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Yet another UM Canes football depth chart released after Fort Myers scrimmage

UM Coach Al Golden released yet another depth chart after last Friday night's Fort Myers scrimmage.

Again, you shouldn't be surprised at some of these changes, because Golden already has let his feelings be known about various positions.

Denzel Perryman has obviously secured that spot at middle linebacker, but Gionni Paul now has an "or'' between himself and Tyrone Cornelius on the outside.

Shayon Green is off the depth chart because of his injury, with Anthony Chickillo back where he belongs -- on top at defensive end.

Also, notice that at strong safety, there's an "or'' between A.J. Highsmith and Vaughn Telemaque now -- and an "or'' between Brandon McGee and Thomas Finnie at cornerback.

The offensive line and receivers are the same, as are the quarterbacks. But at fullback, because both C.J. Holton and Maurice Hagens are injured, 6-4, 275-pound redshirt-sophomore Sean Harvey -- formerly listed as a tight end -- is first-team fullback.

I'm figuring there will be at least one more depth chart released after the April 14 afternoon spring game, which is at Sun Life Stadium and free to the public.

OFFENSE

QB

First team: Ryan Williams

Second team: Gray Crow

Third team: Preston Dewey

RB

First team: Mike James

Second team: Eduardo Clements

Third team: Dallas Crawford

FB

First team: Sean Harvey

Second team: Mike James

WR

First team: Rashawn Scott

Second team: Allen Hurns

Third team: Garrett Kidd

WR

First team: Phillip Dorsett

Second team: Kendal Thompkins

TE

First team: Asante Cleveland

Second team: Clive Walford

LT

First team: Malcolm Bunche

Second team: Ereck Flowers

LG

First team: Jermaine Johnson

Second team: Jeremy Lewis

C

First team: Shane McDermott

Second team: Jared Wheeler

RG

First team: Brandon Linder

Second team: Ben Jones

RT

First team: Seantrel Henderson

Second team: Taylor Gadbois

DEFENSE

DE

First team: Anthony Chickillo

Second team: Ricardo Williams

DT

First team: Darius Smith

Second team: Luther Robinson

DT

First team: Curtis Porter

Second team: Olsen Pierre

DE

First team: Kelvin Cain

Second team: Dwayne Hoilett

OLB

First team: Jimmy Gaines

Second team: Eddie Johnson

MLB

First team: Denzel Perryman

Second team: Raphael Kirby

OLB

First team: Gionni Paul or Tyrone Cornileus

CB

First team: Ladarius Gunter

Second team: Larry Hope

FS

First team: Ray-Ray Armstrong

Second team: Kacy Rodgers

SS

First team: A.J. Highsmith

Second team: Vaughn Telemaque

Third team: Andrew Swasey

CB

First team: Brandon McGee

Second team: Thomas Finnie

SPECIAL TEAMS

K

First team: Jake Wieclaw

Second team: Matt Goudis

P

First team: Dalton Botts

Second team: Jake Wieclaw

KR

First team: Phillip Dorsett

Second team: Dallas Crawford

PR

First team: Phillip Dorsett

Second team: Dallas Crawford

H

First team: Dalton Botts

Second team: Ricardo Williams

 

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

Comments

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I attended the Fort Myers scrimmage and here are my thoughts:
BESIDES A LOT OF MY FREAKIN CANES THERE:
1. Ray Ray still standing around waiting 4 the play to come to him/same for Telemaque
2. Andrew Swasey needs to be in a black jersey. That kid can hit, always in the right spot, and makes a play on every throw. Just don't get it. WAAAY better than Ray Ray, and Ray Ray was my favorite signee a couple years back
3. The O-Line flat out sucked. I'm not sure Kehoe is getting through to these kids. Linder might be a little overrated.
4. Folks, GIONNI PAUL can flat out play. I watched him drop into coverage on the weakside, then the d-line slowed the running back enough for Paul to come back to the line of scrimmage in lighting time and sack the running back behind the line scrimmage; and it was a huge hit. POP!
5. Raphael Kirby will be better than Ray Lewis. No lie. That kid is THE linebacker that we have been needing the last 5-7 years. Big time player and will knock you out. I swear he is getting paid for a bounty on every play. Dude will paralyze you. Haha
6. Folks, I thought Larry Hope was going to be a little minnie me of a CB. Let me tell you, that kid can flat out play and you better hold your denchers because that kid can hit like a mother.

