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Reflective and thankful

In the midst of the celebration after his Florida football team learned Sunday night it would play for the national championship, Urban Meyer took a moment to do what few, if any, have done during the past two years. Give Ron Zook a little credit.

By ANTONYA ENGLISH
Published December 7, 2006


GAINESVILLE - In the midst of the celebration after his Florida football team learned Sunday night it would play for the national championship, Urban Meyer took a moment to do what few, if any, have done during the past two years. Give Ron Zook a little credit.

Meyer complimented the previous coaching staff, acknowledging that many of the players who have helped get the Gators to the national title game were there when he arrived.

"I think it's a tribute to the previous staff," Meyer said when asked if he thought it would take just two years to get the program back on track. "Obviously this coaching thing is overrated. It's players. It's a great tribute to Coach Zook and his staff that Ray McDonald and Chris Leak and Dallas Baker and Jemalle Cornelius are all running around. You obviously can't get it done without some great players."

Still waiting for Brewer

He's walking around campus with that signature smile on his face, but forward Corey Brewer most likely won't be back in the lineup until at least the Dec. 23 Ohio State game.

Basketball coach Billy Donovan said he "has a level of optimism that he'll be back before Christmas." Tests this week revealed Brewer's spleen was not enlarged, a concern with mononucleosis. He's attending classes and sitting in on practices, but hasn't been cleared to play.

"This is not a bed-ridden illness that he's on the flat of his back," Donovan said. "It's just the sweating and being under physical stress and physical contact is not what they want him to do right now."

For the record ...

The football team isn't the only one in the hunt for a national championship. The No. 9-seeded volleyball team (30-2) hosts No. 8-seeded Minnesota at 7 p.m. Friday in the round of 16. The Gators advanced to the NCAA region semifinals for the 15th time in the past 16 seasons.

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com.