Monday Practice Report

Florida's defense prepares for Miami's ground attack. Also, <B>Bobby McCray</B> is getting fired up. Here what he had to say, and more....

The man is gone. The memories are not.

Five days away from Florida's chance at revenge against Miami, one body continues to ring through the heads of the Gators defense.

Maybe you've heard of him. His name is Willis McGahee.

Carrying for 204 yards on 24 carries, the Heisman Trophy finalist helped embarrass Florida 41-16 as Miami stomped to 306 total rushing yards last season.

And while the Hurricanes' star running back may have departed to the NFL, he left behind a performance that will motivate the Gators through the week.

"Hopefully we learned a lot from that game," said defensive line coach Red Anderson. "I think that game helped us a lot. We can draw on that this year to give us a better shot at it."

Now, though, Florida will face another Hurricanes running back with similar potential. Frank Gore, who actually started over McGahee at Miami before being injured, returns as the man to stop.

Just as the Gators will face a different back, they'll implement a different plan of attack as well.

"Of course, something needs to change," said senior strong safety Guss Scott. "You don't want someone running 300 yards on you ever. First of all, we have to tackle better. We have to execute better on defense. We have to stay in our gaps - the little small things. That's the difference between winning games. We didn't tackle well last year."

Safety Darrell Dixon said the Gators focused too much on attempting to rattle quarterback Ken Dorsey rather than focusing on the simplicity of their own game plan.

"I think we probably tried to fool Dorsey too much," Dixon said. "That backfired on us. We did a lot of moving around, stemming in the backfield. We tried to make him read us. Their offense doesn't run much stuff. They just do what they do best. That's successful for them. We're going to try to do what we do best."

As for stuffing the run, defensive end Bobby McCray remains confident it won't be a problem. McCray said McGahee had more to offer than the Hurricanes' tailback this year.

"He's not better than McGahee," McCray said. "McGahee was much smoother. Gore has played just one game in a year. He's still going off of what he did two years ago."

TIME TO TANGO: McCray added some humor to this week's trash talking exchanges with Miami. Asked just how close quarterback Brock Berlin was to Florida's players, McCray said the friendship continues.

And he hopes the Gators all have a chance to talk to the old pal.

"He was close to all of us," McCray said. "He was friendly. It's going to be a good reunion in the backfield. We're going to have a party in the backfield. We're going to shut down the run and get him to pass. Our secondary can cover. And with our defensive ends, that passing is not going to work."

McCray, from Miami, said he was heavily recruited by the Hurricanes and nearly committed. But now, he knows where he belongs, and he isn't afraid to say it.

McCray said he watched film on Miami's offensive line. He isn't impressed.

"I looked at them and it's didn't look that impressive to me," McCray said. "I want to catch them at their best. I want everybody in there. I don't want to play against their scrubs or their backups. I want their best offensive linemen because we're just going to dominate them, too."

McCray also defended offensive tackle Shannon Snell's comment regarding his desire to bloody Berlin.

Regardless of the players' comments, Zook said the talk should not be overplayed.

"Oh, don't make something of that," Zook said. "Those guys respect Brock. I don't know Brock. But those guys have never, ever said anything but positive about Brock since I've been here. Don't make anything of that. That's not even fair."

Fair? No.

But fun? Maybe.

BACK IN ACTION: Linebackers Channing Crowder and Taurean Charles will return to action Saturday after serving suspensions during the San Jose State game. Both are possible starters, as Crowder was listed as a starter before the season.

"It's two athletic guys that are excited to play and bring energy," Zook said. "Taurean is from down there in Miami so this game means a lot to him."

LIKE PLAYING POKER: Zook elaborated on the importance of watching game film to study the tendencies of players. What some may not know is just how much can be learned from the habits of athletes.

"If you watch enough film, you'll find something that gives you a little advantage," he said. "For example sometimes with a receiver the way they stand with their leg you know it's coming to them. Sometimes with a quarterback on occasion you can tell by the last place he looks. Sometimes you can even tell with running backs. It's harder to see with running backs. But sometimes with the stripe the helmet you can see it on tape. I've known coaches that have taken off the stripes off the helmets because of that."

INJURIES: Safety Jarvis Herring and cornerback Tremaine McCollum were diagnosed with dislocated elbows. However, Zook said the injuries might not turn out to be as serious as they sound.


Fightin Gators Top Stories