OUTBACK BOWL: Coach Meyer Q and A

TAMPA -- Florida Head Coach Urban Meyer answered a few questions after the Gators completed their afternoon practice session at Pepin Stadium on the campus of the University of Tampa. The team wrapped up the session a few minutes early and are scheduled to practice for an hour tomorrow morning before leaving for Clearwater Beach.

On the closeness of the Degory, Hand, and Butler

"They're real close (Degory, Butler, and Hand) and obviously, they've played together that long, you'd imagine they would. They're very good friends and real close. Honestly, I wish the others were that close, but it's those three. They've done a good job of spreading it around a little bit. But, it's those three and it should be those eight. We're working on that, but they're real close."

Is hanging out encouraged among guys with different backgrounds or guys that haven't been used to hanging out with one another?

"Very much so. We're nowhere where we need to be. I know these guys are excited about it, but it's not where it needs to be. It's getting there. We kind of force fed the cookouts, force fed let's go do this, force fed coming over to the coaches houses. You have to force those things? That kind of surprised me that didn't go on down here. The line didn't hang out with the DB's etc. That's starting to go on a little bit. Assigned seats."

On Tavares Washington:

Tavares Washington is expected to play after dislocating his kneecap. Coach Meyer said the doctors told him he's at 80%.

On receiver Cornelius Ingram:

"We're going to play him in the bowl game. How many plays, I don't know. But we're going to play him for a second. He's doing very well. He wants to play and he wants to play now. Playing quarterback at this level takes so much more than taking a snap and taking the ball running around the corner. It's identification of the defense. It's all of the skills involved directing an offense. He probably could have stuck around for one more year and then battled (at quarterback). But, he wants to play quarterback and play now and he's six-foot four and two-thirty and could probably be two-forty in a week if he tried. He could play football for a long time if he develops into a tight end/u position."

On Curfew:

"It started last night. It was midnight, I believe. Tonight, it's either midnight or eleven pm. It starts getting real tight. We let them off until two. I was real nice on Monday and Tuesday, I let them off until two. There's not much going on in Tampa on Monday or Tuesday. (New Year's Eve) it will be eleven o'clock."

On the Michigan razzle-dazzle play:

"Wasn't that something. We have one situation where we practice (it) on Thursday. It's kind of a lateral deal where we flip it around. (Was that tried against LSU?) That's exactly right. It didn't look picture perfect did it."

On What impresses you the most about Iowa's defense?

"They play two deep zone coverage and a two gap. One guy is responsible for two gaps. And they're not gigantic, but they're so strong and physical. Look at Ohio State and Michigan, two traditionally big time offensive lines, and I know that Ohio State ran for three-hundred yards against them, but that was that quarterback running around. That wasn't turning around and handing it off to a tailback. What impresses me is that they're able to play two gap defense nowadays, and get away with it. They are just extremely strong and physical. It's the same thing they did against Florida two years ago. They played two gap defense and controlled the line of scrimmage. Not many teams are able to do that at all. Those guys up front just don't get knocked off of the ball. They don't make a lot of tackles, because they're not asked to. They occupy two gaps and let the linebackers run. It's kind of an NFL mentality. A lot of NFL teams will do that because they've got the monsters on the D-line. That impressed me, because I don't often coach against that type of defense."

On Bryan Royal's coming into your office with tears in his eyes and telling you that he has to drop weight so that he can get back on the special teams?

"That was a special moment. I love that kind of stuff and I'll never forget Brian for that. He came in and said that I live to be on the Florida kickoff team. I'll put you back on there then, because I'd taken him off for a minute. I put him back on there. He's a special guy. He got a degree from Florida as well."

How important are guys like that to a successful program?

"We're not even close. That's what we have to develop. It's a great question. It falls into what I said yesterday about there being a little bit of a selfish element in Florida football. It's disappearing. And guys like Bryan Royal and some other guys have got to keep pushing it."


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