Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer apologizes to reporter for outburst

GAINESVILLE — Three days after his public confrontation with a newspaper reporter following a spring practice session, Florida coach Urban Meyer offered a private apology.

Meyer met with Orlando Sentinel reporter Jeremy Fowler on the practice field Saturday — a conversation in which Fowler said an apology was extended and accepted. The conversation lasted about 22 minutes, and Meyer declined to speak with other reporters afterward.

"I won't get into the details of the conversation, but I will say that Urban did apologize, and I feel like as far as a work-related conversation, it was constructive," Fowler said.

Meyer confronted Fowler on Wednesday, calling him a "bad guy" for his blog post that quoted receiver Deonte Thompson as referring to John Brantley, the Gators' new starter, as "a real quarterback" compared to predecessor Tim Tebow. Many surmised Thompson meant Brantley was a more conventional or prototypical passer than Tebow.

Asked about the crux of the incident, Fowler said: "I think Urban is a pro-player coach. I think he wanted to defend his player. If he feels like one of his players gets wounded emotionally or physically or in any way, he wants to support that."

Spring scrimmages

USF: The Bulls' first spring scrimmage under coach Skip Holtz was closed to the media but drew a crowd of 700 season-ticket holders. Sophomore running back Demetris Murray ran for a touchdown, and quarterback B.J. Daniels had a touchdown pass. Senior running back Aston Samuels injured an ankle, though the severity wasn't known.

FSU: Senior QB Christian Ponder went 6-of-12 for 91 yards and led three scoring drives in the first spring scrimmage for coach Jimbo Fisher. "I was pretty pleased, I really was," he said. "We were far from perfect; we have a lot of things to work on. But we'll get there."

Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report, which used information from the Associated Press.

Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer apologizes to reporter for outburst 03/27/10 [Last modified: Sunday, March 28, 2010 1:12am]

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