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Urban Meyer "Played Favorites," Allowed "Ballers" To Run Amok At Florida, Per ESPN Story

ESPN published an in-depth feature on Urban Meyer's Florida this morning. 

The story, written by ESPN senior writer Jeremy Fowler, who covered the Gators during Meyer's reign, includes a number of interesting anecdotes. 

">September 17, 2015

Here are a couple of the most riveting tidbits:

The "wheels began to come off in 2010." 

The wheels began to come off in 2010, when Meyer had one foot out the door and a brash freshman class regularly clashed with upperclassmen. Muschamp, the former defensive coordinator at Texas, made strides in cleaning up the image of a program that endured more than 30 player arrests during Meyer's tenure, but Florida's reputation for high-octane offense fizzled on his watch.

Player-player and coach-coach fights were common

"Did players have to be separated on occasion? Hell, yes," said defensive line coach Dan McCarney, now head coach at North Texas. "Did coaches have to be separated on occasion? Hell, yes. But it never left the locker room, and it was always out of respect."

Sometimes the fighting got so bad that, (former defensive tackle Lawrence) Marsh remembered, "[Meyer] would say, 'I can't have everyone hurt,' so he would just cancel practice."

Meyer "played favorites," allowed "ballers" to run amok

Ballers produced on Saturdays and were committed to the program. Ballers got first dibs at team meals, front seats on chartered planes and were often excused from practice. Meyer took care of players he trusted.

"I think it was starting to become [playing favorites]," former offensive tackle Phil Trautwein said. "If you asked him now, he's probably not doing that at Ohio State."

Some players were bitter about the arrangement but, as Brandon James said, "you had to produce to be in that role."

The 2010 recruiting class was what pushed everything off the edge

One coach on the staff said the 2010 class was the most unruly he has ever witnessed. Another player viewed by some as problematic was Dominique Easley, a five-star defensive lineman from New York who threatened to quit the team repeatedly, missing meetings as a result.

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Each signee from the 2010 class received a laminated card with a promise that they would do great things if they stayed together. The card included the names of every player in the class. But when word leaked that Meyer was resigning, this time for good, word traveled that some freshmen burned those cards and shot a cell phone video of the act.

You can read the full story here. It's lengthy but very much worth your time. 

[ESPN]