Urban Meyer calls out Herman/Muschamp

Submitted by canzior on September 7th, 2017 at 7:56 AM



Urban Meyer took issue with Tom Herman this week after making a comment that seems to place blame on the fact that these aren't "his players." Meyer also mentioned Muschamp, as he was the coach hired after Meyer stepped down, and Muschamp had similar things to say.  Now in Herman's case, he is replacing another Urban Meyer disciple in Charlie Strong who was a Florida DC for 4 years. 

His point is, once you sign the contract, and take over the team....they are YOUR guys.  I agree with this sentiment, and it seems like a built in excuse for new coaches. I can't help but think that Harbaugh agrees with Meyer on this one. 


EDIT: How many coaches in the last 20 years have won a NC in the first 4 years with their new team? Carr, Tressel, Saban, Miles, Meyer, Stoops, Fisher...not sure how long Dabo has been at Clemson. You HAVE to win with "inherited" players.



September 7th, 2017 at 7:59 AM ^

Your last sentence is exactly right. I remember in 2015, some reporters asked Harbaugh about building for the future and he said "I want to win now!" Or I'm coaching to win now, something like that. Either way, it's a totally different mentality than a lot of coaches. Like Brady Hoke, who claimed it takes 5 or 6 years to build a program.


September 7th, 2017 at 9:01 AM ^

What about Bunches of Funchess? Could you imagine the way Harbaugh would like him shaded off an OT or in the slot ... Would have been GAME OVER for any LB, safety, or nickel corner. He would have gotten vertical over the top and hit with slants. We really wasted his skill set.


September 7th, 2017 at 4:33 PM ^

Yes great coaches will coach great. BUT if you inherit a team with zero talent or a team that focused on spread run and gun and you play power football, that's a bit different. Hoke at least recruited power footballish athletes and it hit Harbaugh's style and meshed pretty well. The difference in RR-Hoke and Hoke-Harbaugh...RR recruited and played a speed/run and gun system and Hoke had some good athletes when he took over and they were well coached to a point. As HIS classes came in he did NOT coach them very well, and progressively won fewer and fewer games. Harbaugh turned that around. Nothing is an absolute, it's not a matter of Harbaugh could walk into Indiana and suddenly compete for a national title. We will see how things go at Minnesota. With a new coach who proved himself at the MAC level how does he perfom in a climate of a mid to lower tier B1G program that has off and on 'success'. HE SHOULD have better talent than he had at Western, but it may not be that simple.

Space Coyote

September 7th, 2017 at 8:17 AM ^

The truth here is somewhere in the middle, here. It's somewhat easy for Meyer to say because he came into programs overflowing with talent. But talent alone doesn't make you good in year one. It takes getting players to buy in, it takes teaching fundamentals and techniques properly (something a lot of fired coaches failed to do). So Herman also has a point, he wasn't going to come in year one and win a national championship. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

That said, Meyer is absolutely correct when he says "As soon as you sign on the dotted lines, those are your guys." Those are the players you have, you don't have a choice. You picked them when you signed the contract and you have to play with those guys and win or lose with those guys, that's a fact. And you can have a lot of success with those guys, both Meyer and Harbaugh and Hoke know about that.

But to build a full fledged program does take time. Hoke failed to build his program, but that just goes to show that a program isn't built in one year. You build a culture, a culture that's curated and refined through practice, in-season, off-season, behind closed doors, in the weight room, etc. It's built by study habits and the leadership above you. It's built on an attitude. It's built on how you game plan and approach each game and on goals. And you can optimize the shape of your team over multiple recruiting classes. So there is transition between staffs to build the program a coach wants to build. That doesn't mean the guys you put out on the field year one aren't your guys. You may not have recruited them, they may not be your optimal fit, but you win or lose with them and you get credit for the success or you're out the door if you lose. You have to optimize the talent you have when you have it, either way, and get your program headed in the direction you want it as a program, not just through recruiting, but with what you do with those guys already on the team.

Space Coyote

September 7th, 2017 at 8:26 AM ^

I don't think saying it takes 5 or 6 years to build a program should lower expectations. Each class that goes through the program, whether you recruited them or not, is a part of building that program and taking it where it needs to get to. The expectations are still to win. The expectations are still for the position (if people want to get mad at that quote again). But to instill it into the fabric of the program just takes time.

