Notebook: Meyer OK with coaches' voting

Published: Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 9:25 p.m.

FORT LAUDERDALE So, coaches for Texas, Southern California and Utah believe their teams should be crowned national champion and claim they will vote them No. 1 in the coaches' poll, regardless of tonight's outcome between top-ranked Oklahoma and No. 2 Florida.

Gator coach Urban Meyer said he understands completely, adding he would do the same.

"Well, that's absolutely what they should do," Meyer said. "I've got news; I'm representing the University of Florida, and I'm an employee of the University of Florida and I represent my players, most of all I'm going to fight like a dog to take care of them."

Meyer said lobbying - a term he half-jokingly said he loved - is part of the job.

"If a coach would win a game with 13-1 or a (13-0) Utah team and not fight for their players, that's not a good coach," Meyer said. "Of course they should do that."

Thirty minutes earlier, when asked a similar question (but not one that specifically mentioned the coaches' poll), Sooners coach Bob Stoops said he didn't have much of a comment.

"That's not for me to do," Stoops said. "They're all good football teams; everyone realizes that. So again, that's for you guys (in the media) to choose."

A second for a first

The coach of the winning team in the BCS national championship game will be the first to do so twice.

This time around, Stoops gave a complete answer, while Meyer deferred slightly.

"Well, (it means) nothing unless we're the one that wins it," Stoops said with a laugh. "In the end, I'm just proud of our program, I guess, overall and what we've been able to do the last 10 years and when you compare it to what was happening the 10 years prior to what we've been able to do.

"It isn't just me. It's a great administration, it's a great bunch of assistant coaches that we've had there and good character of players that have helped build and get the program back in a strong position."

For his part, Meyer wanted to focus more on the game before considering historical placement.

"Well, it's very humbling when you start thinking of all the great head coaches out there and great coaching staffs," Meyer said. "Other than that, I just worry about third down and six and make sure our punting is ready to go."

Transfer talk

Meyer and Stoops have different philosophies on where players transferring out of their programs can move on to.

Stoops said he has no problem with a former player going anywhere else.

"I can't say through my 10 years, but I always just say let him go wherever he wants to is pretty much all I can remember saying," Stoops said. "I don't much care where they go."

Meyer said in most situations he sets some limits.

"Normally, I've made exceptions if there's family issues so they can do what they have to do," Meyer said. "But if it's because of playing time or because of something that is the player's issue, not a family issue, then they're not allowed to go to someone we play against. That's about it."

Recently, the father of UF backup quarterback Cameron Newton announced his son would transfer to a Texas junior college. After one season there, a possibility exists Newton could wind up at Mississippi State, where Dan Mullen (Gator offensive coordinator through the bowl game) was recently named head coach. Mullen and Newton had a good relationship at Florida.

Extra points

The seven-person officiating crew (and one alternate) for Thursday's game will come from the Atlantic Coast Conference. Because of the trash talking back and forth this week, the officials likely will be on the field an hour before kickoff to ensure there won't be any problems between the two teams, according to NCAA football officials coordinator Dave Parry. ... Meyer said "there wasn't a dry eye in the group" when injured senior tight end Cornelius Ingram addressed the team at the conclusion of Tuesday's practice, called "Senior Tackle." Ingram has missed the season after tearing his ACL in August, but has recovered well. Meyer said the now-graduated Ingram won't play in the BCS title game, but some players have lobbied for the popular Hawthorne native to be inserted for at least a ceremonial snap, perhaps (if the Gators are fortunate enough to be in that situation) even taking the game's final "victory snap" at quarterback and kneel down. Nonetheless, Meyer has been steadfast in saying it wouldn't be right to play Ingram, who likely has an NFL career in front of him, so soon after such an injury. ... Meyer said with all of the obligations that go along with playing in the BCS title game - including practice, meetings, media interviews, fan events and team functions - he isn't asking his players to focus on school work this week, adding "we've made the decision to accelerate the (classroom) process once we get back (to Gainesville after the game)." ... Meyer said because of the extra time it has allowed injured players to recover, he is glad the game is Jan. 8 and not earlier. He said a Jan. 1 game could have meant receivers Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy, as well as offensive lineman Carl Johnson and running back Kestahn Moore might not have been able to go. Now, Meyer said he expects all of them to play. "If we had to play in a January 1st bowl game, we would not have won that game. Really no chance of winning." ... Stoops said he got a sideline pass for former Sooners' coach Barry Switzer for the game. In an ironic twist, Switzer was 110-23 with two national championships after his first 133 games at OU, while Stoops is 109-23 with one title entering this BCS showdown. ... When asked about coaching into their 70s like Penn State's Joe Paterno and Florida State's Bobby Bowden, Meyer and Stoops each said they couldn't see themselves staying around that long.

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