FOOTBALL: Urban Meyer stops by with some tidbits

After a whirlwind last couple of months, Florida Football Coach Urban Meyer stopped by Gainesville to visit with some of the media. It wasn't a full-fledged press conference but did yield a few interesting tidbits.

Former Gator players will form a tunnel at the South End of Florida Field for the players to run through opening day. Meyer plans for this to be an opening day tradition of bringing the past and current Gators together.

  • There will be a former players and current players cookout during fall practices in continuance of that effort
  • He has spoken with Emmitt Smith and had an excellent conversation with perhaps the All-time greatest Gator. Would love to have Emmitt speak with his running backs about how the position should be played.

  • Two-a-day practices will be held on the intramural fields near the Southwest recreation complex off 34th street. The reason? To keep the regular practice fields from getting all torn up.

  • Says he wanted the artificial turf practice field because on rainy days you don't get as much accomplished and you do damage to the field.
  • Says the "Champions Banquet" last week was a good one and he sees a difference in the players already. He talked about how they look him in the eye when they talk, how the carry themselves, things like that.

  • Meyer says the team pretty much belongs to the strength and conditioning staff along with the trainers and re-hab people. He says that with the limited time they have with the guys, the strength staff must be alert to everything going on with the players. He expressed total confidence in Mickey Marotti and Matt Balis to handle that assignment. Meyer says their job is to hand him a team in August that is ready, physically and psychologically. He pointed out that he felt a key to Utah's success last season was that the team was in great shape, a great frame of mind and already had outstanding chemistry from the very first day of practice.

I asked him about having three early admission guys this year and two already committed for the next recruiting class and if that was an intentional emphasis of his. He said he is torn on the issue because your high school senior year is supposed to be one of the best times of your life. Yet, for kids who want to play right away spring practice is a tremendous help. He went on about how solidly he views early commitments and said he feels they are solid if the parents are completely involved in the process and the decision. He says it is obviously a wave of the future that more and more kids will try and be ready to start school in January.

Meyer also spoke very positively about Ronnie Wilson, one of those early admission guys from January. He says Wilson has lost about 40 pounds and has gone from a not good-looking 345 to an impressive looking specimen.

He also mentioned they had about 15 "top" prospects on campus last weekend for unofficial visits. He says they took them out to Lake Wauberg to go boating and get a feel for the campus.

Meyer also talked about the Gator Club Tour and how much he enjoyed getting to meet so many people and how amazing the passion was at each and every stop.

Urban Meyer did all this while in the midst of one of four camps he'll be hosting this month.

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