For the record, I've never been a big Florida Gator fan. In fact, I have been
known to get a bit emotional when SEC fans are showing too much swagger. I am a
Big Ten guy, and you can count of me standing behind the Big Ten when
conversations come up on the radio or around the watercooler.
With all that said, you can't help but follow Urban Meyer and the Gators this
off-season. The buzz in Florida is similar to the buzz when Jim Tressel was
hired at OSU. Meyer will succeed. The resources and facilities will help. The
sophisticated "out-of-the-box" offense will contribute. Meyer's focus
on discipline should translate into less mistakes on the field. The home field
advantage featuring raucous Gator fans will intimidate teams that come into
However, all that combined won't win you games. What will make Meyer
successful is great players. Sure there have been talented players that have
fallen flat due to poor coaching, discipline, and chemistry, but that doesn't
change the fact that great players get you great victories. Yes, Bowling Green
and Utah did not have the talent of some teams they beat during the Meyer years,
but great players are still needed for Meyer's Gators and Tressel's Buckeyes.
No matter how hard I tried to improve my technique and power, I couldn't get
around Orlando Pace in practice. I had nice facilities to work out in and I had
discipline, but Orlando dominated me and other hard workers on the team.
Recruiting is emphasized by fans, but it might even be under-emphasized. Cris Carter and Terry Glenn and Ted Ginn, Jr. beat some very well-coached defensive
backs for touchdowns. Chalk talk is fun; I love the schemes and strategies as
much as the next guy. The chess game of football excites me. An offensive mind
can draw up a play, then the defensive guy tops it, then the offensive guy comes
back with "then we will do this…." It goes on and on and I never get
sick of it.
However, after you do it long enough, you start to realize we are often
assuming perfect execution and players of equal talent on both sides. All the
chalk talk is thrown out the window if Will Smith takes that offensive tackle
and flings him to the ground before he steps over him to hit the quarterback as
the ball is being handed off.
Great, talented football players make up for a few sins in technique and
alignment. You need those little things to win a national championship, but your
odds are better with great players doing the little things right versus average
players doing the little things right.
Meyer will get his players down in Florida. He needs to point those players
in the right direction and get out of their way.