*Updated: Meyer now says he never intended to criticize Zook.
Urban Meyer has had little to complain about since becoming Florida's coach in 2005. He has won two Bowl Championship Series titles, including one with a roster stacked with veteran players recruited by his predecessor, Ron Zook.
But on Friday, Meyer — without mentioning Zook by name — appeared to take a shot at the Illinois coach.
David Jones of Florida Today writes that Meyer was asked a question about how he handles players having arguments on the field and in the locker room.
"When we first got here five years ago, they had freshmen in a separate locker room and it was a bunch of tin lockers over there and they weren't allowed to walk [into the regular locker room]. Think about this for a minute: this is a big-time college football program and we had some fights because they treat their freshman like they were non-people," Meyer said.
" 'Don't walk through here, we'll kick your tail, we'll shave your eyebrows.' It took us awhile to break that great culture we had here. That was tremendous. You don't win many games, but you beat up freshmen and shave eyebrows. Absolutely unbelievable."
Meyer said one of his first orders of business was to put an end to the locker room arrangement.
"Now I have a freshman who's really going through some hard times and he stood up before the team the other day with tears rolling out of his eyes and said, 'I really want to thank the older guys for taking care of me.' That's called a team. That's not called some silly nonsense. We've had that here before. 'Let's get our brains kicked in against our rival, but let's go beat up a freshman.' "
Zook was asked to comment and said, "I wasn't the one who built" the locker room facilities at Florida.
"I don't promote hazing and I don't believe in it," he added.
To his credit, Zook didn't try to make an issue out of Meyer's comments, but did say he played a lot of freshman, including quarterback Chris Leak, who helped Meyer win his first BCS title.
"I've been gone a long time. I doubt if anybody there even remembers who I am," he said.
Thanks to Kevin!