Florida Trying to Work Through Adversity

After the Gators' disappointing loss against Ole Miss on Saturday, Urban Meyer is returning his team back to the basics. Five fumbles with three lost played a major role over the weekend, and Meyer doesn't want to see it happen again.

"We're going berserk on fundamentals right now," Meyer said after Tuesday's practice. "There wasn't a whole lot of rah-rah and win one for the Gipper. We're just trying to get better. … We kind of go berserk on fundamentals all the time, but there were a couple of mistakes that were glaring."

The Gators spent a lot of Tuesday's practice going over ball security, something that Meyer puts a lot of emphasis on. He said it's too soon to tell whether the Gators have been able to bounce back from the loss to the Rebels.

"It's too early," he said. "It's period four and it's hotter than blazes out there today and we're just trying to get to period five. I told our guys, I got a million text messages, and I have great friends, but I know the Giants lost, I know the Celtics, and LSU loss. I know the '96 team and the '06 team. I got about 4,000 messages like that, but what we need is correct hand placement, and we need to be fundamentally sound. If 10 guys do it and one guy doesn't, we're in a lot of trouble. But there are a lot of teams out there that are in the same place."

Besides the issue of ball security, Florida has to deal with the mounting injuries. They took a major hit to the linebacking corps with news that Dustin Doe will undergo hernia surgery on Wednesday. He suffered the injury against Miami, played limited against Tennessee and then re-aggravated it against Ole Miss. He should miss two weeks. Brandon Hicks is lining up in his spot with Ryan Stamper still nursing a sore ankle.

"Hicks ran with the ones today," Meyer said. "He's a fine player he just needs to get better."

Offensive guard Jim Tartt and running back Emmanuel Moody are also doubtful for the weekend matchup with Arkansas.

"Jim Tartt is doubtful for Saturday," Meyer said. "It's just a reoccurring shoulder. He's a tough guy and a great leader, but I doubt he'll play. ... It's not pain, it's strength. I asked him today, and he says he feels great, it's just a lack of strength."

Carl Johnson, James Wilson and Ron Wilson are competing for Tartt's spot. The loss of Moody hurts after he had a couple of nice runs on Saturday.

"I thought he ran real hard," Meyer said. "When a tailback drops his pads on the safety to get that extra yardage, I'm real impressed with the way Emmanuel is running. That's two games in a row."

Moody will likely return for Florida's matchup with LSU, but dealing with injuries is another test for the Gators.

"Adversity, it's not a question of when it happens, it's a question of how you handle it," Meyer said. "With injuries, we've had eight starters go down, and that's kind of a lot. But everyone is dealing with it."

With Moody out of the lineup, it's likely that Percy Harvin will take the majority of the carries against the Hogs. Harvin said after practice that he feels more comfortable lining up at tailback, but Meyer said a decision has yet to be finalized.

On a more upbeat note, Meyer said he is really pleased with the improvement of Brandon Spikes.

"It's not even close," Meyer said. "Brandon Spikes was one of these guys that was such a highly recruited player in high school that he didn't believe in the offseason. Now he does. You can tell the difference. He's a much more mature football player."


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