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Gators' Urban Meyer is 2 hip 2 B square

Mike Bianchi | SPORTS COMMENTARY

His authorized biography is about to hit Amazon.com.

Another best-selling author who chronicles global business leaders wants to write a chapter in his next book about what makes him tick.

TV producers have approached him about doing a reality TV show.

ESPN showed up in town a couple of months ago for his spring football game and provided four hours of televised coverage.

And, yes, Adam Sandler sent him a congratulatory bottle of wine not long ago.

"I guess that's pretty cool, huh?" Urban Meyer says and laughs.

Cool doesn't begin to describe it.

Urban Meyer is the coolest rockin' daddy in intercollegiate sports. He's the hippest, hottest rock star in college football. He's Hannah Montana with a cockeyed headset. He's Lil Wayne with a big playbook. He's the Pussycat Dolls with an offense that purrs like a kitten.

"He's white-hot right now," says longtime sports writer Buddy Martin, who just finished the soon-to-be-released biography called Urban's Way.

"He's at the peak of his powers," says Chris Fowler, ESPN college football analyst and host of the network's ultra-popular GameDay. "Urban is as dialed in to what makes young people tick as anybody I've ever seen."

If you want to know why Urban Meyer is rich like butter to today's hip-hop generation, then just take a look at today's newly redesigned Orlando Sentinel. It's visual. It's colorful. It's bold and bodacious. It's just cooler than the traditional newspaper.

And that's Urban Meyer. He's just cooler because he has purposely redesigned the traditional college coach. He is reinventing the image of the rumpled, old, outdated football fogy and turning him into a more modern, attractive version that looks phat and fresh on his state-of-the-art Web site CoachUrbanMeyer.com.

In this cat-quick, double-click world we live in, Meyer is all over imaging and presentation. If you Google college football coach, his name should be the first one to pop up. He is, after all, Coach YouTube.

When the Gators open their new $30 million football offices later this summer, the entrance will be filled with huge high-def TVs running endless video loops of Florida's national championships and Southeastern Conference titles. When a recruit walks into his office, all he sees is video and photographs of green grass, full stadiums and pretty girls.

"That's what's appealing to young people," Meyer says. "We spend an inordinate amount of time on presentation. Video is the No. 1 way to do that because that's what recruits respond to. Nowadays it's all about music and video."

Most everything he does or is asked to do by the media is about luring recruits. He will attend the ESPYs next month because he knows recruits will think it's cool to see him chillin' with Justin Timberlake. When Fox Network asked him to be an analyst during the pregame and halftime shows at the BCS National Championship Game, he visualized how many national recruits would be watching the LSU-Ohio State game. The same with ESPN when the network approached him about bringing its GameDay crew to Gainesville in April for four hours of coverage of the Orange and Blue spring scrimmage.

True story: Before televised coverage of the Masters began on that Saturday afternoon in April, hundreds of sports writers sat in the Augusta National media center and watched ESPN's wall-to-wall coverage of UF's spring scrimmage. It may be the first time in history that a golf writer from the New York Post was introduced to the concept of Mr. TwoBits.

With 60,000 fans flocking to Florida Field and millions watching nationwide, the four hours of ESPN coverage turned into a four-hour recruiting video for the University of Florida. Just like Meyer planned.

"If I'm asked to do something like that, the answer is 'No' unless it can help recruiting," Meyer says. "Let's face it, spring games stink. They're awful. But we decided if we're going to do it, let's put on a show.

"It turned out to be a positive. Now, don't get me wrong, if ESPN had shown some of our rivals playing in their spring game with 12,000 people in the stands, that wouldn't have been a positive; that would have been a negative.

Ah, was that a gratuitous shot at Florida State -- the institution Meyer refers to condescendingly as "that school out west." Or maybe it was meant for Miami, that school down south. And is it just coincidence that both schools have gone younger and cooler in an attempt to keep pace with the Urbanator?

Last year, the 'Canes hired Randy Shannon to replace the older, balder Larry Coker. The Seminoles, too, are in transition, evidenced by their recent naming of Jimbo Fisher as their coach-in-waiting to eventually replace the aging icon Bobby Bowden.

Old-school is out.

And you want to know what's strange? Meyer is the ultimate dichotomy. He is actually more of the former, but we think of him as more of the latter.

He's actually a conservative football coach from the cold, gray Rustbelt who grew up idolizing Woody Hayes. Now he's in the warm, blue Sun Belt where he has become the next Steve Spurrier. He's a very private man with a very public persona. He likes his own space, but he scouts MySpace.

