GAINESVILLE -- Urban Meyer is a smart man. He's one of the best coaches in the business. Maybe THE best. Those have been my opinions about Meyer since I began covering the Florida Gators nearly four years ago. Those opinions were reaffirmed on Wednesday when he publicly confronted a reporter about a story regarding receiver Deonte Thompson.
What was written and who wrote it and what newspaper the guy worked for: all that stuff isn't important. At least not to Meyer. You know what's important to Meyer? His football team. And right now -- this spring -- they're young, searching for confidence, searching for starters, searching for leaders, banged up at key positions, new coaches, questions lingering about Meyer's health, new quarterback, no more Tim Tebow, no more Brandon Spikes, no more Joe Haden. Basically, it's a mess of really talented but young players trying to figure out how to be a team. Meyer simply helped the process along on Wednesday. He provided a spark. He gave his Gators something to rally behind. It's us against them, gentlemen, good guys vs. bad guys, and I got your backs.
In reality, is that the case? Is a reporter really a "bad guy," as Meyer so strategically put it. No, of course not. They're just guys covering sports, doing their jobs, selling papers, getting hits. But reality, or perspective, is an interesting thing. One guy's reality is not the next guy's reality. Meyer is very good -- no, great; like Patton-esque -- at shaping his players' realities. So sorry the fall guy had to be a reporter. As one American writer so wryly put it, so it goes.
The media will likely hammer Meyer on Thursday about Wednesday's outburst. That's just the way it works. We all know this and Meyer knows this, too. He's smart. Oh, so smart. Time to circle the wagons, boys. Players were not made available for interviews on Wednesday and probably won't be for awhile. Instead, Meyer made himself available. What Meyer did wasn't out of line. It was out of character, but certainly not out of line. He didn't swear. He didn't raise his voice. Most of the stuff he said wasn't true, but when has that ever mattered. Meyer was just being a leader for a team that needs one. Welcome back.