Meyer plans to manage Florida’s expectations, hype

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Urban Meyer remembers sitting in a hotel ballroom in Detroit in 2001, willing to talk about expectations and his upcoming debut as Bowling Green’s head coach.

He waited for questions.

He didn’t get any.

“Not one interview,” Meyer said Tuesday at Florida’s media day. “Do I miss those days? Sometimes I do.”

Meyer might miss them even more this season. After all, the Gators are an overwhelming favorite to win their third national championship in four years. Although Meyer acknowledged that he has “extremely high expectations for this team,” he vowed not to use words like “repeat” or “dynasty” while trying to manage all the hype.

“People’s expectations aren’t what drive the program,” he said. “What drives the program are players and the expectations that coaches put on the players. We have them now.”

Media day offered some insight, too.

“With the team we have right now, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t (repeat),” cornerback Joe Haden said. “If we just play the best we can play, it’s going to be a reality. We can win three national championships in four years. Our team will go down in history. ... You can’t forget a team like that.”

Meyer ripped his players for talking about anything beyond getting to the Southeastern Conference title game. He also sought help in keeping them grounded and focused.

He had former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz speak to the team Monday, and has former NFL coach Tony Dungy and Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan lined up to do the same.

The players might have an easy time relating to Donovan. Three years ago, just across campus, Donovan faced a challenge similar to Meyer’s. Donovan essentially returned his entire national championship team, and his top priority was keeping Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Corey Brewer and their teammates motivated and playing on edge.

Meyer used to sneak into the basketball locker room before, during and after games to get a feel for how Donovan handled the situation.

“I just thought the way he managed it, especially when they hit a little skid in the middle of the season, the way he pulled that team back together,” Meyer said. “I learned a lot. That was one of the best basketball teams of all time.”

There’s already been talk, at least in Gainesville, about Florida’s football team having a shot to do the same. Can the Gators go undefeated? Is Tim Tebow the best quarterback of all time? Will the defense be the best in school history, maybe the best in SEC lore?

“You can’t avoid it with the fans, the media,” linebacker Ryan Stamper said. “It’s definitely a great feeling knowing that, with all the guys we have this year coming back, we definitely have a shot to be undefeated and things like that. But right now, our goal is the SEC championship.”

Donovan couldn’t ignore the hype, either.

He talked all season about Florida playing with a target on its back and getting every opponent’s best shot. He even took extreme measures to motivate his team. Remember “Officer Billy?” Donovan showed up in before a game wearing a police officer’s uniform that included a baton, a badge and handcuffs.

His message was that the Gators should be like police shutting down parties, an analogy for the defending national champs playing on the road.

Meyer might be even more creative.

He has used countless tactics to motivate players, from putting BYU stickers in urinals when he was at Utah to amassing newspaper and magazine articles that either glorified Ohio State or seemingly criticized his Gators before the 2007 national title game in Arizona.

“One thing about coach Meyer is he doesn’t have a problem motivating his team,” Stamper said. “He’s going to find a way to motivate his team, whether he brings in (former NFL receiver) Cris Carter like he’s done before or Billy Donovan like he’s done before. Even though we motivate ourselves, coach Meyer brings that kick to it just to do something to make us get even more motivated. I feel something coming this camp. I don’t know what it is, but I feel something coming.”

Get Copyright Permissions © 2009, The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 21

behuman13 writes:

Go Vols?
That is what this site is about right?
Not Gators.

TommyJack writes:

Not a day goes by without gator crapola.

1963volfan writes:

HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! This is Go Vols xtra is it not? If I want to read about urban cryer I would go to a Gator site. No more Gator articles on this site. PLEASE...........

PoochPuntOn3rdDown writes:

If Uncle Urbie wants to manage the hype, he can start with the KNS.

chargervol writes:

Could you imagine meyer going into the locker room with a police uniform on? He would be talking to himself because the players would be on the run. They would be yelling "don't taze me bro'".LOL!!! GO VOLS!!!

dbc5361 writes:

"I'm going to turn Florida in right here in front of you," Kiffin told the crowd. "As Nu'Keese was here on campus, his phone keeps ringing. And so one of our coaches is sitting in the meeting with him and says, 'Who is that?' And he looks at the phone and says, 'Urban Meyer.'

