Later, Gator…

Florida head coach Urban Meyer pulled his best Brett Favre impression today, retiring for the second time in less than a year.  Last spring, Meyer announced his resignation as Florida’s head coach, a resignation that lasted all of one day.  There was speculation that Meyer was persuaded to have the sudden change of heart when multiple blue chip recruits began to waver, just weeks before National Signing Day.

After winning two BCS Titles, 2010 has not been a fun ride for Urban Meyer and the Gators (google images)

Meyer may regret his decision to return.  The Gators underachieved mightily this season, going 7-5 during the regular season, with an implosion against rival Florida State a couple of weeks ago, in which the Seminoles spanked Meyer’s Gator squad 31-7.  The loss was Meyer’s first against their hated rival in Tallahassee.

That loss fueled even more fire to the questioning of whether or not Meyer, who many credit with mastering and even starting the spread option that has redefined college football, had the bulk of the responsibility for teaching and coaching the Gator offense, which put up record numbers with marquee players like, Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin and Aaron Hernandez.

The X-box-type of numbers that Tebow and Harvin put up a couple of years ago took a substantial dip in scoring last season, when his offensive coordinator, Dan Mullen left the program to take over the head coaching job at Mississippi State.  Those numbers plummeted in 2010, after Meyer not only lost his offensive coordinator, but he also lost his Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, in Tebow.

What may have been the writing on the wall for Meyer was the consistent drop in scoring over the past four seasons.  Below is a breakdown that illustrates this:

  • 2007–552 total points
  • 2008–611 total points
  • 2009–502 total points
  • 2010–351 total points

Granted, the Gators still have a bowl game to go, but barring a 149-point outburst in the Outback Bowl against Penn State, this season will mark the first time the Gators have failed to hit the 500-point mark in the past four seasons.

In the press conference following Florida State’s dismantling of the Gators, the usually confident Meyer was visibly rattled and bewildered when he explained that the Gator program “would be back,” and he acknowledged that his team had quite a bit of work to do.

It appears that Meyer has left that work for someone else.  Unless he changes his mind tomorrow.

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