Professional Attitude

Florida head coach Urban Meyer has talked a lot recently about the professional attitude of his team. What exactly does that mean, though? According to Meyer, it's that the Gators recognize how much work goes into winning a college football game.

"To win a college football game, people think you just go out and win a game," Meyer said after Wednesday's practice. "The amount of effort by players first and coaches second and support staff third is overwhelming. It's covering every base and issue in preparing for the game. They're starting to understand that in the way they practice. It's business. You like to be around professionals. It's the clowns and the children that don't interest me, and I don't have too many of those on my team."

The Gators will need to bring that professional approach to Jacksonville on Saturday when they face Georgia. But they were able to clean up some things in practice on Wednesday, and at least for now Meyer is pleased with where his team stands in preparation for their biggest game of the season.

"So far so good," he said. "We're still only half way through it."

With much of the game planning over, much of the burden is now put on the players to start playing the game out in their minds.

"I'm a big believer in visualization," Meyer said. "I'm a big believer in competitive excellence. What the word competitive excellence means in a program is that when your number is called you make the play. It's not because you have some rabbit's foot in your pocket or some ritual, it's because you did it in practice. Jeff Demps blocks punts not because of some good fortune, but because he works so damn hard at what he does.

"We'll come in tomorrow at seven to watch film and work the game. Some are better at it than others."

On the field, both cornerback Janoris Jenkins and offensive guard Jim Tartt practiced on Wednesday. Meyer said both will be available on Saturday as will defensive tackle Torrey Davis. Davis sat out the Kentucky game for not meeting team expectations.

The same cannot be said for Ron Wilson who is not practicing with the team.

"He's not practicing," Meyer said. "He's just got to take care of some business. We have some expectations and he's got to meet them."

One thing that has stood out for the Gators this season is turnovers. Florida is tied for third in the nation with 16 takeaways. Meyer attributes it to three things.

"I think one of the reasons is because we're playing a little less bump and run coverage," he said. "Whenever you bump and run coverage it's a little harder to make an interception. Our safeties are a little more active this year. They're a little more athletic. Those are two reasons, and the third is getting to the quarterback."

The Gators are fourth in the SEC with 10 interceptions, but they'll be going against one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC on Saturday. Matt Stafford has only thrown five picks this season.

"He has a very strong arm, but he'd be the first one to tell you just like Tim that he's the product of some really good players around him and he's got some good ones," Meyer said. "They obviously have a tailback that makes you play man coverage on the outside."


Fightin Gators Top Stories