Florida's Urban Meyer over on GVX talks about managing expectations as the Gators refuse to publicly crow about "repeat" and "dynasty". Ah, what a humble bunch.
Apparently the players didn't get the message before the SEC Media Days:
“With the team we have right now, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t (repeat),” cornerback Joe Haden said. “If we just play the best we can play, it’s going to be a reality. We can win three national championships in four years. Our team will go down in history. ... You can’t forget a team like that.”
Just as I was about to reach for the Pepcid AC because of a little acid reflux (baby barf joke for those in Alabama), I came across this little gem.
Three years ago, just across campus, Donovan faced a challenge similar to Meyer’s. Donovan essentially returned his entire national championship team, and his top priority was keeping Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Corey Brewer and their teammates motivated and playing on edge.
Meyer used to sneak into the basketball locker room before, during and after games to get a feel for how Donovan handled the situation.
“I just thought the way he managed it, especially when they hit a little skid in the middle of the season, the way he pulled that team back together,” Meyer said. “I learned a lot. That was one of the best basketball teams of all time.”
Does anyone remember how many times "one of the best basketball teams of all time" beat the Vols? Uh, yes Bruce. That's correct, sir. Zero.
Anyone know who helped cause that little skid Meyer referred to? Uh, yes Bruce. That's correct, sir. You did.
Not saying the football Vols can do the same, but here's why there is room for hope. Bruce's Boys were undermanned but bought into his new system. They worked hard and left everything on the court. Florida's team was expected to win and couldn't, despite superior talent. Not just once, but twice that season. I know we are focused on fall practice and the season ahead but how about a tip of the cap to Bruce's Boys (Lofton, Smith, etc).
There are more than a few similarities on the football side. The Vols are far less talented, but there's a new system, a ton of hard work, and a charismatic and knowledgeable staff to lead the effort. Yeah, it's a long shot. But, maybe...