Just my observations. PUT SWASEY IN AT STARTING SAFETY

CANE4LIFE

And just to add, Dwayne Hoilett is the next Jason Taylor. That kid is really good

CANE4LIFE

Ray ray went to my high school. He's a stud he's just needs to work on coverage.

Agree. Was there as well. Good atmosphere. Maybe not as crazy as I hoped for but packed house. There were even gator fans there.

IS it me or there is no way any miami fan would go see the gators practice in fort myers or anywhere. The gator fans there obviously are curious to see the U. We understand. Many in the world feel the same way.

The O line looked soft. Uninspired. No way that those big a55 dudes cant be beats and dominant. Seantrel is humongous. He should be pancaking any and evryone.

When is a Depth Chart actually not a Depth Chart ?

When Al Golden releases one.

5. Raphael Kirby will be better than Ray Lewis. No lie.

DELuDEDCANE4LIFE

Posted by: UCane305 | April 05, 2012 at 11:48 AM

.

There U ClUcks go again...

And just to add, Dwayne Hoilett is the next Jason Taylor. That kid is really good

CANE4LIFE

Posted by: UCane305 | April 05, 2012 at 11:56 AM

Nuh huh!

Yuh huh!

Nuh huh!

Yuh huh!

Nuh huh!

Yuh huh!

You children are pathetic.

UCane, u ought to work for the herald.

UCane305 thanks for the update..
I think and correct me if I am wrong that it was clear the offense won the first open practice, and the defense won last saturday.
This is the best case scenario for Coach G to pump up and get more out of each team. In interviews Coach G mentioned that the offense was awesome in bouncing back at the next practice.
This is to be expected..With the defense getting stronger and more positive..they would most certainly be in a position to help win some games.
Don't forget also we have 23 new players coming in and the Coaches are setting up where they best fit in based on talent, football i.q, strength, and guts..

Great report and the Canes fans had a good time..the gayturds showed up but that being said on Joe Rose Coach G estimated closer to 8,000 people attended, and the Canes are stronger and lighter on their feet.Even the gayturds are curious. (lol)
Good job UCane305.
Go 'Canes

FOR ALL YOU TURD TROLLS ON HERE SUCK IT!!

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida tight end A.C. Leonard pleaded no contest Wednesday to a charge of misdemeanor battery stemming from a February altercation with his live-in girlfriend and will serve six months of probation, according to his Gainesville attorney.

Leonard must also pay $628 in court costs, continue to participate in anger management classes and have no contact with the victim.

"We took the victim's situation into consideration and thought this [resolution] was best for everybody," attorney Huntley Johnson said. "In my opinion, he's certainly learned from this situation, and I don't think we'll be having any further incidents."

Leonard was arrested Feb. 15 after Gainesville Police Department officers responded to a call made by a 21-year-old female Florida student at The Polos Apartments on Southwest Williston Road at about 8 p.m. ET, according to Cpl. Angelina Valuri, the public information officer for the Gainesville Police Department.

The victim, who said she had been dating Leonard for a year and a half but living with him for only a month, claimed Leonard assaulted her during a verbal argument, Valuri said.

The woman claimed Leonard shoved her with both hands in the chest and knocked her to the ground. As she was falling, the woman said she struck her head on a dog cage, according to Valuri.

The woman said Leonard, 20, grabbed her by her hair and dragged her toward the front door, ripping out chunks of her hair and breaking a necklace in the process. The woman said Leonard then grabbed her by both feet, dragged her out of the apartment and locked the door, Valuri said.

The woman had abrasions to her left forearm and right elbow, injuries consistent with being dragged on a carpet, Valuri said.

Florida coach Will Muschamp suspended Leonard, who caught eight passes for 99 yards as a freshman last season, after his arrest but reinstated the 6-foot-4, 245-pound sophomore on March 26 and allowed him to participate in spring practice. Muschamp said last week he has not yet determined Leonard's status for Saturday's spring game or the fall season.

