Holtz Visits with the Gators

The biggest test facing the Gators as they prepare for the national championship against Oklahoma is how they handle the layoff. There will be more than month between the SEC Championship Game and the BCS title game and maintaining their edge will not be easy. So head coach Urban Meyer turned to an old friend for some advice.

Former Notre Dame and South Carolina head coach Lou Holtz stopped by the Gator practice on Friday and delivered a message about professionalism.

"Coach Holtz came in and was gracious enough to spend some time with us," Urban Meye said after Friday's workout. "That was part of his speech. It was about our professionalism and he said the team that shows the most professionalism will win this game. It's two very good teams. The ones with the best practice routine and who take it seriously will do well."

Meyer has been praising the Gators' professionalism for most of the season, but there's something else that may help Florida on January 8. Many of the Gators played in a BCS game already, although Meyer said it's not that much of an advantage.

"These kids play in so many big games," Meyer said. "Every year they've played in a BCS game. The big thing is the layoff. Do they know how to stay focused and keep that edge? We don't have a lot of guys - to be on the sidelines and cheer, that's not playing. The guys that played, I don't know how many there are."

Florida will practice again this weekend before breaking until December 27. When they all return, Meyer expects a team that will be almost completely healthy. Percy Harvin continues to advance in his rehabilitation from an ankle sprain, and Meyer said Harvin will actually stay in Gainesville over Christmas to continue his rehab.

"He's done everything we ask," Meyer said. "He's chomping at the bit. Our training staff has done an excellent job. He's on the trampoline now, so they've moved him from the pool to the trampoline. Obviously next, it will be the hard ground."

The other injuries are also improving.

"Kestahn Moore is good," Meyer said. "He's doing his rehab. Carl Moore has a hamstring, but he'll be fine when we get back from break. Carl Johnson is getting close to practice ready and Louis Murphy, so we'll be full strength."

Reports have surfaced that Tim Tebow will file his paperwork with the NFL to find out what his draft status may be, but Meyer said he doesn't know if he's filed yet. He did confirm that Brandon Spikes and Percy Harvin have filed their paperwork. He also did not know if Jermaine Cunningham had filed or is going to file.

When Meyer was in New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation, he had a chance to spend time with Texas coach Mack Brown. Brown's Longhorns are the only team this year to beat Oklahoma.

"We did talk about it," Meyer said. They played against them very well. Coach Strong has talked to some coaches that have played against them. TCU and Texas were the teams that played them the best, so we have talked but that's more of Coach Strong's area. Mack is a great friend of mine."

Meyer has spent a lot of time focusing on Oklahoma's defense and special teams.

"Their front seven is an SEC style front seven," he said. "We think that the strength of their team is the front four."

One obvious benefit to Florida's second appearance in three years in the national championship is the impact it's had on recruiting. The Florida staff has been out on the trail for the last two weeks and the feedback has been all positive.

"We're doing very well," Meyer said. "If you're a high school recruit and your dream is to go play in the show then at Florida you have a chance to do that and the future looks real bright, too."

The Gators rarely have to go far to find great talent with the quality that resides in state. He said that's a big benefit.

"It's night and day," he said. "The hardest thing about Florida is that there are four other schools. There are some states where it's the only show in town. Some teams try to come in and cherry pick teams and in the panhandle Alabama is so close."


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