It's like taking reps with a golf swing. After 5 or 6 years of swinging a golf club the right way every day, you expect to be better and be more consistent and understand the habits it requires to be great. You don't necessarily see that year one or year two. If you take a week off in year one or year two, you see an impact from taking that time off. Reality is it takes time to build the golf game you want to have. But you have to practice the right way in year one, year two, and work to execute at a high level in year one and year two, if you expect the pay off to be there in year 5 and 6. But year one is just as important if not more important than year 5.

And that's the best thing Harbaugh has been able to do. He hasn't always won big in year one. Sometimes the talent and where the program was didn't allow for it. But they were still his players and he got them to change the culture so that his programs could be built.


September 7th, 2017 at 8:43 AM ^

I agree that it takes a while to build a 'program'.  But the way Herman said it - the reason Meyer spoke up - was that he can't win right away with the players he has.  Perhaps he used a poor choice of words?  He hasn't said anything to clarify what he meant, let alone apologize for saying something stoopid.

Also, you don't come in and change a culture.  You do things differently, over time, and the established culture begins to change.  It may take several years for the changes to become a different culture - the culture you want for your program.


September 8th, 2017 at 5:38 PM ^

I'm not reading into it incorrectly. Any coach should walk in and say, "I expect to win now," period. A coach saying that it takes five or six years to build a program is telling his current players that his expectation is that they will not succeed to the level of his future teams.

I don't care if everybody within a hundred miles of a program is thinking it, the last person who should ever say something like that before playing a single game is the head coach, especially at a place like Michigan. It's a losing attitude.

Chris S

September 7th, 2017 at 9:59 AM ^

I'm with you Space Coyote. Somewhere in the middle is probably where reality is. Thinking about situations like Charlie Strong at Texas and Rich Rodriguez here, sometimes it might really take 5 or 6 years if the new regime is the exact opposite of the previous one. Miles to Saban, Urban to Zook, Carr to Moeller - those are not too radical of changes, at least from my perspective.

On the outside, Texas seemed pretty well suited for Tom Herman to take over.


September 7th, 2017 at 10:24 AM ^

This.  Don't understand why people see these issues as black and white.  Is it that hard to accept that BOTH coach competence and player competence are factors that dictate the end result?

If Urban takes a job at Eastern Michigan and takes them to the national championship in Year 1, maybe then I'll buy into the argument that the coach has no one to blame but himself.


September 7th, 2017 at 1:33 PM ^

For Tom Herman to say that the current players "aren't his guys" is really ignorant.  While the statement may be true, you can't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.  You need the current players to buy in while looking to get better through recruiting.  Letting that get out undermines trust and the buy in, especially at a critical junction in the program building process.  This is why running power houses is a different game than success on smaller scales.  Being a PR guy at U of M, Ohio State or Texas is vital because you're under the microscope.  When you turn a small program around, success of any kind is emphasized while failures are excused or dismissed more.  When you are at a bigger program, you are judged by the losses and even winning is minimized if the perception is you aren't winning "the right way."  Will be interesting to see how Herman does from here on.  It should also be noted that while Harbaugh has left programs, they are better off after he leaves, unlike other coaches........


September 7th, 2017 at 8:04 AM ^

"Those are your players. I hear TV guys [say], 'Wait until they get their own players in there.' They're our players. What do you mean 'their players?' The minute you sign a contract, they're your players.
"I've advised my coaches when they take new positions [to] always be extremely complimentary. Never talk as if those players aren't your players," he explained. "... When I hear coaches say, 'These aren't my guys. Wait 'til we get some guys in here,' I cringe. Whose guys do you think they are?"
Those are solid quotes by Meyer.
We don't like him because of who he coaches for, but Meyer is an outstanding coach.



September 7th, 2017 at 8:31 AM ^

The problem with Meyer's self-congratulatory backpatting is that it is based on the strawman argument on his part that Herman and Muschamp actually claimed that the players on their teams when they arrived were "not their players."  Meyer just made that up so he could preach about how morally superior he is.  Neither coach said anything of the sort.

Just another reason to hate that hypocritical scumbag (who can coach, it is true, if that makes his character any less reprehensible in someone's eyes).


September 7th, 2017 at 8:38 AM ^

I agree completely. It is also not unfair for analysts to point out that a team should improve as a coach brings in players that fit his system.  Obviously, Rich Rod's offense was going to be more fully operation with Denard at quarterback than Threet or Sheridan.  While I agree with Meyer that a coach should not bring this up and use this as an excuse, there is no reason why analysts should ignore it.