Urban Meyer Made Utah Football Competitive In ‘Everything’ After Watching USC Practices

Dec 5, 2020, 11:13 AM | Updated: 11:15 am

Utah head coach Urban Meyer speaks to the crowd after his team's 35-7 victory over Pittsburgh in th...

Utah head coach Urban Meyer speaks to the crowd after his team's 35-7 victory over Pittsburgh in the Tostito's Fiesta Bowl at the Sun Devil Stadium on January 1, 2005 in Tempe, Arizona. Meyer will leave Utah to become the head coach at Florida. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images).

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former Utah head coach explained how he made the Utes football team competitive in practices and in everything they did.

Meyer was named the head coach of Utah football in 2003 after a successful stint at Bowling Green. He led the Utes to a 10-win season in 2003 before an undefeated campaign and a BCS Bowl win in 2004.

The former Utah head coach explained how he made the Utes competitive in practice and in the off-season. It all started when Meyer got a hold of some USC practice film from former Trojans head coach Pete Carroll.

Meyer explained that time in Utah football history on the FOX Big Noon Kickoff pregame show on Saturday morning.

“I get to Utah. I had a good friend on the (USC) staff and a high school coach actually out here in LA. He said ‘you ought to see these practices.’ I snuck a little practice tape and I was like ‘my gosh,'” Meyer said. “I made Utah competitive in everything. We called it for the run for the BCS, every drill became competitive. Matter of fact, Mike Gundy came to see us – head coach at Oklahoma State – in the offseason, after we won our first league championship. We’re watching, he’s like, ‘I have never seen people go so hard.’ You want to know why, Reggie (Bush), because they were competing.”

Meyer got the best out of his players. There were times that players wanted to quit. Stories have been told throughout the years of how hard Meyer’s practices were.

KSL Sports hosted a roundtable with members of the 2004 team back in May. Former Utah wide receiver John Madsen talked about how he wanted to quit the football team but Meyer wouldn’t let him.

“I literally went up to Urban’s office and said ‘I appreciate you giving me the opportunity but I don’t think I love football, man. I am not going to do this,”‘ Madsen said. “Urban told me to shut the door in his office and sit down and told me that if I walked out of that room he was going to fight me. He said ‘look John, I have coached football for 18 years and you have more raw ability than anybody and I will not let you quit.’ He sat me down and I had tears streaming down my face because I was not mentally tough back then.”

Former Utah All-American safety and current defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley talked about how different Utah was under Urban Meyer.

“From the first weight room session, you could tell it was going to be different,” Scalley said. “They chained the doors shut, they put black paper over all of the windows. The group in front of us was the offensive linemen and defensive linemen and all you could hear was screaming. They unchained the doors and the guys come walking out with throw up on their shirts. I never had butterflies going into a weight room and that had me going.”

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

  • Utah Utes Scoreboard

  • Utah Utes Team Leaders

  • Utah Utes Standings

Utah Utes


Michelle Bodkin

Cam Rising, Brant Kuithe Waiting On Approval To Play From Same Doctor

Utah football has been waiting for approval from the same doctor for Cam Rising and Brant Kuithe to return to play.

10 hours ago


Michelle Bodkin

Pac-12 Power Rankings: UW, Oregon Continue To Lead Conference Charge

The Pac-12 hierarchy continued to sort itself out in week five with Washington and Oregon separating themselves from the rest.

13 hours ago

Bryson Barnes Utah Utes Florida Gators...

Michelle Bodkin

Utah Football Top Three Plays From September

The month of September is in the books for Utah football and there were some memorable plays that got the Utes to 4-1 on the season.

15 hours ago

Kedon Slovis #10 of the Brigham Young Cougars throws a pass under pressure from Jack Dingle #49 of ...

Ben Anderson

Big 12, PAC-12 Power Poll Week Six

The college football season is fully underway and that means it’s time for week six of the Big 12, PAC-12 Power Poll.

17 hours ago


Kyle Ireland

Week 5: Top Plays From BYU, SUU, Utah, USU, Utah Tech, Weber State

Here are the top plays from the local college football teams, including BYU, Utah, and USU, from Week 5 of the 2023 season.

1 day ago


Michelle Bodkin

Utes Add Talented Local Safety To 2024 Recruiting Class

Utah football added the commitment of local safety Davis Andrews out of American Fork to their 2024 recruiting class Monday afternoon.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.


KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.

ksl sports logos...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.


KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.

Urban Meyer Made Utah Football Competitive In ‘Everything’ After Watching USC Practices