Gators Name Captains

Urban Meyer announced his list of captains on Saturday morning, and it's a long list. Eleven players will form a pool of captains with a smaller number being named each week to serve for the game.

Headlining the list is Cornelius Ingram who will miss the entire season after tearing his ACL in the first few days of fall practice. Meyer had hinted at Ingram being a captain during fall camp. Javier Estopinan, Kestahn Moore, Louis Murphy, James Smith, Brandon Spikes, Ryan Stamper, Jim Tartt, Tim Tebow, Phil Trautwein and Jason Watkins have all been named. The list includes nine seniors and two juniors.

After dealing with Tropical Storm Fay for the last several days, the rain held off for Florida's final preseason practice before they kick off game week on Monday. Today's practice will be followed with the former players lunch before the team gets some time off before Monday.

"I have to give a lot of credit to our players," Meyer said. "The only one who was distracted was their head coach. We put 140 plays on the board yesterday. When the eye of the storm came over us yesterday, half the defense was lifting and the offense was in a meeting. I just blew the whistle and said get taped, get dressed and we practiced for about two and a half hours. We just invested that and put it in the bank."

They were able to squeeze in another lengthy practice this morning.

"We kept checking the weather report this morning and shortened our meetings and came out and had another two and a half hour practice," Meyer said. "They're off now for 48 hours. They come back at 7 a.m. on Monday. We have our former player deal and then they can see their families and have some down time."

Meyer's biggest concern heading into the weekend is on offense. Not because of talent, but because injuries have prevented them from lining up the starters all at once. That all changes on Monday.

"Right now on offense we're not very good," Meyer said. "We have linemen beat up and wide receivers without the full compliment of everyone going. I'm kind of looking forward on Monday when the ball snaps our best 11 are going. That affects our quarterback, it affects everyone."

Percy Harvin worked out today, but there's no word on his status for Hawaii.

"He went today," Meyer said. "He didn't do the full practice, but he went. There's a chance [he could play next week]. We'll make that determination next week."

"It was good," Tim Tebow said. "He didn't do everything, but he still did a lot. There's a different gear when Percy steps on the field."

On defense, Matt Patchan was limited to scout work, but Meyer expects him to go next week. Omar Hunter continues to improve.

"I'm starting see Omar Hunter come along real well," Meyer said. "He's at 3-4 practices in a row, which is a record for him. You get Patchan in there, Sanders is making a push over the last couple of days and Marsh is making a push. At least I got some names for you. Epps is doing much better, too."

Hawaii impressive

Meyer likened the Hawaii team that Florida opens up against next week to his former squad at Utah.

"They are a really good team," Meyer said. "They're like Air Force and Utah when we were there. You wish they would come in with the two backs and run through the C gap, but it's not going to happen. They'll throw the ball 60 times."

Hawaii ranked in the top 20 in both punt and kickoff returns last season. Meyer said special teams is a good way to gauge an opponent.

"When you look at a punt team and return team and see if they're the best in the country that tells you what kind of team they are," he said. "The teams that play offense and defense, but don't play anything else, I love playing those teams cause we beat the tar out of them."

Notes

  • The running back group continues to improve, but Meyer is still looking for an all-purpose runner. Said Meyer, "Moody's really coming. He has to come on. Right now we have role players. That's hard as a guy that calls plays. We have this guy that can do this, but can't do this. I'm a little disappointed in that, but we are getting better."

  • Meyer said that linebacker Lorenzo Edwards is improving, but not enough to make an impact.

  • Ahmad Black and Major Wright will be the starting safeties. Will Hill is listed third. Said Meyer, "At times he acts like a three and at times a one because he's real talented."

  • Senior Jonathan Phillips almost didn't return to the team this season. Now, he's the starter. Said Meyer, "I think Jon Phillips is a little ahead of Caleb Sturgis right now. I like to see that since he's a senior."

  • Meyer said that Chris Rainey has matured a lot since coming to Gainesville. Said Meyer, "Have you ever sat with a three year old and talked about Santa Claus? That's what it was like. Now we can actually sit down and talk about life and football and academics. It's kind of neat now."

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


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