Once again, those who are never around this program, those who do not have a clue what Urban Meyer is all about, are getting it wrong.
I was stunned when I saw what the reaction was Thursday to Meyer’s heated confrontation with the Orlando Sentinel’s Jeremy Fowler after practice Wednesday over a quote from Deonte Thompson. Based on what’s being said on message boards and on other forums around the nation, one popular perception is that Meyer was incensed because his all-time favorite player Tim Tebow came out looking bad in all this.
Those who think that have missed the point completely. This had nothing to do with Tebow. Nothing at all. This is all about the embarrassment Thompson was going through Wednesday over his quote that John Brantley was a “real” quarterback. What Thompson was really saying is Brantley is a more traditional passing quarterback than the dual-threat Tebow. During the interview Monday, Thompson called Tebow a legend and praised him. But once the national media caught wind of the quote, thanks in part to the Sentinel making such an issue of it on its Web site, Thompson was portrayed as a wide receiver who was dissing Tebow and implying he was glad Tebow was gone.
This whole thing blew up, and from what I’ve heard, Thompson was devastated by it. Meyer saw this and quickly came to his defense after practice.
When Meyer, in his confrontation with Fowler, said, “When you get a chance, call his family. He’s never been in trouble since he’s been here. He’s a great student and a great kid. If he was my son, we’d be going at it right now.”
He wasn’t talking about Tebow. Meyer was talking about Thompson, a hard-working junior who bought into the Meyer system once he got here from Belle Glade and has been really busting his butt in the offseason in hopes of having a breakout year in 2010. The players who buy in, the players who do the right thing on and off the field, in the classroom and in the community … Meyer absolutely loves these guys. They are like sons to him.
Meyer saw one of his sons hurting in a big way Wednesday and he came to his defense. Simple as that.
Should Meyer have done it the way he did, in front of about a dozen members of the media, including a television reporter with a camera and a newspaper photographer? I don’t have a major problem with it. I’ve seen coaches explode on writers before. It comes with the territory. Steve Spurrier zinged me a few times in front of the other hacks back in the 1990s. He also did it privately with a phone call. In retrospect, maybe Meyer should have called Fowler and expressed his anger in private. But hey, Meyer did it his way, and it’s over now. Time to move on.