WHAT WE ARE HEARING: Meyer may succeed Coach Zook

Gator Country has learned through sources it considers to be extremely credible and accurate that Florida has apparently reached an agreement with Utah's Urban Meyer to succeed Zook as its football coach. An official announcement is not due for a couple more weeks -- we are hearing on or before December 13 -- but Gator Country's sources insist that there is agreement although it is not clear any contract details or if an official contract has been put together.

However, University of Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley has issued a statement that he has not even talked to Meyer. Foley stated for the record that the report that Meyer has been hired is "1000 percent false" and that the UAA will not even talk to coaches until the season is over November 20. Foley further stated that there is a hiring process that UAA will go through to bring in the new coach. "To reiterate what we have said, we will not talk to current college coaches until their respective regular seasons are over. Any reports that indicate we have talked to or reached agreements with any current collegiate coaches are false."

Gator Country has been hearing for three days that an agreement was already in place from a sources we consider to be extremely reliable. When another source, independent of the ones we had already been talking to, confirmed Tuesday morning that agreement was reached, we made the decision to report that our sources are saying Meyer is the guy. Again, we have NOT reported that contracts have been signed, just that our sources tell us that there is agreement.

The 40-year old Meyer has compiled a 37-8 record as a head coach (17-6 at Bowling Green, 20-2 at Utah). His current Utah team is ranked sixth nationally with a 10-0 record. The Utes have an opportunity to finish the regular season unbeaten Saturday with a win against arch-rival Brigham Young. A victory would put the Utes of the Mountain West Conference likely in a BCS bowl game, a first for the MWC.

Meyer is known for his innovative offensive style. His teams at both Bowling Green and Utah have been record setters, both noted for a wide open style of play that balances the pass and the run. His 2002 Bowling Green team was the only Division I team in the nation to average more than 215 yards rushing and 215 yards passing per game.

Meyer is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati with a master's from Ohio State. He was a graduate assistant at Ohio State, then followed that up with assistant coaching stints at Illinois State, Colorado State and Notre Dame before landing the Bowling Green job in 2001.

Another source Gator Country considers accurate has been telling us since this past Saturday that Utah offensive coordinator Mike Sanford and Utah defensive coordinator Kyle Whittingham have both been asked to remain at the school for an opportunity to succeed Meyer. This same source repeated Monday that Sanford and Whittingham have been asked to talk about the Utah position when it opens up. Sanford came to Utah from Stanford University when Meyer was hired. Whittingham was the defensive coordinator for previous Utah Coach Ron McBride. He is a Brigham Young graduate who grew up in Utah, so it's considered highly unlikely he would be leaving the state to join Meyer or any other coach.

Sanford, who coached with Meyer at Notre Dame, is considered a finalist for the head coaching job at UNLV where John Robinson will be stepping down. He's likely to take the UNLV job if Whittingham is elevated to the Utah position that Meyer will vacate.

We are hearing that Meyer is likely to retain some members of Coach Ron Zook's staff. This would be consistent with what Meyer has done at Bowling Green and Utah, where he brought in some new coaches but retained some of the old staff.

When Meyer came to Utah from Bowling Green, he brought three coaches with him --- wide receivers coach Billy Gonzalez, offensive line coach John Hevesey and quarterback coach Dan Mullen. Gonzalez has ties to the west (Colorado State graduate). Hevesey is a graduate of the University of Maine and Mullen coached with Meyer at Notre Dame.


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