Urban Meyer is doing everything he can to rid the agent epidemic in college football. He recently spent time on a conference call with college head coaches, NFL agents and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, searching for answers to eliminate agents taking advantage of college players.
“You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure this thing out,” Urban Meyer said after Friday’s morning practice. “If you want to stop some sort of unethical, illegal activity, how do you do it? You punish them. The players get punished, and you want to stop the other stuff, too.”
Meyer said the conference call went well. Alabama head coach Nick Saban also participated, with hopes of making a dent on the situation.
“I love it,” Meyer said. “Everybody wants to make things right. We get stereotyped as coaches, agents and players. There are obviously people who don’t want to do right. The majority wants to do it right.”
Meyer sees parallels between the agent issues and recruiting. Both have rules put in place to discourage illegal activity, but the enforcing leaves a lot to be desired. Rules alone can’t cure the ills of the system. The lack of accountability doesn’t discourage anyone from changing illegal activity.
“It’s almost like recruiting,” Meyer said. “If there’s no threat of a punishment, go have at it. Certain people have integrity and they’re going to do things the right way anyways. There are a lot of positives going on for college football. We can’t lose college football. We just can’t lose college football.”
INJURY UPDATE: Meyer said the team’s injuries are “all minor stuff.”
Chris Rainey was at practice Friday morning, running around with fresh legs “like he should have.” Rainey was in a non-contact jersey but is expected to resume contact Saturday or Monday.
Matt Patchan’s cast on his wrist is “coming off.” He is expected to resume running on Saturday.
Omarius Hines didn’t participate in Friday morning’s practice because of some swelling in his legs, but Meyer said he is fine and will practice Friday afternoon.
STRIPES OFF: Defensive line coach Dan McCarney announced Thursday that Robert Clark was the first freshman to have his stripe taken off. Neiron Ball and Michael Taylor were next.
Clark received a late offer from the Gators during his senior year of high school, and he is wasting no time opening eyes on the Florida coaching staff.
“He’s the energizer bunny,” Meyer said. “He just goes as hard as he can. I wish he was a little taller, wish he was a little faster, but he’s tough as nails and he’s making plays. He’ll hit you.”
Taylor isn’t the most physically striking linebacker on the team, but the freshman’s knowledge of the game is what made him an early candidate to have his stripe removed. Meyer sees parallels between Taylor and a former Gator linebacker.
“He strikes you,” Meyer said. “He loves the game. I’m hoping he’s our (Ryan) Stamper. He’s a guy that doesn’t look like the physically imposing guy before he strikes you.”
YEAR OF DEVELOPMENT AND ACCOUNTABILITY: It has been Meyer’s calling card for this entire season, and it continues through fall camp.
The talent won’t be a drastic step back like it was during the 2007 season, but Meyer knows the development must continue throughout the season.
“Last year was a year of maintenance,” Meyer said. “This year, we’ve got to develop. In 2007, as coaches, we did a bad job. We just weren’t prepared. We’re prepared now. It’s just, how do you get these guys ready? When we’re coaching, we have to be on our game.”
The Gators will have new starters on both sides of the ball that don’t have much playing experience. Most of them will be players that haven’t maintained starting positions throughout their career.
“Jelani Jenkins, when we take the first snap, he’s going to be out there somewhere,” Meyer said. “He’s never played before. (Linebackers coach D.J.) Durkin better have him ready to go.”
SATURDAY SCRIMMAGE: The Gators have their first team scrimmage on Saturday, and there are specific things Meyer is looking for on both sides of the ball.
The offense is packed with capable playmakers, but the head coach hasn’t been able to rank them yet. He singled out Deonte Thompson and Carl Moore as “doing very well.” His focus now turns to the rest of the group.
“Our biggest issue on offense is still playmakers. Solidifying the front five (offensive linemen). I think we know who three or four of them are going to be.”
Defensive line and linebacker have plenty of options, but the Gators are still looking to find who will be the key contributors.
“Defense, try to establish a rotation up front,” Meyer said. “I couldn’t tell you who our starting linebackers are.”
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