UF’s new year’s resolution: Honesty

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Well, I’m sure that as you read this — eyes all red and vision a blur — the last thing you want to think about as you load up on water is that it appears Florida has yet again lost another intricate piece of its recruiting team. Days after Charlie Strong said he wouldn’t be taking anyone from Florida with him to Louisville, reports say cornerbacks coach Vance Bedford will become the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator. Not the best way to start the new year after last year ended in such a weird way (see Matt Elam switching his commitment to Florida State). I spoke with Gator cornerback commit Jaylen Watkins and he said he was told Bedford is staying and that a member of Florida’s staff (not Bedford) told him that Bedford leaving is just a rumor. Unfortunately, the story is out there, but Bedford hasn’t come out to say anything, so Watkins might not have any idea what’s going on. Maybe Watkins knows more than some out there reporting this, but maybe he’s being left out in the cold. Regardless, it’s a strange situation and it leads me to the point of this blog: Florida’s New Year’s resolution.

Even with everything that’s happened with Urban Meyer and his assistant coaches in December, Florida’s 2010 recruiting class has only felt one major blow and that was Elam. Things seemed relatively fine once Meyer announced he’d return. Running back Mack Brown even told ESPNU that Meyer informed him he’d be back in August. Although with all these assistants bolting (running backs coach Kenny Carter was mentioned on CBS today as possibly leaving to join Strong at Louisville as well) it’s hard to say what this staff will look like in August. So, I believe Florida’s staff should resolve to be completely and utterly honest with this entire situation. Just come out in the open with kids and tell them what’s going on. Maybe the coaches already have. I don’t know because I don’t go deep undercover and mingle with the staff while they’re talking with recruits. If Meyer truly isn’t coming back or more assistants are thinking of jumping ship, it’s better to inform prospects now.

Each day here in New Orleans I’ve been approached with the question of whether Meyer is saying he’ll come back to preserve this year’s recruiting class. I’m going to go the naive route and say that I can’t see that happening. The fallout would be devastating in my opinion. If Meyer is telling kids he’s coming back but then doesn’t, the negative affect would be more catastrophic than if he decided to actually resign now. If Meyer stayed strong to his decision to resign, I’m sure Florida would have lost a few recruits. That’s part of the game, and no one would blame them. But there would be time to salvage this class and time to develop new relationships for next year. It truly wouldn’t be the end of the world. Now, if he goes the next few months without saying anything and then isn’t coaching in August, what do those recruits who are on campus do? You could see transfers and a bunch of bad attitudes. The 2011 class could be wrecked. All those relationships would be lost and the loyalty theme at Florida would be destroyed. Better to lose a little now than lose everything later.

In 2010, let honesty fuel Meyer’s situation and recruiting.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Urban Meyer has never given any reason to question his integrity when dealing with his players. He will tell them the truth, which is that he plans to be back in the fall. If he isn’t back, it’ll be because he tried but couldn’t do it.
    As for Strong, my respect for him has taken a hit for his not keeping his word regarding taking assistants with him.

  2. Too bad The education part of these Football players “college career”does not get nearly as much as the attention as chasing after a ball and Hitting someone hard. They are not going to be able to “play” all their lives. knowing how to do something else might be importaint to their future but not in the SEC ..

  3. Queston for next week’s mailbag: Ed, how big were the commitments of Easley and Dunkley at the Under Armour All-American game? I know Dunkley was reportedly a silent commit, but did you see Easley ending up in this class?

  4. Did not like the blog. Very negative. One could argue that Urban could have hid his intentions and resigned after NSD, if that was his intent. Going public with his issues gave recruits time to assess the situation with their families and go elswhere, if desired. Coaching staffs are always in flux at the end of a season with many unknowns. Coaches get fired, coaches move for money, coaches move for promotions and opportunities. How about focusing on the positive and how recruits are talking about Urban’s close relationships with players, family atmosphere he created, and recruits desires to help family in a time of need. As a FYI, it is up to UF to pay Assistants well and prevent them from taking perceived lateral opportunities, but we should not deny coaches opportunities. Coaching trees are a sign of a great and talented coach and program. A measure of a great coaches success is the coaching tree and legacy they create. Part of life. It you don’t have coaching turnover, you are not setting demanding expectations of staff and you are not successful. Go Gators!!!

