that he would a lot of energy into beating the Gators' three biggest rivals---the Georgia Bulldogs, the Florida State Seminoles and the Tennessee Volunteers.

    And not only did Meyer beat them. He dominated them.

    In 18 contests against the "Big Three," Meyer posted a 16-2 record and outscored Florida's rivals 558-296, averaging a margin of victory of 14.6 points per game.

    Will Muschamp, who will be under a lot of pressure to continue Meyer's dominance of the rivals, will inherit a six-game winning streak against Tennessee, a three-game streak against Georgia and he'll be looking to start a new winning streak against Florida State.

2. His Intensity

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    When he was at the top of his game, Urban Meyer was arguably the most intense head coach in college football.

    His tenacity and his dedication to his craft were what pushed Meyer to get the best out of his players and win two national championships.

    While it turned out that this intensity would come to overwhelm Meyer and deteriorate his health, seeing the passion that he brought to the gridiron was inspiring for the entire Gator Nation.

1. His Loyalty to His Players and Coaches

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    Urban Meyer saw the Florida football program as one, big family and he treated his players, his assistant coaches and their families with the utmost respect and support at every opportunity.

    Meyer's commitment to his fellow Gators really endeared him to the University of Florida community and created an unparalleled camaraderie in the locker room.

    Granted, his loyalty to his players got him into trouble sometimes (see video above), but overall, Meyer always had good intentions and looked to right his wrongs (in this case, he later apologized to Fowler).

    He received a lot of criticism for the 30 arrests during his tenure and the willingness to forgive them so quickly (including me), but I'll give the man his due for sticking to his principles and doing what he believed was best for his football team.