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Florida-Florida State

Meyer puts kibosh on UF coaching rumors

By Times staff writers
Published November 21, 2004

[Times photo: Willie Allen Jr.]
Wide reciever Chad Jackson is congratulated by Florida Gator fans.
FLORIDA 20, FLORIDA STATE 13
Out with a bang
John Romano: Players show love for Zook
Game balls
By the numbers
Meyer puts kibosh on UF coaching rumors
FSU grounds own run game
Gators defense finally closes one out
[Times photo: James Borchuck]
Gators QB Chris Leak fumbles the ball in the second quarter, leading to a field goal by FSU.
Zook and his players react to a missed field-goal attempt in the third quarter.

[Times photo: James Borchuck]
FSU CB Bryant McFadden intercepts a pass intended for Florida WR Jemalle Cornelius in the second quarter.

[Times photo: James Borchuck]

TALLAHASSEE - Urban Meyer denied reports he has agreed to a deal with Florida - at least for now.

Appearing on ESPN's GameDay Saturday morning, Meyer said he hasn't accepted the head-coaching job at Florida and isn't looking to leave Utah.

"First of all, there's been no agreement made and I plan on being the coach here," Meyer told Chris Fowler.

Asked if it was "entirely untrue" that there has been any kind of conversation between Meyer and Florida, he said: "It's as untrue as there's ever been. There's been no conversation made."

Stories could be found on the Internet last week that Meyer agreed to a deal, which was expected to be announced in early December. Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley denied a deal had been reached, but Meyer's statement was stronger. Asked if he's looking to leave Utah, Meyer said, "No."

GameDay was in Utah for the Utes' game against BYU and fans supporting Meyer could be seen throughout the telecast. A notable sign: "Meyer Not 4 Hire."

MO'S WOES: Florida offensive lineman Mo Mitchell's antics against Florida State continued Saturday night. Mitchell, who has been mostly penalty-free this season, was called for a personal foul with 9:58 remaining in the first quarter after he elbowed FSU's Sam McGrew in the head while the two were on the ground at the end of a play. Mitchell gained notoriety with FSU fans two years ago when he chop-blocked Brodrick Bunkley, putting Bunkley out of the Seminoles' bowl game. Mitchell was held out one series.

MAKING A CHOICE: Under normal circumstances, Florida coach Ron Zook isn't a big believer in this rivalry as a major recruiting tool. Over the past two years, Zook has said the outcome generally has little impact on a recruit's decision.

He has changed his tune.

"(The outcome) might (have an impact) this year just because of the circumstances," said Zook, who was fired on Oct. 25. "I think in general it doesn't have a whole lot to do with it. It probably will have a much bigger effect on guys trying to figure out what's the best place for them this year, depending on how soon they get a coach and all that stuff."

BOWDEN'S FIELD DAY: At first, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden had a simple stipulation on a proposed resolution to put his name on the field: Wait one day after he retired.

That's exactly what the state Legislature passed in 2000, but that day - not Bowden's retirement - came Saturday in a brief ceremony before FSU's annual showdown against Florida. A fireworks show punctuated the unveiling of the name for the turf, "Bobby Bowden Field" at Doak Campbell Stadium.

"I do want the university to know that I am appreciative of it; it's an honor I never thought would occur," said Bowden, who came out of the locker room and received a hug and kiss from wife Ann. "You don't think about those things. You don't plan for those things. That's not in your game plan of life. They choose to do it and I really appreciate it and I thank them for it. It probably means more to my family and people who follow me than myself."

That's why he gave the green light to do it now and not later. Bowden also had to feel more at ease that no one misinterpreted the statue, field naming and unveiling of a three-story high stained glass as signs Bowden is ready to get out.

"It is not in any way, shape and form related," FSU athletic director Dave Hart said. "He knows that; we know that."

TOUGH BREAK: Starting FSU linebacker Leroy Smith broke his left forearm while tackling running back Skyler Thornton on the final play of the first quarter, a play that resulted in a 1-yard loss. The senior left the field holding his arm and was taken to the locker room by FSU medical staff. He returned without shoulder pads and his left arm in a sling.

- ANTONYA ENGLISH and BRIAN LANDMAN, Times staff writers, BRIAN SHAFFER and ZACH SPAIN, Times correspondents

[Last modified November 21, 2004, 00:50:11]


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