Meyer Expecting a Great Atmosphere

Florida head coach Urban Meyer doesn't usually like night games. The atmosphere is electric and crowd seems to have extra juice, but it's tough for him to sit at the team hotel all day and wait. This week, he changed his tune. He believes creating an atmosphere like there will be on Saturday is worth spending extra time at the hotel.

"It is a huge game," Urban Meyer said. "The University of Florida made it a huge game, and so did South Carolina. They've played well down the stretch run. It's really great for our fans here. I love this stadium, and I love to see our fans have a good time with tailgating, the blue out and the whole deal."

Saturday won't just be spent sitting around at the hotel without preparing. Meyer said there will be some meeting and continued focus on the task that night.

"We have a thing where preparation doesn't stop until the foot hits the ball," Meyer said. "We'll say a lot about assignments and technique."

INJURY REPORT: Running back Jeff Demps and defensive tackle Jaye Howard are both probable. Demps "won't play the whole game," and Howard will see "limited reps."

Wide receiver Andre Debose is "pretty close to full speed."

DIFFERENCE IN RAINEY: Chris Rainey's return to the team has changed the person he is off the field. Meyer set strict guidelines for him to meet if he wanted to stay on the team, and he has met those.

"It's what you'd expect and what we're going to demand," Meyer said. "The minute he starts the slip at all, there will be a terrible price to pay. We're watching him. According to our academic people, he's doing a good job."

On the field, no one has doubted Rainey's production. His focus on the practice field is now also better than before.

"Lights out," Meyer said.

POSSIBLE CHANGE AT PUNT RETURNER: Janoris Jenkins has been the punt returner since Rainey's suspension, however that could change this week. Chris Rainey and Andre Debose have also worked out as the punt returner during practice this week.

"There's a chance (someone else could)," Meyer said. "We lost Brandon James and didn't have a steady guy."

The hesitation of putting Rainey as the punt returner is because of his knack for blocking punts. He is already tied for the school record with four punt blocks in his career. That ability will likely keep him from returning punts.

"Unless we can create a way for him to run back there really fast," Meyer quipped.

EXTRA YEAR FOR SENIOR: Cornerback Moses Jenkins was awarded a fifth year of eligibility by the NCAA, Meyer said Thursday. The senior hyper extended his left elbow in a season opening win over Miami (OH). He missed most of last season after suffering a concussion at Kentucky.

REED CONTINUES TO MATURE: Meyer continues to be impressed by the maturity Jordan Reed has shown with his expanded role.

"He's really grown up," Meyer said. "I love his growth as a football player in the last three weeks."

The decision to originally move Reed to tight end was made because the Gators didn't have a tight end. The Florida coaches thought they could have Aaron Hernandez for his senior year, but he left early for the NFL.

"We thought we'd maybe get Hernandez for one more year," Meyer said. "What happens in this darn recruiting is when you have a guy like Hernandez, another kid won't come. You get stuck and they leave after their junior year."

Meyer still says John Brantley is the starting quarterback. In fact, he even realizes that Reed's future isn't as a quarterback.

"Jordan's future is probably at tight end," Meyer said. "As of right now, we're worried about Saturday's game, not his future, and he's worried about Saturday's game."

EVALUATING SOUTH CAROLINA: South Carolina receivers Alshon Jeffrey and Tori Gurley present the Gators with a challenge on the outside, but it's the inside run game that has Meyer concerned. It would already be a problem if freshman running back Marcus Lattimore were the only one to stop. However, quarterback Stephen Garcia can run with the ball, too.

"They're running the spread run game, which has been witnessed around here for a long time," Meyer said. "It's hard to defend. Especially when you've got a guy who can throw it, and obviously he can."

On defense, the issue will be getting the ball out of the quarterback's hands. South Carolina's blitz packages have Meyer worried about his offense, which has struggled all season to pick up the blitz.

"They have a good scheme but very good players," Meyer said. "We have to get the ball out fast. We can't be sitting back there in the pocket."
Follow Cody Jones on


Fightin Gators Top Stories