  5. – But there would be time to salvage this class and time to develop new relationships for next year.
    – UF’s Resolution “Honesty”
    – Although with all these assistants bolting (running backs coach Kenny Carter was mentioned on CBS today as possibly leaving to join Strong at Louisville as well) it’s hard to say what this staff will look like in August.

    What a negative anti-Gator article, does this guy also write for Whorechat. I’ll take exception with just a few points:
    – “Time to salvage the class:”, doesn’t ESPN have us currently ranked #1 in the nation, so if we drop to a top ten class should we really be using words like salvage?
    – I don’t believe Coach Meyer keeping the trip to the hospital by ambulance private to be dishonest but discretion for his well being and his family, as he stated. I would question anyones character or maturity that would catagorize this as “dishonest.”
    – I think Coach Meyer is very happy most of his coaches are “bolting” to dream jobs and greater opportunities. Isn’t that what good coaches want for their coaches?

    This is a very negative and slanted article and Dooley should look into it, IMHO.

  6. Great post Kurt.

    You can question how the the info on Meyer’s status was handled, but you can’t question that he did the honorable thing in letting the public know about his health issues immediately after talking with his family.

    It shows he is treating the recruits like he would his family, letting them know what’s going on since it affects them; Meyer clearly wants what’s best not just for the Gators, but also for these kids and their families.

    Ed, you do a great job, and I understand your point, particularly on the status of the assistants, but the premise of ‘honesty’ being a new year’s resolution implies that Meyer and the staff have not been honest with recruits in 09, and we’ve not seen any evidence of that. Coaching is a dynamic business, often in flux, and we’re seeing the effect of that on our talented staff, but the end result is the foundation and outlook of the program looks strong.

  7. I don’t usually reply to my blog posts, but I think some of you misunderstood what I wrote. I never said that Florida’s coaches were being dishonest at all. I merely said that with all the drama surrounding Urban Meyer’s health, I think he and the staff should just be completely honest with the recruits. It helps Florida out in the long run. The same can be said for the assistant coaches that are thinking of or not thinking of joining other programs. That’s all. This was not a shot at Florida. Thanks for the comments.

  8. I’m with Steve and agree with his comment 100%.

    I also believe Urban Meyer meant what he said post-Sugar Bowl when he replied that he was planning on being the coach of the Gators when that question was posed to him. I have no reason to doubt his honesty in either answering that question or have any reason to doubt that he’s not being upfront and straight with our recruits. As I see it, it’s better the recruits get the updates directly from Meyer instead of from some rumor mill or unreliable “source”. Coach Meyer seems to be a man of integrity, and I don’t see him relaying false information to potential recruits, who are the future bread and butter of Florida football along with the current roster of players.

    If there’s all this “drama” surrounding Meyer’s health, it’s because the media is creating all this drama in the first place. He did the right thing in taking this leave of absense to address his health and personal issues, and it’s in the best interests of everybody involved with UF football that he made that decision – I agree with Adam there. When he decides to return to the UF sidelines is a decision he and his family will make, NOT the media or the fans.

    Also, what Carty says regarding disclosure of what happened the night Coach was rushed to the hospital is correct. What takes place in the privacy of Meyer’s own home is none of anybody else’s business, including the media. One’s home is their castle; regardless of whether anybody’s a celebrity or not, what happens in one’s home, stays in the home.

    Sorry Edward, but I’m with the consensus here. I mean no personal attack on you; I happen to like what you write – but I must politely beg to differ with you on the article you wrote this time.