This Urban Decay has reached a new low
Published: Saturday, November 27, 2010 at 9:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 27, 2010 at 9:33 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE — The sounds are probably — hopefully — still ringing in their ears.
The war chant. The crowd singing, "Na na na na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye." The fireworks exploding high over the stadium.
The stadium that Florida had owned for the last six years came alive on a Saturday night with one football program looking like it is on the way back and another needing to turn things around. How much different was it last season?
But that was then and this is reality, where the Urban Decay is reaching a new low. Florida stumbled and bumbled its way to another loss so humiliating that the opponent pulled its quarterback with half of the fourth quarter still to play.
If there is one silver lining — and it's hardly a blinding one — it is this.
Your coach gets it.
He understands that it's a mess. For the first time publicly, Meyer looked this season straight in the eye and it made him ill.
"I can assure you we are going to rebuild this thing and build it up the right way," he said. "Obviously, we are down a little bit. I didn't believe we'd be this far down, but we are. How do you build up a program? I've done it a few times.
"You build it up with tough-ass players, tough-ass coaches and you have got to play better. Obviously, we are down."
It has been a long time since Florida has been this down. The last time Florida went 7-5, in 2004, there was hope because a new coach was coming in. Of course, that team beat FSU.
On Saturday night, we saw more of the same from Florida with an added bonus — fumbles. The three fumbles were killers, as was the failed fake punt. And then there was the inexplicable interception thrown by John Brantley after Florida had driven 60 yards to the FSU 20 with Jordan Reed at quarterback.
"We were out of timeouts," Meyer said. "We knew we had to start throwing the ball in the end zone."
Of course, they were out of timeouts because there were times when you wondered if they are actually practicing behind guarded fences. All three timeouts were called to avoid penalties because someone didn't understand what he was supposed to be doing.
Not that Florida avoided penalties. They were called for 11 of them.
It was abysmal. Florida football was the Joke at Doak and Meyer had the look when it was all over. It's a look we haven't seen much this year, but it was there.
You could tell that he doesn't like being in this position and that he will fix it. Every working hour will be spent making sure that this doesn't happen again. You could tell that he's angry and disgusted with being the first Florida coach to lose five regular-season games since 1988.
I asked him after the game if this was the first time he had realized what so many of you have been screaming at me (figuratively, of course, with your all capitals e-mails) for weeks.
"No," he said. "I have felt that way for awhile."
A lot of people have.
They are frustrated with the offense. They are frustrated with the defense. They are frustrated with just about everything.
Meyer made it clear he's with them, but waited until this awful performance to admit it.
"The season's over," he said.
There is still a bowl game that won't excite a fan base used to championship games and BCS bowls. And there is no reason to think that the "void" Meyer talked about earlier this season is going to be filled in by then.
But there has to be urgency to fix this thing that is broken. What Florida tried to do this year didn't work. It was not fun to watch.
This was not a well-coached football team, but certainly some of the accountability has to be placed on the players who didn't perform.
"It's been a battle," Meyer said of trying to get his team to play at a high level.
This battle was lost, an epic fail that was both numbing and stinging for the Gator Nation.
At least it's over.