Meyer not looking back


Incoming Ohio State coach Urban Meyer says that he still has good relationships with some Florida players. (The Associated Press)

Published: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 26, 2011 at 11:58 p.m.

While there will probably be an over/under bet in Las Vegas concerning the number of times his name is mentioned during the telecast Monday, the man whose name has been attached to this season's Gator Bowl isn't even sure how much he'll watch.

The Urban Bowl matches up the team Urban Meyer coached for six years against the team he will coach next year. Florida vs. Ohio State is a lot more interesting for its back-story than the seasons these two teams put together.

“I'm sure I'll watch some,” Meyer said. “It's hard for me to sit and watch a whole game. I think people are making more of it than I would. At some point, that story is going to go away.”

But not this week as Gator Bowl practices begin today in Jacksonville.




Meyer led Florida to two national titles. He inherits a team on NCAA probation with a bowl ban for the 2012 season.

He likened the bowl ban to a “punch to the kidney” but is also trying to use his new mantra in dealing with it — don't worry about things you can't control.

The truth is that Meyer's relationship with the current Florida players is stronger than the one with his new team.

“I have good relationships with the guys at Florida,” he said. “Chris Rainey, Jeff Demps, Trey Burton, Sharrif Floyd. I could go on and on. I know those guys well.

“The Ohio State kids, I don't know them on purpose. I've been laying low and staying away.”

Meyer returned to Gainesville on Tuesday night to spend the holidays with his family and wasn't sure when he would return to Columbus. His wife ,Shelley, plans to watch the Gator Bowl at the family's home in Gainesville.

“It's awful,” she said. “Why did it have to happen? These Gator players, I care about them and I know when I get to Ohio State I'll care about them, too. I'm close to a lot of Gator players and my heart is pulling for the guys, but I can't pick. I just hope both teams pull it together and end the season on a good note.”

Meyer is more concerned with finishing off his staff and a recruiting class than who wins the game Monday. He's not going to take the performances of the Ohio State players as an audition for next year.

“I want to form my opinions after we coach them,” he said. “It's a great opportunity for these players to push restart. I'm not going to develop an opinion based on this game.”

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