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The latest on college sports in Florida

Battling rumors and lies a big part of recruiting for Gators and Urban Meyer this year



UMEYER From the moment he announced his decision to take a leave of absence from the program, Florida head coach Urban Meyer was busy trying to help recruits and their families separate fact from fiction when it came to his health and his status with the Florida program.

Meyer acknowledged on National Signing Day that there was an inordinate amount of negative recruiting going on surrounding the Gators after his announcement on Dec. 26.

"Yes there was fires to be put out,'' Meyer said. "The good thing is when you go top to bottom in our class you're dealing with intelligent guys and good families. . . . When you're dealing with very intelligent families and people that really understand, they hear some crazy rumor - and I heard some - you simply pick up the phone and say, 'Listen.' . . . You can end the rumors like that because you have a relationship with a kid.''

In the month following Florida's Sugar Bowl victory, there were rampant rumors that Meyer remained on staff to keep the recruiting class from falling apart, and would resign once the class was signed. Other rumors included Meyer joining the ESPN GameDay crew, and that he was scheduled to undergo open heart surgery. Meyer has denied them all.

Even on Wednesday, ESPN's NFL draft analyst Todd McShay said during a live broadcast on ESPNU there was a very good chance Meyer will not return to coach the team. Meyer said Wednesday that one of the things he'll work on while he's on leave is learning to deal with what he can control, and letting go of the things he cannot.

"I think you can control what you [can control],'' he said. "That's probably the biggest thing I have to work on is to control what I can control and what you care about. You care about your family. You care about your football players and the football program and your staff. If you put all your focus and energy into that, you're doing pretty good. Don't worry about the stuff. The stuff can kind of beat you down. I'd much rather talk about how good a football player Matt Elam is with the ball in his hands, because that really matters, not that other stuff.''

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 1:38pm]


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