tampabay.com

Life, Riley Cooper, the football program - it's all real good

Four months after he led Florida to the BCS football title, Urban Meyer wrapped up his seven-city Gator Gathering at Bright House Networks Field on Thursday night in front of an estimated 800. Meyer praised the other Florida sports programs, including Billy Donovan's two-time national basketball champions, and told fans the keys to winning championships are work ethic, accountability and an unselfish approach to the game.

By ANTONYA ENGLISH
Published May 25, 2007


CLEARWATER - Four months after he led Florida to the BCS football title, Urban Meyer wrapped up his seven-city Gator Gathering at Bright House Networks Field on Thursday night in front of an estimated 800. Meyer praised the other Florida sports programs, including Billy Donovan's two-time national basketball champions, and told fans the keys to winning championships are work ethic, accountability and an unselfish approach to the game.

Has life changed dramatically since Florida won the national title?

Not at all. My son (Nate) made the all-star team (three) nights ago and that was the biggest news we've had since Jan. 8. He plays shortstop. That's the only way my life has changed.

President Bernard Machen is expected to present a plan on a playoff at the SEC meetings in Destin next week. Your opinion?

I don't know it yet. I love the bowls. I don't want the bowl system to leave. What happens is if you take the bowls (away), you forget about the student athlete. I think there is probably a way to get that done. But I want to keep the bowl system the way it is and the tradition. What I want is if there is any way to take it out of the human (hands).

The NCAA recently banned text messaging for coaches. What's your feeling on the ban?

I think it may come back. I think there is some argument out there on some overturning. ... I don't know who makes those decisions. Why not ask the guys doing it? They have relationships with players. We need to have text messaging. You have to have that. Because if you take that away, there's going to be some other way. We're working on some other ways, but to say that we can't communicate with people that we're putting our livelihoods on is, once again, I'd like to meet the people saying this and say what are you doing? Because every recruit I talk to, they want it badly.

How is Clearwater native and receiver Riley Cooper recovering? And has anyone left the team since the spring game in April?

Riley's one of the greatest athletes I've ever seen. He had a foot injury, but we think we've found the problem and he should be good to go in the fall. . . . (LB) Ronnie Wilson has an issue (arrested in March, accused of firing in the air during an altercation) and (LB) Jon Demps and (DE) Darryl Gresham, I don't believe will be back.

Assessment of the program right now?

The future is very bright. In case you're wondering, right now this is a very easy sell.