GAINESVILLE, FL - APRIL 10: Head coach Urban Meyer of the Florida Gators talks with offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, R, during the Orange & Blue game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on April 10, 2010 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
I was in the Swamp for the Florida-LSU game last weekend, and it was loud. It was perhaps the loudest game I've been to there. There have been moments that were louder (most notably Jarvis Moss's block to secure the 2006 South Carolina game), but as far as continuous noise throughout a game, that one probably takes the cake.
So on that front, Florida fans deserve high marks.
However, during the Gators' drive that started with eight minutes to go while they were down by five, I couldn't believe my ears. The fans actually booed a couple of plays.
What in the world could these people have possibly been thinking? The team is attempting to make a game-winning drive, and they're booing the team? I know they were booing Steve Addazio and not the players, but c'mon. It was potentially a game winning drive and the boo birds came out.
I know this year's Florida offense is not the one anyone expected to see. It's not the one the coaches or players expected to see either. But to boo anything at such a critical juncture of the game is beyond defending.
Besides that, the runs up the middle that elicited the Bronx cheers actually made worlds of sense at that moment. The team needed to bleed clock to make sure it didn't leave LSU with too much time, especially after Carl Moore's 51-yard reception ate up most of the field with very little time taken off the clock. They could have used one or two more of those dive plays given the way the game ended.
I've seen the excuses. It was about not accepting mediocrity. It was about telling the coaches how you felt. It was about booing the bad just like you cheer the good. I'm calling BS on every last one.
Booing your own team is never constructive. I can't think of a single instance where a coach has changed something in reaction to fans booing the team. It's also insulting to the players, who work hard at practice all week and certainly aren't trying to disappoint anyone. Don't forget who is in charge here. The head coach became the fastest coach to reach 100 wins since Bud Wilkinson just three weeks ago. The athletics director is one of the best in the business and just had his right hand man poached by Georgia, of all places, because it wants a piece of the winning formula.
I haven't felt this ashamed to have been at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium since the last time the fans booed Dan Mullen in 2006. The team barely had a good reason for still being in the game at that time. LSU dominated the line of scrimmage all day and if not for two Tiger turnovers early on, most of the boo birds wouldn't have even been in the stadium still. The players kept fighting and scrapping despite their struggles and myriad injuries and had a chance pull out a win over a top ten team.
And the crowd booed.
When Steve Spurrier left back in January 2002, one reason he gave is that he didn't think 10-2 was good enough for the fans anymore. All you have to see is one press conference to know that Urban Meyer is wired differently than Spurrier is. However, I just hope that those Florida fans who attended only the third home loss in the last six seasons (!) aren't going to end up leading Meyer to the same conclusion.