Gators in Good Shape for Gamecocks

After last week's game, the Florida Gators were in a little trouble when it came to their offensive line that has been the catalyst for their offensive success in recent weeks. Starting offensive guard Carl Johnson was out with a knee injury, and the Gators didn't know how serious it was.

Not only was the injury a mild MCL sprain, but Johnson will be ready for Florida's matchup with South Carolina this weekend.

"It was all good," head coach Urban Meyer said after Thursday's practice. "The guys are getting healthy. Carl Johnson, that was a pleasant surprise. We thought we might have lost him for this game, but he's ready to go."

With Jim Tartt still nursing a sore shoulder and Maurice Hurt also hurting, the Johnson news was definitely good news. But, it gave an opportunity for redshirt freshman James Wilson to have a good week. Wilson along with defensive tackle Jaye Howard have both made late pushes this season.

"Jaye Howard is getting better," Meyer said. "He's had his best two days of practice. James Wilson has had his best two days of practice as well. That's the normal progress. Both of those guys are redshirt freshman who didn't do much last year."

Meyer said the slowed progression with Wilson was due to his knee injury and for Howard he just needed to adjust to the tempo of the college game.

For true freshman Omar Hunter, it's looking more and more like the talented defensive tackle will be forced to redshirt this season. He left Thursday's practice wearing a sling.

"He hyperextended his elbow," Meyer said. "He's out this week."

Even with only three regular season games left, Meyer said it's too soon to tell if Hunter will indeed be redshirted.

"There's a lot of football left.," he said. "You can't make those decisions. You can when you're not playing championship football, but we're playing for a conference championship. You gotta do what you gotta do to win the game."

When Florida takes the field on Saturday afternoon, they'll be looking to jump out to another early lead. The Gators are outscoring opponents 80-0 in the first quarter of their last five games.

"It's very important," Meyer said. "I give it a lot of weight. Momentum, as I call it, I think it's worth 14 points. As I grow a little older and a more experienced, I think it's worth 13-14 points a game."


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