"As I stated last week, A.C. has a number of things he has to work through before his status for the fall is addressed," Muschamp said in a statement on Wednesday.

I'm thinking everyone thought they were gators fans because there was a group wearing blue, but those were kids from a local football team wearing their team jerseys

Wow. some of you guys left Miami to see a scrimmage. How was your first time away from home? Was it fun? Felt like you left home for college? I don't quite get the U thing.

Now waiting for the we got more rings and we are a so-called top tier university by some magazine that nobody reads and that we aren't about being a fun school anymore 'cuz we are serious about our academics and we are the best commuter school in the country and we got beaches and topless girls at the beach and no trailers and ..... ready set..... write.

"..... ready set..... write."

Posted by: SouthFLGator | April 05, 2012 at 01:49 PM

Okay, time to get off that oval seat and wipe yourself, before things turn crusty.

ok.whatever.We ll all get to see during the first game....just how HUNGRY this Cane team is.If you can t be hungry at the 1st game....and win............good luck the rest of the way.

UCane, u ought to work for the herald.
Posted by: ssidcane | April 05, 2012 at 12:59 PM

LOL. I'm not much into reporting ssidcane. I'm just a recruiting geek and love my Canes. Diehard. I live in Fort Myers but Miami is my Alumni and I'm a season ticket holder. Go Canes!!

CANE4LIFE

U gotta remember that this is all motivation. "Goldy's trying to light fires under people. Apparently, Highsmith must be a good athlete, it looks like U might want to play him on special teams and as a decoy on offense. Did U get that OC?

Lost in the shuffle is Ray Ray. I say he had his chance. Finnie deserves a chance. There is absolutely nothing wrong with VT. He figured this out a long time ago.

Now, I wonder when "Goldy will turn his attention to the underachieving coaches?

I guess I'm out of the loop or something, but could somebody tell me what's up with Stephen Morris?

CANE4LIFE good comments Yes RK will be a great LB and i don't Know what is going on with Kehoe and the OL...It was supposed to be the strenght of this team last year...Is Kehoe still the man of the situation???

Somehow I am not convinced DEs Dwayne Hoilett and Ricardo Williams and Kelvin Cain are any better than Dyron Dye.

Move Dye back to DE. They don't need him at TE.

The underachieving coaches were fired when Shannon and company were fired. This new regime is all about competition amongst all players at every position which breeds a winning team for the coming season. It doesn't matter who you are or what you did in the past or how many stars you were or how many years you have been here. This coaching staff is all about the process of winning.

I know this doesn't directly have to do with the U but how could the NCAA let a dirt bag like Calipari who put two programs on probation UMASS and Memphis while letting him go and win a championship at Kentucky. It's proves again that their all about money. Why punish the kids and let the coaches go free an?

Of all the spring coverage of the U, I haven't heard one mention about Josh Witt since he enrolled. No stats, no playing time, no injury. What happened to this guy?

VT will be back trust me! this kid is a fighter, Did not come out of Long Beach Poly High school for nothing!

Today practice VT show the coaches hes back! believing in Al Golden system. VT will help the secondary and be the leader we need.

Dobard punks UFailure. That is becoming a pattern.

Any surprise the lowest score on the Wonderlic is from the academic backwater SEC?

Pumping out idiots by the thousands. SEC!

Anyone UFelony players steal a taco lately? If they would just use their diploma mill degree to get a job a Taco Bell, they could stay off probation.

josh witt is out with an injury.

They need Feliciano, Seantrel, Ramon Buchanan, CJ Holton, Maurice Hagens and Stephen Morris back from injuries.

Canefan for 65yrs Have seen it all. Learned early not to argue with idiots cause that brings you down to their level. Gator chomp displays all mouth no brains and Gators interbreed that is why that say such dumb things and act so crazy.

