SEC MEDIA DAYS NOTEBOOK
Meyer lifts bans on locker room, Gator clothes
UF coach Urban Meyer has befriended former Gators who are now in the NFL.
Published: Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 27, 2005 at 11:34 p.m.
The Florida Gators have worked their way back into the comforting confines of their locker room this summer.
Senior center Mike Degory said most of the scholarship players - and the players scheduled to play this season - are now allowed back in the locker room at Florida Field.
Banned by UF coach Urban Meyer so they might gain an appreciation for what it means to be a Gator, the players have worked their way back in over the past few months.
Meyer's message apparently sunk in.
"You go in that locker room now and it's spotless," Degory said. "Guys are taking care of it."
Earlier this summer Degory and several other players said the team probably had started taking their plush locker room for granted.
Degory said the true freshmen still are not allowed in the locker room.
The ban on wearing Gators shorts and shirts for workouts also has been lifted for most of the players.
Meyer and friends
Meyer said he has befriended two former Gators who live in Gainesville - quarterback Shane Matthews, who is with the Buffalo Bills, and fullback Terry Jackson, the former P.K. Yonge standout now with San Francisco.
"I've hit Shane up a little bit because he understands the throwing game," Meyer said. "I've picked his brain a little bit.
"Terry Jackson has become a very good friend of mine. I had him speak to the team two weeks ago. I admire Terry and he's a friend."
Another former Gator, Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Lito Sheppard, also has made an impression on the new UF coach, explaining to Meyer just how special it is to play at UF and in the SEC.
"He was almost teary-eyed when he said it," Meyer said. "Here's a guy who's played in the Super Bowl and he said the greatest moment he's had in football is running out of the tunnel at The Swamp. That shows you the power of Florida football and the SEC. That's what we're looking forward to."
Right off the bat
The first question asked of South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier was about Wednesday's decision by the High School Activities Association in South Carolina not to hold its championship games at Williams-Brice Stadium because Spurrier had pulled the scholarships of several Gamecock players.
"We had some guys who were recruited by the previous staff who weren't going to contribute so we sent them letters," Spurrier said. "We had some walk-ons who have worked hard and I've always believe you reward players who work hard.
"The high school coaches will be mad at about it, but that's the way we're going to do it."
Boyd could return
Spurrier is hoping to find out by the end of the week whether starting tailback Corey Boyd will be eligible this season. He was recently suspended indefinitely for a violation of university policy.
"He's got some issues that are going to be settled this weekend, from what I understand," Spurrier said.
UF/USC matchup will be intense
Meyer and Spurrier both declined to comment about UF's game in Columbia late in the season, but USC linebacker Lance Laury was OK with looking ahead to the much-anticipated match-up.
"It will be big, but so will all the other games before that," Laury said. "The atmosphere in Columbia is always exciting. It will be crazy and loud. It will also be very intense."
This and that
For the 24th consecutive season, the SEC led the nation in football attendance, drawing more than 74,000 a game and having a 96-percent capacity in the league's 12 stadiums. ... For the 10th consecutive season, the SEC Championship Game is sold out to the general public. The only remaining tickets will go to the two teams who advance to Atlanta in December.
You can reach Robbie Andreu by calling 374-5022 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can reach sports columnist Pat Dooley by e-mail at email@example.com or by calling 374-5053.
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