As Gator fans across the state get set for the upcoming football season with their new head coach, Sun Sports is airing a compelling and insightful look at Urban Meyer, focusing on both the coach and the man, in the latest episode of its Under the Lights series.
Hosted by Sun Sports' Whit Watson, the one-hour show tells the story of Meyer's cross-country path to Gainesville, the individuals and experiences that have inspired and shaped him along the way, and features comments from those who know him well. The special gives insight into Coach Meyer with interviews with those who have played, and continue to play, a part in both his coaching career and his life off the field.
Coaches that inspired Meyer appear in the special, including legendary names like Lou Holtz and Sonny Lubick, for both of whom Meyer was an assistant. If it wasn't for the pushing and prodding of Holtz's son Skip, a friend of Meyer's at the time, to get his influential father to meet the young coach, even Meyer himself wonders where he would be today.
"Skip pulled a back door play on me to trick me into meeting Urban during lunch," Holtz states during the special. "We talked football for an hour and I knew he was someone special."
Without the support and knowledge about life from Lubick, Meyer might not be in the coaching profession at all. "I would not be coaching today if it wasn't for Sonny," Meyer says. "I would've been burned out. He was instrumental in teaching me how to treat people."
Under the Lights: Urban Meyer traces Meyer's path from growing up as a tough high school football player in Ashtabula, OH, to coaching beneath Touchdown Jesus in South Bend and eventually leading an undefeated Utah team to a history-making BCS bowl game win last season.
Current and former players, such as 2005 #1 NFL Draft pick Alex Smith, and current Gators Brandon Siler and Mike Degory add their insight as well. Meyer offers insight into what the University of Florida position means to the Meyer family and to Urban.
First day reactions of UF players upon meeting the discipline-oriented Meyer, who was selected as the 21st head coach in UF history are featured. "At first, when he arrived, we all wondered who the heck did he think he was," says Siler. "After 45 minutes of hearing him talking we thought, we're about to win a national championship."
The program also looks into Meyer's highly anticipated arrival in Gainesville, with Sun Sports' cameral and microphones following the head Gator this spring during practice and the Orange and Blue Game, around the state to booster events, on-campus and one-on-one.
Under the Lights series provide viewers with a behind-the-scenes look at some of Florida's top sports stories and newsmakers away from the playing fields. Given unparalleled access by the schools, coaches and teams, the series allows viewers to witness preparations rarely seen by anyone outside the teams.
Sun Sports is available in over 6.1 million cable and satellite homes across Florida.