Ohio State head Urban Meyer left his post as Florida football coach because he felt burned out on football. (PAUL BEATY / Associated Press)
Shelley Meyer, the wife of former University of Florida and current Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, claims I am a hater.
She claims I often criticize her husband for some misunderstood reason.
"Oh, don't even bring up Bianchi," she told Bucknuts.com, an Ohio State fan website. "He's awful. He's a hater. He hates Urban for some reason and I don't know why."
Sadly, Shelley Meyer is correct.
I don't much like coaches such as her husband; disingenuous coaches who run crime-ridden football programs; head-in-the-sand coaches who once allowed former player like Aaron Hernandez to stay on the University of Florida football team even after he sucker-punched a bar employee in Gainesville so violently that it burst the guy's ear drum; enabling coaches who actually kept former UF running back Chris Rainey on the team even after he was arrested for threatening to kill his girlfriend.
Hernandez, by the way, is currently in jail awaiting murder charges in New England.
Rainey was just kicked off his second NFL team earlier this week for yet another conduct-related incident.
So Shelley Meyer is right; I have an aversion to coaches of Urban's ilk. But here is where Shelley is flat-out wrong. She is wrong for ripping Gator fans and SEC fans and calling them more "dirty and mean" than their counterparts in the Big Ten. And she is delusional when she suggests that those who really knew Urban at UF all still adore him.
"Now, when we first went down there and we were winning and we were winning those national championships, Urban was the best thing ever," Shelley told Bucknuts.com in reference to UF fans. "But when it's not going good or something doesn't go the way they want, they will turn in a second. Now, to be fair, there's a lot of fans across the country that are like that — and I'm sure there's some Ohio State people that could do that, too.
"But, here is my perception (about Florida fans): I think they feel like they were kind of left at the altar. ... They feel a betrayal, even though they were so mad at him about how our last season (2010) went. You can't please all fans anywhere; you can't. And I've just accepted that and I love when our fans are behind us and support us and I love that they love their team, but we can't take it personally.
"Because, not one person that is close to us (from their time in Florida) has ever come up and said anything bad. So, the people who are critical of us, it's not the people who know us. It's the people who aren't even around the program."
Um, Shelley, you might want to give Jack Youngblood a call. He's in the Gator Ring of Honor and the NFL Hall of Fame and once called Urban a "dear friend."
"When somebody (Urban) tells me something to my face, I expect it to be truth," Youngblood told me not long ago when I asked him if he was still friends with Urban. "When it turns out to not be the truth, that doesn't put him very high on my Christmas card list. ... He said character was the No. 1 thing and the main thing he was recruiting on. That didn't happen. And then all of the stuff at the end of (his time at Florida), there just was no consistency to me."
Or maybe Shelley should talk to Lee McGriff, a former UF receiving great, who grew up a Gator fan in a Gator family and was the color man for UF's radio broadcasts when Meyer coached the team
"Urban made such grand statements about, 'I'm a Gator. I love the Gators. This is utopia. This is paradise. This is my life.'"McGriff told me not long after Meyer took the Ohio State job. "And then he said he was done coaching [because of burnout]. And now, suddenly, he's at Ohio State, which is as big-time as big-time gets. He jumped right back into the frying pan. It's not like he's coaching Dartmouth in the Ivy League. That left a lot of Gator fans saying, 'Whoa, who is this guy?' "
Or maybe Shelley should try to catch Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley in an honest moment and ask him how he feels about the way Urban took a $1 million bonus when he bolted UF after the worst season in 20 years because he was supposedly mentally and physically frazzled and wanted to spend more time with his family. A few weeks later, Meyer was flying around the country as an ESPN analyst and a few months later he accepted the Ohio State job.
Or maybe Shelley should go ask current UF coach Will Muschamp how he feels about Urban's Buckeyes twice turning in the Gators for ticky-tack secondary recruiting violations that turned out to be unfounded.
"We appreciate our friends from Ohio making sure we are compliant with NCAA rules," a sarcastic Muschamp said last year when asked about Meyer reporting the Gators. "They certainly know a little bit about NCAA rules."
And maybe Shelley can also ask Muschamp how he feels about Urban leaving him a program bereft of depth and discipline, then negative-recruiting against the Gators as soon as he got to Ohio State. If she did, maybe Muschamp would tell her about the incident first reported in The Sporting News in which Urban relentlessly pursued Maryland prep All-American wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who'd narrowed his choices to Ohio State, Florida and Maryland. In the midst of the recruiting process, Urban, according to the Sporting News, "told the Diggs family that he wouldn't let his son go to Florida because of significant character issues in the locker room."
That's right, Urban actually tried to use the renegade culture he created and fostered at UF to drive a recruit away from UF.
See, Shelley, there's a reason so many Gator fans feel that Urban betrayed their trust.
Because he did.