Just got back upstairs from the press conferences following UM's 52-7 season-opening win against Charleston Southern with great news: We can officially start talking about the Florida Gators!
For weeks, the Canes have tried hard to avoid talking about Florida at all. And while there wasn't anything earth shattering said in the locker room Thursday night (or at least any poster board material), we at least got some initial thoughts from the guys on traveling up to Gainesville and playing against their rivals. OK, we'll get to what they said in a second, but first some notes...
> None of the guys we thought might be injured Thursday night -- right tackle Chris Rutledge (who left on UM's second series grabbing his back) or running back Graig Cooper (who asked out following a carry in the third quarter) -- looked like they were seriously hurt. Both were standing on the sidelines in the fourth quarter, hopping and celebrating as their buds put it on the Bucs.
> THE STAR OF THE NIGHT: Senior Spencer Adkins finished with two sacks. Adkins, a linebacker, got both of them as a defensive end -- the position he played mostly in high school. He told me after the game it's part of a special third-down package Bill Young implemented into his defense in the spring. He along with Darryl Sharpton and true freshman Jordan Futch are the only three guys involved in the package.
> In all, 16 true freshman saw the field Thursday night. 16! That's amazing. The two starters according to UM's sports information staff were quarterback Jacory Harris and defensive end Marcus Robinson. But Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post's swears to me Aldarius Johnson also started at receiver. I'm going to take his word for it.
> Jacory Harris' 190 passing yards versus Charleston Southern are the most for a true freshman quarterback since Ken Dorsey threw for 194 in his first start in a 55-0 win against Rutgers on Nov. 20, 1999. Harris finished 16-of-26 passing with a TD pass to Leonard Hankerson. Jacory told reporters afterward he really wasn't nervous and didn't start getting any butterflies until right before kickoff. Eleven receivers caught balls in all. Hankerson said he expects plenty of trash talking this week with his old buddy from St. Thomas, Florida safety Major Wright. The two grew up in the same neighborhood and go way back.
> UM's run defense, plagued at the end of last season, held CSU to 49 yards rushing the least allowed since UM beat Boston College and held the Eagles to 24 yards rushing in Larry Coker's final game as coach.
> Sophomore Graig Cooper's 66-yard punt return for a touchdown was the first in his career and the first for UM since Devin Hester housed it against Temple in Oct. 15, 2005.
> I'm in the process of uploading audio and video interviews right now. Be sure to listen to audio interviews I gathered after the game on our Sports Audio Page. I'll be at Coach Shannon's press conference tomorrow morning with a new report after he's done speaking.