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.