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NOTEBOOK: Gators split over Presidential candidates

Lengthy notebook today...

GAINESVILLE -- Florida's football team stands divided during the most important week of the season. It's political.

Some UF football players don't care one iota who wins the Presidential election on Nov 4. Back-up quarterback John Brantley didn't even know who was running a few months ago. Many Gators, however, are civic-minded and quite passionate when the topic turns to the Presidency.

Sen. John McCain or Sen. Barack Obama? Democrat or Republican? Elephant or donkey? Blue or red?

SpikesshirtLinemen Phil Trautwein and Javier Estopinan favor the Republican candidate, Sen. McCain. Defenders William Green and Moses Jenkins support Sen. Obama, the Democratic Presidential hopeful.

UF's team leaders are strongly divided. Linebacker Brandon Spikes [PICTURED] has been publicizing his interest in politics by wearing shirts advertising Sen. Obama. On Saturday, quarterback Tim Tebow indicated he leads locker room debates in favor of Sen. McCain.

"We talk about it and sometimes debate about it and sometimes joke about it," Tebow said. "Some guys have pretty strong opinions."

When asked who wins the debates between Tebow and Spikes, the quarterback said, "Tie."

Seems like everyone is excited about the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party this season. Even Miami coach Randy Shannon chimed in with his take on the rivalry this week. Georgia's end-zone celebration in 2007 apparently made a major impression on Shannon, who is no stranger to on-field melees.

"Something will happen in that game," Shannon said. "You can guarantee that. You better go to that game. You would get a great story. Don't come to ours. I'm serious. Something is going to happen after what happened last year. You can book that."

Dually noted, Mr. Shannon.

High school junior Demar Dorsey of Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson committed to play for Florida coach Urban Meyer over the weekend. Dorsey, the fourth 2010 commitment for the Gators, hails from the same school as UF cornerback Moses Jenkins, Auburn linebacker Josh Bynes, Tennessee lineman Vladimir Richard and Miami safety Joseph Wylie.

Dorsey (6-2, 190 pounds) has three interceptions in his last three high school football games.

Should Florida seek commitments of high school juniors? Seems like a risky recruiting strategy, in my opinion.

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow has been named a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award. Tebow won the award in 2007.

--UF freshman Jeffery Demps was named SEC special teams player of the week for his effort against Kentucky. Demps blocked a punt in the first quarter, which led to a UF touchdown.

"The fact that [Demps] takes so much pride in special teams tells you what a special player he is," running backs coach Kenny Carter said. "It doesn't surprise me at all what he's accomplished in such a short time."

Demps leads the Gators in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.

Florida has been practicing for a week and already the team is suffering from some substantial injuries. Sophomore forward Adam Allen recently sprained his knee, according to UF coach Billy Donovan. Georgetown transfer Vernon Macklin (6-10 forward, ineligible this season) is sitting out with a high-ankle sprain. Eloy Vargas is behind due to his offseason ankle injury.

"We've had to battle some injuries, which I'd like to see practice a little more competitive and guys battle through fatigue a little better but a lot of that is our shortness of numbers," Donovan said.





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