Changing it Up

By now the Florida Gators are pretty used to early games. Saturday's 12:30 kickoff against Kentucky will be the fourth time this season that they've started at that time. The last time Florida had a 12:30 start at The Swamp, though, they were on the losing end against Ole Miss.

Combine the early start with the Homecoming weekend festivities, and head coach Urban Meyer is going to shake things up a bit this weekend.

"We're going to change up our schedule a little bit this Saturday," Meyer said after Tuesday's practice. "We're going to get them up a little earlier and get them moving around. An 8:00 game is a lot different than those 12:30 games. We'll be ready to go."

Coming off the bye week, the Gators might be the healthiest they've been all season. Linebacker Dustin Doe (hernia surgery) practiced on Tuesday and could be ready for Saturday. Running back Emmanuel Moody (sprained ankle) also worked out and looked good according to Meyer. Left guard Jim Tartt (shoulder) is still questionable.

"We've had some positive news in that there is no further damage," Meyer said of Tartt's shoulder. "It's just getting the strength back so he can go out there and play."

The same can't be said for Florida's opponent. Kentucky hasn't had a bye week in five weeks and is therefore a little banged up. But Meyer said that doesn't change Florida's game plan at all.

"A lot of times during the bye week you get a chance to get healthy," he said. "Against Arkansas, we had the same issue. We were down seven players, but it doesn't change our plan at all."

"We're bruised up a little bit, but you can't ask for much better than where we are right now. Our training staff has done a good job."

Florida has won 21 straight games against the Wildcats, which is the third longest streak in the nation. Meyer knows a little about these kinds of streaks going back to his coaching days at Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish had a 43-game winning streak over Air Force before it was snapped last season.

"I was part of the Notre Dame deal with the other one," Meyer said. "It's hard to fathom and that's why I don't fathom it, if that's the right word."

Sophomore cornerback Joe Haden currently ranks second on the Gators with 37 total tackles. Meyer said having a year under his belt has really made a difference for Haden.

"He never played defensive back before," Meyer said. "He's a year older. I think he's more mature. He had the first year of college syndrome where guys don't know how to act and behave and he was also a starting corner for the first time and that's a lot to handle. At times it showed. At time he looked great. He's a much better player now."

Florida has lots of depth at corner this year, but it wasn't the case last season. Haden saw that as an opportunity to get onto the field and asked if he could switch to corner.

"He actually asked us to move," Meyer said. "He saw the depth issue and wanted to play as a freshman. It came out of the blue."

Meyer thinks highly of his starting corner.

"I think he's a really good player," he said. "I think he's one of the most explosive guys on the team and one of the hardest working. I was surprised by his lack of maturity when he got here. He comes from such a great family, and it was typical freshman nonsense, but he's a lot more mature with the way he handles himself."

Note

Mon Williams' Gator career has been hampered by injuries and it's only natural that he might be a candidate to move on. Meyer said he hasn't asked for a release from his scholarship, but he's in good standing with the team, and should he ask, the staff would help him out.

"He's a good guy and a good kid," Meyer said. "He hasn't asked for that, but we will help."


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