OT: Zook inteview his take on Florida/Meyer and retirement

Submitted by Wolverman on March 14th, 2012 at 3:34 PM

  Public perception and reality can be 2 different things. We all know Florida is a hot spot for college football talent and The University of Florida is one of the flagship universities  in the state. The perception of Urban Meyer being a great recruiter vs. the reality of

As the years roll by, Florida fans more and more seem to appreciate what Zook did for the program. Even though he didn’t even make it through three seasons, he recruited his tail off, restocked the cupboard and left Meyer the nucleus of a national-title team. Meyer, in turn, left successor Will Muschamp the nucleus of the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl team.

Will is a good guy and a good football coach,” Zook says. “You just have to give him a chance to recruit and get his people in there. The program is not where it should be from a talent standpoint.





March 14th, 2012 at 3:43 PM ^


Mike Bianchi is a first class idiot who hates Urban Meyer with the white hot heat of a thousand suns.

No need to "rewrite the book" on Zook.  He sucks.  End of book.


Sac Fly

March 14th, 2012 at 3:44 PM ^

It's a spoiled fanbase. Zook didn't have support from the fanbase from day 1, if anyone else remembers FireRonZook.com. Meyer won two National Championships in three seasons, went 8-5 and FireUrbanMeyer.com was created. It makes it extremely hard when your fans expect a championship every season.


March 14th, 2012 at 3:48 PM ^

I don't think it is his recruiting ability , I think it is his evaluating skills.  I think he relies almost exclusively on recruiting sites. Once he decides he wants someone, he's a closer.


March 14th, 2012 at 3:50 PM ^

Well, I hope Meyer's recruiting prowess is overrated and that his true colors will become apparent to high school coaches and recruits. 


March 14th, 2012 at 4:02 PM ^

It's hard to dispute that Meyer is a great coach. He left Florida a mess because he mentally checked out when he fake-retired in '09, but that was after winning 2 NC's in his first 5 years. As much as I hate him, dude can coach.

Let's hope that his new found ability to balance work and family errs on the side of the latter and that he half-asses his way along at Ohio the way he did at Florida in '10. 


March 14th, 2012 at 4:29 PM ^

 Meyer is an innovative head coach for sure. I have to believe a lot of his success has to be attributed to his scheme. There has always been team who use a different scheme to make up for lack of talent and become succesful. Schools used variations of the option even today and still confuse college defenses. The spread has become more popular in the last 10-15 years for such teams.

 Something different if executed properly is usually effective even in the NFL ( Dolphins wildcat package in 08) but the coaching is so much better and the talent so much higher , it won't remain succesful for long ( Dolphins wildcat package in 09). The top tier college defensive coordinators won't be fooled for long either ( previously undefeated Florida beat down 34-13 by alabama in the SeC championship game in 09?)

 Urban won his first NCG playing a majority or Zook's recruits in 06 and in 08 senior starters would have still been Ron Zook recruits ( granted Tebow and Harvin where large parts of the offense and Meyer recruits) so his observation of talent as far as recruiting goes is still suspect. I'm basing that on the state of Florida football as of today where the "cupboard is empty" in one of the most talent rich states for football.

 If meyer loses to Hoke 2 years in a row he'll retire again.


March 14th, 2012 at 3:49 PM ^

No one denies that Zook was a great recruiter. But to even the most casual football fan, Zook's playcalling and decisionmaking were bizarre at times and downright stupid at others. He was great at scouting and evaluating talent, his players loved him, and he seemed like a decent guy, but it didn't seem like his football IQ was all that high.

R Kelly

March 14th, 2012 at 3:57 PM ^

"Zook has a state-of-the-art computer system on order that will allow him to watch high-def football video in the confines of his own home."


I didn't realize they don't have HDTV's in Florida yet.


March 14th, 2012 at 7:30 PM ^

The so-called "gentlemen's agreement" was BS when Joe Tiller accused Rich Rod of violating it, and it was BS when Bielema/Dantonio accused Meyer of violating it. There is not, nor has there ever been, a gentlemen's agreement between Big Ten coaches about not recruiting each other's commits. I chalk that up to sour grapes more than anything else. 

But the lies he's left in the midst of his incessant job-hopping are real. When he was at Bowling Green, he gave an interview in which he blasted the rumors that he was planning on leaving and made some pretty definitive statements about his commitment to building a strong program at BGSU (wish I could find the link). He left to take the Utah job three days later. And yeah, at Florida he routinely talked about how he wanted to be a Gator for the rest of his life. Dude is a snake.  


