Harvin Getting Ready for Miami

It was "Bloody Tuesday" on the practice fields of the Florida Gators football team and Urban Meyer seemed upbeat about the practice. One reason to be optimistic is the return of two star players this week with wide receiver/running back Percy Harvin and linebacker Brandon Spikes looking like they will be ready to play from the start on Saturday.

Meyer went into a little detail on Harvin who is looking to have a big time season.

The injuries and discipline are usually the first topic of conversation when approached by the media and Meyer added some insight.

"He was in a full practice," Meyer said of Harvin. "I am thinking of who did not, (offensive guard Jim) Tartt, we are being cautious with him. (Offensive guard Mo) Hurt is still favoring his shoulder. Spikes, I will know more later but as of today (he can play). Hernandez, still no...(safety) Bryan Thomas is not ready to go yet, but should be ready to go soon.

Meyer talked about Harvin who missed the opening game against Hawai'i last Saturday but is expected to play a lot against arch rival Miami. Meyer wants one more good day of practice out of Harvin before he is ready to sign him off on a clean bill of health.

"Not yet," Meyer said about Harvin being 100%. "But, he looks like a dynamic player. He needs to have a good Monday...Tuesday...Wednesday. He's had a good Monday and Tuesday, I should know tomorrow and I will let you guys know.

Meyer isn't really afraid of that first hit on Harvin, at least not from the standpoint of his heel which was operated on in the off-season. It is the things that happen besides the heel that he is worried about.

"He is one of the best players in college football so I am as excited as you guys," Meyer said. "I want to make sure he bounces up real fast and gets back. I am not worried about the heel. I have told him that for two months. I am worried about something else that happens to athletes when they favor something. They took a big chunk of bone out of his heel. That is a credit to our doctors, our strength staff, and training staff. Even when he couldn't run they had him doing (hip) flexor exercises in that pool.

Meyer often calls Harvin an elite athlete and it isn't just for his running ability. When Harvin came to school in 2006 he was almost 20 pounds lighter than he is now. Now he has added weight and can lift weights with the big boys.

"He told me he came in at 185 and now he is benching over 200," Meyer said. "That is a powerful guy."

Harvin will be a key component in the task at hand this week and that is a very athletic and potentially dangerous Miami squad that comes into the Swamp with a big win over a smaller team. It is the Miami offense that has Meyer's attention and the smash mouth style of play he expects to see from them Saturday night.

"When you watch their offense, it is very clear what they are going to try and do to us," Meyer said. "They are going to try and knock guys off the ball. They have two really good running backs. They have a big offensive line, I was looking at them today and they are just gigantic. It is no secret and I made this comment that they are as talented team as there is in college football."

The Gators had a pretty good game along the line of scrimmage last Saturday. Meyer talks about both lines and what he expects and wants.

"Our offensive line and defensive line played very well," he said about the Hawai'i game. "The Hawai'i coach said that was his best front seven that he has had at Hawaii and they have had some great front sevens. The (Florida) defensive line is much improved from a year ago, but still has a long way to go."

Recruiting is a key aspect between Florida and Miami and a lot of big time prospects end up deciding between the two programs. Meyer and company definitely spend d a lot of time in south Florida, but the effort is fruitless at times. Still, he understands you have to just keep plugging away at it.

"I heard that a lot when I got here," Meyer said about the need to recruit south Florida and the difficulty to do so. "There is no set way of doing it. I think when I first got here I spoke in every banquet (in south Florida) and I looked at Doc Holliday and asked if I could just say hi to my family on their birthday every once in a while. It's like going in to Tallahassee and getting someone, it happens every once in a while. We got Kevin Carter a few years ago and there have been some other players, and we've also had some great players out of South Florida."

Meyer was not pleased with the kickoff team in the Hawai'i game. The issue was the kicking itself. The Gators used three different kickers and didn't seem to do anything they wanted them to do. Meyer says that Caleb Sturgis will likely be kicking on Saturday and the true freshman will be put to the task.

"Caleb Sturgis is going to start and we are working on that," Meyer said of that aspect of the kicking game. "I hope he does a lot better."


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