Caldwell knows draft status

Published: Friday, January 5, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 5, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Junior wide receiver Andre Caldwell said Thursday he's received his paperwork back from the NFL and has already made a decision about his future. He said he's not ready to go public with his decision.

"Sometime after the game," he said.

Caldwell said the NFL Draft Advisory Committee projected he would be drafted on the first day (rounds one through three). He would not divulge which round.

Several other UF juniors put paperwork in to the NFL, including defensive end Jarvis Moss, linebacker Brandon Siler, cornerback Ryan Smith and All-America safety Reggie Nelson.

Getting their groove on

After a sluggish practice Wednesday, the Gators cranked it up Thursday, UF coach Urban Meyer said.

"We're right where we need to be," Meyer said. "Everyone is leaving here today feeling real good that they put one in the bank. We're actually going to take the pads off (today) and keep going as hard as we can. But we're going to start getting them fresh because we've got to be real fast on Monday.

"Today's practice showed we're starting to get that edge. We play better when we have it. We've lined up 15 times (since a loss to South Carolina last season) and won 14. This team prepares very well. After today's practice, we're starting to get that same look that we had before the (SEC) championship game."

Nice recruiting tool

Meyer said the Gators are a little behind in recruiting because the regular season went long with late games against Florida State and Arkansas. But being in the national title game (and the national spotlight) is a nice recruiting pitch for the Gators, Meyer said.

"Every time you flip on TV we're getting a little bit of recruiting pub," he said. "Then also playing in this game is pretty good recruiting pub. We're certainly behind in the on-the-road recruiting, but I think we're far ahead as far as publicity we're getting because we've had a good season."

Tebow's popularity

Senior wide receiver Jemalle Cornelius has a theory on why true freshman quarterback Tim Tebow is so popular on campus and among Florida fans.

"The way he plays the game," Cornelius said. "He's into it. You can tell he lives to play football. The fans like that, the excitement he brings to the game.

"He sacrifices his whole body. He puts everything into it. When fans see that, they're attracted to it. He's got a big frame. He can run you over and he can throw the ball deep. He brings excitement to the game and the fans have gravitated to that."

The speed trap

It's the Big Ten vs. the SEC, so that familiar debate about the difference in speed has emerged this week. The popular perception is the SEC is a speed conference and the Big Ten is a power league.

UF wide receiver Dallas Baker said if there is a difference in speed between the leagues it's only minimal.

"I would say the SEC probably has a little more speed," Baker said. "But as far as the Big Ten being slow, that's not right. There are fast players all over the country in every conference.

"This whole speed issue thing isn't something on my mind. It's all about executing our plays."

Of course, a day earlier, junior defensive end Jarvis Moss boasted that Ohio State would be facing team speed it has not seen this season.

"I think it's going to stun them," Moss said.

Buckeye considered UF

All-Big Ten defensive tackle David Patterson, a senior from Warrensville Heights, Ohio, was heavily recruited by the Gators (under Ron Zook) and made an official visit to UF, where tailback DeShawn Wynn was his host.

"Florida was one of my top three schools," Patterson said. "I always watched Florida on TV. In the back of my head I always knew I was coming to Ohio State, but I wanted to see Florida. (Wynn) wasn't trying to sell me (on UF during the visit). He just said to follow your heart."

Impact of a long layoff

Meyer said the long time between games probably will have some effect on the play of both teams in Monday night's game.

"You're probably going to see two teams that are bright-eyed because they haven't played in a game in so long," Meyer said. "You get in your routine (during the season). It's not a fair test to see the best functioning teams out there, but it's fair because both teams are dealing with the same issue and that's rust (and being) sluggish.

"I know one thing, our players are tired of looking at each other. It's like two-a-day practices. They've had it. They want to go play the game."

This and that

UF student assistant Zach Smith is the maternal grandson of former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce. Meyer credits Bruce with helping shape his coaching career and the two remain very close. ... Tight end Tate Casey (ankle) did some jogging Thursday. Meyer said it will be a game time decision whether he will play Monday. ... The parents of place-kicker Chris Hetland are driving from Leesburg, Ga., to attend Monday's game. "Mom won't fly," Hetland said.

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