Moss Could Miss Western Carolina Game

Coach Urban Meyer indicated Tuesday after practice that there are some issues with star defensive end Jarvis Moss, the Southeastern Conference Special Teams Player of the Week. Moss, a 6-6, 260-pound junior, blocked an extra point and a field goal Saturday to save Florida’s 17-16 victory over South Carolina.

Reports surfaced during the day Tuesday that Moss might miss this Saturday’s game with Western Carolina. Asked if Moss was suspended for the game Saturday, Meyer said that he wasn’t at liberty to discuss anything right now.

“We’re dealing with something right now, I’m not ready to announce that,” said Meyer after Tuesday’s practice.

Earlier this season, defensive tackle Marcus Thomas was suspended for the season opener with Southern Miss because he failed a marijuana test during the summer. Thomas was suspended again for two more games following Florida’s win over Tennessee. He played in the LSU, Auburn and Georgia games but was dismissed from the team permanently prior to the Vanderbilt game for failing to meet conditions of his reinstatement.

Meyer would also not speculate who will take Moss’s place in the Florida lineup should he miss the Western Carolina game.

“I don’t want to get into that right now because I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Meyer.

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Meyer said he hopes Gator Nation will turn out in force for Saturday’s game with Western Carolina. Even though this is a game against a very bad Division I-AA opponent that has lost eight straight games, this will be Florida’s Senior Day, the last home game for 22 seniors on the team.

Senior Day is a very emotional time. At Florida the seniors are called out one by one. They get to run out of the tunnel onto the field to one last great ovation and then they proceed to the middle of the field where they embrace their parents and families.

“I like the way we do it,” said Meyer. “I like the way we get the families involved. It’s guys jogging out of the tunnel, raising their hand and going out there to hug their families. It’s great for the families to be down there on the field with them.”

Meyer has embraced the football traditions at Florida and he’s added a couple of his own. The traditions and game day pageantry help set the college game apart from professional football.

“I’m one of those old time guys. I love pageantry and that’s why we do the Gator Walk and sing the fight song,” said Meyer. “I’ll be teared up facing guys playing their last game. We do something called a Senior Tackle too which is a real emotional thing. I love that. I think in football that’s something other sports don’t experience. Football is such a hard sport.”

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Seen in the hallways at the football offices this week was former Gator Mike Peterson, a star linebacker for the Jacksonville Jaguars, out for the season with an injury. Peterson is one of an increasing number of former players starting to spend more time back in Gainesville.

One of the things that Meyer said he wanted to do when he first arrived at Florida was to make the former players welcome. To do that he’s sent out letters, made plenty of phone calls and he’s initiated a barbeque for ex-players in August. He’s also let ex-players know that they are always welcome to stop by the football offices or at practice.

“There’s a rule in our office if a former player comes around you stop what you’re doing and everybody goes and hangs out with them awhile,” said Meyer. “We want those guys coming back. I couldn’t be more pleased with those guys coming back.”

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On the injury front, Meyer said that Earl Everett’s sprained ankle is getting better and he should be able to play Saturday. Middle linebacker Brandon Siler remains questionable.

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Franz Beard
Back in January of 1969, the late, great Jack Hairston, then the sports editor of the Jacksonville Journal, called me on the phone one night and asked me if I wanted to work for him. I said yes. The entire interview took 30 seconds. It's my experience that whenever the interview lasts 30 seconds or less, I get the job. In the 48 years that I've been writing and getting paid for it, I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA basketball championships, BCS championship games, heavyweight title fights and what seems like thousands of college football, baseball and basketball games. I'm a columnist and special assignments editor for Gator Country once again, writing about the only team that ever mattered to me, the Florida Gators.