GAINESVILLE — Florida coach Urban Meyer was among a small group of college football coaches, including Alabama's Nick Saban and Ohio State's Jim Tressel, who recently were involved in a conference call with representatives from the NFL and the NFL Players Association about the increasing problem of agents and improper contact with college football players.
Saban told reporters Thursday that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was involved in a conference call on the subject, along with other coaches he respected, athletic directors and a couple of agents. Saban didn't identify the other participants, but Florida athletics spokesman Steve McClain confirmed that Meyer was part of that call. So, too, was Tressel.
In recent weeks the issue has moved to the forefront of college sports as the NCAA investigates alleged improper contact between agents and players at Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Former Florida C Maurkice Pouncey has denied reports he accepted $100,000 from an agent before playing his final game with the Gators. Gainesville police, NCAA and SEC officials were notified by UF officials and are investigating the allegation.
Meyer said after the first fall practice Aug. 5 that he would tighten player security, particularly around the quarter-mile walk to and from the practice field, to keep them from autograph seekers and those working for agents. He also said he was working diligently with others to try to correct the problem.
"There's a lot of discussion that I've been involved in with agents … a group of us have gotten together and we're trying to make some changes," Meyer said. "And the good thing is the other side of it wants to help. And when I say that, I mean they really want to help. So there's going to be some positive things come out of this. I think real positive."
debose healthy: WR Andre Debose said he can run at full speed for the first time in his college career, which could be a key to UF's offense.
"I'm back to 100 percent. Everything's good," Debose said. "The last time I was 100 percent was in high school — probably like May 9 of last year."
On Tuesday, Debose said he was ready to practice in full pads and can reach top speed.
A redshirt freshman, Debose injured his hamstring in spring 2009 running track for Sanford Seminole High. He enrolled at Florida that summer with a preexisting injury. Doctors discovered a torn hamstring that required surgery.
FSU: Praise for Gran
TALLAHASSEE — Communication between the running backs and the offensive line might seem like a given in any offense but apparently it was missing in 2009 at Florida State. But not now. Under new running backs coach Eddie Gran, the running backs have a clearer understanding of what the offensive line is doing.
"It's a big difference for the running backs because coach Eddie Gran, he has us knowing what the line's doing," sophomore RB Lonnie Pryor said. "So now we know who the line's blocking and stuff like that. It also makes it easy on us. It has been a big change — the holes have been there so it's been a good deal."
Apparently, the running backs and the offensive line didn't share such communication last season. First-year head coach Jimbo Fisher hired Gran to replace former running backs coach Dexter Carter, whom Fisher did not retain from Bobby Bowden's staff.
Gran, Pryor said, has placed an emphasis on making sure the backs understand the blocking schemes.
"When we watch film with Coach Gran, he lets us know, like if the defense in a certain (formation), he lets you know who's the linemen (blocking)," Pryor said. "So when you're in the backfield, you're already thinking, oh, this lineman is going to get this guy, and this guy."
notable: Florida State was scheduled to hold its second two-a-day practice Thursday but the afternoon practice was canceled due to inclement weather. … The Seminoles' first scrimmage of the preseason is set for today. It is closed to the media and to the public.
UM: Backup QB strong
CORAL GABLES — Sophomore Alonzo Highsmith took a step in solidifying the backup quarterback spot in Wednesday's scrimmage. He completed 5 of 6 passes for 76 yards and a touchdown.
NOTABLE: RBs Storm Johnson and Eduardo Clements are competing for one of the kickoff return spots. … Junior Ramon Buchanan, who had six tackles in the scrimmage, could be the answer at outside linebacker if senior Colin McCarthy moves inside.
South Florida Sun Sentinel