Thursday Practice Report

Kentucky's Derek Abney will try to tear into Florida much like he did a year ago....

Despite Florida's 41-34 win against Kentucky last season, recent history has been enough to keep the Gators' defense grounded heading into Lexington. And it's all because of one man.

Last season, Wildcats' WR/KR Derek Abney gave the Gators a scare despite their 19-0 lead. After catching a touchdown pass, Abney became the seventh player in NCAA Division I-A history to return a pun and a kick for touchdowns in the same game.

"We better be more prepared," Coach Ron Zook said. "We've got to make sure we've got him contained. We've got to have a little special plan for him."

Abney's 100-yard kick return and 49-yard punt return played the most significant roles in the special teams debacle that cost the Gators 30 points.

This season, Abney is averaging 158.8 yards per game in all-purpose yardage – including 28.4 yards per kick return.


As a result of Todd McCullough's apparent decision to undergo surgery on his shoulder, a gap at strongside linebacker has been opened up.

With Channing Crowder and Reid Fleming starting at the other two slots, either true freshman Earl Everett or redshirt freshman Brian Crum likely will start on the strongside.

Everett, who said he has been practicing with the first team this week, made a jump on the depth chart after Crum suffered a toe injury. Now, the former South Sumter High standout plans to make the most of the chance.

"I've been waiting on this for a while," Everett said. "They say they're working on [deciding the starting job], so I'm not sure where I'll end up. Wherever it is, I'm going to make the most of it."

True freshman Howard Lingard, a former Oviedo standout, could also see time at the position. Lingard made four tackles against Florida A&M two weeks ago.


After all the uncertainty looming around Florida's play calling, it could become natural to wonder just where those plays originate. Here's the breakdown:

"Around either Monday night or Tuesday morning, depending on what that team does coverage-wise, we'll come up with four or five different routes that we feel like we can take advantage of what they're doing," said wide receivers coach Larry Fedora. "Then we take it down to a meeting room, basically draw it up, install it to the guys and show it versus the coverage we want to throw it against."

After the play has been used against the scout team, coaches meet again to decide whether to implement the route into the game plan or not. If it makes the cut, coaches usually have less than five seconds to call the play during a game.

"By the time the ball is spotted, we try to have a formation, and then try to make a call right after that" offensive coordinator Ed Zaunbrecher said. "Sometimes we change it. Sometimes we don't. Usually by the time there's 20 seconds left on the play clock, we should have everything to go….You have 3 to 5 seconds to decide what to do, even when you're huddling."

But no matter how effective the play-call is, coaches still defend the notion that the success or failure shouldn't be pinned on them.

"Sometimes the best call doesn't work because of the human element," Zaunbrecher said. "Then again, sometimes you have a call that's really not a great match-up, and it ends up breaking for a good play."


Heavy thunderstorms caused Florida to seek shelter for most of its practice Thursday. The offense moved into an indoor facility, while the defense walked through formations in the tunnels of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium….Although the Gators ended 10 minutes early, Coach Ron Zook said he didn't have time to address the media because of team meetings. Players, as usual for a Thursday, were also unavailable.

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