Tag Archives: Urban Meyer

It’s all in the name

The Gator Nation is in an uproar over former-coach Urban Meyer’s hiring at Ohio State. Those hurt feelings were rubbed raw when he reached back and poached his former strength and conditioning coach to join his OSU staff.

Personally, I’m not all that concerned about it. As a Gator fan, I know our team has more than enough on its plate, to rebuild from a 6-6 year, than to worry about what may be happening in the Big 10.

For some fans, this whole situation is putting them in a serious pickle. One couple is thinking of changing their child’s name.

That’s just crazy.

Alberta the Alligator. Isn't she lovely?

Now for the disclaimer  – I’m not totally innocent. I have named cats “Gator,” “Stevie” (as in Stevie Spurrier) and “Alberta” (UF’s female mascot, Alberta the Alligator.)

But a child?

Seriously?

Mrs. P has mentioned that she was just glad our children were born well before Gator football took off in the early 90s. Otherwise, who knows what may have happened?

Tebow Poolman?

It has a certain ring to it.

Caught orange and blue handed

I knew we were in trouble as soon as I opened the mail box. We had been caught.

The envelope from the University of Florida Athletic Association was addressed to “The Family of ‘my late father-in law.’”

Oops! That does not look good.

My father-in-law, who passed away in 2006, bought season tickets to University of Florida football games back in the late 1980s, when they were practically giving them away. Shortly thereafter Steve Spurrier arrived on the scene, followed later by Urban Meyer. The past two decades have included a handful of conference championships, three national championships and two Heisman Trophy winners. The demand for football tickets has risen dramatically.

Like all major football programs, at UF you must make a donation to the athletic association at a certain level to have the privilege of purchasing season tickets. Today that required donation runs into the thousands of dollars. In the late 80s, it was about a tenth of that. So long as Father-in-Law was alive, he was grandfathered in at his original rate. The athletic association will allow a transfer to a son or daughter, but the expected donation would reset at today’s level. So when FIL died in 2006, we conveniently neglected forgot to tell the athletic association about it.

To be blunt, we cannot afford the donation level they require for our seats. They aren’t great seats, and the donation level is near the bottom of the scale, but it’s still much more than Mrs. Poolman and I can afford or justify.

As Mrs. P said, “It’s like the end of an era.”

Our closest friends

I guess we will be spending more fall Saturdays in front of the TV, rather than enjoying the companionship of 92,000 of our closest friends. I hope they will miss us.

A busy month behind me

My month of fairly intensive activity is over and life looks to be getting more-or-less back to normal.

Over the past month, Mrs. Poolman and I had two weekend trips and I had an overnight work related trip. Except for when I was out of town for our Pennsylvania trip, I have been tied up with our evening lecture series two nights per week. Plus, I was also out Wednesday evenings with my CCD class. We finished up on Saturday with our campus-wide annual open house event.The open house was a pretty big deal. We had roughly 1,900 visitors on an incredibly beautiful Saturday afternoon. (Clear skies, mid-70s with a light breeze.) They enjoyed the aquarium, science displays, programs, tours of our research vessels and more.Organizing this event is my responsibility. It has become increasingly difficult and stressful in recent years. More and more “volunteers” have opted out of the project, thus increasing the burden on those of us who are left. I frankly admitted that I did not perform as well in marketing the event as I might have because I was distracted by other issues that someone else had handled in previous years. We definitely need to make some structural changes before next year’s event.

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The Gators dropped their third in a row Saturday night. It will be interesting to see just how good our coaching staff can do their job. With an off week this weekend, they have two weeks to regroup the team and get them on the right path. Do they continue in a death spiral, or can they pull them out and salvage the season? The second half of the season will be interesting.

Looking at a busy week

I’m sitting here by the pool, getting mentally ready for the coming week. It’s going to be a busy one. I’ll have two late nights with our lecture series, my CCD class on Wednesday and an out-of-town trip thrown into the mix. The week ends with our annual big-deal open house, which is my responsibility. By this time next Saturday, I’ll be a zombie.

