Classes begin in two days, so the Gators are wrapping up their last double session of the fall. On Tuesday, practice moves back to UF's normal practice facility after working out at the village south fields for the last week, and on the final day, Urban Meyer brought in a special guest.
got his professional coaching start at Notre Dame
in 1996, and on Monday, he invited ESPN analyst and former Fightin Irish and South Carolina
head coach Lou Holtz to the Gators morning session.
"He hired me back in 1996," Meyer said. "He's an encyclopedia of college football. A resource and the greatest motivator I've ever been around. I wanted him to come and watch our practice. He had some great insight."
Meyer didn't discuss Holtz's insight, but he did elude to his former boss's comments regarding Gator quarterback Tim Tebow.
"Tim threw the ball very well today," Meyer said. "Holtz asked me, ‘can Tim throw?' I said just watch and let me know. He was pretty impressed."
Meyer has yet to announce Tebow's backup for the start of the season, but he did say he is moving closer to that decision and expects to make it by the end of the week.
Sophomore defensive tackle Brandon Antwine was sporting a soft cast on his left arm after Saturday's practice, but an MRI reveled that it is not a serious injury.
"It's not fracture," Meyer said. "It's a sprain. He's practicing full speed and in about four days it comes off."
Senior receiver Andre Caldwell is still nursing a groin injury and practiced at about 75 percent speed on Monday. Also, freshman tailback Bo Williams sprained his ankle.
Ones are there
Meyer is pleased with the progress of the Gator starters – so pleased, that he's been letting them leave practice early for the last couple of days. The twos, he said, have a long way to go.
"The twos aren't anywhere near functional," Meyer said. "The last five, six, seven practices, I've cut the ones loose because we have a time allotment for practice. The twos, we just have to keep going."
The good news for Meyer is that everyone is at least giving a maximum effort.
"There's no one resisitant to coaching," he said. "The guys love football, but our execution leaves a little bit to be desired."
One starter who had a good today was sophomore defensive end Jermaine Cunningham.
"We had a two-minute situation, and he won the game for us with a three-man rush," Meyer said. "He was being double teamed and rushed the quarterback and tipped it and got a pick, so the defense won the two-minute scrimmage today. It was because of pressure from Jermaine, so that's a good sign."
Meyer believes the Gators high ranking in the preseason polls is based on last season's results. Said Meyer, "There are people in Phoenix, Arizona that said I'll vote Florida. There's not a whole lot of thought going into that thing. I wouldn't have voted us that high yet."
Meyer spent time with Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano, West Virginia head coach Rich Rodriguez and Tampa Bay's John Gruden during the offseason, but didn't allow his assistants to do the same. He wanted them to take some much deserved time off. Said Meyer, "We could have done a lot of that stuff, but I wouldn't let them. I want them to be good dads and good coaches. A lot of times if you have a young coach you don't mind letting them get their name out there, but we're good."
Meyer has said multiple times this fall that he is happy his entire staff is back for a third straight year, and although he doesn't want turnover, he said it's not always a bad thing. Said Meyer, "In my second year at Utah we had some transition. Every year at Bowling Green we had transition because we couldn't take care of our coaches the same way. The comfort level is there, but you have to make sure you don't get stale. Some turnover is not bad because you get some fresh ideas, but I'm very pleased with our staff right now."
There have been a few fights during fall camp, and Meyer likes the feistiness from his team. Said Meyer, "I'd be disappointed if we didn't. I love it. Now if it goes beyond, we have a rule around here that once it's over it's over. It's competitors, it's a violent game, it's a tough game, it's a combative game and at times it happens."