We’ve heard a lot of criticism from Urban Meyer about Georgia’s all-inclusive celebration last season in Jacksonville.
The Florida coach said at SEC Media Days that the conduct was “uncalled for.” He wrote about it in his book. We’ll certainly hear more as Nov. 1 gets closer.
A message to Coach Meyer: You might want to just let it go.
A coach who calls for a 29-yard field goal with 25 seconds remaining in a 23-3 game, as Meyer did last Saturday against Miami, does not need to be lecturing anyone on sportsmanship. A coach who continues running plays in the final two minutes to score an extra touchdown and edge Tennessee 59-20 last year — the same coach who told Jevan Snead he was recruiting Tim Tebow as a linebacker — shouldn’t be criticizing another coach’s morality.
I will say this: I thought Georgia coach Mark Richt’s decision to purposely take an unsportsmanlike penalty last year was a brilliant move, for the obvious reasons. It defined a successful season. No one got hurt. The rivalry was back.
Good sportsmanship? Well, no. It is called an unsportsmanlike penalty.
I will also say that I have no problem with Meyer tacking on points against a rival. Instead of complaining, defenses should concern themselves more with stopping the Gators and not allowing it to happen. You’re supposed to carry the fight to your opponent and keep it there for 60 minutes, which is one of Tennessee’s game maxims.
As Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said after the 59-20 debacle, “It’s our job to stop them.”
But is it good sportsmanship? No. No it is not. I originally wrote that it was fine, but it’s just not. I don’t think they’re teaching the run-up-the-score class at the local YMCA.
So I have no problem with Meyer adding three more points to the blowout, and not just because I picked Florida to cover and the line was 21.5. I do have a problem with that same coach ripping another coach for bad sportsmanship.
“That wasn’t right. It was a bad deal,” Meyer wrote about Georgia’s celebration penalty in his book, released this month. “And it will forever be in the mind of Urban Meyer and in the mind of our football team. ... We’ll handle it. And it’s going to be a big deal.”
First of all, nice work referring to yourself in the third person. Rickey Henderson approves. Also, read this quote by Miami coach Randy Shannon, commenting Sunday to reporters about the unnecessary field goal Saturday.
“Sometimes when you do things and people see what kind of person you really are, you turn a lot of people off,” he said. “Take from that what you want. It helped us more than you will ever know.”
Those two quotes are remarkably similar. Why? Because both are referring to poor sportsmanship. Only Meyer is on both sides.
Look, Meyer is an elite coach, one of the best in a conference loaded with elite coaches. He won a national championship with Chris Leak running the spread option. Read that sentence again. He seems extremely intelligent in news-conference settings. Florida is, once again, a national championship contender this season.
But Meyer should focus solely on the Gators and stop attempting to be the moral arbiter of sportsmanship. He sounds awfully hypocritical.
Bad sportsmanship is bad sportsmanship, whether you’re running on the field or running up the score. Maybe Meyer has his own set of rules. After all, his book is called “Urban’s Way.”