Tally, man you have got a great point in your last post. It won't be long before Kentucky is on probation by Calipari's actions. Kentucky is just like ALabama and a few of the other SEC schools are in football. They have boosters with deep pockets who know how to keep things hid. There ain't no way in any sport that a school each year gets top recruits from all over the country to come to one school unless there is something shady going on. And its all about money. The NCAA is a bunch of crooks who look after the few select ones they want to and turn a blind eye to them but you let another school outside that select few come in and start winning and they either dig to the core of the earth to find some BS infraction to use against them or they insert some stupid rule aka the "miami rule" for taunting. I still don't get how Auburn got off scot free for the whole Cam Newton thing. THe NCAA is a bunch of Frauds themselves.

Witt got rave reviews early on for playing with reckless abandonment and laying the wood on any and everyone. That's what led to his concussion that has him out

With what I saw in the hialeah scrimmage and what I'm hearing from the fort myers scrimmage I can't wait for april 14th. Plus I can't wait to see what the incoming freshmen have to bring to the table. Damn this is gonna be good.

GO CANES ALL DAY EVERYDAY!!!


Canes had the bases LOADED in the bottom of the 11th and O'Brien on 2B and left the regular batters in, no pinch hitter, and failed to get a hit and produce a score.

Screw this, Morris you are foul, I am going to sleep...

Posted by: SOUP | April 08, 2012 at 12:10 AM

Drunk again and insulting people

Canes had the bases LOADED in the bottom of the 11th and O'Brien on 2B and left the regular batters in, no pinch hitter, and failed to get a hit and produce a score.

Forget this, I am going to sleep...

Posted by: SOUP | April 08, 2012 at 12:10 AM

Proof of his scumbaggery........BUSTED!!

Woooow.

Obsessed much?

"Yet Another Hurricane Depth Chart," if you are bored there are many much better reporters who could cover the U, just saying!!!!!!

Goldie is building nice top Galen depth. Studs d comin in august. I still look for sr's ray and vt to start a safety guys. Too much experience n both want to goto NFL. If ray and vt do play like stars, McGee finally figures it out an Howard comes in august, all of a sudden or d backfield is awesome. Then with perryman and Kirby and lb depth we r gonna have, Goldie is building back. True U defense. Our real issue, getting the d-line to b like canes of old. we were always in the penetration offensive backfield. We need d lineman that actually dominate. Give the qbs time to get settled. The good thing - I we get hit with scholly sanctions we were fortunate 30 something spots were open. So depth and talent is there 2 ride outsome missing schollies N 90s, we didn't have depth when butch took over where we do now. There's why I took butch 5 years to et it back to normal. So far 3 of the 4 com mitts are 4 star kids on rivals and on espn 150 list. So now he can go for jus t best of the best. he's buildin a great team.

Top 4 star TE from LsU area committed. 4.star rivals kid and espn 150 player. Ray Lewis JR, and strategy seems to be fill open spots with top talent. Since depth is finally there, now h doesn't have to go after more 3 stars to fill holes, and can shoot for only the big time guys. Of course, u can always find that diamond.

Finally! Someone digs up the dirt!!!

From champs to chomped: How Urban Meyer broke Florida football

Read more: http://aol.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/story/2012-04-09/urban-meyer-florida-ohio-state-ncaa-violation-recruiting-drugs-program-will-musc#ixzz1rZDcD5Yu

http://aol.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/story/2012-04-09/urban-meyer-florida-ohio-state-ncaa-violation-recruiting-drugs-program-will-musc

LOL, like anyone can have a gentleman's agreement with Urban Meyer.

Raids coaches, raids recruits, and then whines when the Gators actually TALK to an OSU recruit. Of couse, Musschump is such a wuss that he backed down. What is he afraid of, that Urban will blow the whistle on what was done at UF during his years there? Yep.

Ahh, I see that the new baseball polls are coming out. And Karma is paying back the trolls in the process. you know, the ones that claimed their team being #1 in March actually MEANT something when it came around to June.

Miami has moved ahead of UNC, who we swept by a 16-3 total score.

After beating one #3 ranked ACC team, they moved up to #6. In two weeks, they go to Tallahassee to face #1 FSU, our true rivals, who we faced and beat in one of our four CWS titles.

There is alot of bad blood between Martin and his son and the Canes, who beat them soundly a couple of years back despite the racist and disgusting comments from their fans, who threw batteries and sodas at Canes players for daring to win the series in their house.

