It was long thought that there was a… what’s the word I’m looking for… lackadaisical atmosphere around and in the Florida locker room during the Ron Zook Era.
And by “lackadaisical”, we mean “certain players could go apesh-t within the friendly confines of the program Sunday through Friday and still play on Saturday”.
In talking about the recent locker room “horseplay” at Miami of Florida, current Gators head coach Urban Meyer stepped onto his soapbox, cocked his verbal shotgun, and fired off some not-so-thinly-veiled blasts at the previous regime, and what the culture was like when he came to Gainesville.
And by “not-so-thinly-veiled blasts”, we mean “Urban just ripped somebody a new one, sewed it back up, then ripped them a new one again, then urinated on the area while simultaneously directing a front-end loader full of Epsom to drop its load in the same area.”
In particular, Meyer rightfully railed against the treatment of freshman by the upperclassmen. And we’ll let Meyer take it from here, courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel…
“This is a big-time college football program, and we had fights and stuff because they’d treat the freshmen like they were non people – ‘Don’t walk through here, we’ll kick your tail, we’ll shave your eyebrows’. It took us awhile to break this great culture we had here. That was tremendous [/sarcasm].
“You don’t win many games, but you feed off freshman and shaved eyebrows…Unbelievable. Now I have a freshman who’s really going through some hard times, and he says – stood up in front of the team, tears falling down his eyes — he said I really want to thank the older guys for taking care of me.
“It’s called a team, not some silly nonsense. That was five years ago, let’s go beat up freshmen. Let’s get our brains kicked in against our rival, but let’s go beat up a freshman.”
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2002-2004 Florida Gators!
I think the people in and around Champaign just threw up in their mouths a little bit.
This was a direct and serious indictment of Zook and the lack of control he had over his players, and it will be interesting to see if the current Illinois head coach has any public response to Meyer’s very public comments.
And how it plays out amongst Illini Nation.