If you were paying much attention to the internet yesterday you probably heard something about a recent Sporting News expose by Matt Hayse which unearths a lot of dirt on the fall of Florida under Urban Meyer. It is a fairly stereotypical story of a coach giving too much ground to players and the program going to hell because of it. There is copious drug use, physical altercations between players and assistants, and a chosen group of players who received special treatment. There is even a story detailing Meyer's own admission of this disturbing culture to a recent recruit he was trying to draw away from Gainesville to Columbus. It is an easy thing to read and become outraged at or vindicated by depending on where you stood on Meyer before you started reading.
But is there all that much substance there? Ty Duffy from The Big Lead isn't sure what to think. He points out that some of the most damning quotes are made anonymously, and it is easy to see others steeped in bias after Meyer left the program so abruptly. Furthermore, the rampant marijuana use is only really consequential if you still live in a fantasy world where its use isn't widespread on college campuses and among athletes.
The most troubling part of this for Florida fans --- and now Ohio State fans --- is the culture of entitlement that Meyer is supposed to have created, which led to players dictating workouts (Percy Harvin was said to have demanded a change in an offseason conditioning workout and got it the next day), skirting punishment (star players sitting out games because of injury when the real reason was suspension), and the rift it formed. But how to gauge Meyer's role? Quoth Duffy:
Meyer’s motives aren’t clear, thus, we can’t really project how this affects his tenure at Ohio State. A foul climate at Florida developed. Some of Meyer’s actions contributed to it. What we don’t know is if he did this deliberately, if he made mistakes or if he did things he thought were wrong to succeed. Is this something hard-wired and essential to his success or something Meyer can and wants to do differently?
Of course, Duffy isn't the only one to respond with a raised eyebrow. Spencer Hall, everybody:
"He made me swear allegiance to Karnon, a pagan idol he constructed out of stolen diapers and wine bottles. I just wanted to do whatever it would take to keep him from hurting my family," one commit may have relayed to Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema in a dream just before he totally hooked up with 1994 Jennifer Aniston then woke from the sound of his own fart. "As more of a Courtney Cox guy, I don't have a say in the subconscious decisions of any man," Meyer might've said on a FRIENDS fan fiction Usenet group had he ever been in to that sort of thing.
"I just felt like I could develop more, and me coming back to this team next year, we have a great shot to compete for another Big Ten championship and to compete for a national championship," Burke said hours after announcing his intention to return to Michigan for his sophomore season. "I feel like we have unfinished business."
WOOT! Burke is back. Unfinished business! National championship!
I'll refer everyone who thinks this is a top five team to the last team that was ranked in the top-25 and only really lost two senior captains. That was the 2009-10 team that lost David Merritt and CJ Lee, and that team went on to win less than half of its games. I'm not saying that is in the cards, but don't underestimate the losses of Novak and Douglass while simultaneously dubbing the three freshmen as immediate stars.
One thing Heininger had going for him that Black does not, however, is size. He made the switch at 6-foot-6, 295 pounds. Black played last season at just 6-foot-2, 260 pounds. He already has started to pack on the pounds for the move. He's up to 270 this spring, and hopes to add 10 more before fall.
Remember this paragraph for a second.
Let me reiterate: these guys are enormous. From left to right, this is what our front 7 will be looking at: 6'6'' 311, 6'3'' 320, 6'5'' 302, 6'3'' 303, 6'6'' 335. Forget about the defense, this is going to be the most dominant unit of the 2012 Alabama football team. This line is so mammoth that it can inspire headlines as ridiculous as "Is that big offensive line too big?"
Size is going to be a major factor along the defensive line this year. Either Michigan is able to overcome it and play very well because the undersized front plays with great technique (the only thing that can negate a size disadvantage when talent is competition is relatively equal) or we see a drop in the effectiveness of Michigan's run defense.
In the police report, Petrino claims that he was blinded by the setting sun (it was 6:30ish when all of this went down) and that is what caused him to veer from the road, lose control of the bike, and crash it into the above featured pile of sticks and whatnot. This a convenient explanation for all of this. This is an explanation that seems totally plausible given the fact that the police report explains that he was traveling west in the westbound lane, and thus one would assume that the sun might be in one’s eyes at that time of day.
The splendid SEC blog Friends of the Program does a little investigating of its own and pokes holes in Petrino's story of the crash. This whole thing is getting weirder and weirder.
Curious, I joined the crowds and soon recognized a khaki-clad Mike Wallace. Mike was seizing the moment to interview those at the scene to report back to "60 Minutes." He was taking the "emotional temperature" of those who’d been witness to and traumatized by this tragedy for his later analysis of the impact this event would have on Israel’s future.
This is a bit late, but no less heartfelt: RIP Mike Wallace, you were a great example of just what a Michigan man should be. You will be missed.
Bonus after the jump, Brock Mealer walks without crutches.