Martin famously claimed his religion prevented him from shaking hands with Morris, but after a humiliating CWS loss to the Canes on national TV, where ESPN questioned his behavior, he suddenly changed religions to one that includes sportsmanship.

Although Miami is the only team in the state to win a CWS, FSU is the second best team in the state with multiple appearances, although they have been knocked out multiple times by the Canes.

You know that this series will be a rough one, as their fans likely still haven't forgiven us for winning that last time. They do hold their grudges up there, just ask them about Wide Right for proof.

GAYTOR TROLLS - HERE'S WHAT YOU SHOULD BE READING ABOUT: From champs to chomped: How Urban Meyer broke Florida football - NCAA Football - Sporting News

LOSERS!

The uproar and controversy of Urban Meyer’s stunning recruiting coup at Ohio State settled in and Stefon Diggs, still on the Buckeyes' wish list, was debating his future.

Diggs, the second-highest rated wide receiver in the country, had narrowed his list of potential schools to Maryland, Florida and Ohio State. For more than a week following National Signing Day on Feb. 1, and before Diggs eventually signed with Maryland, Meyer relentlessly pursued Diggs.

Urban Meyer's great success at Florida comes at a price. (AP Photo)
Multiple sources told Sporting News that Meyer—who won two national championships in six years at Florida and cemented his legacy as one of the game’s greatest coaches—told the Diggs family that he wouldn’t let his son go to Florida because of significant character issues in the locker room.

Character issues that we now know were fueled by a culture Meyer created. Character issues that gutted what was four years earlier the most powerful program in college football.

— Ranking college football coaches: Where does Urban Meyer stand?

It was Meyer who declared the Florida program “broken” at the end of his last regular season game in Gainesville in November of 2010. But why was it broken?

“Over the last two years he was there,” one former player said, “the players had taken complete control of the team.”

Only now, through interviews with multiple sources during a three-month Sporting News investigation, do we see just how damaged the infrastructure really was and how much repair work second-year coach Will Muschamp has had to undertake in replacing Meyer—who has moved on to Ohio State less than a year after resigning from Florida for health reasons.

Meyer denies allegations that he cast Florida and its players in a dark light when he spoke to the Diggs family, and said, “I love Florida; I’ll always be a Gator. My motives were pure as gold when I left. We left Florida because I was dealing with health issues that I’ve since learned how to control.”

— At Ohio State, Meyer's ability to control players will be watched

But multiple former players and others close to the program say the timing of his departure was also tied to the roster he left behind. Remember it was Meyer who hinted the program that won 13 games in 2006, 2008 and 2009—and lost only 10 games from 2005-09—was flawed beyond the unsuspecting eye.

Now those issues have surfaced for all to see. Left in the wake of Meyer’s resignation were problems that can destroy a coaching career: drug use among players, a philosophy of preferential treatment for certain players, a sense of entitlement among all players and roster management by scholarship manipulation.

The coach who holds himself above the seedy underbelly of the game; who as an ESPN television analyst in 2011 publicly berated the ills of college football; left a program mired in the very things he has criticized.

“The program,” former Florida safety Bryan Thomas said, “was out of control.”

Circle game

Ironically, Florida’s downfall began at the height of Meyer’s success—the 2008 national championship season. Three seasons of enabling and pandering to elite players—what Meyer’s players called his “Circle of Trust”—began to tear away at what he’d put together.

“I’ve never heard of Circle of Trust before in my life,” Meyer said.

Former players, though, contend it was the foundation of Florida’s culture under Meyer. In the season opener against Hawaii, Meyer said a few elite players (including wideout Percy Harvin, linebacker Brandon Spikes and tight end Aaron Hernandez) would miss the game with injuries. According to multiple sources, the three players—all critical factors in Florida’s rise under Meyer—failed drug tests for marijuana and were sitting out as part of standard university punishment.

By publicly stating the three were injured and not being disciplined, former players say, Meyer was creating a divide between the haves and have-nots on the team.

— David Whitley: All this Meyer criticism needs to fade away

“They were running with us on the first team all week in practice,” one former player said. “The next thing you know, they’re on the sidelines with a (walking) boot for the season opener like they were injured. Of course players see that and respond to it.”

