Revenge Won't be a Factor Against 'Bama

Urban Meyer isn't preaching revenge to his team. Saturday's game isn't about an eye for an eye. Alabama's 32-13 win in the SEC Championship last year stuck on the minds of Florida's veteran players through the offseason, but the number of veterans on this year's team isn't that high.

The Gators traveled a roster that was 41 percent true freshmen or redshirt freshmen when they played at Tennessee on September 18, and the number will be similar this Saturday in Tuscaloosa.

With that high of a percentage of players that didn't even see the field for the game against Alabama last December, it's hard for Urban Meyer to preach to his team about getting revenge.

"A majority of our team wasn't even with us last year during the game," Meyer said at his Monday press conference. "For the last several years, it seems like these two teams find ways to win games though."

While the revenge factor is on the minds of Florida fans, it isn't the driving force for the players. If Alabama was the only team Florida spoke about in the offseason, the risk of looking past the first four games could have been there.

"If you had a team returning, the focus could be (on only Alabama)," Meyer said. "We almost had an Alabama day during training camp. For a while there I thought about doing it, until I turned the film on and saw how poor we were. To start worrying about Alabama, when we were trying to figure out a way to catch the ball, put it away and not fumble."

The two-headed running back system is where any team would attempt to focus on stopping. Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and sophomore Trent Richardson present the top duo in the country. Wearing down either running back isn't an option because they can each carry the load.

However, loading up to stop their ground game presents other issues.

"How do you stop a great running back?" Meyer said. "You load the box, plus one them and don't miss a tackle. Unfortunately when you do that, you're leaving your corner on an island with the first receiver that's going to be picked in the NFL Draft."

Wide receiver Julio Jones has Meyer's attention, but quarterback Greg McElroy has the ability to manage the game.

"When we evaluate quarterbacks, he would be a guy that we evaluate real high. His leadership, toughness and intelligence are far above anything else. I don't know him that well. Someone made the comment that the last time he lost was in seventh or eighth grade, so he's obviously the best quarterback in the business right now.

"People can pick apart his throwing motion or whatever, but he's a winner."

The Alabama defense lost nine starters from last year's unit, but Meyer doesn't see any signs of slowing down on film.

"They keep losing these players, I guess," Meyer said. "They've got great ones right behind them."

The motivation from last December's loss to Alabama could be most heavily in the coaches. Meyer remembers what he saw from his team last season. The praise from the media and reading about how good the team was finally took its toll in the SEC Championship.

"I saw distractions," Meyer said. "I saw rock star status. That's all fine, but what I didn't see was execution on Saturday. It was painful watching that game again this morning."

Meyer jumped on Chris Rainey in the preseason for saying that the team didn't have rock stars this season. However, the Florida head coach wasn't pointing out individuals for "rock star status" last season. He saw it all throughout the team.

"We'd walk out to practice and it would take us a half hour to get there because of signing," Meyer said. "It was the Ringling Brothers three-ring circus. If it distracts the 46-year-old guy, then I'd imagine it distracts the 18-19 year olds. I know it did."

INJURY REPORT: Jeff Demps is in a boot, but Meyer is "hearing positive things" about him returning later this week. Demps had an X-ray after the Kentucky game, and they are calling it a sprained foot. Meyer expects him to play Saturday at Alabama.

Defensive tackles Brandon Antwine (shoulder) and Lawrence Marsh (hamstring) both sat out of Saturday's game against Kentucky, but they should return to the middle of the line to beef up the run defense.

CHAMPIONS: Defensive champions from the Kentucky game were A.J. Jones, Jelanin Jenkins, Ahmad Black, Duke Lemmens, Omar Hunter, Justin Trattou, Will Hill, Janoris Jenkins and Jeremy Brown. Jaye Howard was the defensive player of the game.

Offensive champions were Marcus Gilbert, Jon Halapio, Carl Moore, Jeff Demps, Mike Pouncey, Maurice Hurt, Emmanuel Moody, Frankie Hammond, Carl Johnson, Xavier Nixon, Deonte Thompson and Mike Gillislee. Co-offensive players of the game were John Brantley and Trey Burton.

RAINEY STATUS: Meyer reiterated that Chris Rainey is still not a part of the team.

When asked if he was definitely out this weekend at Alabama, Meyer said yes.

SUCCESS AGAINST THE RUN: The five-man defensive front that debuted against Tennessee is expected to see plenty of time this Saturday. It wasn't used much against Kentucky, but in both games, the Gators stopped the running back that came into the game as the SEC's leading rusher.

"They answered this challenge," Meyer said. "This will be a completely different challenge (Saturday). They break tackles at an alarming pace."

The purpose of the five-man is to allow Lemmens to stay on the field. Instead of playing defensive end at 250 pounds against a tight end that weights 270 or an offensive tackle that weighs 300, they play him at the SAM linebacker spot and add an extra lineman.

"We just want to keep Duke on the field," Meyer said. "We finally have the personnel to do that."
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