Tag:Urban Meyer
Posted on: November 29, 2010 12:16 pm

Meyer caught off guard by McCarney departure?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Maybe it doesn't mean anything. Maybe it's an accurate portrayal of the kind of miscommunication and perhaps even distrust that helps lead a program that won two national titles in three years and nearly played for a third into a 7-5 crater. Maybe the reporting simply isn't accurate. But it sounds like Urban Meyer wasn't aware that his defensive line coach was about to accept the head coaching position at North Texas :
The Denton (Tex.) Record-Chronicle is reporting that Florida defensive line coach Dan McCarney, who is also the Gators' assistant head coach, will be named as the new head coach at North Texas either today or Tuesday.
UF coach Urban Meyer said after Saturday night's 31-7 loss at Florida State he was unaware of McCarney's possible departure. The Texas paper, however, reported Sunday that a contract is being finalized.
If that's accurate, then McCarney stepped onto the sidelines for Florida 's humiliation against Florida State having already told the Mean Green he'd be accepting their offer ... but without having told Meyer the same. Obviously McCarney wouldn't want his negotiations to go public in the press, becoming a distraction in the days leading up to the game (not that it would have made any difference, apparently), but wouldn't the professional approach be to at least inform his immediate superior? If Meyer's telling the truth that McCarney hadn't discussed the matter with him, is this kind of disconnect between Meyer and his staff indicative of why the Gators have floundered so badly this season?

Those are difficult questions to answer, but we can at least say with certainty that McCarney's departure at this relatively late stage won't help Meyer's stated goal to "build [Florida] back up" via the avenue of recruiting ; while it's debatable whether McCarney maximized the immense talents on his defensive line (which has seen several high-profile busts as well as several smashing successes), the arrival last season of the nation's best defensive line class (and arguably the best in the recruiting rankings' history) shows that his recruiting touch, at the very least, won't easily be replaced. That Meyer appears to have been surprised by McCarney's defection won't help him find a replacement in a hurry, either, though at Florida it's also safe to say there won't be any shortage of qualified candidates.

As for North Texas, the hire seems like a good one; the veteran McCarney should know how to walk UNT back to respectability before they start running back towards Sun Belt championships. But back in Gainesville, his departure creates even more difficult questions for a program that, after this lost season, has no shortage of them at the moment.

Posted on: November 28, 2010 1:06 am

What I learned from the SEC (Nov 27)

Posted by Tom Fornelli

1. Cam Newton is your Heisman Trophy winner.  Seriously, just give him the trophy now.  Don't even invite anybody else to New York because there isn't a point. After leading Auburn to that comeback win against Alabama, after falling behind 24-0 on the road, LaMichael James -- or any other contender -- would literally have to score 80 touchdowns in a game while saving a group of children from a burning building to take the Heisman away from him.  I'm not even sure I care if he did take money at this point. 

2. Hogs can smell sugar.  And they really seem to like it.  Arkansas took care of LSU on Saturday in Little Rock, and because of it, the Hogs still have a chance to go to the Sugar Bowl.  All they need is for Auburn to beat South Carolina next week and move on to the title game.  That would free the Sugar Bowl up to select an SEC team, and you have to think Arkansas would get a look.

3. Florida's nightmare season can get worse.  Go ahead, ask any Gators fan if they feel any better about 2010 after seeing the Gators get knocked around by Florida State on Saturday.  Honestly, I don't see how Urban Meyer can consider bringing Steve Addazio back next season unless his ultimate plan is to have Gainesville burn to the ground.

4. Georgia is going bowling after all.  It took longer than any Georgia fan was probably hoping for, but after beating Georgia Tech on Saturday night, the Bulldogs now have six wins and can get an extra two weeks of practice.  Considering how the season started, it's a small miracle.

5. Kentucky may never beat Tennessee.  Seriously, if there was ever going to be a season in which the Wildcats would finally knock off the Vols, this would have been the one, right?  Sorry, not the case.  Tennessee took care of the 'Cats and like Georgia, is now bowl eligible.  Which is an even bigger miracle than the one Georgia pulled off.
Posted on: November 18, 2010 6:02 pm

Meyer may be misdiagnosing Gators' ailment

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The big news out of Gainesville this week doubles as the worst possible news for most football fans in Gainesville: Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio will not only be retained as part of Urban Meyer 's Gator staff (not entirely surprising), he will remain in his current position as offensive coordinator and play-caller (that 's surprising).

