Practice Report: Gators Show Effort, Intensity

It was work day at the practice field Tuesday afternoon for the sixth-ranked Florida Gators as they went at it in full pads in preparation for Saturday night's game with the fourth-ranked Tennessee Vols. While there were some issues with execution on offense, the effort was good enough to earn Coach Urban Meyer's praise.

Meyer described the Tuesday practice as a "good hard day," good enough that the coaching staff plans to scale back the contact and physical intensity on Wednesday.

"Execution obviously is not where it is but attitude and effort were but we'll get that cleaned up," he said.

Meyer is watching his team closely because it is a rivalry week. He sees his team stepping up the energy levels in practice.

"I think that if you're leading to is it different than other weeks, yeah I think there's a little bit more intensity," he said. "Tuesday is a work day around here. There's not a lot of cheering and rah-rah because they're full pads and it's a 25-period practice with a lot of hitting, so tomorrow I'm anticipating a little more energy."

MANSON MAKING WAVES: Redshirt freshman Markus Manson, limited to duty in the fourth quarter in both games so far, looks to be making a push for more playing time. Manson is the team's second-leading rusher through two games with 90 yards on 14 carries (6.4 average per carry) for the Gators who are averaging 171 yards per game.

In his two appearances, Manson has shown excellent explosion into the hole and once he's past the hole, he's got the ability to accelerate into a breakaway gear.

"I like that guy a lot," said Meyer. "He's growing up fast. He goes into that most improved category the last six or seven days. I wish it was the last two months then he would be playing more."

PENALTY ISSUES: The Gators were flagged twice for personal fouls against Louisiana Tech, one of which proved costly as it helped the Bulldogs on their lone scoring drive of the night. Meyer said that personal foul penalties for going after the whistle or mouthing off are simply unacceptable and he won't accept the excuse that a player was carried away because he was playing hard.

"Why would you ever put your team in that situation?" he asked. "That's silly nonsense. That's not playing hard. Playing hard is when you make a mistake. That's an undisciplined action. You have to know that when that whistle blows, it's over … it's done.

Meyer is aware that the Gators were flagged for a costly 15-yarder last year against Tennessee when Dallas Baker retaliated against a Vol defender who took a swing at him. As is the case so often, it was the player who retaliates who got caught and got the flag.

Meyer said that retaliation is not acceptable because "that's the sign of an undisciplined team. Hopefully we're getting better than that."

MILLER AND TARTT: The Gators will be going into Saturday's game with inexperience at the right guard slot. Sophomore Drew Miller and redshirt freshman Jim Tartt will be seeing action at that position. Although they are young players, Meyer says they are both talented, just inexperienced.

Miller has started both games at right guard. Tartt sat out game one with lingering soreness, the after-effect of offseason shoulder surgery. He played as Miller's backup in game two.

Miller has shown improvement in both games, prompting Meyer to say, "He's got a long way to go but he's getting a little better. He's talented, though. He should have been redshirted last year. He played 30 plays or something nonsensical like that. He's a sophomore but he should be a redshirt freshman, but he's a very talented guy."

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