Meyer: Good Week of Practice so far

Wednesday marks the down hill climb to the next football game and the Gators can't wait to get this one under their belts. After a crushing defeat at the hands of Ole Miss at home last week, the Gators travel to Arkansas and so far are having a good week of practice in preparing for the Razorbacks.

Florida head coach Urban Meyer switched things up this week after the surprising loss to Ole Miss and called for a Sunday night practice because he believed his coaches and himself needed to be around the team earlier than for a Monday. The response has been very positive and Meyer likes the way his team has focused on the task at hand for this coming weekend.

"So far it's been a good week especially on defense," Meyer said Wednesday night after another hard practice. "It was a hard day today, all that crowd noise drives you insane. Two hours with that stuff in your ears. I thought the defense had a great day today. I am going to go talk to the coaches, offense, we are still going...The running backs are all doing fine. Rainey, Kestahn, and Demps are all doing fine."

Meyer isn't buying into the fact that the Gators took Ole Miss lightly Saturday. There are no egos that got in the way of the game plan and the loss was more on miscues and good play from Ole Miss than it was from someone's head not being in the game.

"We have a way of doing things around here and try to make things as hard as possible so you don't get full of yourselves because that can happen," Meyer said. "Guys that have been here a long time, I was warned by Coach Spurrier and other guys, because this is a big time place. We are not the only school that deals with it, but there are only probably five or ten that deal with it like we do."

Until Saturday the Gators were undefeated, ranked fourth in the country and on a mission to stay that way or improve as the season went along. A lot of folks were wondering where all the offensive production of a year ago went, but besides that everything was running pretty smoothly. Now, with the loss, Meyer knows his team has faced it's first real adversity of the season and he is anxious to see how they will respond.

"I am a football coach and we got hit in the mouth and this is an opportunity to tell you what kind of season we will have," he said. "It's not the first time or the last time we'll face adversity square in the face. We had been playing fairly well, fairly consistent. The biggest adversity we had was people complaining that we haven't had 500 yard games. Okay? That was the biggest adversity we faced. Well, now we are dealing with it and I kind of like the reaction so far."

There have been a few injuries that are also creating a bit of adversity for the Gators right now. Two junior linebackers in Dustin Doe (out two weeks with a double hernia) and Ryan Stamper have missed practice time although one will probably play Saturday. Couple that with the loss of senior starting left guard Jim Tartt and his sophomore replacement Marcus Gilbert, the Gators have a couple of positions where depth has become at least a minor issue. Sophomore running back Emmanuel moody is also not going to play this Saturday.

"Stamper is questionable but did some work today, but still not 100 percent," Meyer said. "Tartt is out... Gilbert is out...Moody is out."

A battle has formed for the left guard position led by sophomore Carl Johnson who was inserted in the game Saturday against Ole Miss and played well. He is being pushed by freshman James Wilson and junior Ron Wilson.

"Those three guys are still battling for it," Meyer said. "I'd say right now Carl is probably going to start the game."

On a sad note during the week was the death of freshman cornerback Janoris Jenkins' former teammate at Pahokee High School. Norman Griffith is a senior tight end/defensive end at Pahokee and was himself on his way to college in a year to play division one football. He was shot and killed in his mother's vehicle early Saturday morning. Meyer has made it a point to reach out to Jenkins who he says has been okay considering the circumstances.

"I don't know how you say anything, it is unfathomable," Meyer said when asked what he might tell someone like Janoris. "I talk to him every day about it and make sure he is okay, and he is."


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