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McGarity And UGA Break From UF On Ticket Hike

Now here’s a surprise.  The Georgia Athletic Association today decided to pass on an opportunity to raise ticket prices for this year’s Georgia-Florida football game.

In December, Florida’s athletic board — and McGarity’s old boss Jeremy Foley — voted to raise the price of UF-UGA tickets by $10 a pop.  It was assumed Georgia wouldn’t turn down cash and McGarity wouldn’t disagree with his old boss.  But they and he did.

“It takes two of us to tango, so to speak,” McGarity told the board.  Wonder what Jeremy Foley thought about that decision?

Instead of exploring a price hike this year, McGarity did say that he will present a proposal in May regarding a ticket price hike for 2012.

Surprising.

In other news, UGA decided today to spend about $1.4 million to make improvements to the video board at Sanford Stadium.

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UF’s Foley Says Most Of Coaching Staff Will Be In Place By Tuesday

Will Muschamp has been off the grid since his introductory press conference in Gainesville on December 14th.  He does have plans to attend the Outback Bowl and the guess here is that he’ll be safely tucked away in a press box alongside athletic director Jeremy Foley.

Foley told The Palm Beach Post yesterday that his new coach has been back home in Austin, Texas trying to work on recruiting and putting his staff together.

According to The Post: “Most or all of the new coaches will be in place by Tuesday, which is the first day they can travel to visit high school prospects in person.”

Foley told the paper, “Some pieces are falling into place; still, there’s other pieces that have to fall into place.  I think he’s making a lot of good progress there and will be in position next week to hit the ground running and go recruit.”

In other notes, a source told the paper that Teryl Austin will definitely not be retained as UF’s defensive coordinator… and Foley said that Muschamp is consulting Urban Meyer about potential hires.

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Mullen Hasn’t Given Gators “A Second’s Thought”

Dan Mullen was in the state of Florida yesterday! 

For a Gator Bowl function, not to hammer out contract details with Jeremy Foley.  (We think.)

When asked about the vacant UF job, Mullen said, “The only person I have talked to about coaching positions is sitting right here at the end of the table,” gesturing to Mississippi State AD Scott Stricklin.  “I’m very happy at Mississippi State and have no plans on going anywhere.”

It has been reported by multiple sources that Mullen did speak with Miami AD Kirby Hocutt earlier this week.  Perhaps they talked about the weather.

Or perhaps — as Mullen said again yesterday — he has not been contacted by any Miami or Florida officials.  Regarding Miami, someone is lying.  Either he met with Hocutt or he didn’t.  He says he didn’t.  Multiple newspapers report he did.

According to The Florida Times-Union, Mullen also said that he’s not given “a second’s thought” to the Gators’ job.  And that “It’s 100% my intention to keep Mississippi State going in the right direction.”

Asked about job speculation, Mullen said: “There’s speculation everywhere.  The hard thing with speculation is that in the college football world, we have to deal with reality.  My reality right now is dealing with final exams, making sure our kids are taking their final exams, making sure the last 30 kids turned in their books today, getting a practice schedule ready and getting a bowl schedule ready.  And trying got hold on to recruits during a time of speculation.”

The Jackson Clarion-Ledger quotes Mullen as saying, “I’m very happy at Mississippi State University.  I have no plans on going anywhere.”

We all know how this game is played, of course.  Coaches use words like “intention,” “plans,” and “right now” to suggest that they will never leave.  While it would be just as easy to say, “I’m not leaving, I promise.”

We’re not suggesting that Mullen’s planning a jump from Starkville.  But we’re also not ready to read his comments and mark him off the Gators’ list just yet.

One thing we do know — All those reports on Wednesday afternoon that UF had already made or was ready to make an offer to Mullen were total bunk.

Lesson: Never believe what you hear in the immediate aftermath of a surprising announcement.  That’s misinformation and random speculation time.

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Former Gators React To Meyer Decision

The day Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley walked into Urban Meyer's living room in Utah six years ago was the first time the two had met. Foley was impressed and shortly after hiring Meyer, it didn't take Foley long to understand why Meyer had been so successful in stints at Bowling Green and Utah.
(more)

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Meyer Would Have Been Better Off Sticking To His First Retirement

Last December, we at MrSEC.com were worried about Urban Meyer’s health.  When word broke that the coach was stepping down due to chest pains and a late-night trip to the hospital, we felt he was doing the right thing in walking away from the game while he still could.

