SPRING: Fedora Surprise Visitor At First Practice

While a crowd of perhaps 300 or so waited Wednesday afternoon, hoping the rain that would eventually cancel practice would never arrive, there was one surprise visitor to Florida's first scheduled spring practice of the year, former offensive coordinator Larry Fedora, in Gainesville to close out a few loose ends in Gainesville during a break from spring practice at Oklahoma State.

Fedora's Gator offense of the 2004 season was the best in the Southeastern Conference in most categories but he was not retained when Coach Urban Meyer named his staff in December. Fedora at first accepted a position to go with fired Gator Coach Ron Zook to Illinois, but a couple of weeks into that position he left there to become offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State when Coach Mike Gundy was hired after Les Miles took the LSU job.

It's been a whirlwind two months for Fedora, who was in Gainesville to take care of some loose ends before heading back to Stillwater, where Oklahoma State has already gone through three practices.

"Things are going well there (Oklahoma State)," said Fedora, who was hoping to see some of the kids he coached while at Florida as well as catch a glimpse of Coach Meyer's spread option offense. "We've had three practices this spring and right now we're undefeated like every team in the country."

Gundy was the Oklahoma State offensive coordinator under Miles. In previous seasons, the Cowboys were an outstanding mix of run and pass, but things changed last year when Josh Fields was drafted in the first round of the major league baseball draft. He chose the big bucks of baseball over a shot at a third-straight record-breaking season in football, leaving the Cowboys with inexperienced young players. Getting back to the kind of balanced offense that both Gundy and Fedora prefer in 2005 will depend on the progress that Donovan Woods and Bobby Reid make in the spring and summer.

"Our quarterback situation is too early to tell although we have two very talented kids," said Fedora. "Right now after three practices it's probably a two-man race with Donovan Woods and Bobby Reid. They can both do a lot of things. They're very athletic kids."

While there was a lot of flack about Fedora and offensive line Coach Joe Wickline bolting to Oklahoma State after just a couple of weeks on Zook's Illinois staff, Fedora said he couldn't pass up the chance to work under one of his best friends. Gundy, Fedora and Wickline all worked together on the staff at Baylor.

"Mike's just a great fit at Oklahoma State," said Fedora. "He's a perfect fit for the job. He played there and he was a great player, a really great quarterback, and obviously he loves Oklahoma State and all the things about it, so he's obviously at his dream job.

"We go way back and we work well together. We've known each other for a long time. His wife and my wife are close friends so it's good for our families. The whole situation is good for us in every way."

Crowds from yesterday's aborted practice. Notice the benches are back!

The rained out practice prevented Fedora from seeing some of the players he coached while here at Florida and also kept him from getting a glimpse of the Meyer offense. The Meyer offense is said to have a lot of similarities in what Fedora did at UF and when he was at Middle Tennessee State as offensive coordinator.

"They're in the 'gun all the time like we were and they want to spread the field like we did," said Fedora. "I'd like to see what we do that's similar and different, and who knows? I might learn something new."

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