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Former Sentinel reporter responds to Urban Meyer’s resignation

Content provided by Swamp Things – Gators Blog.

The resignation of Florida coach Urban Meyer on Wednesday came as a surprise to many, but not former Orlando Sentinel reporter Jeremy Fowler. Fowler covered the Gators for three years, including Meyer’s resignation last year that lasted 24 hours before he decided to return.

“You could tell that Urban was burned out last year,” Fowler said.

Meyer confronted Fowler last spring after Fowler used a quote from receiver Deonte Thompson that Meyer took exception to. Meyer apologized, and he and Fowler had a good working relationship before Fowler left the Sentinel in August.

“I understand where he’s coming from with the family angle,” said Fowler. “I think that aspect of his life was sincere.”

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Urban Meyer among highest paid coaches in college football

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Florida coach Urban Meyer agreed to a six-year, $24-million contract after winning a second national title. (Orlando Sentinel photo)

It should come as no surprise that when USA Today released its list of FBS coaches’ salaries, that Florida’s Urban Meyer was near the top. Only three coaches – Alabama’s Nick Saban, Texas’ Mack Brown and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops – make more than Meyer.

Florida released the details of Meyer’s contract, which he signed on Oct. 1, 2009, last week. Here’s where Meyer falls in the SEC.

School Coach Total compensation Maximum bonus
Alabama Nick Saban $5,997,349 $700,000
Florida Urban Meyer $4,010,000 $575,000
LSU Les Miles $3,905,000 $400,000
Georgia Mark Richt $2,937,740 $600,000
Arkansas Bobby Petrino $2,713,000 $475,000
Mississippi Houston Nutt $2,509,000 NA
Tennessee Derek Dooley $2,121,391 $475,000
Auburn Gene Chizik $2,103,500 $1,500,000
South Carolina Steve Spurrier $2,032,500 $1,000,000
Kentucky Joker Phillips $1,706,600 $1,105,000
Mississippi State Dan Mullen $1,208,295 NA
Vanderbilt TBA NA NA

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Georgia beats Tech; Arkansas, Vandy ready for the road

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(AP photo/David Goldman)

(AP photo/David Goldman)

SEC links for Wednesday:


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Rebuilding more difficult for Florida with parity in the SEC

Content provided by Swamp Things – Gators Blog.

Florida and Alabama have played each other in the SEC Championship Game seven times in the past 18 years. (Orlando Sentinel photo)

On Saturday, when the SEC Championship Game kicks off at the Georgia Dome, two teams that thought they’d be playing will be watching. With Alabama and Florida at home, is there a changing of the guard in the SEC?

Not quite, but No. 19 South Carolina makes its first appearance in the title game while No. 1 Auburn tries to win its second title. That both made it to Atlanta in a year when the Crimson Tide and Gators entered the year ranked in the top five shows an increased parity in the SEC.

“Remember the topic of the SEC media days in Birmingham was, ‘Is it good for the conference that Alabama and Florida have distanced themselves from the rest of the conference?’” said CBS analyst Gary Danielson, who will call the game with Verne Lundquist. “Boy, that seems like a long time ago. What I think is coming to fruition here is what I’ve been predicting for three years and it hasn’t come yet. We’re going to see more parity. These teams are better coached.”

For Florida and Alabama, that could be bad news. With eight losses between them this year, both programs are in rebuilding mode.

Florida coach Urban Meyer assured fans he would rebuild. After the Gators’ fifth loss of the season, he promised to spend this month before the bowl game improving for the immediate future and next season.

If this year’s title game is any indication, though, it’s going to be more difficult than ever to get back to Atlanta.

“It’s not going to be easy this year or in the future for Alabama or Florida to just roll their helmets out there and win,” Danielson said. “No one is intimidated by Florida or Alabama anymore.”


