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Post Richt and Meyer illustrate how to disagree with the media

Thursday March 25, 2010

Last week, Mark Richt, somewhat surprisingly, made it a point to respond to an AJC blog post that was critical of the philosophy behind using Logan Gray to field punts in certain situations. No wriggle room here – this was a direct criticism of the head coach.

Though the absence of the author during Richt’s response made a personal confrontation impossible, Richt still focused on the specific disagreement and countered by taking a few minutes to explain his position. Though there’s still quite strong disagreement on the use of Gray as a returner, the tone from author and coach has remained respectful and professional, and we all held hands and sang while the sun set.

At the time, Blutarsky wrote (quite presciently, as it turns out), “First off, kudos to Richt for responding – and responding in a respectful way. I can think of several of his peers (as well as countless anonymous bloggers/commenters) who wouldn’t have been nearly so decent about that.”

It didn’t take long for one of Richt’s peers to prove the Senator right. Urban Meyer’s confrontation with Jeremy Fowler bordered on threatening and intimidating, and it’s being pretty universally condemned today.

The point isn’t that Meyer is an awful human being or that a reporter is beyond reproach. We all know Meyer is an intense man with fierce loyalty. The thing is that Meyer went off about a piece that was actually somewhat positive about Deonte Thompson. I’m still trying to figure out whom Meyer is defending.

Let’s look at the piece that has Meyer so upset. Thompson, through Fowler, described a Florida offense that involved a lot of scrambling with improvised passing. And, as Fowler points out, nearly half of those passes went to just two favorite targets – Cooper and Hernandez. Nothing about that was vicious or really all that inaccurate. Thompson felt that he might be more productive with a quarterback that relied more on timing and rhythm. Fine.

The use of the term “real quarterback” of course is at the center of this whole blowup. As Chris Brown tweeted last night, this would have been a non-story had Thompson used a label like “traditional” or “dropback” instead to describe Brantley. Thompson wasn’t wrong or even malicious and just hoped a few more passes would come his way with a different type of quarterback.

Fowler even ends his short piece with a supporting and positive quote from Thompson’s new position coach. If Meyer is taking issue with an article that claims that Thompson hasn’t lived up to his billing yet, he also has an issue with Zach Azzanni. Fowler also adds a quote from Azzanni about Thompson’s humility and eagerness to be coached.

There was only one person who could come away from Fowler’s original piece in a less-than-positive light, and that’s the guy who is, by implication, not the “real quarterback.” Chris Low has it right (h/t GTP). When Meyer threatened, “If that was my son, we’d be going at it right now,” did he mean Tebow?

5 Responses to 'Richt and Meyer illustrate how to disagree with the media'

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  • Yes.

  • Nobody talks about Tebow around CUM and lives to write again. If I was the editor of the Orlando paper I would be on the phone with the administration demanding an apology for the out and out threat to a member of the press.

  • Urban Meyer should, in fact, be careful. His team’s current standing as sweethearts of the college football media is already on thin ice with the network darling GPOOE leaving. Continuing to threaten members of the media won’t do much to help keep them on that throne.

  • Urban was protecting “his boy”, Tebow, not even a current player. That’s what makes this so sad and bizarre.

    Hey, if Urban loses his mind and starts talking to trees, I’m fine with it.

    Go Dawgs!

  • I’m Urban and I’m 14. I mean 40. I’m a man!!