FOUR BITS: Meyer, Merklein, Harvin, Miami

1 » Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer sat down for a question-and-answer session with CBSSports.com’s Jeremy Fowler (believe it or not) that was published on Friday. In the piece, he mentions the Florida Gators on a few occasions, the highlights of which are below. Check out the other topics by clicking here.

On why ‘no question’ he would still be at Florida if health issues never surfaced
“I realized not too long after [around February 2011]. I called Jeremy [Foley] and said, ‘I made a mistake.’ Once I felt like everything was under control, it was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what did I do?’ I just told Jeremy as a friend in conversation. The talk was more about one day getting back into it. He was very supportive. Then I started at ESPN and had a ball with that, but is that enough? Is that what I was called to do? I planned to take more than a year [off] though.”

On regrets for the way his Florida tenure ended
“I didn’t at first. I thought we did a good job. We did our best. I look back now, the way it ended was certainly a regret. Does that mean it haunts me? Not at all. I’ve always felt our job is to do a good job and do it the right way, do it ethically and for the best interest of the student-athlete — check, check, check. I’ll always be associated with the school, and my great friends are there and all that. Absolutely none with that. It just wasn’t a normal way to move on. There would have been if I would have stayed out. I was worried about survival for a little bit.”

2 » Florida brought back a huge name in Gators tennis on Friday when the school announced that Mark Merklein has returned to the program as an assistant coach with the men’s team. Merklein, a two-time national champion (doubles in 1993, singles in 1994) and the 1994 SEC Player of the Year, earned four All-American nominations and three All-SEC nods while at Florida and was inducted into the UF Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005. Considered by many to be the best men’s tennis player in school history, Merklein wound up competing as a professional for 12 years and even serving as a volunteer assistant for the Gators from 1998-2002 while he was on the tour. He was the head coach of the USTA Player Development Center for six seasons (2006-11) before being hired by Michigan as an assistant coach for the past two years (2012-13). “When I left I even said to everyone, including Mr. [Jeremy] Foley, that it was a goal of mine to one day come back and coach and win national championships,” Merklein said in a school release. “I’ve said it so much now, it’s time to actually do it and put the work in. I’m excited to do that alongside [head coach Bryan Shelton].”

3 » Wide receiver Percy Harvin has only been employed by the Seattle Seahawks for a few weeks now, but he is already turning heads at the team’s facility. According to The Seattle Times, Harvin’s teammates and coaches have already begun taking notice, and second-year quarterback Russell Wilson is ecstatic about the potential of Seattle’s offense this season. “His talent level is unbelievable, off the charts,” said Wilson of Harvin. “He brings an explosive mentality to the game, which a lot of our guys already have. But to have him is truly tremendous. He’s a guy that’s been one of the best football players in the National Football League for the past several years.” Harvin also told the paper that he expect to play some running back on occasion and will likely be back for kickoff returns.

4 » ESPN’s decision to kick-off Florida second football game of the season, on the road against the Miami Hurricanes, at noon has caused quite a stir amongst fans over the past 24 hours. The Gators and Hurricanes will square off on Sept. 7 in Miami Gardens, FL at Sun Life Stadium in a game which everyone involved assumed would be played at night, likely at 8 p.m. Instead, Florida-Miami will take place under the extreme heat of the South Florida sun with kickoff just after noon, earlier than any UF-UM game has been played since at least 1987. The Miami Herald’s Manny Navarro did some digging to learn why ESPN chose that time slot.

According to the network, ABC will be airing a NASCAR race at 8 p.m. while ESPN is broadcasting Notre Dame-Michigan. The 3:30 p.m. slot on ABC will be used for regional games (those in Florida will see Oregon at Virginia). Hurricanes AD Blake James apparently tweeted that Miami “requested and lobbied” for the 8 p.m. slot, while ESPN spokesman Mike Humes pointed out that the network values its noon window. “We average probably around three million viewers for that time slot. So it wasn’t like, ‘Let’s put the worst game on at noon.’ The noon window does really well with fans,” he said. “We view this as a great matchup. Scheduling games is like putting together different puzzles with different time zones and commitments, and this was the best window.”

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9 Responses to “FOUR BITS: Meyer, Merklein, Harvin, Miami”

  1. Michael Jones says:

    So when they’re “putting together different puzzles with different time zones and commitments,” I wonder where the “player safety” piece fits in. It’s still May and I can hardly stand to walk to my car at 3:30 p.m. Can’t imagine putting on all that gear and playing a football game at noon, in Miami, in early September.

  2. Gator in Miami says:

    What’s the best way to get tickets for the Miami Florida game?

  3. Oldflyer says:

    I wish UF & UM would tell ESPN to shove it and play at 8PM. Maybe someone would be interested in broadcasting the game.

    The time must come when schools, conferences, fans stand up to the TV Gestapo.

  4. caligator says:

    Just canceled the trip to the tropics on Sept.7 (was hoping for a sunset MAULING). HOG for lunch in da Swamp on 10/5–mo’ betta! As always…SUCKS TO BE U !!!!!!!!!
    GO GATORS

  5. Gatorgrad79 says:

    “We care about our players safety” BULLSH__, Jeremy Foley! Any noon game in this heat is putting all the players at risk! Let espn televise a noon game from the Big 12, oh wait they are basically a crap conference except for 2 teams, so whogas?! Grow a pair UF and say NO!!!

  6. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Does anyone really believe anything urban liar says…? “he feels bad about the way it happened”. Bull – he feels bad that he may not have shiny legacy….

  7. MAR says:

    I believe him. I don’t think he intended to leave UF the way he did. UF was good to him, and he was good to UF. Without him, no Tebow, no Harvin, and no titles. I’m glad we had Urban in his prime, and I am glad he is gone. I think he lost his passion and needed a break. Uf got 5 years of amazing recruiting and coaching from him that will always be in the record books. I thank him, and I hope he never enjoys the same success again. When he is retired and in his lazy boy, may the best trophies on his shelf be from his days at UF. His best trophy will be from the demolition of the team he now coaches. 41-14! Go Gators!

    • Michael Jones says:

      I think you make some good points and I agree with a lot of it, but I don’t think we got 5 years of amazing coaching and recruiting. I think we got 4. That last year was pretty bad and he and Adazzio undercoached a lot of talent. That was one of the worst, most unimaginative offenses I’ve ever seen. Those two guys just rolled the ball out there and hoped Tebow left and Tebow right–with everyone in the stadium knowing it was coming–would win a championship. It was painful to watch and Tim took a heck of a beating.

      Lesson learned: when a guy says that he’s burned out, believe him. Talking him into coming back turned out to be a bad move.

      I think we’ve got the right guy now, though. Time will tell.

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