Florida Gators' Brandon Spikes says Big 12 defenses are 'a joke'

MIAMI — Florida LB Brandon Spikes has watched enough highlights to reach one conclusion: Big 12 defenses are a joke.

"That's what it is," Spikes said during Monday's BCS Media Day at Dolphin Stadium. "It is what it is. When I watch SportsCenter, I look at the scores and it's 56-49, just basketball scores. I feel like it's a joke. Like I said, Ole Miss ran up and down the field on a Big 12 defense (Texas Tech). It's just crazy. That's just my perception of the Big 12 defenses."

Spikes' comments came one day after Oklahoma DB Dominique Franks said UF QB Tim Tebow wasn't as good as the best three quarterbacks in the Big 12. Spikes said he knows his comments might be bulletin board fodder for the Sooners, but if he can back it up, he doesn't see the problem with being "honest."

"I feel like if our defense comes out and plays well, it's going to come down to defense," he said. "Offense sells tickets, defense wins championships. So as long as I have this defense ready to play and we can give the ball back to Tim Tebow and (WR/RB) Percy Harvin, we should be okay."

Harvin ready: Harvin said he's "about 90 percent" recovered from the high ankle sprain he suffered Nov. 29 against Florida State, and there's no doubt he will be ready for the title game.

"I've been doing a lot of team work, just getting back to catching pitches and catching the ball from Tim. It's feeling pretty good, and I should be ready for the game."

Back in the fold: Dan Mullen is juggling more than a circus clown these days, but the former Gators offensive coordinator, now coach at Mississippi State, said he plans to do everything in his power to help UF win another national title.

Although he's engrossed in recruiting and hiring a staff for his new job, Mullen said he felt compelled to return for the Gator players. "It's an opportunity for these kids, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play in the national championship. For some of our guys, it's been two. But these don't come around all the time. And I want to make sure I'm doing all I can to make sure these kids have a positive experience and a great memory they can tell their kids about."

A healing hand: Oklahoma Heisman Trophy-winning QB Sam Bradford, who had surgery on torn ligaments in his left (nonthrowing) thumb Dec. 7, said his hand is fine.

"It's felt good so far," said Bradford, who was in a light cast, similar to what he had in the Big 12 title game against Missouri. Bradford was 34-of-49 for 384 yards and two touchdowns in the Sooners' 62-21 romp. The cast he wears Thursday could be smaller.

He said there was a time he wasn't so sure he should have an operation, "especially with such a big game coming up. After talking to our doctor, everyone around our team, I knew that it was the best decision for me, especially for the future."

Preparing for Tebow: Perhaps it's fortuitous that the Sooners faced Texas and QB Colt McCoy, who can beat you with his arm and his legs. Sound like someone they will face in a Gator uniform Thursday?

"There's a lot of similarities," redshirt freshman LB Travis Lewis said, mentioning that Tebow and McCoy are unflappable leaders.

But there's a difference.

"I've heard Tebow's just a little bigger," he deadpanned.

What might have been: OU senior LB Nic Harris could have been playing the Gators regularly. He's a native of Alexandria, La., and was recruited by LSU, but when he was making his college decision, the Tigers were in a coaching transition (Nick Saban had just left). Did his childhood dream end? Nah.

"Actually, I grew up hoping to play at Florida State," he said.

Florida Gators' Brandon Spikes says Big 12 defenses are 'a joke' 01/05/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 4:52pm]

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