In total, eight Gators will graduate this semester and will be recognized tomorrow afternoon at a luncheon alongside other graduating student-athletes. Andre Caldwell, Clint McMillan and Drew Miller will receive degrees in Sociology. Moise Paul and Phil Trautwein will receive degrees in Youth, Family and Community Sciences. Lastly, Markus Manson will graduate in Criminology, Carlton Medder with Anthropology and Derek Baldry with Journalism.
Meyer talked about the gratification that seeing players who may not have a future in the NFL leave the program with a degree to show for it.
"For the head coach and the position coach, it feels like if your child makes it," Meyer said. "That's how close we get with these guys."
It was a relatively long practice but the teams seems to be in good spirits and excited about the bowl game. Not having to prepare for an opponent week-in and week-out has allowed the coaching staff to go back to more basic drills and practices.
"We concentrated on tackling today, ball-security and all fundamentals," Meyer said. "And we'll do that all again tomorrow. On Monday it will be more into game-planning. It's just a little introduction. I'm sure coach Gonzales and coach Mullen did third downs with them today. It's just real beginning phases of watching the opponent."
With senior fullback Eric Rutledge being suspended for the bowl game for violating team rules, Meyer said he expects freshman tight end Aaron Hernandez to pick up a lot of the slack and continue to become more and more a part of the offense.
"He's tremendous," Meyer said. "He's as improved a player as we've had and he's a weapon. We'll use him in the bowl game quite a bit. He's a big time player and he's just scratching the surface of his potential. He's 245 right now…get him up around 250 and a real strong 400-pound bencher, that's a great matchup issue for a defense. He's real fast and a tremendous route-runner and has great hands. When you go out and recruit, that's what you look for. For us, we don't want the 268-pound guy that can't go down the middle of the field. He's exactly what we look for."
Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Blake Bonsack