Why this is such terrible news for Gator followers is obvious: they've been dreadful offensively nearly all season, ranking 82nd in total yardage, some 14 places behind even their fellow mega-flops at Texas . In the Gators' four losses, they've averaged just 278 yards and 14 points. They're a staggering 116th in red zone conversion rate. The big-play passing game promised by the ascension of big-armed John Brantley to the starting quarterback position has utterly failed to materialize; the Gators rank next-to-last in the SEC in pass plays of 30 yards or more with 7--three fewer than Vanderbilt and five fewer than Mississippi State . The Gators aren't any better from an aesthetic standpoint, looking frequently out-of-sync and rarely playing into the mobility-challenged Brantley's strengths.

To suffer offensive woes that intense in spite of the Gators' overflowing bounty of talent is a powerfully damning statement on the job of the offensive coaching staff. But to ask Meyer, the first (and biggest?) factor in creating the "void" that has swallowed up his team in 2010 is something that has very little to do with offensive coaching or execution :

Meyer said he has identified one problem, one thing that has been missing on this team.

The Gators don't seem to be playing with the same energy, passion and confidence that his past Florida teams were known for.

"We've always been a high-energy, up-tempo, chest-bumping, flying-around team," Meyer said. "I see the same thing you guys see. I don't see that. I see it from some.

"That's college football. That's Florida football. I've had people say, 'We love watching the Gators play.' It's just because the energy level in that stadium, the flying around, and that doesn't exist at the level that we expect right now."

There's no arguing that energy and intensity are key elements of a successful performance in college football, and that maintaining them over the course of a season is an important part of a successful season.

But those aren't the most important parts. Roughly speaking, execution, overall scheme, and smart game-planning have much more to do with victory since -- in any truly big game -- the emotional intensity is going to be just about equal. Take the South Carolina game; with so much on the line, how much of an advantage was "energy, passion and confidence" ever going to give the Gators?

Meanwhile, as expertly illustrated by SEC blog TeamSpeedKills , it was the Gamecocks who enjoyed a major advantage in terms of execution:

That's an already-predictable "get the ball to Chris Rainey " playcall topped by a bad snap and a disastrous misread in the blocking scheme, and unsurprisingly it went for nothing when Brantley threw the ball away.

A failure of a play like that has nothing to with energy or emotion; it's exclusively the product of poor preparation and execution, and plays like it have hamstrung Florida all season. Meyer's certainly under no obligation to dismiss Addazio or make any kind of changes to his staff or their roles, but one thing is for certain: keeping the offensive status quo and looking to improve simply through turning up the dial on "passion" isn't going to cut it. A team of hyped-to-the-gills Gators that aren't put in the proverbial "positions to win" aren't going to win no matter how much passion they play with.

Posted on: November 9, 2010 5:42 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2010 6:23 pm

AUDIO: Jacobi on Sirius/XM CFB Playbook Radio

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Earlier today, I was fortunate enough to join the CFB Playbook on Sirius/XM Sports with Jack Arute and Mike Leach. We discussed the Cam Newton report from Thayer Evans that had been released last night and wondered aloud about why, precisely, the report had been released. Check out the entire segment below.

It's worth pointing out that this discussion took place before AuburnSports.com released their own report later this afternoon that directly contradicts Evans and makes me look a little dumb for taking Evans' report at face value. Also, later that day, Paul Finebaum reported that Mississippi State head coach (and former UF assistant) Dan Mullen , not anybody still connected with Florida , was behind the academic allegations. That makes wayyyy more sense than any of the spitballing we were doing about Florida, so Gator partisans, feel free to ignore all that talk.

At any rate, have a listen anyway; I had a lot of fun and I hope Arute and Leach did as well.

