Urban Meyer: Outcoached and Outclassed

Tim PollockSenior Writer ISeptember 28, 2008

After Saturday’s gut-wrenching home loss to Ole Miss, University of Flordia Head Coach Urban Meyer had this to say: 

"We didn't play Florida football.”

Just what is Florida football anyway, Coach? 

The Ole Miss game was the first time this season that your Heisman winning quarterback looked like last year’s version of Tebow.

Tim Tebow posted a season high 319 yards, and 186 of those yards were hauled in by their racehorse, Percy Harvin, who also ripped off 82 yards rushing on only 10 carries. 

Tebow and Harvin accounted for all four of the Gators’ touchdowns. 

The problem, Coach Meyer, was that you got outcoached.

And the part that you don’t want to hear is that it was a taste of your own medicine—and it’s pretty sour, isn’t it? 

Known for being a special teams guru, Meyer’s Gators have blocked punts, returned kickoffs and punts for touchdowns and huge gains, backed up teams inside their own 10, and made coaches pull out their hair trying to gameplan for all of Meyer’s different looks.

But Ole Miss Head Coach Houston Nutt turned the tables this past weekend.

With a sputtering offense going nowhere in the first quarter, Nutt called for a fake punt from his own 39.  A Gator defender was nowhere near WR Lionel Breaux as he took a pitch and ran 15 yards for the first down. 

Six plays later, Ole Miss was up 7-0. 

Probably the best part of Ole Miss’s special teams play, however, was how they bottled up Brandon James.  Known for his electric returns, James was limited to 29 yards per kickoff return and a little under nine yards per punt return.  He didn’t sniff the endzone all afternoon.   

The icing on the special teams cake, though, was the blocked PAT to prevent the game from being tied at 31.  After the Gators stormed down the field for another touchdown, the Swamp went silent—almost out of disbelief—as one of the easiest plays to convert in football was thwarted. 

Aren’t the Gators supposed to be blocking the kicks? 

One of these days, Meyer will truly learn from his junior quarterback.  Instead of giving the media the standard “We missed some good opportunities,” “Ole Miss wanted it more,” or “We just couldn’t get it going today” player/coach-speak, Tebow issued an apology. 

That’s right, the kid who rolled on to campus and collected a national championship and a Heisman trophy apologized to the Gator Nation for the loss—and vowed to play harder than any player in the nation for the rest of the season.

But Meyer wouldn’t go there.  Instead, he launched into a “We need to evaluate some things” speech. 

Listen, I’m not expecting Meyer to claim he will coach harder than anyone in the nation for the next three months.  I’m not even expecting him to issue an apology. 

But some humble pie would be nice.

Meyer could start by acknowledging the job Houston Nutt did in getting his Rebels to win in Gainesville.  Perhaps Meyer could even point to some odd play-calling from his staff and him.  Heck, he might even admit that it wasn’t just dumb luck that allowed Ole Miss to post the win. 

But Meyer is correct in that things need to be evaluated. 

He should start by looking in the mirror.


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