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Belichick has advice for Florida Gators

GAINESVILLE — Fresh off a 50-point win over South Carolina, the Gators' greatest enemy heading into this weekend's nonconference game against unranked Citadel may be themselves.

Which explains why one of the voice mails on Urban Meyer's phone over the last 24 hours was from close friend and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Florida has outscored opponents 299-63 since a Sept. 27 loss to Ole Miss, and its defense has risen to No. 6 in the nation.

Who knows better than Belichick what it's like to have a team that's dominating opponents, and making it look easy in the process? And who knows better how the hype that accompanies being ranked No. 3 and remaining in the national title hunt can adversely affect a team?

"I had a very nice call from Coach Belichick, and he said just make sure you stay on top of them because they are going to be hearing how good they are," Meyer said Sunday morning. "When you watch film, we still can be a lot better."

NO CHANGE: Florida remained at No. 4 in the BCS rankings, and at No. 3 in the AP and USA Today coaches poll. The Gators received one first-place vote in the coaches' poll. The computers are a little less kind. Florida is No. 5 behind undefeated Utah (fourth), Texas (third), Alabama (two) and No. 1 Texas Tech.

The rankings, Florida's recent performance and the fact the Gators remain in the national title conversation were all part of Sunday night's prepractice conversation, but Meyer said he's not nearly as concerned about his team losing focus as he might have been weeks ago.

"That's why we talk about it every Sunday," he said. "I would probably give our players a little more credit than that, even if they hear it. I'm not worrying about the players. I worry about the parents and relatives and the friends and the students and you guys (media). I don't worry about it as much with our players.

''But when you continually get pounded with that …''

JAMES IN RECORD BOOKS: With his 39-yard punt return late in the third quarter, junior return specialist Brandon James broke another school record. James' 427 punt-return yards set a single-season record, surpassing Jacquez Green's 392 yards in 1997. His 1,044 career punt-return yards also are a Florida record, surpassing Keiwan Ratliff's 860 from 2000-03.

INJURY UPDATE: OL Jason Watkins (concussion) is probable for Saturday, while OL Carl Johnson (MCL) is questionable. LB Brandon Spikes (sprained ankle) will play.

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com.

Belichick has advice for Florida Gators 11/16/08 [Last modified: Saturday, November 22, 2008 12:40am]
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