No matter what the national (and local) media is saying about Urban Meyer’s outburst on Orlando Sentinel writer Jeremy Fowler, one thing is for sure — this can only help Florida in recruiting.
It’s not like Meyer and his staff needed anymore help snatching up top talent, but this only shows how much Meyer really does care about his players. Whether orchestrated or not, high school athletes are going to look at this incident and say, “Hey, this guy is going to defend me to the end.”
“I told you (the media) five years ago: Don’t mess with our players. Don’t do it. You did it,” Meyer told Fowler after Wednesday’s practice. “You do it one more time and The Orlando Sentinel’s not welcome here ever again. Is that clear? It’s yes or no.”
Now, I’m not in favor of a coach blowing up at a reporter in a public forum and I certainly know that most of the national media is against it as well, but Meyer’s outburst will be felt throughout the recruiting world. If kids weren’t completely sold on the family atmosphere before, they definitely will be now.
Two things really stick out to me about this whole incident. Well, besides the incredibly awkward feeling I had while I stood just inches away from Meyer. If you haven’t seen my Oscar-winning performance I assure you it’s a must-see. The way I held it together is certainly worth something.
Seriously, there were two things that I found interesting about this. One, Meyer was defending Deonte Thompson. A guy who was a highly rated wide receiver coming out a high school a couple years ago but had yet to really make his mark in Florida’s offense. A guy who battled a hamstring issue last season and looked like a relative unknown on the field. He was known more for holding calls than touchdowns. But he’s a guy that Meyer obviously has tremendous respect for. Injuries and a couple of drops hurt his on-the-field image, but it’s the image off the field that Meyer really admires. For him to defend a guy who hasn’t become a prominent program name gives the impression that Meyer really does care for his players. Again, I’m not defending what Meyer did, but I do think it shows he truly is passionate about his players.
Second, Meyer, whether serious or not, told Fowler things could possibly get physical if Thompson had been his son instead.
“If it was my son, we’d be going at it right now,” Meyer said.
Getting close to actually getting physical with someone over a player? Pretty intense. Maybe it’s not the best thing in the world to say to a reporter, but prospects are going to look at this and only think about how serious Meyer is about his guys.
Meyer will continue to take heat from the media for what he did, but I expect most recruits will have a little more respect for Florida’s head coach.