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A smorgasbord of topics from Florida's Friday practice

Smorgasbord By MIKE McCALL

I've covered a ton of Florida football practices over the past few years, but Friday's had to have been one of the best interview-wise. There was lots of great insight on a range of topics from Urban Meyer and a few players, so let's get right to it.

First off, linebacker Dustin Doe has cleared up his legal issues and should return to the team soon, but Meyer isn't ready to bring him back aboard just yet. He said Doe is training on his own to get in shape, and he will likely suspend him for at least one game, if not more.

It's easy to see how the whole situation has irritated Meyer, as the charges were easily avoidable.

“He’s a good guy, but don’t drive," Meyer said. "Don’t drive. I don’t understand it, and I don’t want to make light of a guy’s career, because he has a lot of promise. The great thing is that it’s not over. We’re certainly not turning our back on a guy for that kind of situation, but we live in the United States of America, and there are laws. Follow the laws.”

Meyer also talked about his desire to give guys second and third chances, and how much it hurts to tell a player he has finally struck out.

“Awful. It’s one of the worst things, because we’ve seen what happens around here. We had a devastating thing happen a couple of years when the chances run out. It’s different than when we were all younger people. ‘Okay, you go somewhere else and do something else.’ Now, you get consumed and something tragic happens. We try not to do that often, we have around here, but it’s not something we’re proud of.”

The incident Meyer was referring to is that of defensive back Avery Atkins, who was found dead in his car at the age of 20 after a failed attempt to come back to the team. It's one thing to read these quotes from Meyer, but to watch him say it is another thing, and it makes you stop and think before criticizing his decisions to give people second chances.

Rainey primed for big year

According to lineman and high school teammate Mike Pouncey, Chris Rainey is going to show fans a new side this season. Namely, a side that knows the playbook. For the full story, check out my UF notebook in tomorrow's Herald.

The O-Line Shuffle

Mike also said his brother, Maurkice, is 100 percent healthy. Maurkice has been held out of most of the contact stuff with a shoulder injury, but Mike says it's just precautionary and he'll be back Monday.

In his brother's absence, Mike has been playing center, with the line looking like this:

Matt Patchan   Carl Johnson   Mike   James Wilson   Marcus Gilbert

and he expects the starting 5 to look like this:

Patchan   CJ   Maurkice   Mike   Gilbert

but it could also look like this:

CJ   Wilson   Maurkice   Mike   Gilbert

or this:

CJ   Maurkice   Sam Robey   Mike   Gilbert

This position battle should be fun to watch, but I'd put my money on the expected starting 5. If Mike played center while Maurkice was out, it means they're not seeing what they want from Robey, and Wilson hasn't been healthy long enough to make a real push and outperform Patchan just yet. Or as Meyer puts it, "We're not getting the full James."

Alli and Debose More de-stripings

For those of you on Stripe Watch, you can add two more names to the list. Receiver Stephen Alli--a GatorClause favorite--and lineman Nick Alajajian--a spellcheck disaster--both had the black stripes removed from their helmets Friday morning in a ceremony that no doubt included tiki torches, a fire walk and animal sacrifices.

Here's what Meyer had to say about Alli (pictured here with Andre Debose back in his striped days):

“Stephen Alli got his stripe off today, which was really, really cool. He’s kind of a crowd favorite because everyone knows he’s kind of raw. He goes as hard as he can, and he’s like a deer sometimes just flopping around out there, but he’s going to be a good player.”

Meyer stopped short of saying he expected Alli to play this year, but he's not ruling it out. As someone who enrolled after just three years of high school, Alli could probably use time to pack on some muscle, hone his route-running and learn the offense.

“I’d say no, but if he makes the jump he made from Week 1 to Week 2, it’s a possibility. I mean he’s doing things that only 6-6, 215-pound fast people can do. That’s jumping over people and making catches. It’s pretty cool, and our quarterbacks like that for some reason.”

One thing that has surprised me a little this offseason is the level of respect that the older players seem to have for the freshmen. All of the newbies I've talked to have said they haven't been picked on or hazed in the least, and it's really fostering a professional atmosphere. Meyer addressed this too, pointing out that it wasn't always this way, as predecessor Ron Zook left him a bit of a mess in that department.

“When we first got here five years ago, we had freshmen in a separate locker room," Meyer said. "It was a bunch of tin lockers over there, and think about this for a minute. This is a bigtime college football program, and we had some fights and stuff because they treat the freshmen like they weren’t people. ‘Don’t walk through here, we’ll kick your tail or shave your eyebrows.’ It took us a while to break that great culture we had here. It was tremendous. You don’t win many games, but you beat up freshmen and shaved eyebrows. It was absolutely unbelievable. Now I have a freshman who is going through some hard times, and he stood up in front of the team the other day with tears streaming from his eyes and said, ‘I want to thank the older guys for taking care of me.’ It’s called a team, not some silly nonsense.”