The Gators dropped their second in a row last night, this one to Les Miles and LSU. The key play was a fake LSU field goal that got them a first down on their game winning drive. It was the same play they used to beat us in 2007. You’d think we would learn. Oh well. Maybe Urban will send those orange jerseys back to storage where they belong.

This is the first weekend we have been home in so long, I don’t remember. I slept late on Saturday, but then spent the rest of the day doing much-needed yard work. Mow, edge, poop patrol, clean pool, etc. I started at 1130 am and ran out of steam around 430 pm.  Sunday was church, lunch with Mrs. P, four loads of laundry, check book, bills, and so on.

Not  a real exciting weekend, but a good kind of quiet that we really needed.

I think my  last load of laundry is ready to be switched over. On to Monday!

College football arrives and a couple of good books

College football is finally here. Yea!

My Gators won today, but their offense was so inept they were embarrassing. I think Urban has his work cut out for him this week. Meanwhile…

I finished two decent books lately, and am reading another.

The last real book I read was “The Last Stand” by Nathaniel Philbrick. As you can probably tell by the title, it’s about George Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Philbrick does a very good job analyzing the week leading up to the battle and the climax on June 25, 1876.

He extracts information from both the “white” and the “Indian” side of the conflict, and presents a pretty decent hypothesis of what the last hour or two must have been like for the men of Custer’s battalion.

What amazed me were the deep seated issues and problems that were a long standing part of the 7th Cavalry Regiment. The low standards of training and leadership were eye opening. The jealousies and personal feuds among the regiments top officers combined with the nepotism and favoritism that were prevalent in the regiment  set the stage for a disaster before Custer saw his first Sioux . When you top that off with the incredible series of tactical blunders on the day of the battle, it’s no surprise how it turned out.

If you don’t like military history, this will probably bore you. However, if you are drawn to this kind of subject matter, this is a very good account of the battle.

I had a road-trip last week. I usually try to pick up an audio book to keep me alert and awake. For this trip, I picked up “Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World” by Vicki Myron. This is not a great piece of literature, but it is a cute story. You probably already know the story. A small town librarian (the author) rescues a tiny kitten from their overnight book drop on a freezing winter night. She names the kitten, “Dewey and raises him as a library cat. Dewey turns out to be a pretty cool cat who becomes the life of the library.

I currently share a residence with two cats, neither one of whom would meet Dewey’s standards of people-loving sociability. I just can’t imagine Sid the Tailless allowing himself to be carried around, upside down, by a toddler. I can’t imagine Berta the Timid allowing herself to be in the same room with a toddler.

So I appreciated the author’s story of her cat. Myron does a good job painting a portrait of an amazing pet.

Because the author was also Dewey’s owner for the 19 years of his life, I’ll forgive some of the over-the-top sentimentality and excessive anthropomorphism. The story is good but the cat-love can be a little annoying. All the same, it is an entertaining story, and worth the effort.

I’m currently reading “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis. I’ll give you a report when I’m finished.

The Urban flip-flop — degree of difficulty 5.0

The big news with Gator fans this weekend has been Urban Meyer’s flip flop. On Saturday, he announced he was retiring due to health reasons. On Sunday, he flopped back and changed it to an indefinite leave of absence.

My first thoughts are:  I hope his health issues turn out to be OK, and he returns for a long and successful career.  While  I’d hate to lose him as the UF coach,  a fatal heart attack or stroke isn’t worth it, not even for $4 M per year.

Many of the sports columnists are second guessing him, as they always do. That’s probably part of the stress he needs to escape. I really don’t see a major change in the now-famous flip-flop.

At first he said (paraphrased), “Hey, I need to get away from this for awhile to get my health and life back together.”

The University offered him another option, “Urban, we understand. You do what you need to do, but how about we leave the door open for you to come back if and when you are ready?”

