UF No. 6 in AP Poll

The Associated Press released its preseason poll, and the Florida Gators rank No. 6. The USA Today Coaches Poll debuted the Gators a bit higher at No. 3 just a few weeks ago, but the AP poll is more consistent with most of the preseason publications. As usual Urban Meyer is not interested in polls.

"I don't care about the polls," Urban Meyer said after Saturday's morning practice session. "I don't think we're the No. 1 team in the country."

The Associated Press dropped their affiliation with the Bowl Championship Series just before the 2005 season and is no longer used as part of the calculation to determine which two teams play for the BCS National Championship. Therefore, the AP has the right to crown its own national champion, however, it has yet to disagree with the outcome of the BCS title game.

Quarterback decision coming soon

Meyer expects to make a decision in the next few days for the backup quarterback role. With the season opener just two weeks away, the decision is important so the second string quarterback can get enough reps to be game ready, and likewise, the third and fourth string QBs need to start working with scout team.

"I think we're pretty close to a decision, but I'm not going to announce anything yet," Meyer said.

Cameron Newton had the upper-hand in the race after early enrolling in the spring. Newton was able to practice with the veterans during spring practice, but a back injury and academic issues at the end of the summer session kept him from practicing during the first week of fall camp.

"He looks really good and then looks really bad," Meyer said. "It's typical of youth. He's got a little bit of an upper-hand, but Johnny's [Brantley] got a future with no limits. It's really those two that are battling it out right now."

Newton got into a little bit of trouble, however, during Saturday's practice.

"Cameron Newton almost had his [black stripe] put back on today," Meyer said.

The black stripes are removed from newcomer's helmets after they prove themselves in practice. Newton had his removed in the spring, and three more have had their stripes removed yesterday. Defensive end Justin Trattou, linbacker Jerimy Finch and defensive tackle Torrey Davis have had their stripes removed. Finch has obviously smoothly handled the transition from safety to linebacker in the last few days.

"He's a promising prospect," Meyer said. "I don't know if he'll stay there for his whole career, but it's our need right now. We have zero depth at linebacker. He'll go back to safety at some point, but he's showing promise as a football player."

Primo players

Meyer's buzz word this fall has been "primo". With so much youth, he's constantly referring to the consistent performers who he calls his primo players. The select list of Gators perform at a high level 100 percent of the time.

"We have a big saying around here, ‘The great players always play great,'" Meyer said. "That's not true across the country. There are a lot of great players that for some reason don't play great. Our primos are starting to separate themselves."

On offense, the starting receivers are standing out from the rest of the pack.

"I can mention a whole bunch of them, but Bubba [Caldwell] and Percy [Harvin] and [Jarred] Fayson, they've kind of separated themselves from the others and [Louis] Murphy. Those four right now. CI's there too."

The defensive primos are centered around the returning starters.

"[Tony] Joiner and [Derrick] Harvey are primos, you can really see the difference," Meyer said. "[Brandon] Spikes is starting. I'm going to be putting him in that category pretty soon. At practice, they just show up everywhere. Great players play great at Florida."

A member of the Gator backfield is inching closer to the primo category, which definitely hasn't been the case in Meyer's first two seasons.

"Kestahn [Moore] is really good," Meyer said. "I don't know if I'd put him in that primo category yet because he has not done it on the field, but with his work ethic in practice, I'm really excited to see him play."

Battle in the backfield

Moore has locked down the starting role in the backfield, but who will back him up? It may be a wide receiver.

"Jarred Fayson slash Brandon James," Meyer said. "I'll tell you the guy who is taking a lot of strides is Chevon Walker, so we're getting some depth there."

Former Lakeland standout Chris Rainey will get carries, but don't count him in for the tailback rotation.

"Chris Rainey is hard because he is just so little," Meyer said. "He'll carry the ball, but that's not tailback. Tailbacks have to block and do a lot of things. I don't know if he'll play tailback here. He's 165-170 pounds and he's got to block Siler's coming through there, and honestly, he's going to lose a lot of those battles."

Notes

  • The Gators are still awaiting word on freshman defensive tackle John Brown's status. Brown is not through the NCAA Clearinghouse yet, but is practicing. However, he missed the valuable summer workouts, and it's showing. Said Meyer, "Football-wise you can tell that he's got a lot of ability, but you can tell he didn't go through that six week Summer B like the other guys did. He's just not in great shape."
  • Five offensive linemen have stood out this fall, and a sixth may be emerging. Meyer likes freshman Maurkice Puncey, but there's inconsistency after that. Said Meyer, "Maurice Hurt takes steps forward and then takes steps back and so does Marcus Gilbert and Carl [Johnson] is just dealing with some health issues."
  • Right tackle Phil Trautwein is the backup center behind Drew Miller for now, but freshman Michael Pouncey saw some time as snapper during Saturday's practice. Trautwein, however, sat out Saturday's workout with a sprained ankle.
  • Percy Harvin participated during Saturday's entire practice despite tendintis in his Achilles. Said Meyer, "He's a tough guy, so he's battling through it. He's not 100 percent. He had a great day today."
  • Cornerback Markihe Anderson sat out Saturday's practice because of a sore groin. Meyer noted that Joe Haden had a good day as did defensive tackle Terron Sanders. Said Meyer, "Sanders came out today and practiced like a wild man. I hadn't seen him in five days. That's young guys though, they just have to step up."
  • The Gators reviewed the Tennessee rivalry last night with Travis McGriff as the keynote speaker. In the upcoming days, they'll look at the FSU and Georgia rivalries.


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