If you’re gonna give the Zooker credit for helping to bring the Gators a MNC in ’06, is it unfair to give him some credit for the player arrests afflicting the Gators’ public face these days?
Of course, Mike Bianchi and the Zooker put the question in reverse, but still…
When in doubt, blame it on the Zooker.
“I guess they have to blame it on somebody,” Ron Zook says and laughs. “So why not me? As Coach [Steve] Spurrier used to tell me, ‘I’m cheap and available.’ ”
Zook, now the head football coach at the University of Illinois, was fired at UF five years ago. Imagine his surprise the other day when he turned on ESPN and a reporter was partly blaming Zook for the multiple player arrests at UF under Coach Urban Meyer.
Zook’s name indirectly got dragged into the conversation when state newspapers began adding up the number of arrests at UF and came up with an eye-opening 24 legal incidents involving Gator players in the last four seasons. When UF began getting peppered with questions by reporters, the school responded by dispersing information pointing out that more than half of the legal issues (14 of 24) came from players Meyer “did not recruit or were in his first recruiting class).”
Reporters’ translation: Zook’s guys.
“The same guys that won the national title (in 2006),” says Zook, who recruited 21 of the 22 starters on UF’s 2006 national title team.
How fitting, right? Meyer gets credit for winning a national title with Zook’s players and Zook gets blamed for clogging the criminal justice system with Meyer’s players.