Posted: 12:40 pm Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Meyer, Belichick building a Gainesville-to-Foxborough pipeline? 

By Post Staff

The Florida Gators aren’t just national champions, they may become a feeder program for Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots for the 2009 season.

It’s no secret that Belichick and Urban Meyer are good friends. Meyer has attended Patriots practices in Foxborough, while Belichick has been a guest of Meyer’s in Gainesville.

But it’s more than a friendly relationship. Meyer may as well change his team’s name to the Florida Patriots. And Belichick loves the work ethic of Meyer’s players.

“Coach Meyer tries to imitate him to a tee,” Percy Harvin told the Patriots’ Web site last weekend at the NFL Combine. “We did a lot of things that the Patriots did. Ran a lot of their plays.”

The Patriots have the 23rd pick, and don’t be surprised if they use it to select Harvin.

Belichick has a history of drafting Meyer’s players. In 2006, the Patriots took WR Chad Jackson in the first round and LB Jeremy Mincey in the sixth.

“We got to talk to (Belichick) a couple of times and he was a real inspiration to our team,” Harvin said. “He’s one of the best. Actually, he pulled me to the side and talked to me quite a bit … told me what I need to work on several times. I think highly of him.”

Harvin didn’t participate in receiver drills and only did the bench press and 40-yard dash at the combine, but said he had a good reason — he was taken to receive several MRIs to ease teams’ concerns about his injured ankle.

Meanwhile, Harvin may not be the only Gator drafted by the Patriots. New England’s Web site writes that the Pats could use another tight end, and are giving a serious look at Cornelius Ingram.

“We kind of spoke and shook hands. I haven’t really talked to him a whole lot. But he and Coach Meyer are definitely close,” Ingram told “He’s been out numerous times to talk to us during the offseason and I know they’re pretty good friends. And I know they like Florida athletes so hopefully something will work out.”

Ingram wants to go to New England because he already knows so much about the program.

“Every time [Coach Meyer] gives us a pep talk or anything before a game he makes sure he lets us know, ‘This is the way the Patriots do it.’ And you have to be for real about the situation because they’ve won numerous championships,” Ingram said.
“It’s definitely not a bad team to copy and use slogans or stuff like that. So he uses them all the time and it definitely works for our program.”

And of course, we all know Belichick absolutely loves Tim Tebow. If Tebow is available when the Patriots pick in the first round of the 2010 draft, I don’t think there is any question Belichick will draft him.

“It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens when Tebow comes into this league,” Belichick told Sports Illustrated a few months ago. “There aren’t many players who can run and throw.”