Florida Gators: The Urban Meyer-Era Effect Has Reared Its Ugly Head

By Camille Woodhouse
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Urban Meyer era was an interesting period of time for the Florida Gators. Under Meyer’s leadership, the Gators won two national titles, one in 2006 and another in 2008. During his time as Florida head coach, Meyer often turned the other cheek to the carelessness of his players. In fact, a lot of it was basically swept under the rug, sitting players out for “health reasons” when in actuality they had broken many of Florida’s rules and regulations. Several were even arrested, and on more than one occasion.

Former Gators Percy Harvin, Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Spikes were all key players at Florida during that time, and they were also the most trouble. All three players just couldn’t stop hanging around with their good friend “Mary Jane,” but the real problem was that they knew they could get away with it. Meyer acted like the failed drug tests didn’t even exist. Because they were Florida’s star players, their transgressions were simply overlooked.

Harvin, Hernandez and Spikes were known for being Meyer’s favorites and other players noticed they were almost always receiving preferential treatment. At one point during his time at Florida, Harvin supposedly physically attacked previous Florida wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales. Meyer would not even comment on the situation. He was totally nonchalant about the whole thing.

In 2009, Harvin took the term high draft pick way too literally when he failed the mandatory drug test prior to entering the NFL Draft. No surprise there. We all know Hernandez is currently an alleged murderer, and now former Gator Riley Cooper is deemed a racist after using a derogatory word at a Kenny Chesney concert, which he has publicly apologized for. Even Janoris Jenkins caused a little bit of trouble while under Meyer’s direction. He failed a drug test and was arrested for taking part in a bar fight.

In recent times, the Urban Meyer era has begun to rear its ugly head. Almost all aforementioned players, and then some, have been featured in the media for their unintelligent choices, Hernandez being the absolute worst of the lot. Granted, 100 percent of the blame cannot be placed on Meyer for the players’ decisions, but he most certainly didn’t help. That time was great in terms of actual football, but in terms of character? Not so much.

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