It was Harvin, more than anyone, who epitomized the climate Meyer created. While former players say Harvin always was treated differently as a member of Meyer’s Circle of Trust, it was the beginning of his sophomore season—after he helped lead the Gators to the 2006 national title—that it became blatant. That's also when it began to contribute negatively toward team chemistry.

During offseason conditioning before the 2007 season, the team was running stadium steps and at one point, Harvin, according to sources, sat down and refused to run. When confronted by strength and conditioning coaches, Harvin—who failed to return calls and texts to his cell phone to comment on this story—said, “This (expletive) ends now.”

“The next day,” a former player said, “we were playing basketball as conditioning.”

It only got worse as Harvin’s career progressed. At one point during the 2008 season, multiple sources confirmed that Harvin, now a prominent member of the Minnesota Vikings, physically attacked wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales, grabbing him by the neck and throwing him to the ground. Harvin had to be pulled off Gonzales by two assistant coaches—but was never disciplined.

When asked about the Harvin incident, Gonzales—now offensive coordinator at Illinois—said, “I think it’s a little overblown. I mean, every great player wants his voice to be heard.”

Said Meyer: “Something did happen and something was handled. I don’t think it’s fair to Percy Harvin or Billy Gonzales to talk about it.”

Gonzales left Florida for LSU—a lateral move—after the 2009 season, and did so by placing his keys, cell phone and resignation letter on Meyer’s desk. There were rumors that Gonzales resigned with a Post-it note on Meyer’s desk.

“I never left a Post-it note,” Gonzales said. “Urban and I have talked since. He’ll do great things at Ohio State.”

That is, unless he hasn’t learned from his time at Florida.

Maelstrom in Gainesville

Even as the unprecedented success at Florida continued, a mounting number of players were dragging the Gators’ name down a path of drugs and destruction. At least 30 players were arrested in Meyer’s six seasons. Instances of substance abuse were often linked to his most prized athletes. NFL teams took notice.

Hernandez admitted to failing a drug test at Florida, a problem that cut his draft stock from first-round grade to fourth-round selection by the New England Patriots. Harvin, according to multiple reports, failed a drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine and slipped from a top-10 pick to the latter half of the first round.

— Ohio State invests in coach who no longer is iron clad

Spikes, sources said, failed a drug test at Florida and was suspended four games during his rookie season with the Patriots for using performance enhancing drugs. Offensive lineman Maurice Hurt, according to multiple reports, last year tested positive for marijuana at the Combine. He fell to the Washington Redskins in the seventh round—and later developed into a starting guard in his rookie season.

Just how prevalent was the drug use among Meyer’s players? A source told Sporting News that Patriots coach Bill Belichick spoke to the current Florida team this offseason, and addressed the issue and how it impacts NFL careers.

“His message was, in essence, don’t be like those guys,” a source said.

But none of those aforementioned drug problems was as prominent as All-American cornerback Janoris Jenkins', who, like Harvin, former players say, was protected by Meyer’s Circle of Trust. Jenkins failed a drug test at Florida under Meyer and was arrested for his part in a bar fight. He was later arrested twice for possession of marijuana within the first few months Muschamp was on the job.

In fact, in the first month of Muschamp’s tenure, three players—Jenkins, linebacker Chris Martin and defensive end Kedric Johnson—were arrested in separate incidents for possession of marijuana.

When he was dismissed from the team by Muschamp, Jenkins told the Orlando Sentinel: “If (Meyer) was still the coach at Florida, I’d still be there.”

This is the same Jenkins who, according to sources, walked out on Meyer’s postgame speech after the 2008 season opener and threatened to quit. Meyer not only brought Jenkins back without punishment, Jenkins eventually developed into a freshman All-American and played a big role in the team’s championship run.

Meyer says Jenkins “is a good kid who made a bad mistake,” and contends he was dealing with issues at Florida that occur at “every program in the country.” Every coach, he says, has his own way of dealing with them.