March 14th, 2012 at 4:42 PM ^

Favorite excerpt from the Florida article, "And this is why UF fans should feel betrayed today: Because Meyer took over a program from Ron Zook that was national championship-ready and left a program that is barely Beef O'Brady's Bowl-eligible. And, worse, he was disingenuous about why he left UF … just like when left Utah to take the Florida job.

Just for fun, I went back to see what the columnists were writing when Meyer departed Utah. Amazingly, it's almost identical to what some of us have been saying for months about Meyer's penchant for not telling the truth.

Here's an excerpt from a column written by Salt Lake Tribune columnist Gordon Monson after Meyer announced he was leaving Utah for Florida:

"The problem with Urban Meyer is, unless you know the real inside scoop, it's hard to tell when he's lying.

Maybe it's only when he's moving his lips."


March 14th, 2012 at 5:39 PM ^

As many Zook jokes as we have made here, I actually do appreciate the fact that he is willing to reach  into the past and an unsettling part of his resume to help out Will Muschamp with the ins and outs of Florida. To what extent he could help other than as an informal advisor, I am not certain, but it is a generous offer given how he was treated by the fans and  the school.

He did bring talent into that program after the Spurrier years and, while not a great coach on many levels (admittedly, to me, he is still the man who punts when you least expect it), he did make a decent face for the program and with the right staff and a more hands-off  approach (i.e., letting the coordinators make the calls), he might have even taken Florida somewhere, but the famous impatience of that fanbase likely did doom Zook by itself, never mind the "WTF?" calls.

 If nothing else, he has a sense of humor about being the first head coach with a site devoted to his canning. 



March 14th, 2012 at 6:08 PM ^

Zook had a few talent issues at Florida, but the bottom line is that he had plenty of time to show his coaching ability at Illinois, and still didn't really do much.  Zook is a great coach in every way except being able to handle the top job at a major school and win.  He's a great assistant, a great recruiter, and even his staunchest detractors see him as a top-notch human being who truly cares about his student-athletes.  

That's all fine and dandy, but it doesn't make him a great head coach, and I truly doubt that Florida would have won any national "championships" if he had stayed. He nas made enough as a coach to live comfortably the rest of his life if he wishes.  Maybe he should do just that.

Born Blue

March 14th, 2012 at 11:40 PM ^

I most definitely will!!

On another note, I did my graduate work at UF, the inside word on Zook v Meyer...Zook could recruit 'em, but didn't know what to do with them, Meyer needed help to recruit 'em, insert Mattison here, but once he got 'em, he knew what to do with 'em.  UF began to fizzle once the main recruiters had left town...hence the cupboard being bare.  Honestly, and now just my opinion, the talent level at FSU had NOT yet caught up with UF, and yet they, UF, still lost before Meyer left/retired.  Don't get me started on the bizarre arangement after Meyer's retirement...WOW!!  Beyond surreal!!

Blue in Yarmouth

March 15th, 2012 at 8:11 AM ^

I wonder if, in all of this studying of football, he has figured out when he should/shouldn't punt?

In all seriousness though, he has always seemed like a nice guy who isn't cut out to be a head coach. 

Whether this guy is a Meyer hater or not, nothing in the article seems off base. Meyer did win with his recruits and made a mess of a school that is in one of the most talent rich states in the country. He has also lied through his teeth on several occasions to anyone who will listen. Other than the fact that Zook thinks he might have had a shot at a NC if he had stayed I don't see anything in this article that doesn't ring true to me.

Dilla Nevada

March 15th, 2012 at 3:02 PM ^

Living in SEC country for a long time, i can tell you the viewpoint was Meyer was NEVER a coach ..yeah he won, but he won off the strength of of talent basis (which lends credence to his job hopping)...........if it wasn't for Tebow, they wouldn't had won at all...and there more BS calsl that went for Tebow and Co (living in Mississippi at the time and going for Miss. St. , I can attest)....if there was no Tebow or the defense that Zook recruited...Richt, SABan, Nutt would had outcoached Meyer to death, Spurrier too ....Also he got lucky that Shannon was at Miami...if you had a even better coach at Miami, that recruiting based would been locked off from UF .......