Meyer Excited for November Football

Temperatures for the Florida Gators' matchup with South Carolina on Saturday night could dip into the low-40s. That can be a bit chilly for a bunch of boys from Florida, but Wednesday's weather in Gainesville provided the Gators with a dress rehearsal for Saturday night.

By the time Florida wrapped up practice on Wednesday night, the temperature in Gainesville was around 50 degrees. For the first time, players were seen wearing long sleeve shirts under their jerseys, but for Urban Meyer who grew up in Ohio and has coached at Notre Dame among other cold weather cities, he knows this isn't cold.

"SEC East, South Carolina in November, I don't think there's anything better than that," Meyer said. "God forbid that's an issue. Cold weather, in case you're wondering, this is not cold weather. I don't think that will be an issue."

Gator kick returner Brandon James is a Florida native and was one of those players with some extra layers on Wednesday, but he wasn't worried about the forecast for Saturday night.

"Whenever we play, we're ready," James said. "Whether it's cold, hot or whatever, we'll be ready to go."

Earlier this week, Meyer said that James might be the team's most valuable player this season. James is second in the nation in punt returns, averaging more than 20 yards per return. When he's deep in Gator territory waiting to return a punt, he only has one rule to keep in mind.

"The only time we talk to him is when he's backed up," Meyer said. "We don't want him catching it inside the 5-yard line. He's a guy that has a lot of ability out there, and I spend more time on the rules for the guys blocking for him than for the guy catching it."

Meyer began his career coaching special teams coach and said James might be the best specialist he's ever seen.

"I hate to have someone call me and say, ‘coach, I thought I was the best one,'" Meyer said. "Off the top of my head he's as good as I've had."

Bringin' their hard hats

After a strong effort against Vanderbilt, Meyer said he's seen a different approach from the defense during practice this week.

"A little more confidence in them after the way they played last week," Meyer said. "I see a little more of a workman approach because I think they know this is a team that can put up some points. The team that we are playing has had some bad games, but they've had some good games."

South Carolina didn't have any problems scoring against Arkansas last week, they just couldn't stop the Razorbacks. Steve Spurrier's offense is capable of scoring, and they've put up 36 or more points against SEC opponents three times this season.

The problems for the Gamecocks fall on their defense. They boast the SEC's best pass defense, but are susceptible on the ground, allowing more than 200 yards per game.

"I see a talented group of defenders," Meyer said. "They are No. 1 in the country right now in pass defense. I‘m curious to see who plays in the back end for them because they play a lot of man coverage."

Notes

  • There's still no decision as to whether safety Major Wright will start on Saturday who will be playing with a broken thumb. His right hand is no longer wrapped up, but instead, his thumb and pointer finger are wrapped together.
  • Meyer would not put a number on the number of touches planned for Percy Harvin on Saturday, but he assured that Harvin will touch the ball.
  • As the Gators prepare for the South Carolina pass offense, they are lucky to have a talented quarterback like John Brantley working with the scout team. Said Meyer, "There was a time earlier this year in practice, I think we were preparing for Kentucky, and he was hitting throws downfield. He hit 15 in a row, and they were deep throws. There wasn't a lot of pressure because it was just scout team work, but it helps us quite a bit."

    Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Chris Chmielenski


  • Fightin Gators Top Stories