School Appearances Wins
Florida 10 7
Alabama 7 3
LSU 4 3
Tennessee 5 2
Georgia 3 2
Auburn 3 1
Arkansas 3 0
Mississippi State 1 0

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Florida commit Jeff Driskel says he’s a greater threat with his arms than his legs

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Florida commit Jeff Driskel finished with more than 3,000 yards of offense and 38 touchdowns for Oviedo Hagerty this season. (Orlando Sentinel photo)

Watch the highlight video and it seems Florida is getting itself a running quarterback. Oveido Hagerty quarterback Jeff Driskel has been making plays with his legs all season, including a 91-yard touchdown run against Lakeland in the Huskies’ playoff loss last month.

But it’s his arm that’s his strength, Driskel said Wednesday morning on The Morning Drive with Brady Ackerman.

“I worked a lot in throwing the ball this offseason,” said Hagerty. “A lot of people kind of forget that I have a strong arm and I’m accurate because I make a lot of plays with my feet.

“I think that will carry me farther than my legs will, in college.”

Driskel, the top-rated quarterback and 22nd-rated recruit in the 2011 class by, helped the Huskies to a 7-4 record this year with both. He completed 138 of 235 passes for 1,783 yards, 16 touchdowns and had three interceptions. He also rushed for 1,296 yards and 20 scores.

As for Internet rumors that he might not make it to Gainesville, Driskel said he’s 100 percent committed to the Gators. He will enroll in January and is undecided on a major, considering business or finance.

“A lot of kids waiver in the process, but I’m 100 percent to Florida,” he said, two days after DE Jeoffrey Pagan decommitted from the Gators. “I have been the whole way. That hasn’t changed.”


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Gators expect to have CB Janoris Jenkins vs. FSU, lose OL Matt Patchan for season

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Florida corner Janoris Jenkins is expected to return from a concussion this week vs. FSU. (Orlando Sentinel photo)

Three days from the Florida-FSU game, here’s the latest on the Gators’ injuries from coach Urban Meyer:

– Cornerback Janoris Jenkins is expected to play after suffering a slight concussion last week.

– Cornerback Jeremy Brown shouldn’t be limited in practice today and is expected to play Saturday. He did not start vs. South Carolina because of a hamstring injury. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said Tuesday that freshman Cody Riggs would be ready to replace Brown if he could not play.

– LB A.J. Jones (hamstring) should play, Meyer said.

– WR Andre Debose has regressed and is questionable with an ankle sprain. He initially hurt his ankle against Mississippi State on Oct. 16 and missed the Georgia game following the bye week. Debose played against Vanderbilt and South Carolina, returning a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown against the Gamecocks. He did not dress for last week’s game vs. Appalachian State.

– Center Mike Pouncey left practice early Tuesday, walking back to the stadium shirtless. Meyer said he was lightheaded and that it was not from contact. He will play Saturday.

– OL Matt Patchan is out for the season after having a second surgery on the wrist he hurt in the preseason. Meyer had been hopeful that Patchan would return this year, but said surgery was needed after the injury “never improved.” He added that he hoped Patchan could be back to full contact by spring practice. It’s likely he will get a medical redshirt after missing the entire season.

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Emmanuel Moody humbled by senior season as he prepares for December graduation

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Florida RB Emmanuel Moody has accepted a senior season that didn't go as well as he had hoped. (Orlando Sentinel photo)

Little has gone the way the Gators wanted this season, something senior running back Emmanuel Moody has come to accept.

A highly touted running back out of Coppell, Texas, Moody spent his first season at USC. With a logjam of running backs in front of him, he transferred to Florida the next season.

Quarterback Tim Tebow led Florida’s rushing attack the past two seasons, and carries were harder to come by. Moody had 58 in each of the past two seasons.

John Brantley took over as quarterback this season, and his passing skills meant he would rely more on the Gators’ running backs to carry the ball. But with a foot injury that has  kept Jeff Demps out this season, and injuries slowing Moody and Mike Gillislee, the run game hasn’t developed as they had hoped.

Moody has 66 carries for 265 yards and no touchdowns this season.

