So much for all of us Gator fans screaming for Urban Meyer to take over play calling from Addazio. He has never done it in his life. LINK The key to success in Gainesville? It’s not in Gainesville anymore . . . By Chuck Oliver Urban Meyer is the second-highest paid college football coach in America. I bring that up not because I care how the University of Florida chooses to spend its money (in fact, UF doesn’t pay Meyer’s salary; the University Athletic Association does and is a completely separate entity). I reference it because the $4 million per year Meyer is paid, behind only the $4.3 million paid annually to Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, is an indication of the results that are expected. Rest assured, if there are 120 people who have the same job as you and you’re the highest paid of all of them except one, not only are the results supposed to be top-notch, but they’re supposed to be that way because of you. In the case of Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators, that’s simply not the case. Urban Meyer is perhaps the best example of a coach that has developed a reputation, the reality of what that coach is actually about and the Grand Canyon that separates the two. Specifically, the spread option is an offense whose birth many of us relate explicitly with Urban Meyer, similar to the wishbone with Barry Switzer (it was really Emory Bellard) and the run-and-shoot with Mouse Davis (OK, that one is true). While the origin of the spread option is a subject worthy of its own chapter in a book, rather than an article on a website, rest assured that Meyer in no way invented it (he’s also never claimed to). But we believe it anyway. Another fallacy? That Urban Meyer is an offensive wizard, on par with the best coaching minds on that side of the ball anywhere in college. Debunking both of the above lines of public opinion are two clear truths that no one disputes: Urban Meyer has never been in charge of developing a game plan for a specific opponent and, more shockingly, on game day he has never called plays. Check the man’s resume. He went straight from being Notre Dame’s wide receivers coach to being head coach at Bowling Green and has never looked back. Nowhere will you find “Offensive Coordinator” listed, no matter where you look. Formulating the specific line of attack vs. an opponent and then executing it on game day have never been Meyer’s responsibilities or duties. I started thinking about this two weeks ago when I was reading the September 27th issue of The Sporting News. The cover story was “Wise Guys: SN’s List of Sports’ Smartest Athletes” and one of the profiles was of former Utah quarterback Alex Smith. In it, Meyer says that it was Smith and one of the Utah assistant coaches who built the game plan for the 2005 Fiesta Bowl vs. Pitt, highlighting that Smith was bright enough as a player to assume offensive coordinator duties. Who was the real offensive coordinator while Meyer was at Utah? Mike Sanford, who had left before the bowl game to take the head job at UNLV. Who was that assistant coach who worked with Smith on the game plan? Quarterbacks coach Dan Mullen. What was Meyer doing during this time? Not building game plans and certainly not calling plays at any time during the four quarters on January 1, 2005 or any other time during his two years at Utah. Even when his own offensive coordinator left for another school, Meyer turned it over to an assistant coach and a player. When Meyer moved to Gainesville following the 35-7 dismantling of Pitt that night, he brought Mullen along with him, this time as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. The “Urban Meyer Spread Option” hummed along at a record-setting pace with Mullen calling the shots and four seasons later, when once again Meyer thought he would see his O.C. leave before a bowl game, he still didn’t grab the play sheet and jump into the fray. Mullen wound up staying on for the BCS title game vs. Oklahoma, but was clearly distracted and UF won its latest crystal football on the back of its defense and a fourth-quarter drive where the only directive was “Get it to Percy.” The next day Gators assistant Steve Addazio was given the corner office and the name plate with “Offensive Coordinator” engraved across its face. Addazio’s qualifications for this promotion? Well, he absolutely is a solid offensive line coach, but that in no way means you should be in charge of all aspects of an offense as lethal . . . potentially . . . as what the talent level in Gainesville suggests it should be. Other than working under Mullen, the biggest plum on Addazio’s resume is calling plays for Gerry DiNardo at Indiana. Really? That gets you this job?? Urban, I coached d-line at South Gwinnett High School in Snellville, GA for six years; can I be the coordinator on the other side of the ball? Please? . . . The over-riding point to this article isn’t to portray Urban Meyer as a football coaching version of Jack Nicholson at the end of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (well, not the very end – I’m talking just before the “pillow-over-the-face” thing). Then what is he? How about: A. an elite recruiter and B. a great judge of talent when it comes to hiring coordinators (most of the time – Addazio is skewing the data) Obviously, both of these are traits you want in a head coach. But let’s dispense with the myth that Urban Meyer is in some way a play-calling Billy Graham, laying hands on a game plan and achieving divine results. Again, it’s simply not true. Those deserving the most credit for the success Meyer’s teams have achieved currently reside in Louisville, KY and Starkville, MS. Sanford is the new offensive coordinator for the Cardinals and the early results are impressive. As for Mullen, there is an excitement surrounding Mississippi State football that hasn’t been there since probably the 1986 season when the Bulldogs started 6-1. Even when Jackie Sherrill was State’s head coach there wasn’t a belief in what was going on like there is now. Meanwhile in Gainesville? There hasn’t been this much doubt surrounding the team since before Meyer ever arrived in town.