Gators upset with the firing of Zook

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — It may not be a good thing if Jarvis Herring finds himself on an elevator with Jeremy Foley.

Make no mistake. Florida players are upset with the firing of coach Ron Zook, and the timing of the decision, and how the move was communicated to the Gators.

Herring, a junior safety from just up Interstate 75 in Live Oak, Fla., was clear and concise and outspoken in his anger Tuesday with the media as well as Monday when the Florida athletics director told the team of the decision.

"It only lasted maybe like 10 minutes," Herring said of the team meeting with the athletics director. "If it had lasted any longer, there's no telling what might've happened."

Linebacker Travis Harris said the meeting, as well as his attempt to talk to Foley, wasn't for younger ears.

"It wasn't proper language," he said. "Basically I thought it was BS.... He just gave me the runaround, He said, 'You're entitled to your opinion.' He felt like it was the best thing to do and blah, blah, blah."

Herring and Harris were two of six players who talked with the media Tuesday morning at Florida's normal weekly press gathering. Herring in particular minced no words.

"The whole situation was just handled wrong," he said. "Firing a coach during the season and during such a big week? It hurt the team very bad. Everybody's real angry."

Herring said some players walked out of the meeting because of their disgust for the decision, timing, and explanation. He said many players have talked about departing.

"Maybe a lot of guys will leave just because of this incident," he said. "Some of the guys, they're thinking about leaving. They're sick of some of the decisions made upstairs by you-know-who, so they're ready to go."

But Herring let loose on more than Foley.

"It's all about the fans and the boosters," he said. "We love the fans, but it's the boosters making all the decisions."

Harris was less volatile in his thoughts, but equally frustrated with the timing.

"This is my senior year," he said. "This is my last year. If a decision needed to be made, that's cool, but if the coach is going to remain the whole season, why put a damper on this year like that?

"We got Georgia this week, we've got the rest of the season."

Herring was explicit and profane.

"We're the ones who makes this (expletive), but it's 'Damn the players.'" he said of their input with Foley. "It's basically just telling them, '(expletive) you all. I don't care about your season anyway."

Harris, like running back Ciatrick Fason on Saturday, was critical of inconsistent effort by too many Gators.

"I don't know if they care about it like I do," Harris said. "Sometimes I question some of the guys' heart on this team, honestly.'

Fason didn't back down from his comments after the MSU loss that he saw teammates who weren't doing everything they could.

"All the game we lost, it wasn't because of the coaches," he said. "It was all on the players."

Senior defensive back Reynaldo Hill said the administration was too quick to fire Zook.

"I don't think he was given a fair shot," said Hill, who's from Fort Lauderdale. "You only give a coach three years to try to build a program that was left, you know, empty, I don't think he got a fair shot."

Herring believes the Gators will have more than put this behind them by kickoff Saturday afternoon, and expects big things.

"All that anger will just be taken out on Saturday," he said. "No telling how the team might play now. It might be one of the best games you've seen us play."

Contact Michael A. Lough at 744-4626 or by e-mail at

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