Odds and Ends: FIU Win Comes at a Cost

Despite Urban Meyer saying in his postgame news conference that Florida's game with FIU "was won in practice on Tuesday", the reality is it was won when the game was scheduled. In a game where the Gators overwhelmingly outclassed their opponent athletically, there were two main goals: get some of the younger members of the roster some meaningful playing time and get out healthy.

Unfortunately for Florida, they only went one for two.  

Linebacker A.J. Jones has an MCL injury according to Meyer. While it shouldn't require surgery, the coach says the starting strong side linebacker will miss the upcoming game with FSU. It's not clear how long Jones will be out. The injury should mean more time in the lineup for Brandon Hicks.  

Jones wasn't the only Gator starter injured. Left guard Carl Johnson sprained an ankle and left in a walking boot. Meyer called him probable to be available against the Seminoles. Maurkice Pouncey has a bone contusion, but both Meyer and Pouncey's brother Mike said Maurkice would be ready to go next week.  


The other part of Florida's  FIU objectives was much more successful, as freshmen receivers Omarius Hines and Frankie Hammond each caught their first career touchdown passes. Hines entered as part of the receiver group to begin the drive when backup quarterback John Brantley replaced Tim Tebow at the 7:48 mark of the third quarter. He caught an eleven yard pass on 3rd-and-6 to keep the drive going, and then capped it off with a twenty yard reception that featured Hines dragging an FIU defender for the final four yards.  

Acoording to Hines, "I wanted that one really bad - I had to get in there." He finished with four catches for 50 yards on the afternoon.  

Hammond saw less time than Hines, but caught a 31-yard pass for a touchdown to cap Florida's scoring for the day. Urban Meyer says both youngsters are coming on strong.  

"It was not charity work getting both of those guys involved in the offense today. You can tell that Omarius is running with the 1-A, 1-B group - he has really evolved."  

Fans have been waiting to see younger players make a move at the receiver spot, and Meyer says better late than never.  

"They're really coming on. I wish it was a little earlier than this, but they're doing a great job."  


Tight end Aaron Hernandez is normally a key part of Florida's gameplan, but the tight end did not start against FIU and was not thrown a pass after he entered the game in the second quarter. Meyer said Hernandez wasn't suspended, but needs to have a better week in practice to be a starter against FSU.  


Tim Tebow continues to add SEC records to his resume, and he did so in style with a 55-yard touchdown run against FIU. It was the longest run of Tebow's career, putting him in sole posession of the career touchdown record. He had been tied with LSU's Kevin Faulk. Tebow's 102 yards on the ground were the fifth time he's had a 100 yard rushing performance in his career.  

Florida's first score came on defense, as linebacker Brandon Spikes intercepted a Paul McCall pass and raced 41 yards for a touchdown. Spikes has now taken interceptions to the end zone four times in the last two seasons, more than any other player in the country.  


Despite his excellent career, it's been speculated by some that Brandon Spikes is paying a price with award voters for his supposed "eye gouge" from the Georgia game. Maybe there's something to the idea Spikes is a marked man. Referee Hubert Owens announced him as the person who's committed a late hit out of bounds, picking up a personal foul, when it was actually safety Major Wright. Owens corrected himself when Gator coaches pointed out Spikes was nowhere near the play.  


The most puzzling people in the press box Saturday were a pair of scouts from the Capital One Bowl. Maybe they got lost on their way to Oxford, but it's a pretty safe bet Florida won't be spending their holidays in Orlando this season regardless of what happens from here on out.

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