Can We Escape Urban Meyer’s “Vulcan Death Grip”

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Can We Escape Urban Meyer’s “Vulcan Death Grip”

Urban Meyer has such a skewed view of the world that it confuses even me.  I’m not surprised by a lot of stupid behavior in the world of sports, but Meyer’s stupidity is VAST.  The story goes that Florida Wide Receiver Deonte Thompson said to a reporter:

“You never know with Tim.  You’ll think he’s running, but then he’ll just come up and pass it to you. You just have to be ready at all times. With Brantley, everything’s with rhythm, time. Like, you know what I mean, a real quarterback.”

The reporter quoted Thompson accurately on his blog and Meyer took exception.  In fact, he took so much umbrage that the reporter from the Orlando Sentinel that it better not happen again.

Ok.  Urban Meyer doesn’t want anyone in the media quoting someone accurately ANYMORE.  ALRIGHT!?  EVERYBODY GOT THAT!?
Meyer’s view of this situation is very sick on 3 levels.  Let’s peel apart the layers of Meyer’s desired “Vulcan Death Grip” for the media.  I think we’ll see that this is no way to handle authority.

Correct Quotes Hurt Sometimes

Deonte Thompson wasn’t taking a shot at Tim Tebow.  Deonte Thompson was contrasting Brantley with Tebow.  John Brantley is the new “golden boy” in Gainesville and he plays different than Tebow.

Thompson was merely stating—I think—that it’s easier to know what’s going on with Brantley.  He never said Tebow sucked.  He said Brantley was a “real” Quarterback.

We need to translate “real” as, “Drop back passer”.  Meyer knew that was what Thompson meant, but he went after the reporter.  Why?

Urban Meyer knows that he can’t completely control a college kid who isn’t getting paid.  Pros that need a paycheck are one thing—a kid who is looking for his first payday is another.

Football Coaches Don’t Need To Control Everything

Here’s the crux of the matter.  Urban Meyer thinks he should be able to control everyone the planet for his benefit.  However, I want to use Tony Dungy as an example for change.

Tony Dungy never really raised his voice to his players, he had some rules, they followed them, and that was that.  But, how did Tony explain the rules?

In a calm demeanor without any yelling, screaming, or accusation he told the guys what to do.  He told them when curfew was.  He told them how to speak to the media.  He told them to turn off their cell phones in the locker room.  That was that.

How do you think Urban Meyer tells his players the rules?
“Listen up maggots.  If you want to play football ever again you’ll do exactly what I say because I am greater than Buddha, Allah, and Jesus Christ himself.  Got it!?”

How can a college football coach expect to stop a kid from saying what he feels when there is no trust in the relationship?  Do we really think Urban Meyer’s players trust him?

I wouldn’t trust someone who doesn’t even believe in the Journalism degree I’m getting with my football scholarship—when my coach doesn’t want members of the press to quote people accurately.

I wouldn’t trust my coach if he spent more time yelling at the media and concocting new ways to control me than he did coaching me.

I wouldn’t trust my coach if he said he was going to retire to spend time with his family, changed his, changed it again, and left his family at home to come to practice.

And I CERTAINLY wouldn’t trust my coach if he was yelling at a member of the media for something I did.  How long before I get blamed for something someone else did.  Do YOU want to walk on eggshells for 3 years before you can declare for the draft?  I don’t.

Urban Meyer needs to understand that he can’t control everything.  He can only control his attitude and how his team is trained.
Yes, he’s been successful, but at what cost to his reputation as a man and his player’s self-worth?

Everybody Needs To Chill Around The Media

I can imagine taking offense to something that is said in the media, but that doesn’t mean I get to a yelling/screaming jerk about it.  Remember when Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy went off?

“I’m a man!  I’m 40!” That was all it took to steer MORE attention towards the Cowboy program.  Gundy was criticizing a column by a local reporter.  It was after a win.  It had nothing to do with the game itself.  It changed my perception of how coaches relate to the media.

True, you can defend a player until you’re blue in the face, but that doesn’t mean you’re right and it doesn’t mean we’ll take you seriously.  Watch the video and try not to laugh.  Go ahead—try.

You can’t do it can you?  I just let my wife watch the video and she was in stitches!  He was right, but he looked crazy.  All the other reporters in the room applauded his outburst, but he looked crazy.

Watch the Urban Meyer video and try not to laugh.

“If that was my son we’d be going at it right now”.  Yep, that was Urban’s response.  I think we can all safely say that a guy with a heart condition is NOT going to fight anybody.  My wife could snap Urban Meyer like a twig–he ain’t got it in him.

Anyone with authority in sports needs to understand that ranting and raving is FUNNY.  We think it’s funny.  It’s like laughing in church—we shouldn’t be, but we are anyway.

If I could give some free advice to all the ADs, SIDs, Head Coaches, Assistant Coaches, GMs and Owners out there it would be twofold:
1.    Please do not get all “high and mighty” on us.  It makes you look like a megalomaniac or a goofball.
2.    We will laugh at you if you scream at us.  It’s just funny and pathetic.

Here’s a perfectly legitimate response to a situation like the one Meyer finds himself in now:
“My players are allowed to talk to the media and speak freely, but they are not pawns in a game.  If my players give you quotes they need to be quoted in context.  I have no desire to run the media out of practices, but I don’t want media coverage to be a distraction either.  Thank you.”

Essentially, this is what Meyer meant when he went off on the Orlando Sentinel reporter.  He didn’t need to yell and scream—he needed to state the facts and his feelings on the matter.

This all goes back to trust

When I was listing all the ways I distrust Urban Meyer it wasn’t because I think he’s a bad coach.  I don’t think he mismanages his program.  I don’t think he mismanages his assistants, but I do think he mismanages his emotions.

Football is a raw and vulgar sport.  It’s all about brutality.  It’s very intense on the field and everyone can get fired up really easily.

Those emotions and those feelings have to stay on the field.  Coaches can’t yell at reporters (Urban Meyer, Mike Gundy).  Players can’t talk about having their lives on the line (Kellen Winslow).  Teammates can’t pull guns on each other (Gilbert Arenas).

If Meyer doesn’t teach his players to keep those feelings on the field how long will it be before something REALLY bad happens?  How long before a player takes it too far thinking “but coach acts like this” and before you know it he’s in jail for domestic abuse or something worse.

We can blame stupid players all we want, but they’re learning all of this from somewhere.  It’s true that bad home-lives don’t help, but a Coach and Mentor SHOULD be helping.

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