Obviously, there has been plenty of good news for Florida fans lately, and I think this is right up there as a huge sign of the program's health. These guys care about each other, and you're likely to see that carry onto the field this year. It's really remarkable when you consider all the starpower out there right now.

Haden calls Will Hill the best player on the defense

As if the safety logjam wasn't already interesting enough, cornerback Joe Haden said he and Brandon Spikes have been talking about how backup Will Hill has been the best player on the defense during the fall.

Hill hasn't been working at nickelback, so it'll be interesting to see how he's used. Could be at corner, could be in a three-safety package, or he could even beat out Major Wright or Ahmad Black for a starting job. There are no signs either way, though Black was briefly in Meyer's doghouse for skipping a team meal after coming into camp underweight. He was suspended for a few practices.

"I have no idea (how to get Hill on the field)," Haden said. "I leave it up to the coaches, that's why they coach. They're making the money."

Howard drawing praise

There's always plenty of praise flying around for guys during the spring and preseason, but one way to tell when it's for real is when you hear it from multiple people who offer it up freely.

Over the last two weeks, players and coaches alike have singled out defensive lineman Jaye Howard as a breakout player. Friday, Mike Pouncey and Carlos Dunlap did the same, saying they believe he'll end up a starter.

Howard is currently battling Terron Sanders for the defensive tackle spot alongside Lawrence Marsh, and though he has packed on some weight, he could still see a little time at end as well.

Dunlap No. 3 on Kiper's big board

Speaking of high praise, Dunlap got some of his own this week when NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper released his list of the top draft prospects. He listed Dunlap third behind Sam Bradford and Eric Berry.

Don't get me wrong, Dunlap is a freakish talent, but I'd like to see a little more proof on the field before making him a top-five pick. He does have the potential though, and he's taking the compliment in stride. He deflected most questions on the subject by talking about his teammates.

“Right now, I’m really just worried about the season and how our team performs," Dunlap said. "It’s an influence to work harder and meet everyone’s expectations. If they expect those things of me, I’m going to try and get the guy next to me to play up to that level too, so the harder he plays or the more plays he makes, it makes it easier for me to do the same.”

Misc.

Tony Dungy came and spoke to the team last night, offering advice that mostly centered around improving the players as men. Dungy, Mike Shanahan and Lou Holtz have all been guest speakers this offseason.

Meyer also said that Caleb Sturgis is giving Jonathan Phillips a run for his money at the starting kicker spot, which should be decided next week.

“Sturgis and our lawyer are going at it pretty good.”

Comments

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Zook left much more than a "little bit of a mess", and it took Meyer the good part of a year to just start cleaning it up.

Yeah Zookers was a little bit too amped up sometimes. But he did recruit the majority of the guys who brought UF a ring in 06. IMO he left the program in better shape than Spurrier did. Steve got pretty lazy on the recruiting trail in the end. It's tough to recruit from a golf course.

Great post Goodman. I look forward to your notebook tomorrow.

Did the NCAA ever contact you because they were instantly infatuated with your conference realignment column? That thing was money. You obviously put some work into that piece. Has it slipped into the darkness or does it live on somewhere?

You must have missed the by-line:

"By MIKE McCALL"

All stuff posted on other sites hours ago. Not hating on Mike, great summary dude, just not understanding what's going on with this blog.

We dropped Bryce ......

U are seriously one delusional clown canesrule/mycanes/'soda

Bryce punked U right up until the bitter end. Or is your memory that bad. Randy didnt re-extend U delusional moron.

U are an idiot of epic proportions. Why don't you reply with some of your standard homosexual and pedophilic fixations. You are a disgrace to your once proud football program.

Posted by: U need help son.....your memory is SHOT | August 20, 2009 at 03:34 PM

Art/Donnie/whatever the hell you are today
You know nothing of the BB situation with the Canes and RS so shut your hole.


Ohhhhh, but I do ...I also Know that ALL of U uninformed, spin to make U look less of a U Tards were frothing at the mouth, spewing ALL Winter how he was Duh next U 1k All-American Freshman playa of the year, future 1st. rounder 'Ship Ring Wearing, next coming of Edge, Mc, Portis wrapped into one Super Human R.B. Clone ...

"His brother is here, I know for a fact that he's signing wit Duh U... Let'em have his fun traveling around ! I love that SWWWWAAAAAAGaaaaaa !!! Duhhhh U !!! Bryce !!!!"
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He flat out told U LATER fo U and U FLIPPED OUT U Cane Crybabies ...

FACT.


Posted by: Bryce Was Just The Beggining... Whait Til U See The Numbers That Will Spurn U After This Season... | August 20, 2009 at 05:04 PM

Keep it simple stupid ...

Nu`Keese Richardson bailed because he wouldn't have seen ANY early P.T. 'cause some kid by the name of Debose will lock down his position the next 4 years ...
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Bryce Brown bailed because he was wise as to those lookout block uglies he would have had to get stuck behind for multiple T.F.L's ... That plus he knew he'd NEVER see any type of "Ship Ring" what so ever for years to come...