He's actually more close-to-the-vest than he is seat-of-the-pants. His image is offensive genius, but he won his only national title with a team specializing in defense and field position. His reputation is space age -- a million miles and a thrust of flames. His roots are stone age -- 3 yards and a cloud of dust.

He's Fergalicious by stature, but he's Margaritaville by nature.

Hip? For crying out loud, his favorite musician is Jimmy Buffet, who hasn't been relevant since the Cheeseburger in Paradise Tour of 30 years ago. And when he met Adam Sandler not long ago, his first response was, "Wait a minute, that's the guy from Saturday Night Live." He had absolutely no idea Sandler made movies and hadn't been on SNL for more than a decade.

That's why best-selling motivational author Alan Deutschman, who has chronicled CEOs such as Microsoft's Bill Gates and Google's Sergey Brin, is considering a chapter about Meyer in his next book. He's intrigued about how Meyer, a psychology major in college, has connected and inspired players from such divergent backgrounds.

"Even though he might have come from a more conservative, homogenized background, he has been able to bridge the gap and speak the language that kids understand," Deutschman says. "He has connected with them and got people from diverse backgrounds to buy in. Doesn't matter what business you're in, if you want to be a leader and influence the marketplace, you have to get people to believe in you."

It should be noted that Deutschman's last book was called Change or Die -- a truism many American businesses, including the newspaper industry, are just coming to realize. It's an edict Meyer learned long ago.

"It's 2008, you have to stay in tune to what's going on," he says, "but at the core, I'm still an old-school traditionalist. That's who I am."

As Hannah Montana sings, he's the "best of both worlds."

He may be the techno-pop, bee-bop, hip-hop coach who likes crunk on MTV.

But, deep down, Urban Meyer still likes that old time rock and roll.

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I believe Urban Myer has done a lot in a very little time at Florida but when coaches get credit for recruiting when they are at schools that **** near recruit themselves is crazy to me.

Florida

USC

Ohio State

Michigan

LSU

Alabama

Notre Dame

Just to name a few are schools that recruit themselves and it doesn't take a lot IMO to be a great recruiter at these schools now being a great coach at these schools and properly using and coaching that talent is another story and is were I believe Urban Myer has done well at.

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I agree in alot of ways with what your saying but an example on the flip of this is FSU. They were the powerhouse of Florida for most of the 90's and all the big athletes wanted to be there. Now their coaching staff is a collection of dinosaurs that have lost touch with the kids out there and it has really shown in recruiting and on the field.

Oh and if your gonna but Bama on that list you might as well have UGA as well. Especially since they been a much better team the last 15 years which matters most to the 18 year old kids they are recruiting today.

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Jgator (6/22/2008)
I agree in alot of ways with what your saying but an example on the flip of this is FSU. They were the powerhouse of Florida for most of the 90's and all the big athletes wanted to be there. Now their coaching staff is a collection of dinosaurs that have lost touch with the kids out there and it has really shown in recruiting and on the field.

Oh and if your gonna but Bama on that list you might as well have UGA as well. Especially since they been a much better team the last 15 years which matters most to the 18 year old kids they are recruiting today.

I am with you man.

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Jgator (6/22/2008)
I agree in alot of ways with what your saying but an example on the flip of this is FSU. They were the powerhouse of Florida for most of the 90's and all the big athletes wanted to be there. Now their coaching staff is a collection of dinosaurs that have lost touch with the kids out there and it has really shown in recruiting and on the field.

Oh and if your gonna but Bama on that list you might as well have UGA as well. Especially since they been a much better team the last 15 years which matters most to the 18 year old kids they are recruiting today.

that's why i laughed a little at dew's list.. UGA is tied with lsu for the most wins in the past 8 years in the sec and has had top 10 recruiting classes for what 8 years straight and he mentions bama and leaves us off.. :P (just playing with you dew, I got your point)

Meyer does a great job recruiting. You would have to be real bad to screw up recruiting at florida in the first place, but he is taking it to that next level.

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Good thing all the recruits got to see CMR out hip the hipster last year during the game. :D

Man, what a game that's going to be this year. I hope both teams have full wind in their sails when this game comes along.

I, like many people, was wrong about Meyer. I didn't think his offense would work in the SEC. Boy was I wrong. There is definitly something about him and he is definitly a good head coach.

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sirlot (6/23/2008)
Good thing all the recruits got to see CMR out hip the hipster last year during the game. :D

Man, what a game that's going to be this year. I hope both teams have full wind in their sails when this game comes along.

