The Florida Gators will be playing its next game without the defensive star of the win over South Carolina. Coach Urban Meyer announced today that starting defensive end Jarvis Moss would miss the game on Saturday. However, Moss could be back with the team for the big showdown with Florida State the following week. The suspension comes while the Gators are banged up on defense.
Moss blocked two kicks that were the difference in the game against South Carolina and helped keep the Gators in the hunt for the national championship. Meyer sounded a little upset about all the constant distractions that have happened lately that don’t have anything to do with the game on the field.
“He’s suspended for this game,” Meyer said about Moss. “I know it is repetitive, but if he does everything right he will be back for the next game. (The reasons are) in house, (he’s) just suspended for this game.”
Meyer constantly talks about his players doing the right thing and what he demands of them off the field. When something like this happens, he takes it to heart. He also is not ready to cast away one of his players for making a mistake.
“Absolutely I take it personally,” he said. “But I have also done this for a long time, and am also a dad, and am in these high schools. I don’t live in some sheltered world. I know what’s going on. The outside influences are there and are phenomenal. We just have to fight through them.
“It’s not about Zero Tolerance. When I hear that I get very angry. The job of the University is to educate and that’s what we are trying to do. We have a lot of educating to do, but we’re not the only ones.
“There are some guys that make mistakes. If a guy makes a mistake, does that make him a bad person? No. You really challenge and question how it can happen this time of year, but does that make him a bad person? If you would have gotten me yesterday I probably would have said some more things. Today? No.
“We just have to fix the problem, it could be worse. I could give you the names of some other schools that are really struggling. The Gators aren’t. The Gators are going to go get their tenth win. Somehow we are going to get our tenth win this week.”
More than anything right now this is just another distraction for the team. It’s a team that has fought through a lot on and off the field to be in the position they are in right now. It’s a team that has some more goals to accomplish before they are done.
“It’s a speed bump and we have had a bunch of those, probably more than I had imagined,” Meyer said. “Good teams are resilient. They find a way to win in the fourth quarter in Knoxville; they find a way to block a field goal at the end of the game; they find a way to overcome a guy that made a mistake. We are going to find out.
“There is probably not a senior class in the country that has been through more than this senior class. Yet, they are nine and one and a chance to go ten and one. It is the third time in school history the University of Florida has a chance to go ten and one in the regular season. That’s pretty good.”
With Moss out, the numbers along the defensive front are dwindling. What was a very deep and talented line is now a patch work group and some young guys will have a chance to make an impression on Saturday.
“Jermaine Cunningham had a great practice today,” Meyer said. “Daryl Gresham is a guy that might get some reps. Inside you have Ray McDonald), Joe (Cohen), Steve (Harris), Clint (McMillan), and Brandon Antwine. (Outside) you have (Derrick) Harvey, Ray, Jermaine Cunningham and possibly Gresham.”
One young player that won’t be in action Saturday is freshman defensive lineman Lawrence Marsh. Marsh was injured in practice yesterday and has not been played all season. According to Meyer his versatility would allow him to play inside or outside, but he looks to probably move inside in the future.
“(Marsh) broke his hand yesterday, it is almost for sure he will red-shirt now,” Meyer said. “He was doing a lot of good stuff and with our depth situation he probably would have moved in there. Guys like Marsh and Maurice Hurt, so many players have a chance to have a great career and you don’t want to blow a career on a few plays, but how many chances do you have to go compete for an SEC Championship?
“There are many discussions in there,” Meyer said about the lack of personnel on the team at some positions. “The program is very imbalanced right now, as imbalanced as any in the country. We have a senior class that’s heavy, and then we have two classes with ten or twelve, then a gigantic bottom class. It shouldn’t be like that. We will get it there, it just takes a minute.”
More injuries surfaced and this may be a game for a lot of Gators to heal up. Meyer is hoping to have a few injured available for the game, but some will rest.
“We put a yellow shirt on (Jemalle Cornelius),” Meyer started. “I think he’ll be ready to go. He hasn’t been the same the last couple of weeks. We have to get him right, he has a sore shoulder. One thing about Jemalle when he is hurt, he is hurt. He is doing everything he can to play.
“Earl (Everett) didn’t practice today and (Brandon) Siler didn’t practice. I am hoping Earl will be ready I don’t think Siler will be ready. (Brandon) Spikes has had a very good practice.
One guy that limped off the field Saturday that has had a chronic ankle injury is freshman phenom Percy Harvin. Harvin is a difference maker in the offense and Meyer likes it when he can go. He talked about Harvin’s health.
“I’d say 95%, by game time I think 100%,” Meyer said. “He practices as well as any of the older guys, he does a great job.”