Gator Defense Getting Healthy

After missing four starters on defense during the Mississippi State game, the Florida Gators are getting healthy for their upcoming game against Georgia. Linebacker Brandon Spikes (groin), DTs Lawrence Marsh (ankle) and Jaye Howard (knee), and Justin Trattou (biceps) were all unavailable for Saturday's game, but the all four could be back for the game in Jacksonville.

Florida coach Urban Meyer said he expects Marsh to play and Howard could as well, giving the team more depth on the defensive line.

"We might get Jaye Howard back as well," Meyer said. "It's real important because it's hard to believe (Marsh) didn't play this year because by the end of last year, he was one of our better players."

Spikes was closer than the others to play in the last game but was held out because he was not as prepared as the other backers. The senior has been practicing this week and should be ready to go.

"Spikes looked good. He probably could have gone Saturday," Meyer said. "He told us before the game he was ready to go. He hadn't practiced all week and especially against the option type of stuff. Coach Strong felt the other two were more prepared."

The one most unlikely to play is Trattou. The defensive end has a ruptured bicep tendon he suffered against Arkansas, and the injury was supposed to require 4-6 weeks recovery time. But Trattou participated in some individual drills, and the coaches are optimistic that he has a chance to play.

"There's a chance you will see him Saturday, so that's one of the toughest guys I've ever had," Meyer said.

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- The special teams might be without Wondy Pierre-Louis who injured his hamstring Saturday.

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- Freshman Xavier Nixon is getting close to cracking the offensive line rotation. Meyer said he could play against the Bulldogs. "He's the next guy in. He had a really good practice today."

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- Meyer said the team is not thinking about the chance of clinching the SEC East with a win and a South Carolina loss. "We just got to worry about stopping that big receiver. You just go play the game as hard as you can and don't worry about anything else besides your assignments. If we worry about that type of stuff, we'd probably lose."

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- With Caleb Sturgis missing a field goal in each of the last three games, the kicking battle has been opened back up. "We opened it up today. Jon (Phillips) kicked today and kicked pretty good. I'll evaluate one more day on Thursday, and I have two guys I have confidence in. It's just you have to make them."

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- Meyer spoke with Dustin Doe about his pre-touchdown celebration against Mississippi State. "I had a heart to heart with him."


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