Posted on: November 9, 2010 5:23 pm

Report: Cam Newton never in academic danger at UF

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Word came out late last night that according to a Foxsports.com report, Auburn quarterback (and Heisman frontrunner) Cam Newton had been involved in multiple academic incidents at Florida, and that he was facing expulsion if he had returned for the spring semester. Damning stuff, to be sure, but curious in its details. Why was that information coming out now, years after the fact and to no effect on Newton's eligibility? Why did the reporter, Thayer Evans, only have one source cited in his report? What was up with all of this, exactly?

One fact that was generally taken for granted, though, was that Evans' report was more or less accurate. The allegations were specific and of such little immediate consequence that it made no sense for Evans' source to make them up. And yet, if the story's accurate, what's up with this report from AuburnSports.com that Newton, in fact, never faced the Florida Student Conduct Committee?

Two independent sources with detailed knowledge of the UF academic discipline system during the period in question have disputed the Evans story. According to the sources, no allegations of academic impropriety regarding Cam Newton were sent to the Florida Student Conduct Committee at any time either during or after Newton's time at UF.

"Nothing was reported, officially or unofficially" says one source, who did not wish to be identified. "The formal process is for allegations to go through the Student Conduct Committee. If [any allegations against Newton] didn't follow that process, then they didn't follow the rules."

Now, it's important to realize that just because the allegations never made it to the committee doesn't necessarily mean they didn't happen at all, just that they never made it to that step, for whatever reason. But if they didn't, that's a pretty big deal all the same. It certainly undercuts the idea that Newton was on the brink of expulsion -- AuburnSports.com's sources indicated that nobody facing the type of allegations Newton reportedly faced ever got expelled in the 2-3 years that source was at the department.

At any rate, Auburn fans should breathe easy tonight. Evans' report is at best debatable and at worst lousy, and it shouldn't have any effect on Newton's eligibility, focus, or Heisman candidacy. Sure, the other investigation is still ongoing, but the NCAA hasn't even seen fit to investigate Auburn on that front yet. Things just might be okay, Tiger fans.

One last thing worth pointing out, however, is that the source of these leaks doesn't necessarily have to be someone who's at Florida right now, but someone who was at Florida while Cam Newton was there. Someone with intimate knowledge of Newton's athletic and academic situation. And someone with a vendetta against Newton for whatever reason. Let's see, who could possibly fit that bill?

Well then.

Posted on: November 9, 2010 12:53 pm

Auburn AD: Newton has been 'completely honest'

Posted by Chip Patterson

In yet another edition of the Cam Newton saga, Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs has released a statement regarding the ongoing drama surrounding the Tigers' star quarterback.

“In the past 24 hours, a lot of allegations have surfaced that date back two years ago and further. These allegations and rumors about Cam Newton are unfortunate and sad because they seem intent on tearing down the reputation of a young man who has done everything we’ve asked him to do. Cam has been and continues to be completely honest with us.

"Cam is, by all accounts, a great kid. Any discussion of academic records is a clear violation of federal privacy laws. We will not go down that path or stoop to that level as others have apparently done. We will, however, emphatically say that Cam is eligible to play football at Auburn University both academically and athletically. I am proud of this young man and the progress he has made to be a better football player and a better man. We are truly blessed that Cam is a part of the Auburn family, and we support him 100 percent.”

And we thought the mud-slinging would be done in early November.  Cam being honest with Auburn is the news-worthy piece of the statement.  We all learned in the dealing with Dez Bryant and Deion Sanders that the "powers that be" in college football dislike nothing more than dishonesty during investigations.  If Newton has come forward to Auburn with all the facts (that he knows), than he cannot be expected to do any more for the university.  Well, that is not completely true.  He could continue to boost the program's worth by making the first-strings in "the best defensive conference in the nation" look like scout teams, and any hardware he collects wouldn't hurt either.

The comments in the second paragraph about "violation of federal privacy laws" and "stoop to that level as others have apparently done" provide some tasty material in the war of words between Auburn and Florida.  Clearly Jacobs is referencing the allegations that the source of the Newton leak have come from within Florida's camp, specifically tied to head coach Urban Meyer.  With South Carolina's loss to Arkansas on Saturday, Florida has moved into a tie for first-place in the SEC East.  The Gators could likely see Newton and the Tigers in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.  After all this controversy, we can only hope it comes to that. Right?  

