Posted by BrianBoru at 7/16/2009 1:43 PM EDT
It will not go away...despite the recent statement that he would "never" coach at Notre Dame, Florida head football coach Urban Meyer has not convinced many people...nor has he convinced me.
That's because the time to deny his interest in the Notre Dame position has long been overdue. You've heard the story before — Urban Meyer devoting a section of his book to how close he came to accepting the Notre Dame gig. Simply put, Meyer chose the Florida job in the winter of 2004 because he had a young family and did not want to recruit nationally, sending him away from his family for weeks at a time.
When reached for comment shortly after the book was published last year, Meyer did very little to put out the fire. In fact, he added a bit of gasoline to the speculation by insisting that Notre Dame was still his "dream job" during a radio interview just weeks before his Florida Gators appeared in the National Title game.
A few days later, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who has a close relationship with Meyer, was quoted, "he loves that university and has the utmost respect for it".
This leads me to ask: would Notre Dame fans want Urban Meyer as their coach?
Sure, he jilted the Irish for the land of sun and jean shorts in Gainesville. Yes, he is perhaps a bit cranky and brusque — which I like. He even used the word "never" just this week to describe his intentions regarding the Notre Dame job.
But...he is a tremendous head coach. His teams always play hard for him, dating back to his beginning at Bowling Green. Unlike the Fighting Irish's current head coach, Meyer doesn't concern himself with what others think — making sure an opponent is dead whether or not it means piling on a few points in order to do so.
Most importantly, Meyer has a prior understanding of how things operate at Notre Dame, having spent five seasons in South Bend as an assistant coach. Something Charlie Weis, despite being a Notre Dame alum, did not have. He has proven himself to be a winner at a few different stops. He has hoisted two crystal footballs — awarded two National Championships.
Motivation and preparation. They are two of the things that immediately strike me when I watch his Florida Gators outfit.
Tracking recruiting, as I have been doing for quite a few years, I see that Charlie Weis has replenished his football program with a plethora of athletes.
However, leadership is not a learned quality. It's sort of like speed — you either have it or you don't.