GAINESVILLE — The Gators were so devastated after Saturday's loss to unranked Mississippi that Florida coach Urban Meyer knew he couldn't let 48 hours go by before he met with his team again.
So in an unprecedented move, the Gators held a 90-minute Sunday night practice, a day that for all of Meyer's four seasons previously had been reserved as the Gators' off day.
"You've got to get the sick, bad taste (out of) your mouth," Meyer said. "And I think myself and some people had some things on their chest and they want to say something, let's say it. The human element takes over, and what happens is, and we've all been there, the first thing is you feel sorry for yourself, the second thing is you point a finger. And that's everywhere. I've heard it, I've seen it (before), so let's be big boys and get that taste out of your mouth. They were good. I liked the way we approached it."
UF (3-1, 1-1 SEC) dropped from No. 4 to No. 12 in the AP poll, No. 13 in the USA Today coaches poll. Next up is Arkansas (2-2, 0-1), which is coming off losses to Alabama and Texas in which the Razorbacks were outscored 101-24.
Arkansas first-year coach Bobby Petrino said his biggest concern is keeping his team's confidence up and focused on long-term rebuilding. And handling an angry Gator squad.
"Florida's got a good football team as everyone knows," Petrino said Monday. "…I'm sure they are all upset right now, so we have to do a good job preparing for them."
Petrino expects the Gators to come out strong, but even Meyer said he won't know his players' mind-set until they take the field.
"The thing I made real clear to them is it's not a question of if a team will deal with adversity and injuries," Meyer said. "The question is not if, it's how you deal with it. And at some point during the course of the year in 12-0 seasons, or 13-1 seasons or 9-4 seasons, you're going to deal with adversity and you're going to lose. How you deal with it? We're going to find out. I've got a feeling I know how we're going to handle it. We're going to have a hard week of practice and get ready to play another SEC team."
INJURY UPDATE: RB Emmanuel Moody (high ankle sprain), OL Marcus Gilbert (ankle), LB Dustin Doe (double hernia) and LB Ryan Stamper are questionable for Saturday's game. OL Jim Tartt (shoulder) is doubtful.
NIGHT SWAMP: The Oct. 11 home game against LSU will kick off at 8 p.m. It is part of a CBS doubleheader including Tennessee at Georgia at 3:30.
Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]