Senior tackle day caps off emotional last practice


Published: Sunday, January 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
Florida's seniors practiced for the last time as Gators on Saturday afternoon and then went through a farewell ceremony at the end of the workout with their teammates and coaches that Urban Meyer termed "emotional".
"It was really good," Meyer said. "It was real emotional. You can always measure investment in something like that. It was special. There are some special guys on this team, as you can imagine. Oh, yeah, (I was touched). It's always going to happen.
"For some guys, that practice is the last time they'll play college football. We don't do anything tomorrow and then we play the game (on Monday) and some of those seniors won't play. It was a great day. A great, great thing."
The ceremony is called senior tackle day and it lasted about an hour. Each senior gets to tackle a tackling dummy for the last time, then a coach speaks for the senior, followed by a younger player, then the senior addresses the team.
"Some guys you'd lay across the railroad tracks for," Meyer said. "There are a bunch of them in that senior class."

Not party time

Meyer said the plans were for a quiet New Year's Eve for the UF players and coaches. The team had a 6 p.m. dinner and the players had an 11 p.m. curfew.
"We're going to let them spend time with family," Meyer said. "We want them to get to bed (by 11 p.m.), but we'll let them stay up to midnight and do what they have to do, wear a hat if they want to and go to bed after that. Hopefully, a lot of them will already be asleep (before midnight)."
Meyer also had plans for a quiet night. "I'll go to sleep and set the alarm (for 11 p.m.) and go do bed checks," Meyer said. "I'm not a very exciting person."
At most schools, bed checks are conducted by assistant coaches or trainers, but Meyer does his own.
"I just think it's important I do that," he said. "I've done that all the time."

Meyer likes staff

Like he will with all other aspects of his program, Meyer said he will evaluate his coaching staff after the season. He said there won't be any personnel changes on the staff.
"I do feel pretty good about this coaching staff," he said. "I feel very good about the work ethic and very good about the character of it. There are some fundamental issues. We have to get a lot better.
"All you have to do is watch the tape. We're not a clean team. We're a first-year team. Defensively, I'd have to say we're a clean, fundamental team and on offense we aren't at all. So, we'll evaluate that. We're certainly going to tweak how we do things."

UM on the UM game

Meyer watched conference colleague LSU put a 40-3 whipping on Miami in the Peach Bowl on Friday night and had the same reaction many others must have had.
"I was shocked," Meyer said. "It shows you that you have to be sure and show up (in a bowl game)."
You can reach Robbie Andreu by calling 374-5022 or by e-mail at andreur@gvillesun.com.

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