Urban Meyer Confronts Reporter

March 25th, 2010- By Bryan Cross

Urban Meyer came to the quick defense of one of his players over a comment in an interview that was run by the Orlando Sentinel.  In fact, Meyer might have gone a little overboard.

During practice, Meyer went over to the Jeremy Fowler, the reporter who wrote the story after interviewing wide receiver Deonte Thompson, in which Thompson discussed the difference between for Gator quarterback Tim Tebow to John Brantley.

“You never know with Tim,” Thompson said to the reporter. “He can bolt. You’ll think he’s running, but then he’ll just come up and pass it to you. You just have to be ready at all times. With Brantley, everything’s with rhythm, time. Like, you know what I mean, a real quarterback.”

After the story gained national attention, Thompson felt badly for the way he felt he came off, and said that the quote was taken out of context.

The meeting between Meyer and Fowler was witnessed by several onlookers, along with being recorded.

“You’ll be out of practice — you understand that? — if you do that again,” Meyer stated to Fowler. “I told you five years ago: Don’t mess with our players. Don’t do it. You did it. You do it one more time and the Orlando Sentinel’s not welcome here ever again. Is that clear? It’s yes or no.”

Meyer has always backed Thompson, saying that he is an excellent student who strives to become better both on and off the field.  Unlike several of his teammates, Thompson has not been in trouble with the law.  When Meyer learned of Thompson’s concern and embarrassment of the situation, the Gator head coach felt it was necessary to send a message.

“You’re a bad guy, man. You’re a bad guy,” Meyer said. “If that was my son, we’d be going at it right now.”

Following the exchange, Meyer went back to the practice field where his daughter was, and looked back Fowler.  Upon the conclusion of the day, Meyer took another route out of the facility, and did not take any questions or make any additional comments to reporters.

Meyer is just a couple weeks back from an extended leave of absence due to health concerns.

The Gators are coming off of a 13-1 season in which they navigated their way to an undefeated regular season, before losing to eventual National champion Alabama in the Southeastern conference championship game.  Florida went on to dismantle Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl.

They hired a new defensive coordinator this year, after Charlie Strong departed to Louisville.  The Gators will have to replace several key players on both sides of the ball, most notably Tebow.

USA Online Sportsbooks have installed the Gators as a favorite to contend for the 2010-11 BCS National championship, as they are going off at 13/1 on Bodog.

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