When Saturday afternoon rolls around and the Gators take the field to kick off the 2008 season, Brandon Spikes and Percy Harvin won't be with them. Head coach Urban Meyer confirmed on Wednesday that neither would be available against Hawaii.
underwent foot surgery in the spring where they grinded off bone growth that was causing soreness and tendonitis for one of the Gators' most dangerous offensive weapons. His recovery has gone slower than expected and he'll be sidelined this weekend.
recently hurt his foot and has been on-and-off at practice all week. Meyer said he doesn't anticipate Spikes being available either. Meyer would not speculate on their availability for the Miami
match-up in week two.
Meyer did say that holding both Spikes and Harvin out are not for precautionary reasons.
"We're playing a team that's 12-0," Meyer said. "We better play some excellent defense and hold onto the football on Saturday."
Aside from those two, all other starters should be good to go for the weekend. Left guard Jim Tartt
is still experiencing some soreness in his shoulder and center Maurkice Pouncey
is recovering from a sprained ankle, but Meyer expects both to be ready on Saturday.
"They [offensive line] should be one of the strongest units on the football team if not the strongest," Meyer said.
Brantley doing fine
Quarterback John Brantley
practiced on Wednesday after picking up a staph infection. The redshirt freshman has been plagued by injuries throughout his Gator career.
"Brantley did very well today," Meyer said. "He fought through it. He's had injury after injury, but he keeps coming back."
Meyer said the back-up quarterback situation is still undecided as is the running back rotation.
Ryan Stamper will start for Spikes at the mike linebacker spot on Saturday. Said Meyer, "Stamper is a very physical and accountable guy. He's always there and works his tail off. He does the right thing all the time."
Brandon Antwine has been working out after missing most of last season because of a back injury. Said Meyer, "It was a devastating back injury. He's not going to play in this game, but he's out there working. I give him a lot of credit. That was a painful injury. He's out there practicing and trying to get back into shape. Hopefully, we get him back the second half of the year."
Meyer said there is no possibility of the Gators leaving the state for a non-conference game. Said Meyer, "Have you seen our schedule?"
Meyer once again urged fans to wear white on Saturday. Meyer said, "We want to have everyone wear white for skin cancer awareness."
According to defensive line coach Dan McCarney, Ronnie Wilson has been moved back to the offensive line.
Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Chris Chmielenski