Meyer's daring call surprising

Published: Tuesday, January 3, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 2, 2006 at 11:55 p.m.
Brandon Siler and Mike Degory each shook their heads with one part awe and one part disbelief.
Asked about Florida coach Urban Meyer calling for a fake punt on fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter with the Gators on their own 19 and holding a 31-21 lead (but with momentum having shifted to Iowa), Siler and Degory said they don't know if they would have had the guts to do the same.
"When I heard what was happening, I got a slight hitch in me," Siler said. "I covered my eyes, man. There were a lot of guys who said, 'If I were coaching, I wouldn't make that call.' "
Degory said he didn't know about the fake ahead of time.
"I was wondering why (people) in the Florida stands were cheering," Degory said. "I couldn't believe it when I found out why."
Degory draft talk
Degory has gotten good feedback early on where he can expect to be selected in April's NFL Draft.
"The best we hear is late first round, early second round," said Degory's mother, Beverly. She added that the latest her family is hearing is the second round.
The Degorys are scheduled to meet with their first agent candidate Friday.
One area where UF will need inexperienced players to step up next year will be the offensive line, which loses 80 percent of its starters. Degory said he is confident this year's backups will make a smooth transition to the starting lineup.
"When you lose four starters, there are obvious holes to fill," said Degory, who on Monday tied former Gator cornerback Larry Kennedy (1991-94) for the most starts (50) in UF history. "But I have confidence the guys coming back can do the job."
Moving on?
In recent seasons Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has flirted with leaving the Hawkeyes for the NFL.
"I've had discussions about that the last couple of years," Ferentz said after the Outback Bowl. "I'm still here, aren't I?"
Ferentz wouldn't comment on specifics like the Green Bay Packers job for which he is rumored to be a candidate, instead deflecting the talk with a joke.
"Let's talk about the pink locker room," Ferentz said, referring to the Pepto-Bismol-colored visiting locker room at Iowa that has been a source of controversy.
Another commitment
The Gators received their 27th commitment of the 2006 signing class when Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert (6-foot-6, 280 pounds) announced he would be coming to UF.
Interestingly, Gilbert's older brother, David Walker, is a backup offensive lineman for Florida's Outback Bowl opponent, Iowa.
With an already loaded class, a great deal of the Gators' attention now is expected to focus on Union County tailback C.J. Spiller, who has narrowed his choices to UF, Florida State, Miami and Southern California.
Meyer said he will start recruiting again today.
Extra points
Gator defensive end Derrick Harvey served his one-half suspension for fighting in the Florida State game and started the second half against Iowa. ... With the victory, the 2005 Gators became the first team in school history to defeat Tennessee, Georgia and Florida State and win a bowl game in the same season. ... Meyer's nine wins matched Ray Graves (1960) and Steve Spurrier (1990) for the best mark in an opening season in school history. ... Junior defensive tackle Marcus Thomas said after the game, "I'm coming back," when asked if he might consider leaving school early for the NFL. ... Freshman running back Kestahn Moore ran for 88 yards on 13 carries, surpassing his previous career high of 39 yards against South Carolina. Moore had 45 yards on six carries in the first quarter against the Hawkeyes.
They said it
  • "Y'all do some writeups on the refs," Iowa senior defensive back Antwan Allen said to the media on the field after the Outback Bowl.
  • "Vernell Brown is a tough guy. He has the heart of a lion. To do what he did with a broken leg - to come in and make a game-changing play - I can't say enough about him," senior defensive end Jeremy Mincey said about Brown's 60-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first half.
  • "What I learned about Gator football (this season) is that if we get this cranked up and going, this is the best place in America," Meyer said.
    You can reach John Patton by calling 374-5074 or by e-mail at
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