"Just so you know, you can't call a recruit on another campus. But I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and still didn't get him."

ethanfrome writes:

They are on the verge of doing something incredible. KNS should not be criticized for writing stories about it. JMHO

With that said, would it not be something if we beat em'? I know that is a long-shot, but I didn't think we could beat them in 2001 either. This is a further stretch than that, I know, but, go Vols!

mattgb7c writes:

Well whadda ya know, another freaking article about the Gators....

Just think if KNS paid this much attention to our OWN TEAM?

I'm getting sick of more on OUR GUYS!

VolNWA writes:

Even as a fervent Vols fan, I think there is a lot that can be learned from him. If I was a college coach right now, I would find out what he is doing, and then look for ways to do those things even better. The man should be given a lot of cred.

99gator writes:

the funny thing about this is......kiffin is doing all he can to get national attention.....

and the volunteer hometown newspaper is a gator propaganda machine.

we don't need a billboard. we have the KNS

NobodyCares (Inactive) writes:

in response to elaineismygirl:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dear confused -

Just like the Sears Tower, you can change your name but you will always be known as lil' zzgatorboy.

chad_t31 writes:

The urinal thing at bama, I mean Utah, shows just how classy meyer is. There are other ways to motivate your team rather than using tactics that might be thought up by my 8 year old.

KNS, please give us another update on UF(elon) as soon as possible. Geeeez.

Gator_Hater (Inactive) writes:

in response to Lostballnhighweeds:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If it does happen, I'll die a happy man!

99gator writes:

in response to Lostballnhighweeds:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

like kiffin even knows the words to rocky top

NobodyCares (Inactive) writes:

in response to 99gator:

the funny thing about this is......kiffin is doing all he can to get national attention.....

and the volunteer hometown newspaper is a gator propaganda machine.

we don't need a billboard. we have the KNS

Coach Kiffin doesn't need any more attention in K'town, he has national attention.

Besides, since all you Gatas (I know 99, you seem to be a pretty decent Gata) want to do is get on here and talk about The Gatas, might as well at least keep ya'all on topic.

What I find interesting is that even with all of these Gata articles, all most of your Gata chorts want to do is continue with their Vol-bashing posts. Are a majority of Gata fans under 15 years old or are they simply insecure in their Gatadom?

Go Gatas! Go Tim Tivo! Go Irvin Myers!

straightshooter writes:

Don't know why the free pub on Meyers on the UT site! Who cares about UF and Meyers on this site other than Florida fans. Everyone knows he has an ego the size of Texas. Meyer is like most coaches who's team is starting out ranked as #1. It's not easy to stay there as you are more of a target. So let's hear less about Meyers and more about how UT is going to turn around and improve on the 5-7 season last year and get back to bowling! This article is but filler.

99gator writes:

in response to Lostballnhighweeds:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

it was a joke. i'm sure kiffin knows the words or will know the words to rocky top.

he won't be doing any singing, but he'll know the words

RoadTrip writes:

KNS - the only reason you get any attention with this site is that: (1) it is free to view it, and, (2) the name is govolsxtra. So give us xtra on the Vols and leave the Gator love fest to them. You are doing wonders for the revenues of Volquest, Volnation, etc. as all of the Vol fans move on to paying sites that don't run this garbage.

I agree with the poster who said it showed showed UM's class he has when he put the BYU stickers in the urinals. Impressive. Not.

HallowedHill writes:

The season is practically over since the Oscar Meyer 'Weinermobile' crashed - not sure he can recover from this one.

spencer1989#206886 writes:

Well....When a team gets a little too big for their britches....And if their heads swell up too much.....No matter how talented they are and good they play....They can be beaten by anyone on any given Saturday in the SEC. And usually on that given Saturday in the SEC, the team that WANTS to win more than the other (and plays to win).....Usually wins.

panties4tebow writes:

The world is actually laughing at the pantie clad fl football players and their PEE WEE coach!!!!


GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.