When he decided — about 24 hours later — to return, we suggested that he might be making a mistake.  In our view, the man was risking his life when he had youth and financial security on his side.  “Just walk away, man,” was our take at the time.

But then came some clarification on the health front.  Meyer had been suffering from esophageal spasms.  Painful?  Yes.  A heart attack?  No.

Our initial take that he was making a mistake in returning to the sideline took on a different look.  It looked wrong.  Meyer was healthy enough to coach.

Only now we know that we were right for an altogether different reason.  Meyer should have stayed retired the first time around because now he’s damaged his reputation and left Florida in an even greater lurch.

Had Meyer walked away last year he would have left a program that had just gone 26-2 in the previous two seasons.  The Gator program also looked to be on solid ground with a “sure-thing” quarterback and a gaggle of five-star recruits waiting to pick up the baton.

Now, Meyer is leaving a program that just went 7-5.  No one knows who will be at quarterback next season.  No one knows what the offense will look like next season.  And that was with Meyer.  Now take him out of the mix and the Gators look as vulnerable as the Gators can possibly look.

With that recruiting base, that tradition of winning, all that cash and an AD like Jeremy Foley, I wouldn’t expect Florida to vulnerable for long.  But I wouldn’t have expected them to go 7-5 this season, either.

Meyer has also explained away the health concerns that might have worked to ease his departure.  Now it appears that the man is simply leaving because he can’t stand losing or can’t bear the burden of trying to fix things in Gainesville.

That’s not fair, of course, but it is the perception.

Had Meyer left last December for health reasons, he would have been hailed as a man who left the game on top.  By coming back and revealing that his life was not in danger, he now goes out as a man who’s bailing on an ailing program.

A lot can happen in 12 months.  Turns out we were right last December after all… for all the wrong reasons.

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Florida WR Chris Rainey has big impact in return

Florida
Content provided by Swamp Things – Gators Blog.

Florida WR Chris Rainey prayed in the end zone after his second-quarter touchdown. (Photo by Gary W. Green, Orlando Sentinel)

Throughout the season, Florida center Mike Pouncey has said WR Chris Rainey is the best player on the Gators’ offense.

Of course, Pouncey is a little biased. Teammates since high school, Pouncey and Rainey have known each other for years.

But Rainey was at least the best player in Saturday’s 34-31 win over Georgia.

In his return from a five-game suspension for his September arrest, Rainey had 241 all-purpose yards. He gave the Gators’ a big-play threat they had lacked while RB Jeff Demps has been out with a sprained foot.

“[Rainey and Demps] are unbelievable.,” said Trey Burton, who himself had a career-high 110 yards rushing. “Those are real special guys and we missed them a lot the last three games.”

Rainey’s performance will be hard for some to swallow.

The redshirt junior from Lakeland texted his on-again, off-again girlfriend “Time to Die (expletive)” and was charged with felony aggravated stalking. Although Rainey agreed to a reduced charge of misdemeanor stalking on Sept. 27, something the victim supported, Meyer has been criticized for not kicking him off the team.

Pouncey said after the game, Rainey was thankful for the opportunity to return.

“Rainey stood up after the game and thanked God for giving him a second chance. He’s taking full advantage of it,” Pouncey said. “He thanked the whole administration — (athletic director) Jeremy Foley and the president — and he thanked God as well. He thanked everyone for giving him a second chance because without Jeremy Foley and President Machen, it wouldn’t be possible for him to play right now.”

Many will say that this type of output – 84 rushing yards, nine receiving and 148 kick0ff return yards – is why Meyer allowed Rainey back, that winning trumped his core values. Only Meyer knows that, and ultimately, he’s the one who has to live with it.

Following the game, Rainey did not speak to the media. Instead, Pouncey spoke for him.

“I love Chris like a brother,” he said. “He’s been living with me since high school, and we have a special relationship. I felt his pain those weeks he was out. He loves football. He’s a great person, and I know that was one of the happiest moments of his life just to be out there with us playing.”


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