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Florida Gators' Harvin improves, but enough to face Alabama?

GAINESVILLE — If Percy Harvin has his way, he'll be in the lineup when Florida meets Alabama on Saturday for the SEC championship, but his ankle might have other ideas.

The junior receiver remains questionable, but his status might have improved since he sprained his right ankle Saturday against Florida State.

"Great news in the training room today; it's very positive," coach Urban Meyer said Monday. "A lot of thumbs-up, including from the player. … He's doing everything he can possibly do, and our training staff is the best in college football, so it's all positive. The negative is, it's a sprained ankle, and we know what sprained ankles mean."

Harvin will remain in a boot and might not practice this week, Meyer said.

There seems to be no panic about Harvin's possible absence.

"There is no anxiety; they are excited about the opportunity," RBs coach Kenny Carter said. "Don't get me wrong. They want him here. … But we've had five guys rush for over 100 yards with less than 10 touches. That's getting it done. It's reality. You get your touches, you better take advantage of it."

McCarney's future?: UF defensive line coach and former USF assistant Dan McCarney is one of several Gators expected to be candidates for other jobs. McCarney is reportedly among three finalists for Toledo coach and is rumored to possibly be heading to Kansas State as an assistant. Coach at Iowa State from 1995 to 2006, McCarney said Sunday night that he won't consider other jobs now.

"It's not a distraction for me at all," McCarney said of the reports. "I can compartmentalize with the best of them. I just don't worry about those things right now. They know right now, all of us as assistant coaches are focusing. Our time and our concentration and our loyalty and our dedication is to Urban Meyer and to these players and to this program."

Defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, the target of speculation for openings, Monday was named one of five finalists for the Broyles Award, given to the nation's top assistant. The others: Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, Utah defensive coordinator Gary Andersen, Texas Christian defensive coordinator Dick Bumpas and Ball State offensive coordinator Stan Parrish.

Who's No. 1?: That's the question Alabama should be throwing around. Alabama is the No. 1 team in the nation and the only unbeaten in the top five. But it is a 10-point underdog, with many analysts predicting a UF-Oklahoma national championship game. "It's been like that for us all year," Alabama S Rashad Johnson said. "… I guess it could give us motivation, but we wouldn't approach this with less focus or motivation than we've already got."

Spikes to test NFL: Junior LB Brandon Spikes said the only things on his mind now are an SEC title and a national championship, but when the season ends, he'll petition the NFL to find out his possible draft status. "I think about it sometimes, but nothing really serious."

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

Florida Gators' Harvin improves, but enough to face Alabama? 12/01/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 1, 2008 9:29pm]
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