Posted on: November 9, 2010 11:50 am

Urban Meyer denies any role in Newton saga

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Ever since the news broke about Cam Newton and the NCAA's investigation into his recruitment, rumors have surfaced that Newton's former head coach at Florida, Urban Meyer, was the whistleblower on the case.  While there hasn't been any proof, rumors don't need facts, they just need people to start them and watch them spread.  Plus, when you consider that former Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer is guilty of doing the same thing in the past, in a lot of minds, that only adds credence to the rumor.

Well, Urban Meyer wants you to know that the rumors aren't true.  Meyer told The Gainesville Sun that the rumors of his involvement in the Newton investigation are "ridiculous."

"Obviously, it's a joke," Meyer told the paper on Tuesday. "I don't know anything about anything. I heard they've got me meeting with the agent and all that. I never met with anybody. It's ridiculous.

"... we had a great relationship right up until the time he left.  Cam and I and his family always had a great relationship. I don't know where this is all coming from. But it didn't come from me. I know nothing about nothing."

For some reason reading that last quote, I envision Meyer as Edward G. Robinson in some old gangster movie talking to the cops.  "I don't know nothing about nothing, see.  You'll never catch me, copper."

Meyer can deny the rumors all he wants, and whether he's telling the truth or not, most minds have already been made up on the situation.  Personally, I'm not entirely sure what's truth and what's fiction.  I had severe doubts that Meyer was involved until I heard The New York Times' Pete Thamel on Paul Finebaum's radio show on Monday afternoon.

Finebaum asked Thamel straight up about whether or not Meyer was one of his sources for the story, and the way Thamel dodged the question was somewhat suspicious in my opinion.  To me, if Meyer wasn't involved, all Thamel would have had to say was that Urban had nothing to do with it.  The fact he didn't do that, well, it makes me somewhat suspicious.
Posted on: November 9, 2010 2:52 am
Edited on: November 9, 2010 3:17 pm

Report: Cam Newton in scandals at UF (UPDATED)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

It seemed virtually impossible after last week, but somehow, the news surrounding Cam Newton 's pre-Auburn years seems to have gotten worse. According to a Fox Sports report, Newton was allegedly involved in multiple academic cheating controversies while enrolled at Florida before he transferred to Blinn Junior College in 2008. The allegations are of a very serious nature, the type that often results in suspension and expulsion from a university. There are three incidents in question here, and it's awfully telling that the least serious of the three is that Newton purchased a term paper online, apparently unaware that professors know how to use the Internet.

We're not going to be able to ascertain the truthfulness of these reports, so we'll just reiterate that they're apparently based solely on the one source that Fox Sports cites in their report. We'll just point out that it's abundantly clear that Fox's source for this scandal is Florida-based; it's not as if some line cook in Tuscaloosa can claim "knowledge of the situation" where it concerns academic matters at the University of Florida, after all. And it's that Florida connection that only intensifies rumors that lingered the first time around that Urban Meyer (or someone in his camp) was responsible for the initial leak of the Newton investigation in the first place .

After all, this revelation serves no actual purpose where the rest of this football season is concerned; Newton's not about to be declared ineligible over allegations that occurred at a different school years ago. The fact remains that there have been no such allegations about Newton since his time at Florida, and it's not as if every single professor at Auburn is under the athletic department's thumb. Go ahead, tell a random professor at any school that he has to edit his gradebook in a football player's favor. See what happens.

So if this report won't affect Newton's eligibility anywhere but at Florida, what purpose does it actually serve? If Newton's eligibility were on trial and in front of a judge, this report would be immediately thrown out over relevance. Cam Newton is an Auburn student whose academic bona fides are, at this time, not in question. Whether he left Florida facing problems down the road is Auburn's problem insofar as the school should be on the lookout for further shenanigans. Past that, this comes off far more as a grade-level psy-ops campaign from Gainesville than anything the NCAA, SEC, or Heisman voters should be aware of.

(UPDATE: According to AuburnSports.com, multiple sources inside the Florida academic discipline system strongly dispute Evans' report.)
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com