Urban thought about it and went back to the University and said, “That’s a good idea. Let’s do it.”

That was extremely generous of AD Jeremy Foley, but I think it also shows the incredible level of respect and esteem in which the University holds Urban. The guy is one of THE, if not THE most successful college football coach of the last ten years. But when you look at how it developed, it’s not really that much of a change of mind.

Florida has an outstanding football program and they will be just fine. Next year is probably a reloading year no matter who is the head coach. If Urban can come back for the summer practice, that would be great. If he needs a few more months, that’s OK too. Obviously, such an open ended arrangement can’t last forever, and I don’t think either Foley or Meyer would let it.

All is good. When you are on top of the heap, you live in a glass house, and there are lots of people standing outside throwing stones. That’s life. It’s still better than being at the bottom of the pile and no one caring at all.

Go Gators!

Thanksgiving week

It hasn’t been the most exciting week, but here are a few updates.

Mrs. Poolman’s shrimp and grits turned out great! Being a “born and raised” Yankee, this is a dish that I should not be inclined to like. When I first heard about it, I thought it sounded disgusting.  At the time, I could tolerate grits, but wasn’t real excited about them. And shrimp in some sort of gravy on top of them just sounded gross.

Oh my, has my mind been changed. I had them a year or two ago at a restaurant and fell in love. Mrs. P’s dish is even better. She sauted the shrimp with some blackening spice and then made a spicy creamy sauce to go with it. The leftovers are dinner again tonight. As soon as I can get Mrs. P to write down the recipe, I’ll post it.

Our barrier island boony stomping expedition last week produced fruit today. Reporter Mary Landers wrote a nice article on the project and her editors put it on the front page of the Savannah Morning News. If you are interested, you can see it here.

Mrs. P and I are both off work through the weekend. No CCD class tomorrow night, so we’ll just be kicking back until heading down to Gainesville for the Gator season finale on Saturday.

We are staying home for Thanksgiving. We’ve managed to juggle schedules so that both our kids (Poolboy and Writer Princess), Son-in-Law and Poolboy’s GF will be able to join us for dinner. Some of our good friends, the W’s will also be here. Like us, they have no family in town, so we almost always do our holidays together.

We also keep an eye out for holiday “widows and orphans,” a practice Mrs. P and I have done since the early days of our marriage when we were moving around the country and never had family close. I know one nurse from Mrs P’s unit will be here. We might pick up another widow or orphan before it’s over.

Saturday’s Florida-FSU game should be a good one. FSU is a traditional rival. Also, it’s Senior Day, which means it’s the last home game for Tim Tebow and a pretty great group of seniors. When they introduce Tim T, the applause may register on the Richter Scale.

And finally, Gator fans can breath easy. Urban Meyer put the issue to rest; he is not going to leave UF to go to Notre Dame. I never thought he would, but the rumor persisted. He’s got a great thing going where he is. The grass isn’t always greener. As a matter of fact, in February in Indiana, it isn’t green at all. Ha!

We have much for which to give thanks. Life is great!

A tough call in Knoxville

SEC football fans are a-blog over the arrest late last week of three University of Tennessee football players on charges they tried to rob someone using a pellet gun.

NukeeseSome Florida fans are chortling in their beers over this development. One of the “three “Armed Amigos”, as some are calling them,  Nu’keese (aka: No Keys, or, he hopes, No Case) Richardson is a freshman receiver. He was a center of controversy last winter. Nu’keese was a Florida verbal commit who signed at the last minute with Tennessee. UT coach Lane Kiffen loudly held up (no pun intended) Nu’keese as an example of his recruiting prowess. And Nu’keese was the recruit Kiffen accused Urban Meyer of cheating to get to sign. Nu’keese is not an anonymous freshman.

I don’t  think the fans of any major football power should be laughing too hard. Remember, “those who live in glass houses…” Florida has had its share of problems. To anyone who is snickering, remember, you could be next.

