Gators Healthy after Bye Week

The mood was a bit sober Tuesday at Gator football practice as walk-on Michael Guilford was laid to rest earlier in the day. Urban Meyer was able to attend the service with about 10 players.

For Saturday's match-up with the Kentucky Wildcats, the Gators will wear a sticker on the back of their helmets in remembrance of the redshirt freshman that they called "Sunshine." Urban Meyer said they plan on doing more in the future to honor Guilford.

As for their preparations for the No. 8 ranked Wildcats, Meyer was pleased with what he saw on the practice field.

"Today was as good a Tuesday," Meyer said. "I liked today. Today was exceptional."

What made Tuesday different than past workouts was the effort of the veteran leaders.

"Our primo players kind of pulled the string," he said. "If they pull the string, then the other ones follow. If they have a bad day then the other ones follow. When guys don't work as hard, they kind of let go of that string. When they pull the string everyone follows and today was phenomenal."

Coming off the bye week, Meyer said everyone on the team has healed from their minor nicks and bruises. And they'll need to be at full strength for their trip to Lexington to face a Kentucky team that is right in the middle of the SEC East race.

"We're facing a very talented team," Meyer said. "It's not a fluke, they are a talented team. [The bye week] gives us an extra week to prepare. We didn't take much time off. We don't deserve that right now. We just have to keep improving."

Kentucky has four receivers with 22 or more receptions, including Keenan Burton who is catching close to six balls a game.

"They spread the ball around very well," Meyer said.

Meyer added that the Gator offense will have to control the ball to keep the SEC's top scoring offense off the field and the defense will have to keep the ball in front of them.


  • The Gator defense is doing a good job of stopping the run, but struggling a bit with pass rush and coverage. Meyer actually thought the defense would be a little further along that it is right now. Said Meyer, "I was hoping we would be further along at some positions on defense. Did I not expect that? No, I saw it coming, but with our offseason programs and our spring practice I thought we'd be a little further along."
  • Of the freshmen, only safety Major Wright and Moses Jenkins have excited Meyer during the season's first half. Said Meyer, "All these freshmen, it's like a four letter word as a coach. You get that feeling in your stomach because you just don't know. It's very rare that last year we had a Tim Tebow and a Percy Harvin that were kind of exceptional. They were game ready. Some of the other guys that show up, it just takes time. That's typical across the country."

    Questions or comments? Contact's Chris Chmielenski

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