Wednesday Report

The rivalry between the Seminoles and the Gators may not be as bitter without Steve Spurrier. But that doesn't mean it's dead...

The rivalry between Florida State and Florida may be less tense because of the absence of a particular Washington Redskins head coach. But that doesn't mean it has died down all together.

Now, though, it appears the fighting words are saved for the recruiting battles rather than the annual game.

Last season, the Seminoles accused Coach Ron Zook of negative recruiting tactics, claiming they'd been "Zookified" every time Florida snagged a potential commitment.

"I don't know anything about that," Zook laughed. "I just want to win this game."

But that doesn't mean he isn't willing to defend his tactics. After all, Zook claims other schools go after him in a far worse fashion – not that it's necessarily a bad thing.

"When they started hammering us good in December last year I knew we were having a good year," Zook said. "We have a lot of things to sell. We don't have to hammer anybody. We just sell the things we have."

So has any of the heat from recruiting carried over to the field? Perhaps it's starting to, but Zook remains subdued when the topic arises.

"I'm looking forward to this game," Zook said. "I'm sure they are also. This is big. They are all big. I don't know if you can say which is the biggest. Right now, it's the biggest game of my life."


Florida will spend part of today's Thanksgiving on the field, as the Gators will hold practice earlier than usual. After wrapping up their workout before noon, the team will feast together at an annual Thanksgiving Day meal.

"Max [Starks] eats the most," offensive guard Shannon Snell said. "Just look at him. He has to eat a lot to keep that weight up."

Starks, a former Lake Highland Prep standout, weighs in at 349 pounds. The 6-foot-7 senior will play in his final game at The Swamp on Saturday, ending his regular season after what has been a successful run at offensive tackle.

The Orlando native has played 2,555 plays and has started three consecutive years.


While the Gators went through their pre-practice routine Wednesday, they were motivated by some rather unwelcomed noise. Coaches played the Florida State fight song through sets of speakers normally used to pipe in crowd noise during practice. "They just do it to get us riled up," WR O.J. Small said. "Even in The Swamp, we notice [the song]. Not during a play, but while you're standing on the sideline, we notice it. It doesn't bother us, though."….While players say they have put the incidents involving former Gator TB Earnest Graham's accusations against Florida State DT Darnell Dockett behind them, the fans may not be so friendly Saturday. The last time Dockett came to The Swamp, Graham accused him of intentionally injuring his knee. "Everyone has put that behind them," Snell said. "Maybe the fans haven't, but all the players have. He's going to play his hardest and so are we."….Zook said everyone remained healthy during Wednesday's practice. No new injuries to report.

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