summer of stupid rolls on

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The Summer of Stupid just won’t end.

The latest controversy that really isn’t controversial involves Urban Meyer’s comments last week when he was asked about two Miami players being involved in a fight in the locker room. Meyer talked about building chemistry and the issues he faced when he came to UF.

“The freshmen were in a spare locker room with a bunch of tin lockers and they were not allowed to walk into (the regular locker room),” Meyer said. “Think about this for a minute. This was a big-time college football program and we had some fights and stuff because they treat the freshmen like they were non-people — ‘Don’t walk through here, we’ll kick your tail and shave your eyebrows.’ That’s the great culture we had here. That was tremendous.

“You don’t win many games, but you beat up freshmen and shave eyebrows. I can’t imagine that. That’s absolutely unbelievable.”

Those in the Ron Zook camp — and, yes, there is still a Zook camp around these parts — are up in arms because they see Meyer’s comments as a shot at Zook.

That’s why Meyer called me Saturday morning. Usually, the Florida coach doesn’t care what is being said or written about his program. But in this case, he wanted to get the word out that he didn’t intend the comments to be a rip of the previous coach.

“I called Ron about it,” he said. “That comment wasn’t about the coach. It was about the players. It’s on them if that was happening. Not the coach.
I told Ron that.”

I can tell you after covering Meyer for more than four years he has gone out of his way to avoid being critical of the previous coach. In thepiece I wrote about Meyer’s new-found love for Gainesville, he asked me several times to point out that the coach before him had done a great job.

What Meyer has done and did again with those comments is point out how difficult it was to come in here and deal with a group of players who were divided, some who even tried to implode the team. Meyer knows that he inherited a tremendous amount of talent fromZook.

It was a tough environment that Meyer inherited just as it was a tough environment that Zook inherited after Steve Spurrier left abruptly.

Let’s all just move on. The Zookers would be better off worrying about Penn State and Ohio State than comments being made by Meyer. And Meyer and his peeps have enough on their plates this year.

8 COMMENTS

  1. The only reason Meyer’s words about the previous culture became an issue at all is because someone in the media considered them worthy of broadcasting. Out of context, with a headline decrying the ‘culture shock’, how else could the content be construed, if not critically, in regards to the previous coaching staff? If the writer leaves out pertinent information about the context of someone’s statements he effectively provides his own context; which, as it turns out, is usually incorrect.

    This is not about Zook, and it’s not about Meyer: it’s about the writers.

    The news items in the ‘summer of stupid’ that you are so fond of ridiculing seem often to have their genesis in your offices. It would be nice if the Sun simply stuck to writing about the actual events that take place within the Gator sports program and left all of the gossip, fawning and celebrity worship to the folks at Entertainment Tonight, or People Magazine.

    Twitter and blog less, and spend more time doing research and constructing well-written articles, and perhaps your readers may encounter something of merit on a more regular basis.

  2. Thank you so much for putting Urban’s quote in context. Robbie failed to do that, and it left the impression Coach Meyer offered this on his own. Sounds like he was putting the emphasis on working for positive chemistry and a respectful locker room, rather than putting a shine to his program at the expense of Zook’s. I didn’t think Urban was that cheap; thanks for adding clarity.

  3. When Zook came in he had to follow a legend in Spurrier and not everyone in Gator Nation was excited about it. I believe he did the best he could but Florida is an elite job and you are gonna be scrutinized at every turn. Coach Meyer has done an incredible job, even from the very beginning, of bringing everything together and establishing new traditions and most of all, unity within the Gator Nation. I’m not worried about all this stupid stuff, I am just enjoying every minute of this very golden age of Florida football!

  4. Agreed, it is time to ‘move on’. However, it may be a good idea to have everything UM says to the press both ‘scripted’ (written down) and approved by Jeremy Foley. He says ND is still his ‘dream job’ yet is surprised when it is used against him in recruiting. He is gratuitously critical of the UF football environment when he arrived in Gainesville and is surprised when poeple conclude he was talking about Zook. Please, UM just coach, do not talk!!

  5. I am no Zook hater, nor Zook apologist. And regardless of whether Meyer’s comments were intended toward Zook or the players, let’s not forget that along with some real lowlights (Miss State, Bowl Games) Zook had some real highlights while in G’ville. Beating FSU at Doak Walker, ranks highest among them.

    To me Zook is a very good coach, not a great coach, but a very good one. However, he is missing that little “something” which would turn him into a great coach. Maybe he has problems disciplining players, or teaching them self-discipline, or maybe it’s simply his organizational skills in managing so many moving parts, but it’s something.

    On the other hand, he’s a great recruiter; he also seems to get his players fired up for the big games; and he won a handful of very noteworthy games over our SEC rivals, doing things even the ol ball coach couldn’t do in his 12 years.

    It’s just too bad that people hated him from the get-go because of the shoes he had to fill. I think it’s better to just appreciate what he did do, rather than carry on a simplistic and childish hatred of a guy who worked his butt off. I can say this, there is no way Florida wins the 2006 championship had Zook not done such a fantastic recruiting job at UF.

  6. The Zook apologists need to cool their jets, too. Sure a small faction of Gator fans were against the Zook firing, but then there were a large majority of us who felt that it was a necessary decision to have been made.

    Zook did a lot of things that rubbed me the wrong way, and it’s still a bitter pill for me to swallow, even now. In the long run, we’re mich better off with Meyer in charge.

    All being said, it seems as though Coach Meyer can’t seem to make any remark without somebody reading too much into what he had said, spinning things in a different direction and causing controversy; case in point: when all that unnecessary uproar was created over a comment he made at the Orlando Gator Gathering where he was accused of making a negative comment about Shane Matthews, but he didn’t even mention him by name.
    This constantly taking his comments out of context needs to stop.