*The Sideline Report is a weekly blog I write for GatorBait.net.

Urban Meyer has taken a lesson or two from the now-retired coaching legend Bobby Bowden.

Urban Meyer hugs a player in the fourth quarter against USF on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010.

I’m not saying this because the Gators are off to a rocky start this season, the Gators began playing like Gators in the second half against USF this past weekend, I say this because Urban Meyer has changed.

From the pre-game warmups to the post-game press conference; Meyer is noticeably different.

How often do you see the Gators’ head coach laughing and cheering on the sidelines. Even after two national championships, a smile from Urban Meyer was a rare sighting. 

Maybe it was all the downtime this spring, or maybe it was the fact that Gator football might have a future after Tim Tebow, this is certainly a new coach.

Urban Meyer still has a serious presence on the field during a difficult first half against USF on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010.

Only time can tell if the new-and-improve coach will keep his cool after a few tough games this season, but even after an abysmal performance against Miami of Ohio, Meyer was calm, cool and collected as he addressed the media with the problems he saw on opening day.

The sidelines are an interesting place to watch a Gator football game - even Joe Goodman, of the Miami Herald, noticed Meyer’s new groove and asked him at the press conference. Coach Meyer quickly responded saying, “You guys gotta quick watchin’ me,” as the press laughed. “I appreciate you watching me - It’s kinda weird, to be honest with you.”

Things are not always as light and fluffy on the sidelines - when the Gators lose a fourth-and-two battle with any opposing team, Meyer’s glare can be felt from anywhere in The Swamp. 

Ultimately, hard work will and a long season will test Meyer and his Gators, but I hope this Bobby-Bowden like feeling will stick around for a while.

Next time from Knoxville,

- Steve

Do you think Coach Meyer has changed? Ask me on Twitter @sjohnsonmedia or comment on this post and we’ll continue the discussion.

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