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Colleges

Focus Finally On Bama

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: May 20, 2013 at 10:36 PM
TALLAHASSEE -

The week Florida has been waiting on, while refusing to think about, is here.

The Gators' mantra of "one game at a time" finally has taken them to this week's SEC Championship Game in Atlanta against undefeated Alabama. The winner is considered the likely opponent for the Big 12 representative - either Oklahoma or Texas - in the BCS title game.

After having weathered an afternoon-long downpour on the way to beating Florida State 45-15 on Saturday, Florida coach Urban Meyer was asked if he was looking forward to playing under the Georgia Dome's roof.

"The Dome," Meyer said. "That's why we get up in the morning. That's why we shave. That's why we brush our teeth. That's why we hug our kids, to get to that dome."

We'll take that as an affirmative. Less certain is whether star WR/RB Percy Harvin will be there to help.

Harvin, who leads the Gators with 35 receptions for 595 yards and seven touchdowns, sprained his right ankle against the Seminoles during the first half and limped off the field with help from trainers.

Late Sunday, Meyer had hope, but no indication, Harvin will be available.

"He's questionable," Meyer said. "It's going to be day-to-day. He's certainly not going to practice for the first couple of days, but he's moving around a little bit, so we'll see what happens."

The Gators are moving forward as if their playmaker will be absent.

According to Meyer, 5-foot-6 kick return specialist Brandon James knows the position and could be used in a similar manner as Harvin. The coach also mentioned WRs Louis Murphy, David Nelson and Deonte Thompson.

"We've thought about this," Meyer said. "We've had to play through it a couple of times. And for the perimeter run game, we have Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey. We have a plan, but I hope he's ready."

WHAT WENT RIGHT: The Gators got a nice return by James on the opening kickoff, then used almost five minutes to march 65 yards for a touchdown. It was the seventh time this season UF scored on its first possession, and the drive helped take the home crowd out of the game.

"I remember two years ago we came up there and the crowd was a major factor," Meyer said. "The crowd was going to be a major a factor, and I think that first drive settled them down."

WHAT WENT WRONG: Florida's kickoff coverage, according to Meyer, "was a joke."

Poor coverage that FSU exploited for a 67-yard return, and a kick that went out bounds, were among the breakdowns that allowed the Seminoles good field position.

"We've got to get that cleaned up," Meyer said. "Our kickoff was putting our defense in real bad field position."


Mick Elliott

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