Wednesday Practice Report

Players finished out a fast week of practice Wednesday. Now, they'll aim to keep momentum going from past two wins...

As UF ended its final practice of the week Wednesday, the Gators will attempt to keep the past two wins on their minds. Because of a bye Saturday, protecting against a loss in momentum will be a key in the long weekend.

"It could be a good thing, but it could be a bad thing," cornerback Keiwan Ratliff said. "You could get rest and heal your injuries or lose momentum. You never know how the team is going to react. You just have to come back on Monday like you had a game on Saturday."

Coach Ron Zook said he was pleased with the team's effort in each of the week's two practices.

"This practice compared to last year's practice at this time was 1,000 percent better," Zook said. "We've gotten better in the last two days."

Most players were forced to remain in town because of class obligations, but several said they would make the drive home for a long weekend.

"We need this off week," TE Ben Troupe said. "We've been working hard. Anytime you play a sport you need a break from it. I don't think we'll lose any momentum because we know what's at stake."

TROUPE ANTICIPATES BULLDOGS

This time a year ago, Troupe didn't have the fan following he does today. He didn't have the crowd chanting his name any time he touched the ball. Or the trademark Troupe Trample.

Then he played Georgia.

The senior busted onto the scene with a 19-yard reception, which he bounced off of more than five defenders. Then, with the Gators trailing 13-12 in the fourth quarter, former QB Rex Grossman hit Troupe in the endzone for a 10-yard touchdown. The score lifted the Gators to a 20-13 win.

Troupe finished the game with four catches and 47 yards.

This time around, the Augusta, Ga. native knows how important this game will be once again – to his career and his hometown reputation.

"It's real important," Troupe said. "I have to go home for Christmas. And I do want to enjoy my Christmas."

Since the win against Georgia, Troupe has broken out as one of the Gators' most talented receivers. While he never emerged in Steve Spurrier's system, Coach Ron Zook has turned the tight end into an offensive weapon.

BRIEFLY

UF defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, joined by assistants Bill Miller, Larry Fedora and Joe Wickline, all left on recruiting trips Wednesday….DT Mo Mitchell broke a bone in his left hand. The junior still managed to practice, wearing a large blue cast. He doesn't expect to miss any time….DT Sylvester McGrew sprained his left ankle. He wore a boot and did not practice Tuesday….OT Lance Butler didn't practice Tuesday or Wednesday because of an infection in his leg. He expects to be prepared in time for Georgia….UF coach Ron Zook addressed the recent gag order placed on LB Channing Crowder. Zook simply said the true freshman linebacker needs to focus on the field rather than his lingo. "Channing doesn't need to talk," Zook said. "Channing just needs to worry about playing." Crowder, who has consistently remained friendly with the media, joins Shannon Snell among those banned from talking to reporters.


Fightin Gators Top Stories