“I am very proud of our guys that played at Florida,” Meyer said. “Are there issues? Yes there are with 18-22-year-olds. I have been criticized that I have been too lenient on players; that doesn’t concern me. We are going to go out of our way to mentor, educate and discipline guys the way we see fit to make sure they’re headed in the right direction. Are we perfect? I never said that. We do the best we can and I think our record has been really positive in the impact we’ve made on those people.”

The biggest impact, former players say, was for those in the Circle of Trust. It wasn’t so much a focus on trust as it was a revelation of talent. If you could play and contribute, you were part of the chosen few.

“(Meyer) lost the team’s respect,” Thomas said. “That kind of stuff spreads through the players. They see what they can get away with, and they push it. Even the star players; they liked him because they were in the Circle of Trust. But it backfired on him. They didn’t respect him.”

Said Meyer: "Was I dealing with entitlement issues? Yes. But they were great kids. If they weren't, I would've gotten rid of them."

Recruiting and reaction

"Over the last two years he was there the players had taken complete control of the team."
One way of ridding a program of undesirables is roster management. Recruiting is the lifeblood of all programs; a direct correlation exists between winning at recruiting and winning on fall Saturdays.

Few do it better than Meyer. Few are as ruthless when it comes to recruiting—and when it comes to making room for recruits. Thomas was a four-star recruit from Zephyrhills, Fla., and had a series of knee injuries hinder his development.

After the 2008 season, Thomas says he was told he had to “move on” because he wasn’t in the team’s plans for 2009.

— Ohio State recruits like idea of Meyer as coach

“I told (Meyer) I was on track to graduate, I wasn’t a problem and I did everything I was supposed to do—I just had a knee injury,” Thomas said. “I told them I wasn’t leaving, and if they tried to force me to leave, I was going to tell everyone everything."

The next day, Thomas says he was given a medical hardship letter by position coach Chuck Heater stating Thomas had an injury that would prohibit him from playing football. The medical hardship scholarship doesn’t count against the NCAA limit of 85, and allows the affected player to stay on academic scholarship.

It also made room for another recruit. Meyer denied this tactic of roster management.

— Muschamp adds three to 2012 recruiting class

“As a coach, I don’t have any say in the medical decisions,” Meyer said. “If the doctors say a player can’t play any longer, he can’t play.”

Thomas signed the medical hardship, stayed at Florida for the 2009 season and graduated before transferring to then-Division II North Alabama. With eligibility remaining, he played in 23 games over the next two seasons and was an All-Gulf South Conference selection. He recently worked out for NFL scouts at North Alabama’s Pro Day, and was in Gainesville for Florida’s Pro Day.

Thomas may be the only player who will publicly speak out against Meyer. Many others are fearful of Meyer’s ability to hurt their NFL prospects. Every other player contacted for this story asked to be unidentified.

“As far as coaching, there’s no one else like (Meyer); he’s a great coach,” Thomas said. “He gets players to do things you never thought you could do. But he’s a bad person. He’ll win at Ohio State. But if he doesn’t change, they’re going to have the same problems.”

Will Columbus discover trouble?

Before he walked on the field this spring to coach his first practice at Ohio State, Meyer ran into two more significant problems.

According to sources, Wisconsin accused Meyer and his staff of using former Ohio State NFL players to call high school recruits. Wisconsin also accused Meyer and his staff of bumping into offensive lineman Kyle Dodson, who was committed to the Badgers but eventually flipped and signed with the Buckeyes. The practice of “bumping” occurs when coaches accidentally “bump” into players during recruiting dead periods.

Both the alleged phone calls and bumping are NCAA violations.

When asked about the specific charges, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema declined comment, but told Sporting News a day after National Signing Day that, “I wasn’t upset with Urban because of a gentlemen’s agreement. It was something else that I don’t want to get into. I told him what I knew, and he said he would take care of it and he did.”

— Bielema complains | No apology from Meyer

Meyer said the alleged incidents happened “before I was hired—in December, but I can’t remember the exact timeline.” Meyer was hired at Ohio State on Nov. 28, 2011.

He said when he heard of the allegations, he asked the coaches involved and they denied any wrongdoing. Meyer said Ohio State hasn’t self-reported anything to the NCAA regarding those allegations, “because they’re not true.”