I, like many people, was wrong about Meyer. I didn't think his offense would work in the SEC. Boy was I wrong. There is definitly something about him and he is definitly a good head coach.

What I don't understand is why everyone was so adamant about Meyer's offense not working in the SEC. I just sat back and said, "Just watch."

The SEC is not any more special than any other conference when it comes to being able to run an offensive scheme. If a coach's scheme is good enough, and he recruits the right type of players for his scheme, the conference you play in is not going to matter.

It was a puzzling opinion that pretty much only Georgia fans shared, and we all know why, because they were rooting for failure of course. Very wrong, they were.

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Headshot (6/23/2008)
sirlot (6/23/2008)
Good thing all the recruits got to see CMR out hip the hipster last year during the game. :D

Man, what a game that's going to be this year. I hope both teams have full wind in their sails when this game comes along.

I, like many people, was wrong about Meyer. I didn't think his offense would work in the SEC. Boy was I wrong. There is definitly something about him and he is definitly a good head coach.

What I don't understand is why everyone was so adamant about Meyer's offense not working in the SEC. I just sat back and said, "Just watch."

The SEC is not any more special than any other conference when it comes to being able to run an offensive scheme. If a coach's scheme is good enough, and he recruits the right type of players for his scheme, the conference you play in is not going to matter.

It was a puzzling opinion that pretty much only Georgia fans shared, and we all know why, because they were rooting for failure of course. Very wrong, they were.

Let's not not let facts get in the way headshot. :P Maybe you only talked to UGA fans, but there are many many other fans such as ut fans, lsu fans, auburn fans, alabama fans that felt his offense wouldn't work in the SEC. I never thought that myself. I knew it would work, but the question is how good would the offense be. That's was the biggest question mark IMO. Those who didn't think it would work had a lot of ammo in the first few years meyer was in the sec since his offense looked pedastrian at best, but it was obvious to those who saw the games he didn't have the personnel at that time to put up big numbers. When he got the personnel to fit his scheme (this goes with most schemes out there) they have been very successful.

It sorta reminds me when gator fans said richt would be fired after 4 years. Yep that was right too huh? :D

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First of all I dont think there is much questions in most peoples mind that the Defense won the National Championship.......it was awesome to say the least.

Second...the offense he is running is different than what he ran at Utah because he knows in the SEC you cant do it throughout a season and have any chance of keeping your QB healthy even if you have one of the toughest most resilient QBs in college football.Can you imagine how long Alex Smith would have lasted in the SEC running that offense?

He keeps tweaking his offense to adapt to the defenses of this conference with their combo of speed and power and it is the smart thing to do. I think that is what a lot of people were saying is that he would have to modify his offense to make it work in this conference and he has.I think they will even have true running backs in the backfield this year.

All that being said I still believe a Defense will win out over hip new offenses in the end. Defenses are already adjusting some to the spread and will do so more this year. I remember when Spurrier first starting running his offense at UF it caught a lot of defenses off guard but they drafted differently and corrected for it in a couple of years and got better at defending it. I think the same will happen with the Spread.

That is why in the end I like old fashioned smash mouth football with the run setting up the pass. IF you dont think it still works opposed to the new hip offenses ....watch UGA this year.......as much as it pains me to say but that kind of ball control offense is hard to stop but again it all comes down to Defense in the end IMO.

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What I don't understand is why everyone was so adamant about Meyer's offense not working in the SEC. I just sat back and said, "Just watch."

The SEC is not any more special than any other conference when it comes to being able to run an offensive scheme. If a coach's scheme is good enough, and he recruits the right type of players for his scheme, the conference you play in is not going to matter.

It was a puzzling opinion that pretty much only Georgia fans shared, and we all know why, because they were rooting for failure of course. Very wrong, they were.

I consider the SEC to have the biggest, fastest defenses accross the board. That's why I didn't think the spread option would work. Even when he did get his players in - I didn't forsee it working. Just to much sideline-to-sideline speed. Just so happens he ended up landing the best QB in the nation and one of the best WR's. On top of that he changed his scheme to be competitive against SEC defenses. Hence my last post, Meyer is definitly a good head coach.

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Vince DiLetto (6/23/2008)
UGA is an easy place for recruiting just based on the town of Athens. Downtown Athens is one of the best college towns in America and everyone knows it, even UGA haters. I hear Austin is a sight to behold as well. 

I will agree with you there. Athens is the definition of college town. I love Gainsville no doubt but I still go to some good parties over in Athens every now and then.

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