Simplicity is the best policy U Duuuuuhhhmy... Kinda like Ur new whittled down "Whip It" playbook huh ?

15-20 RED ZONE plays in Ur yesterday practice and ONLY 1 T.D. ? Against that D. ?

Whewwwww, Ur Band will be a quite bunch once again this year U punchless pukes. (hey, but u can still resign that walk-on though).
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Fact still remains ... U were crushed when BB donned the T Cap and U short circuted and still remain sour .

Posted by: Emerald Bowl Ipod Gifts Aren't Quite BCS 'Ship Flat Screens Now Are They ? | August 20, 2009 at 05:52 PM

Hey Art, get this, Cane Tard is worried about The CHAMPS SHIP !!!
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18 days U Chumps ...

Posted by: Dingys Aren't Made For The Ocean U Captain of Delusion ... | August 20, 2009 at 05:56 PM

I do, however, reserve the right to freak the hell out if we haven't progressed as a team. This is my trade-off with Randy Shannon. When he takes me from no information to Georgia Tech running wild on us, don't be surprised when the pitch forks and torches come out.

Posted by: Canesjunkie | August 20, 2009 at 06:29 PM
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Be prepared to get Ur Freeeeeak On Early Cane Fan !!!
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18 days... Get Ur pitch forks and torches ready.

Posted by: Chic Le Freak

Posted by: U've Sprung Yet Another Leak H.C. Capt. Clueless | August 20, 2009 at 06:11 PM

Ok, ok. This is the last time I direct anything else to this baby. It's fun every once and awhile, but I'm getting bored myself. Sho, fly, sho! The buzz around my ear is BORING!!!


That's about the tenth time you've said that 'soda/360canes/canesrule/BORING/CANESTA/mycanes. Grow some sack U spineless chump. Is the 360 name supposed to fool anyone?

What LIES will Mr. No Integrity drop on us today? You dropped that whole laughable "Mr. Integrity" nonsense pretty quickly 'soda. LYING about Ohomo's injury will hurt U more than U will ever know. U are digging a very deep recruiting hole Marble Mouf. Not only do U have marbles in your mouf, but U also have deceit in it too. Your an effin clown Shannon. Time to roll up your " great recruiter" act and go coach Grambling or FAMU. Didn't your mother teach U that lying isn't a quality of "integrity?" Shame on U Marbles.

Posted by: Bridgestines have a nice effervescent glow when the burn | August 21, 2009 at 07:05 AM

Randy, roll up your tent and head to Grambling U LYING bag of krap

Posted by: RANDY SHANNON IS A SOCIOPATH, he thinks that fabricating lies is normal, U are getting DUPED | August 21, 2009 at 09:11 AM

And let there be know doubt, we dropped Brown before he dropped us.

CRACK KILLS

U guys were dancing in the street until HE announced his "commitment delay". When it was clear that he wasn't coming and the offer expired it was THEN that U tried to save face by "pulling the offer.". How do you pull an expired offer U giant imbecile.

Never in the history of CFB have we seen fans spin things like canefan. He PUNK'D U!

Posted by: RANDY SHANNON IS A SOCIOPATH, he thinks that fabricating lies is normal, U are getting DUPED | August 21, 2009 at 10:15 AM

We’re certainly not turning our back on a guy for that kind of situation, but we live in the United States of America, and there are laws. Follow the laws.”
-Urban Meyer

That's deep Meyer!

I love the quote about Rainey starting to read the playbook. Who knew he could read? There must be a lot of pics in the playbook. I wonder if the lakeland boosters are still stuffing "gobs of cash" into Rainey's hands?

Anyway Jo's gone Adam, deal with it! Personaly I don't think he likes you anyway. So bitchy and needy! Plus you always have to be right. It's no fun debating someone who is "always" right.

Hey "14", how's that little "Gator Getter" doing?

Out!

g8tr fuccer Says:
August 21st, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Dare I say Randy “taking care of his business” in private is going to hurt us more than we will ever know. Our coaching staff turns the nation’s consensus No. 1 recruit from 2008 into a glorified water boy riding the pine.

No surprise there!

That’s why we pay Rasslin Whaaaaaaa-dy the small bucks.

First it was the fabulous and exciting 90's with Steve Spurrier. Now it's the even more fabulous and exciting 2000's with Urban Meyer. Sometimes, as a Gator diehard fan, I have to just pinch myself!!! It is beyond great to be a Florida Gator!!!

Who would let that liar in their livingroom? Says:
August 21st, 2009 at 9:47 am

Jorge: Have you never heard of medical privacy laws? Randy and no coach is allowed to discuss a player’s medical condition.

Informing the fan base that he went to see a specialist is not at odds with “medical privacy” laws U imbecile. U will defend this clueless LIAR until the day he gets duh axe. He also fabricated a LIE about Ohomos glass jaw. Randy has shown that he has NO INTEGRITY. You are being duped by an unqualified liar. Good luck with that guy U idiot.

Adam S.,

This blog is not a news ticker. For some people, too much minutia is nauseating.

-jo-

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