“It’s my fifth year now. If I haven’t learned by now, then I won’t ever learn. Injuries is part of the game,” Moody said. “When we’re healthy, we just try to help the team out as much as we can. For the younger guys, it’s really hard on them. The freshmen, the sophomores, and sometimes the juniors, it’s hard on them because they haven’t understood yet and they have these personal goals coming into the season and when an injury takes you out for half the season, it’s real disappointing.”

For his part, Moody says he’s accepted that this season has “hurt” his chances at the NFL. He will graduate Dec. 18 with a degree in family, youth and community science. Moody, a devout Christian, said he still hopes to take football as far as he can before pursuing mission work.

“I don’t really care about statistics. My statistics this year aren’t great, so why really stress now?,” he said. “I’m just ready to finish this year as a team, and beat Florida State.”

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Urban Meyer calls for blue out of game vs. South Carolina

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Florida wore blue uniforms for four games last year, winning them all. (Orlando Sentinel photo)

Minus the Smurf Turf, Florida is borrowing a page out of the Boise State playbook. Coach Urban Meyer is calling for a blue out, asking fans to dress in blue from head to toe. The team, for its part, will wear all blue unis and orange helmets.

Meyer said he’d like a big crowd for the No. 24 Gators’ matchup with No. 22 South Carolina. Both come in with 6-3 overall records and 4-3 marks in the SEC.

The winner of the game will play in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 4 in Atlanta.

“I’d like to make this one go down in the books,” Meyer said. “Obviously, the football team’s gotta do their part, which is the most important one, but I’d like to see this stadium absolutely out of control. The best home field advantage in America, let’s use it to the maximum.  Unless people got something else to do, I’d love to see a couple hundred thousand people here, packed house.”

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Florida closer to healthy heading into winner-takes-all game vs. South Carolina

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Florida DT Jaye Howard has missed the past two games with a sprained ankle. (Orlando Sentinel photo)

For the first time in a while, Florida is closer to being healthy. Here’s the latest update from coach Urban Meyer:

– DT Jaye Howard is “looking promising,” Meyer said. Howard did not travel with the team and has not played in its past two games. He has been out since spraining his ankle vs. Mississippi State on Oct. 16.

– RB Jeff Demps, whose season has been effectively wiped out by a sprained foot he suffered Sept. 18, will play vs. South Carolina, Meyer said, added that he didn’t know how much.

“We’ll know more later in the week, but he had a good day yesterday,” Meyer said.

Demps missed his second game of the season on Saturday. He did not play against Vanderbilt or LSU, and has been limited in all the other games (Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi State and Georgia) since hurting his foot.

– OL Matt Patchan is still out with a wrist injury he suffered in the preseason. Meyer said he is seeing a specialist.

“It doesn’t look like it’s going to be fixed,” Meyer said. “It’s a problem I don’t want to get into now, but there’s a problem with his wrist. His career will be fine, but the remainder of the year is up in the air.”

Meyer would not say if Patchan would request a medical redshirt.

– Kicker Caleb Sturgis will not play this week. He has been out since the beginning of October with a hairline fracture in his vertebrae.

looking promising

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Florida freshman FS Jonathan Dowling kicked off team

Content provided by Swamp Things – Gators Blog.

FS Jonathan Dowling, who played in the Under Armour All-American Game last year, was dismissed from the team. (Orlando Sentinel photo)

Florida freshman free safety Jonathan Dowling has been dismissed from the team, coach Urban Meyer said Monday.

Meyer said Dowling, a four-star recruit last season out of Bradenton Southlake, violated team rules. He added that Dowling will not be back on the team.

A search of court records in Alachua and Manatee counties shows Dowling does not have a case more serious than a traffic violation.

Dowling appeared in two games this season, playing in the secondary vs. Kentucky and on special teams vs. Miami (Ohio) in the opener.

Dowling was part of a 2010 recruiting class ranked No. 1 by and No. 2 by He was the fifth-ranked safety in the country, according to

Three players from that class have now left the program. WR Adrian Coxson and FS Jordan Haden left before the start of the season.

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