Notebook: Gator football to be tested
Published: Thursday, September 25, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 26, 2008 at 12:40 a.m.
UF players and coaches have been saying all week that this weekend’s game against Ole Miss (2-2, 0-1 SEC) will be the biggest test for this team thus far.
The No. 4 Gators (3-0, 1-0 SEC) will have to work a little bit harder on defense as it goes against a team that accumulated 390 yards of total offense against UF last season, 310 of which came through the air.
The one guy UF coach Urban Meyer said he wants to keep an eye on is Rebels receiver Mike Wallace. He only caught one ball against the Gators last year in Oxford, but it was a 77-yard bomb late in the third quarter that cut UF’s lead to 27-24.
“They’re a more dangerous team than the team we played last week,” Meyer said. “(They are) faster. (Wallace), the guy kind of fried our tail last year, ran a (98)-yard kick return against Vanderbilt. I worry about their speed. I worry about (quarterback Jevan Snead) that throws it. It’s a significant challenge. I think our offense is going to have to really get going.
“They’re fast and they’re just better. The previous staff, you heard they were good recruiters. That’s a true statement.”
CUNNINGHAM READY TO GO: Junior defensive end Jermaine Cunningham practiced Thursday and is expected to play Saturday.
Cunningham missed most of the week’s practices with a hyperextended knee he suffered during the Tennessee game, but came on strong toward the end.
“He’s a tough guy,” Meyer said after Thursday’s practice. “He’s ready to go.”
Cunningham has 13 total tackles this season along with 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
The status of redshirt junior linebacker Ryan Stamper (ankle) is yet to be determined.
Stamper was “a little gimpy” at practice Thursday and Meyer said it will be a game-time decision on whether or not he plays.
MEYER NOT ADJUSTING: There’s no secret that Meyer is strongly against the new 40-second clock rule, but he’s not about to change his offensive scheme to cope.
“I hear comments, ‘you have to adjust,’ ” Meyer said. “That’s not what football is. I don’t want to get into that because I have to worry about coaching my team. Adjust your offense to the clock? What is that? No, it’s college football. We’re going to do what we have to do and there is a no-huddle plan. The key is to be efficient. (At) the end of the day, are you efficient and third-down efficiency and red zone and ball security are how you measure an offense. So far it’s been all right.
“You can change everything you’ve done for 20 years and our offense has been really good. What you really gotta do is win the game and the last two weeks as far as 56-9 against teams with very much the talent we have. So how much do you change? I don’t know, you tell me. Be very efficient. I think this will be the biggest challenge we’ve had though this year on defense.”
ETC.: Redshirt senior tight end Tate Casey walked off the practice field with a brace around his right elbow Thursday. Meyer said he suffered a bone chip in his elbow and an infection, but should be fine for Saturday. … Meyer said sophomore defensive lineman Torrey Davis is continuing to make positive strides with the team, but is still not game ready. “He’s doing OK,” Meyer said. “You would have said his name a few weeks ago and I would’ve moved on to the next question. So much of what we expect a football player to be is off the field as well as on the field and he’s doing OK.” … Meyer said redshirt sophomore safety Bryan Thomas is progressing through his knee injury he suffered in the offseason, but he has had to battle an upper-respiratory infection and is not ready to play.
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.
Comments are currently unavailable on this article