Making an entrance


Florida head football coach Urban Meyer addresses the media following the team's arrival at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Jet Center on Friday.

Tricia Coyne/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, January 3, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 2, 2009 at 9:12 p.m.

FORT LAUDERDALE - The Florida Gators arrived in South Florida on Friday afternoon bearing good news.

Star wide receiver Percy Harvin will play in Thursday's BCS Championship Game.

That was the word from UF coach Urban Meyer moments after the Gators arrived from Gainesville on their American Airlines charter flight.

"He's playing," Meyer said. "Unless there is a setback (in practice). He's good. He should practice (today)."

Harvin has been rehabbing on a daily basis since sustaining a high ankle sprain in the Florida State game on Nov. 29. He participated in some non-contact work earlier this week back in Gainesville, but will not practice for the first time until today.

Meyer said the Gators held off putting their complete offensive game plan together to wait and see if Harvin would be available. That game plan will start coming together today, Meyer said.

"We wanted to wait on Percy to get that once we got down here," Meyer said. "We're pretty much tied in (to Percy playing)."

In other news, junior quarterback Tim Tebow announced that he has filed paperwork with the NFL to see where he would project to go in the draft if he chooses to come out early. Tebow said he will not even consider a possible decision until after Thursday night's game.

"(It's) filed," Tebow said. "I feel good, but I'm not even worried about it. I'm excited to be here in Miami, and I'm ready to go play the Sooners."

The Gators' arrival Friday was low-key, but somewhat colorful. Many of the players wore suits and ties. Middle linebacker Brandon Spikes walked off the plane wearing the same pink suit he wore to the 2006 national championship game in Glendale, Ariz. True sophomore defensive end Justin Trattou was sporting a bright orange suit.

The player who seemed to draw the most attention was sophomore cornerback Joe Haden, one of two players to show up with a Mohawk haircut.

For the most part, though, the Gators had a serious demeanor about them as they deplaned.

"I trust these guys," Meyer said. "They're going to enjoy themselves here, but there's no doubt about why we got on that plane. It's not true of every player on that plane because some guys are not going to play because they're not professionals.

"The professionals. ... there's no doubt they're on a mission."

Tebow described this as a business trip.

"We're here for one reason," he said.

Meyer said the Gators have basically followed the same plan they did heading into the 2006 championship game.

"We really patterned it exactly like '06," Meyer said. "We've used that model quite a bit."

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