Written by James Brown, Co-Founder of Gatorsfirst.com
The big story from spring practice is that Urban Meyer went off on the Orlando Sentinel's Jeremy Fowler. We had the story here , but this thing has become such a sensation, nationally, I decided to chime in with a full blog.
Big surprise here that media folk have been blasting Meyer for this.
As a fan, student, alum, player, coach, etc. don't you want your head coach to stand up for players, and to prevent any sort of perceived locker room rifts?
Considering I've lived in Dallas for a while now, I've seen this happen with the Cowboys (esp. during the TO era) when the media runs with a new story about TO v. a QB every week.
Meyer is absolutely right to eliminate distractions like this (the focus is now on him, not on Thompson) and to de-emphasize any sort of Brantley v. Tebow comparisons.
Sure, Brantley might throw a better ball, have mechanics even Todd McShay could love, etc. etc.... but he's going to lose in most comparisons to Tebow. Anyone would. I expect Meyer will discourage any and all storylines regarding said comparisons.
So really, there are two reasons I think he is completely justified in blasting a reporter who's trying to drum up a story in the offseason. It's a long way to August, and on a much smaller scale G1 will go through the same thing. There's less news with less games, and if you're in a situation where you have to publish something every day (newspaper) you have to find stories where you can. As a website, we run all the latest (up to the second) Gator news here , but we're not going to force any sort of storyline in our original content. We're trying to give you something entertaining, an original take, and an honest reaction to read with our content- I don't ever want to be in a position where I turn something into a bigger story than it should be. But then, I'm not a journalist, and don't pretend to be. I'm an engineer.
It has come out that Thompson was embarassed by the way he was quoted- it may be verbatim, but it doesn't mean Deonte really thought through how it sounded- and that there was no ill will here.
The best thing about Urban as a HC- what has made him so successful everywhere he's been- is his complete control over every aspect of his program. This may seem like a small thing, but he has a history of really emphasizing these things that most coaches ignore- or at least don't react strongly toward. He talks about special teams, about field position, about turnovers- things that seem like common sense- but things that less successful coaches don't emphasize. I want a coach who is taking every slight against his team seriously, not one who wants to be friends with the media.
Jeremy Fowler- he made an example out of you. Be glad, it got you some national recognition in media circles. But we all can see the way he attacked your weak response 'all I was doing was quoting the guy'... you took the quote and ran it into a whole story. Do you really expect us to buy your naivete? That you didn't write the story with the hopes of it blowing up into a national story? Hey, we're all just trying to get page hits, reads, etc. But you did so by spinning something negative. Urban knows it, and you know it. That's why he came after you. You certainly seem to stand up for your story here . Do so when Meyer confronts you, don't try to play it off as just 'quoting the guy'. From the video , Meyer made the leap to calling you a 'bad guy' when you try to weasel out of responsibility for your story.
Back to my main point: don't you want Urban Meyer to squash any sort of controversy (perceived or real) within the locker room immediately? And if he sees the cause of that turmoil as an external influence, he can and should cut it off. Because if this story snow balled, and somehow affected our win-loss total next year, we're all going to be looking at Urban Meyer, his staff, and his players for answers- not Mr. Fowler.
You can read the original article here: http://gatorsfirst.com/index.php/fl