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Thursday, May 28, 2009

All's Fair in Football

In Florida, it's Urban Meyer's way or the highway. It's a sentiment Mark Richt understands, but he isn't taking things quite so seriously.

Meyer drew attention for critiquing former players at a recent fan club meeting, saying that if they were loyal to the Gators, they wouldn't publicly criticize anything the team does.

Meyer has the luxury of a national title to quell any potential criticism, but Richt found himself mired in it last season following ugly losses to rivals Alabama, Georgia Tech and Meyer's Gators. But whether it comes from fans or former players, Richt said he takes it all in stride.

"There's calls I made that I don't like," Richt said. "I look back and say, 'I wonder why I did that.' So it's not something I worry about."

Meyer's comments appeared to have been directed at former Florida quarterback Shane Matthews, who criticized the team on a radio show after it lost to Mississippi in September. At a Gator Club meeting, Meyer said any players who spoke out against the program would no longer be welcome in the team's football facilities.

"If you want to be critical of a player on our team or a coach on our team you can buy a ticket for seat 37F, you're not welcome back in the football office," Meyer said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. "You're either a Gator or you're not a Gator."

While Richt said he can't recall specific complaints from any former players, although a number of them work in media roles similar to Matthews and are routinely required to offer opinions on the team. Critiques of the team's performance last season, particularly that of defensive coordinator Willie Martinez, were wide ranging, and while Richt was quick to defend his players and coaches, he didn't directly attack his critics.

It comes with the territory as a head coach, Richt said, and while he would certainly prefer any former players come to him with complaints, he has no plans to rule with an iron fist.

"You would rather that your guys not do that," Richt said, "but if they had some kind of issue or something, you'd like them to just come and see me about it."

1 comment:

MikeInValdosta said...

Mark Richt and urban meyers are both white male football SEC football coaches, or corches depending upon the language you speak. That is the end of similarities.

corch has 2 MNCs and a Heisman winner. I will still take Richt.