Antwine out for the Season

There was a time a little while ago when Brandon Antwine's football playing days were very much in doubt. But the defensive tackle came back from a difficult back injury to become a valuable player for the Gators this season. But Antwine's season has come to an end with a torn ACL.

"Brandon Antwine pulled his ACL," Urban Meyer said after Tuesday's practice. "It's awful news. If there was a comeback player of the year, it would be him. His attitude is great. He'll be with us next year. He's got two years left. That's a tough deal for us."

Having to deal with Antwine's more serious injury from last year, Meyer and the coaching staff gained a great deal of respect for Antwine.

"He's like a son to me, to all of us," Meyer said. "We all love that guy. He's a tremendous guy. He was playing well. Everything happens for a reason. My wife's been telling me that for a long time and I believe it."

With Antwine sideline for the final two games, the defensive tackle rotation will include Lawrence Marsh, Terron Sanders, Torrey Davis and Jaye Howard. Meyer said they are still looking at Carlos Dunlap to help out inside as well.

Although Antwine's news is devastating, Percy Harvin's may be getting better.

"He's getting better and better," Meyer said. "He didn't practice today and won't tomorrow. We're hoping he can maybe go on Thursday or Friday."

Other than Antwine and Harvin, the Gators are in pretty good shape health wise heading into their Saturday matchup with No. 1 Alabama.

"Our backs are healthy," Meyer said. "Our offensive line is healthy. Maurice Hurt is doing good. Unless I'm forgetting someone, everyone is good."

Tight end Cornelius Ingram said in an interview that he's ready to play after tearing an ACL during fall camp, but Meyer said don't plan on it.

"It's real wishful thinking," he said. "On his end and on mine. We have doctors and trainers that are way above coaches and players and a lot smarter."

Meyer has focused most of his time and attention on Alabama's special teams and defense. Today, he got a little more into the Crimson Tide's offense. Alabama has the league's second best rushing offense, they are the least penalized team in the conference, they rank first in fourth down conversions and second in third down conversions.

"It's as an efficient team as I've ever seen," Meyer said. "I haven't watched a lot of their offense until today, but it's just amazing. They're second in third down, but their third downs are always in range."

"It's the team concept. I hope people say the same about us. It's all three phases operating at a very high level."

Meyer also has a lot of respect for quarterback John Parker Wilson who ranks fourth in pass efficiency.

"He's a great player," Meyer said. "He's got 7,000 total yards. He's got a lot of experience and plays like a veteran."

The Gator offense will have to deal with an Alabama defense that is the best in the SEC.

"It starts up front," Meyer said. "Our offensive line has to play well, and they're back end is number one. They're coaches background is pass efficiency. They're pattern readers, which means they stop plays. What that means is they're not just a zone team. They're very aggressive. We have to be very smart in what we do."


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