Urban Meyer talks about his "Core Values"

Urban Meyer has worked for Lou Holtz, Sonny Lubick and Bob Davie, a group he calls some of "the greatest coaches to coach this game," but as many good things as he has learned, he's also learned what he doesn't want to do.

"I coached before in a program when in the offseason you get in at 7 a.m. and watch film until 6 or 7 at night and go home," Florida's new head coach said. "I got home and looked at my wife and said, ‘Do you realize I did not see a player today? I watched film.' That's not how you win."

That experience turned into one of what Meyer likes to call his "core values." The Gators' assistants watch film from 7 a.m. until noon in the offseason and they are instructed to spend the rest of the day with their players in some way or another.

"The best assistant coaches I have been around, they are always around players," Meyer said. "If (the players) are at the study table, you need to go over there. If they have a doctor's appointment and you need to go with them once in a while, you need to go down to the training room. We can't lift with the players in the summer because we're not allowed to, but, in the spring our running backs are not lifting down there without our running backs coach."

Center Mike Degory said he already feels as comfortable with his new offensive line coach, John Hevesy, as he was with Joe Wickline, the offensive line coach under Ron Zook.

"They're around a lot more," safety Jarvis Herring said. "They might as well be one of the players, put it that way. They're sitting with us while we're eating in the dining hall or we're in their office or we're in the training room and they come in there. It's a big difference, big difference."

Gators fans are hoping Meyer's philosophy helps him fill the shoes of the legendary Steve Spurrier, a task that proved too big for Zook.

Spurrier's shadow, which grew even larger when Spurrier took the South Carolina job this year, isn't something Meyer is worried about, he said.

"He became a part of Florida football in the '90s," Meyer said. "I think that's documented, however that's over. That's past history. That's old news."

What's new in Gainesville is the coaching staff. Co-defensive coordinator Charlie Strong is the only holdover from Zook's staff. Meyer brought four assistants with him from Utah and then went searching for four more who shared his philosophy of total immersion.

"I am surrounded by a group of assistant coaches that spent a lot of time learning how to motivate 18- to-22-year-olds," he said. "It's all about the student-athlete, that's what gets lost in the shuffle sometimes. I will be looking at a person thinking, ‘It doesn't matter how you run this play.' It's, ‘Can you get into the heads of your players?'"

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