“Let me make one thing very clear,” Meyer said. “There are no issues with Urban Meyer and the NCAA.”

Ohio State is serving the first of two years of NCAA probation for several violations committed under former coach Jim Tressel, including multiple players receiving impermissible benefits. The football program could be a repeat violator if charged with an NCAA violation over the next two years, where additional severe penalties could be handed down.

During the heat of recruiting season, another dust-up arose in Columbus. It was the “gentlemen’s agreement”—a loosely held ideal among Big Ten coaches about backing off verbally committed high school players—that got Meyer into a dicey moment.

— David Whitley: Big Ten has more integrity than SEC

Meyer and his staff got eight players to back off verbal commitments and sign with the Buckeyes, and a few Big Ten coaches—including Bielema and Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio—spoke about the understanding among league coaches at press conferences.

A few days later, during a speech to the state of Ohio’s high school coaches clinic, Meyer scoffed at the notion of the “gentlemen’s agreement” proclaiming, “You’re pissed because we went after a committed guy? Guess what? We got nine (coaches) who better go do it again. Do it a little harder next time.”

But less than two weeks earlier, sources say Ohio State running backs coach Stan Drayton called a Florida assistant coach to discuss the recruitment of Lakeland, Fla., wideout Ricquan Southward, who was committed to Ohio State but was still being recruited by Florida. Drayton, sources say, told Gators’ wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill that Meyer and Muschamp had a “gentlemen’s agreement” about committed players—and that Hill should back off recruiting Southward.

Southward eventually signed with Ohio State.

“I did not tell Stan Drayton that we had a gentleman’s agreement with Will,” Meyer said. “Now, I don’t know what Stan said to (Hill) in their conversation.”

Hill declined comment. Muschamp also declined and said: “I’m focusing on our team getting better—not anyone or anything else.”

It’s a still fragile program demanding no less.

Coming off the bottom

By the end of Muschamp’s first season, Florida failed to have a first-team All-SEC selection for the first time in 40 years. For the first time since 2004, Florida failed to have an underclassman in the NFL Draft. The Gators had only two players at the NFL Combine, the lowest number since the event moved to Indianapolis in 1985. Fifteen true freshmen—players Muschamp recruited—played for the Gators in 2011.

By the time Florida beat Ohio State in the Gator Bowl (while Meyer was recruiting for the Buckeyes), Muschamp’s weeding out process of players who wouldn’t buy into his philosophy had whittled the roster to 72 scholarship players—13 under the NCAA limit.

The 6-6 regular season record was Florida’s worst since 1987. The “broken” program—Meyer’s words—had hit rock bottom.

“To put it all on a sense of entitlement or a few other things that happened, I disagree,” Meyer said. “It comes down to players.”

When asked how such a dysfunctional team won the national title in 2008, one former player said, “We had better players than everyone else. It’s that’s simple. We had (Tim) Tebow. We played without our next best player (Harvin) who was injured for the SEC (Championship Game), and still beat an Alabama team that would’ve beaten Oklahoma, too.”

Meyer points to the loss of five juniors to the NFL after the 2009 season as the reason for Florida’s regression in 2010. There was also a new quarterback, a factor contributing to the loss of five games. While he says he left Florida with talent—the Gators had a top 10 defense in 2011—last year’s team also struggled to overcome quarterback injuries, among other problems.

Florida last month began Year 2 under Muschamp. Spring practice featured several young players battling for starting spots and a high-profile quarterback competition between sophomores Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett.

Meyer, having replaced the ousted and beloved Tressel a year after Luke Fickell served as interim, began his first spring in Columbus trying to install a new offense, and getting players “to do the right things and be good people on and off the field — like I have done everywhere I have coached.” Both coaches are rebuilding while dealing with significant baggage.

Only one is connected to both.

Muschamp declined to be interviewed for this story, but in an interview with Sporting News last month, he hinted that things aren’t always what they seem.

“This team is 15-11 over the last two years,” Muschamp said. “I always look at the difference between reality and perception. Sometimes perception isn’t always what reality is.”


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Posted by: UM Troll | April 05, 2012 at 12:52 PM


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Posted by: UF Troll | April 05, 2012 at 12:52 PM

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