Rumors and speculation about possible Florida player suspensions for the opener against Miami will not be answered or verified before Saturday.
“If we have any, like we always do, that’d be something we’d announce on Saturday before the game,” UF coach Dan Mullen said Monday.
Suspensions or not, the Gators should enter the game healthy.
Mullen said other than the players who are out for the season, there are no injuries to report for Saturday’s game.
“Injury-wise we expect everybody to play that didn’t have the season-ending injuries,” Mullen said. “But besides those, we’re healthy coming out of training camp, we’re expecting everybody to practice today.”
Checking his list
It’s the week of the opener, so the period of paranoia has begun for Mullen.
“I’m always paranoid this week and like, ‘All right, do I have my list?’ ” he said. “Everything, my checklist of things is normal. I got paranoid one year and wrote a checklist of everything that has to happen where I just check to make sure I have everything possible that could ever happen in a game or what to do. I have my whistle, what pen do I have with me?
“I check everything. What’s that like, the dream you wake up and you’re not where you need to be and you’re in your underwear and you just can’t seem to get to where you’re supposed to be? Right? It’s a nightmare and it freaks you out, so I try to make sure I never get myself in that situation.”
It’s official now: the Gators are a consensus top-10 team entering the season after drawing the No. 8 spot in the Associated Press poll that was released Monday. UF is also eighth in the coaches’ poll that came out earlier this month.
Florida is one of six SEC teams in the Top 25, joining Alabama (2), Georgia (3), LSU (6), Texas A&M (12) and Auburn (16).
Rivalry. What rivalry?
Longtime supporters of the two teams may cringe at this, but senior wide receiver Josh Hammond does not consider Florida-Miami to be a rivalry game. And he grew up in South Florida.
“Not really,” he said. “When I think of a rivalry I think of the teams we play every year — LSU, Florida State. I consider those rivalry games. Being that Miami’s in the state of Florida and the only other Power-5 team with Florida State in the state of Florida, we can treat it like a rivalry game.
“Because now we finally get a chance to play all the teams in the state of Florida that technically compete for the state and I think that will be a big thing for us just to play for the state of Florida and try to come out with a win and prove that.”
Scouting the Hogs
In preparation for Saturday’s game, Florida’s defensive players have been studying tape of some past Arkansas games. Arkansas is where Dan Enos was the offensive coordinator for three years (2015-17) before being hired to fill the same role at UM by new coach Manny Diaz.
“That’s mostly what we have been watching, when he was at Arkansas, especially with (UF safeties) coach (Ron) English,” junior safety Donovan Stiner said. “Just so we can get a good feel about their offensive scheme and things like that. We also watch a little bit of Miami just so we can see a little of their personnel and see how their players are.”
For the UF defensive backs, one player who jumps off the screen is UM wide receiver Jeff Thomas.
“He’s just an explosive guy, very fast,” sophomore cornerback Marco Wilson said. “He can make spectacular catches. I’ve seen a couple bad balls thrown to him and he still made the catch, and he did pretty well vs. LSU, and they have some decent DBs. He’s a very fast guy, athletic, so that’s something we need to watch out for on Saturday.”