Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UF Needs Chemistry for a Championship; Meyer Says He'll Know Early If the Gators Are Primed to Win a Title

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UF Needs Chemistry for a Championship; Meyer Says He'll Know Early If the Gators Are Primed to Win a Title

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL DIROCCO

Florida football coach Urban Meyer will know whether his team can compete for a Southeastern Conference and national championship weeks before the Gators start fall practice.

The reports he'll receive from strength coach Mickey Marotti, the phone calls he'll take from his players, and the amount of time they spend working out on their own will tell Meyer if he's looking at 2006 or 2007.

"I probably would never tell you [when he knows] because that would be too much pressure on a football team, but I'll know in July if we're going to compete for a championship," Meyer said earlier this spring. The coach was in Jacksonville on Saturday night at the annual Gator Gathering at the Prime Osborn Convention Center.

"I'll tell you after the fact," Meyer added. "Like last year, no chance. Zero. We're going to still go and fight, fight, fight, win, win, win, and all that other stuff, but you could tell. ...

"You can't win a game without good chemistry. You can't win a championship without great chemistry. Last year, awful chemistry on our football team."

The Gators didn't have the senior leadership of 2006, and some of the players were caught up in the aura of being the defending national champions. There weren't any players trying to temper the good feelings about the visits to the White House, the adoration of the fans and the glowing publicity.

People tried, Meyer said. Quarterback Tim Tebow tried, but he was still a sophomore entering his first year as a starter. Several other players -- including fifth-year senior wide receiver Andre Caldwell and redshirt junior defensive end Derrick Harvey -- tried, too, but for some reason, the chemistry just wasn't there, according to Meyer.

"After shaking hands with the president and everybody else, [the players were saying], 'What are you talking about coach? Chemistry issues? What are you talking about? We're champs.'"

Not for long. The Gators started 4-0 before losing three of four games -- at home to Auburn, at top-ranked LSU and against 20th-ranked Georgia in Jacksonville -- before rallying to win four in a row to end the regular season. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.