It will be interesting to see how UT handles the issue. Unlike some, I won’t say “throw them out” before their case is ever ajudicated.  That’s too easy. You have to remember these are 18 year old dumb a__s. Would you throw out your own son if he got into trouble? You can’t just ignore it either.   The proper course should be well thought out.  What is best for the players and for justice? I don’t know what the exact right action is. I wonder if Coach Kiffen does. No matter what he chooses, he will be vilified by some group. It’s a no-win situation (kind of like quite a few UT football games this season. Ha!)  That’s why you get paid the big-bucks,  Lane.

Now that I’ve taken the high road, let’s get back down in the ditch for a while.

What do you say to a Tennessee football player when you see him in a suit and tie?

Would the defendant please rise?

The Gators are 10-0 and ranked #1 in the country. Life is good.

Later, Gators!

Big weekend coming up

Around our house, this coming weekend is one of the big ones of the year. It is like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, New Years in Time Square, or the opening of deer hunting season in Pennsylvania.  It is the Florida-Georgia weekend. In this part of the world, this is more then a football game. It is a social and cultural event. As should be obvious, we are big Florida fans, but we live here “behind enemy lines” in Georgia.

There is a lot of history here. My first Florida game was in 1971. For the next 19 years, Georgia pretty much dominated the series. Vince Dooley, Buck Belue, Hershal Walker and the like “schooled” the Gators on a fairly regular basis. In 1990 the field shifted. Steve Spurrier came to Florida and since then the Gators have one 16 of the last 19 games.

Fla Ga 2

In recent years, the rivalry has intensified somewhat. In 2007, a group of UGA players stormed the field to celebrate their first touchdown. UGA fans credit that incident for psyching the Bulldogs to win that game. Last year, Florida had the game won when Urban Meyer called two time-outs in the final minute of the game to prolong Georgia’s agony. Payback is hell.

I have noticed a significant change in attitude among UGA fans this year. For most of the 17 years we have lived in Georgia, the UGA fans have been delightfully obnoxious before the game. They have never lacked for overconfidence.

“This year you are going down! Down, down down!”

In all but a handful of years, those boasts and predictions turned into muttered excuses and threats of ritual sepaku as the actual game progressed. However, this year, Georgia fans are acting humble, actually sounding defeatist.

My Bulldog friend, Sean, told me last night, “For the first time in as long as I can remember, I don’t think we have any chance in this game.”

That worries me. I much prefer the obnoxious, in-your-face Bulldog, who later walks away from the game with his stubby little tail between his legs.

On the other hand, I am not cocky about the game at all. There are too many games in this series when the favored team is sent home embarrassed. The Gators are ranked #1 and are unbeaten, but they aren’t hitting on all cylinders. The Poolman isn’t making any grand predictions. Crow is not one of my favorite foods.

Meanwhile, at the Poolman’s house, this has become one of our major party weekends of the year. We used to have tickets to the game, but lost our priority about ten years ago under circumstances too complicated to explain. So instead, Mrs. Poolman’s family comes to Savannah for a “house party.”  They are joined by a bunch of our friends, friends of friends, children’s friends, friends’ children, etc.

We’ll set up at least three TVs, inside and out. (Here is praying the prediction of dry weather continues to hold.)  The group is a good mixture of fans of both teams, and a ton of food and drink. Typically the Florida fans are in the family room and the Georgia fans out in the courtyard. The casual fans set up “beer pong” on the basketball court.  Mrs. Poolman is much more ecumenical than she has any need to be. She buys red and black napkins and paper plates to go along with the orange and blue.

This should be an interesting weekend. Go Gators!

Iconic Wardrobe

There are many football fans in this part of the country who hate the Gators.  “Smug and arrogant” were the charges when Stevie-Boy Spurrier was the “head ball coach.” Since then the love hasn’t gotten any stronger.  Things like this ESPN promo might have something to do with it.

Subtle… I like that. My Georgia-fan friends are going to love it. Ha!