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Florida Gators wait as Percy Harvin works on injured ankle

Percy Harvin sits on the sideline after spraining his right ankle against FSU. His status for Alabama remains up in the air.

Associated Press

Percy Harvin sits on the sideline after spraining his right ankle against FSU. His status for Alabama remains up in the air.

GAINESVILLE — It's still unknown if Florida RB/WR Percy Harvin will play Saturday against No. 1 Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, but coach Urban Meyer said he is spending an average of 10 hours a day in the training room working on his sprained right ankle.

"He was in the pool. He's moving around," Meyer said Wednesday. "I'm hoping like everyone else."

The junior might be a game-time decision. Meyer will try to give him a light workout Friday.

"I'd tell you guys if I knew, but right now I don't," Meyer said. "I know there's a lot of guys working their tails off, including him."

"Whether he plays or not, they're going to be able to have somebody that's going to be able to be just as explosive as Percy Harvin," Tide LB Cory Reamer said. "He's a great athlete. If they don't have him, that's a tough loss but they'll have somebody that can replace him, I'm sure."

TURF ADVANTAGE: Meyer said the advantage of having a turf practice field is paying off this week. The field was put in four years ago to mimic the Georgia Dome's playing surface.

what are the odds? One person who doesn't understand how 11-1 UF can be a 9½-point favorite against the 12-0 Tide is Gene Stallings. Stallings was the coach in 1992 when Alabama won its last national title: "If you're the No. 1 team in the country, I don't really see how you can be the underdog. It doesn't make sense to me. Why are they the underdog? I don't understand. All things being equal, I'd take Alabama."

USF: Run game is big

TAMPA — While the key matchup in Saturday's game at West Virginia might be the Big East's top rushing offense (the Mountaineers at 224.3 yards per game) against the league's top rushing defense (93.9 yards per game), it's hard to imagine a USF win without a substantial showing from the Bulls' running game.

The Bulls have yet to have any player rush for more than 79 yards in a game this season, but perhaps the biggest play in their win against Connecticut on Nov. 26 was a 25-yard touchdown run by sophomore Jamar Taylor. Taylor has been slowed much of the season by a high ankle sprain.

"He's certainly a huge part of our game plan, and always is when he's healthy," running backs coach Carl Franks said. "He's been hurt for a while, and I think he's 100 percent now."

Another top back, sophomore Mike Ford, wasn't fully recovered from his ankle injury when he rushed eight times for 20 yards against UConn.

"(Ford) is starting to get healthy," coach Jim Leavitt said. "He wasn't healthy the last game, but he started to look a little more healthy today."

CANALES STAYING PUT: Receivers coach Mike Canales confirmed he will not leave USF for the head coaching vacancy at his alma mater, Utah State. Canales was a finalist, but the Aggies have agreed to terms with Utah defensive coordinator Gary Andersen.

SHRINE APPEARANCE: USF senior LB Tyrone McKenzie has accepted an invitation to play in the Jan. 17 East-West Shrine Game in Houston, a showcase for NFL prospects.

WHITEOUT: West Virginia is preparing for a whiteout. Players will be dressed in all white as a tribute to QB Pat White and the last home game of his college career. The tribute was guaranteed this week when the Bulls agreed to wear green jerseys.

FSU: DE Brown second

Boston College LB Mark Herzlich, a playmaker all season for the Atlantic Division champion Eagles who play Virginia Tech in Saturday's ACC title game in Tampa, was named the league's top defensive player of the year. He edged FSU DE Everette Brown (16 votes). Georgia Tech RB Jonathan Dwyer, who led the ACC in rushing (1,328 yards) and was fifth in scoring (12 TDs), was named top offensive player and overall top player in the league.

Times staff writers Greg Auman and Brian Landman contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires.

"I look at everything differently after that incident. I'm protecting myself. Believe that. I'm not going to tell the world, but trust me — I protect myself."

Phillip Buchanon, cornerback

"You have to really know your weapon," he said. "It's not just something you carry around and mess with. You need to know how to handle it, how to take it apart — everything. It has to be your best friend, because if you're in a situation where you have to use it, you can't be messing up.

"I have a family to protect and I will protect myself at all times. But I'm very careful with my weapons. I use them at the range and everything I do with them is legal. I keep them locked up around my kids and I take all the precautions you have to take with weapons."

"It's foreign to me to have to worry about something like that, to think you have to have a gun to be safe," linebacker Barrett Ruud, 25, said. "I've never gone anywhere where I felt like I wasn't safe … and I probably wouldn't go anywhere where I felt unsafe."

UF: vs. Alabama, SEC Championship Game, 4 p.m. Saturday, Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ch. 10

USF: at West Virginia, 8 p.m. Saturday, ESPN2

FSU: Likely in Champs Bowl, vs. a Big Ten team, 4:30 p.m. Dec. 27, Orlando

Florida Gators wait as Percy Harvin works on injured ankle 12/03/08 [Last modified: Friday, December 5, 2008 9:30pm]
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