Meyer Blazing Coaching Trail

Urban Meyer

He came to Florida as a two-time National Coach of the Year. It didn't take long for Urban Meyer to make a bigger mark in the coaching community and bring his style and philosophies to the SEC and create even more of an aura than two awards can. Urban Meyer is the winningest active coach in all of college football, and is on his way to making sure he improves his mark.

Despite his awards in leading Utah to an undefeated season and first ever trip to a BCS Bowl game, Urban Meyer had a lot of doubters when he arrived in the SEC and with the Florida Gators. The questions about his offense and whether it would work in a speed conference like the SEC persisted from the day he was hired until even after he won his first national championship with the Gators.

A second national championship and Heisman Trophy winner on his watch have cured his critics and now Meyer and his Gators are on an all out assault on the record books. The SEC has been his stepping-stone so far in his five years.

With the win against South Carolina, Urban Meyer moved into first place on the list of the all-time winning percentages among SEC coaches in conference games (minimum five years). Just look at the names he has passed:

1. Urban Meyer, Florida .800 (32-8)
2. Robert Neyland, Tennessee .787 (62-15-5)
3. Frank Thomas, Alabama .765 (59-16-6)
4. Paul Bryant, Alabama-Kentucky .764 (159-46-9)
5. Nick Saban, Alabama-LSU .746 (50-17)

Meyer is tied with Alabama's Frank Thomas as the fastest coach to win 50 games; they both accomplished the feat in 59 games.

Meyer's Gators have owned the SEC in his first five years and it has even been better outside of the conference. Including his years as head coach at Utah and Bowling Green, Meyer has the highest winning percentage of any college coach with a minimum of five years.

1. Urban Meyer, Florida 93-17 (.845)
2. Pete Carroll, USC 95-18 (.841)
3. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma 115-28 (.804)
4. Mark Richt, Georgia 88-26 (.772)
5. Gary Patterson, TCU 83-27 (.755)

The truly amazing thing is that Meyer's teams are accomplishing these feats in a conference era that's produced three national champions and a good chance of a fourth.

As we head down the home stretch of the 2009 season, the Gators have to face three non-conference foes (FIU, FSU, and a bowl game opponent). So far, under Meyer the Gators have lost one total (Michigan) non-conference game in four years and in 10 games Meyer's Gators are an astounding 20-1 in non-conference play (including 3-1 in bowls). That includes wins against No. 1 teams Ohio State and Oklahoma. Florida has represented the conference well under Meyer's direction.

With these last four games remaining, the Gators head into the end of the season with all of the bravado of a No. 1 team that has dominated each of the polls that matter. They are also the statistical kings of the best football conference in the land that has won the last three BCS Championships.

With a date against No. 2 Alabama looming in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 5, Florida will take its defensive prowess into the game knowing it is tops in the SEC in pass efficiency defense, pass defense, passes intercepted, total defense, sacks, and second in rushing defense. Likewise on offense, the Gators lead the SEC in rushing offense, are second in pass efficiency, third in scoring offense, and third in total offense. They are also tops in the SEC in kickoff return average and a skyrocketing fourth in turnover margin (a category that was hindering them early in the season).

Meyer has found his way to sift through many distractions along his five-year tenure at Florida. This season may have had more distractions than any other. He and his Gators have just four more games to get through, if you just read above, you will realize the odds are he and his team will get through them just fine.

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