Meyer relied on advice in playing Tebow


Florida's Tim Tebow and head coach Urban Meyer on the sidelines during the fourth quarter against LSU at Tiger Stadium Saturday, October 10, 2009.

DOUG FINGER/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Sunday, October 11, 2009 at 2:35 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, October 11, 2009 at 2:35 p.m.

The morning after top-ranked Florida defeated then-No. 4 LSU, 13-3, Gator coach Urban Meyer offered a little more insight as to how he educated himself last week about better understanding concussions.

Something Meyer said he did was call a few current and former coaches to get an idea as to how they handled similar situations.

Out of respect for their privacy Meyer declined to give the names of two current coaches he spoke to, but described one he had a Thursday night conversation with as "one of my closest friends."

Meyer said he also talked with former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce and legendary coach-turned-ESPN-analyst Lou Holtz to get their thoughts on how to best decide whether to play Tim Tebow against the Tigers.

Each assured Meyer he was going about the situation the best way possible, something that eased the "hesitation" Meyer said he felt early in the week.

All of them told Meyer he should be in constant contact with the medical staff and also look closely into Tebow's eyes when having a conversation.

"I learned a lot these past two weeks," Meyer said.

Meyer said he will find out in the near future if it is necessary to continue with more tests and evaluations of Tebow, who was 11-of-16 for 134 yards with a touchdown and an interception and also carried 17 times for 38 yards at LSU.

HOT CORNERS: Meyer praised the play of cornerbacks Joe Haden (five tackles, two pass break-ups and an interception) and Janoris Jenkins (five tackles) against LSU's highly respected tandem of Brandon LaFell and Terrance Tolliver.

The receivers Meyer said he recruited heavily to come to Florida will both "play on Sundays." But on Saturday, they combined for a modest 58 yards on six receptions.

And almost half of that came on one play a 26-yard completion to LaFell with No. 3 cornerback Markihe Anderson in man-to-man coverage.

"(Haden and Jenkins) really worked this week," Meyer said. "They were going against good players, and they were all over them."

EXTRA POINTS: Meyer said he would give the UF offensive line a "B" or a "B+" grade against LSU. ... Meyer said freshmen lineman Xavier Nixon and Jon Halapio will be pressed into more game action in the future to help offset the recent loss of tackle Matt Patchan to a season-ending ACL tear. "We obviously have a depth issue on the offensive line," Meyer said. ... Meyer said the Gators came out of the LSU game virtually unscathed. Defensive tackle Jaye Howard has a bruised knee and offensive lineman Maurice Hurt has been playing with a sore neck. ... Meyer said Tebow is really looking forward to returning to the weight room for lifting and conditioning. "He had just one half-tempo workout last week," Meyer said. ... Meyer, a longtime offensive coach, said he has no problem with the suggestion UF's biggest strength is its defense, which allowed just 162 combined rushing and passing yards to LSU. "That's what we are right now," he said. Later, he added: "Our defense is playing at a high level and continues to get better." He added that his 2001 Bowling Green team and his 2006 BCS champions were defense-based. ... Meyer said No. 2 quarterback John Brantley, who practiced with the first unit most of the last two weeks, handled not playing against LSU fine. The coach said Brantley practices every week as if he will be called upon in a game. ... Meyer said he will utilize quarterback coach Scot Loeffler's insight a little bit more than usual this week in preparing for Arkansas. Loeffler was Razorbacks' quarterback Ryan Mallet's position coach at Michigan two seasons ago. Mallett transferred to Arkansas prior to the 2008 campaign. In brief conversations already, Loeffler has told Meyer the 6-foot-7, 238-pound Mallet has "one of the best arms around." ... Meyer said he has studied Arkansas' coach Bobby Petrino's high-powered offense and has great respect for it. Meyer also praised Razorbacks' running back Michael Smith, who "ripped us apart last season (in visiting UF's 38-7 victory)." Smith carried 20 times for 133 yards and a touchdown that afternoon. In Saturday's 44-23 victory against previously undefeated Auburn, Smith had 145 yards and a touchdown before being forced out of the contest in the third quarter with a leg injury. ... Meyer said the Gators arrived back in Gainesville from Baton Rouge at 4 a.m. Sunday.

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