Intensity, preparation of U football head coach pays dividends

If there are still any doubters of the impact U head coach Urban Meyer has, then his team’s current eight-game winning streak should put those doubts to rest.

The fact that he was able to direct the Utes to one of the best seasons in school history last year could have been attributed to the players on former coach Ron McBride’s staff.

This also may have been the case with BYU’s head coach Gary Crowton in his first year at the Y. But four games into Meyer’s second season, the impact he is having is unmistakable. The No. 14 Utes are now 14-2 in the “Urban Meyer era,” and 4-0 this season.

If you ask Meyer about the impact he is having on the team’s success, he will tell you modestly that coaches don’t win games; it’s the players who win games.

But if you ask the players why they are winning on a consistent basis, they will tell you it starts with the attitude and focus Meyer brings to the table. From his offseason emphasis on working out and lifting weights to his intensity on the field as a head coach, Meyer has already made a lasting impression on the players and the fans.

Senior captain Morgan Scalley, who saw very little playing time under the previous coaching regime during his first two years at the U, said the difference was apparent when Meyer showed up in the weight room on his first day.

According to Scalley, McBride rarely, if ever, showed up for a weight-lifting session.

Junior quarterback Alex Smith agrees with Scalley, saying Meyer brought with him a drastic change in attitude.

Smith said that in previous years, the Utes might not have been able to come back from a 14-point deficit, as the team was able to do against Air Force. But Meyer has changed the ways of the program-with an emphasis on work ethic and preparation.

“My freshman year [under McBride] was not high-intensity, and it wasn’t a competitive atmosphere,” Smith said. “I don’t want to say it was lackadaisical, but in a way it was.”

“When coach Meyer got here it was the exact opposite,” he added.

Smith described the previous staff as failing to promote accountability among the players.

“Before he [Meyer] got here, this team didn’t find a way to win,” Smith said. “I think it’s the attitude change, the preparation and the work ethic-that’s why we win the close ones now.”

Smith said it was hard to adjust to the demands of the new coach, since the demands are higher. But he understands the need to be more prepared than any team they face.

“There was a lot of uncertainty,” Smith said of his first weeks under Meyer. “We didn’t know what to expect. It was tough at first because it was so extreme.”

“This coaching staff has the attitude that nobody is going to outwork us,” Smith added.

Senior wide receiver Paris Warren describes Meyer as one of the most intense coaches he has ever had.

Warren stated that Meyer isn’t necessarily always talking or yelling, but that when he does talk, the team listens.

As a head coach Meyer now boasts a record of 31-8, with an impressive 9-1 record during that span against BCS teams.

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