GAINESVILLE — Florida OL Matt Patchan had a second surgery this week to further repair damage to his right wrist, and the prognosis is positive that the Armwood alum can return to the field, potentially as early as spring practice.
Patchan fractured his wrist during preseason drills in August and has not played this season. He had surgery in August but has continued to have problems with the recovery for the past several months.
The 6-foot-6, 292-pound junior was in position to earn a starting job when he was injured, and offensive line coach Steve Addazio has said his absence has left a huge void. Coach Urban Meyer said he hadn't spoken with Patchan as of Wednesday morning but had been given a good report by the medical staff.
"It's all positive," he said. "It was an injury that just never improved. We feel real confident, and so does Matt and his family, that he should be ready to crank it up — maybe not full contact in spring but real close to that. And we need him."
EXPECTING MORE: Florida State will be trying to end a six-game losing streak to the Gators, and Florida's players said this week they understand this isn't the FSU team they've faced in recent years.
"It's better," Florida S Will Hill said about the Seminoles offense. "It's the new coaching staff they have in, and they are really clicking. They have a better FSU team than we've seen."
Florida DT Terron Sanders said he sees vast improvement in FSU's offensive line, which UF's defense recognizes as a critical concern in its efforts to stop the run.
"They've gotten better every year and they continue to get better every game," he said. "They definitely have the chemistry that everybody wants. They can hurt us."
Antonya English, Times staff writer
USF: Friendly foes
TAMPA — In-state rivalry games like USF-Miami always have connections between players on both sides, and Bulls CB Kayvon Webster will see a familiar face Saturday in Hurricanes freshman Stephen Morris, his high school quarterback at Miami Monsignor Pace.
The friends talked on the phone Wednesday, and Webster said he has enjoyed seeing Morris step up in place of injured starter Jacory Harris in recent weeks.
"I'm proud of Stephen," said Webster, one of three Pace graduates on USF's roster along with WRs Sterling Griffin and Derrick Hopkins, all former Morris targets. "He's learning, but I haven't been around him in the last two years."
Bulls DE Julius Forte, a redshirt freshman from Boca Ciega, played AAU basketball with Hurricanes S Ray-Ray Armstrong and DT Dyron Dye.
"He was pretty good — athletic guy," Forte said of Armstrong, who played for the Orlando-based Florida Elite with him. "I haven't talked to those guys in a while; it'll be nice to talk to them after the game."
INJURY UPDATE: With senior DE Craig Marshall missing Wednesday's practice with a lingering foot injury and junior Patrick Hampton, who replaced him in the starting lineup, also out with an ankle injury, USF coach Skip Holtz said redshirt freshman Ryne Giddins should make his first start Saturday. QB B.J. Daniels (quad bruise) and C Sampson Genus (leg) returned to practice and are expected to start.
NOT COMING: WR Jamaal Montague of Lake City, who signed with USF in February but did not qualify academically, said Tuesday he will enroll at Jones County Junior College in January with the hopes of joining the Bulls in 2012.
Greg Auman, Times staff writer
FSU: Good riddance
TALLAHASSEE — Something for Seminoles fans to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving: They won't have to see Tim Tebow shred another Florida State defense Saturday, as he did the past three years.
Tebow left Florida as one of the most decorated players in college football history. In Tallahassee he is one of the most reviled players in the history of the FSU-Florida rivalry.
"They've still got a lot of great players," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "They have a lot of playmakers, (a) lot of speed, lot of size. Obviously, Tim is not there, which I'm not against."
It's easy to see why: Tebow seemed to save his best for the Seminoles. He started three times against them and amassed 927 yards of offense and accounted for 14 touchdowns.
QUICK HITS: Senior LG Rodney Hudson is a finalist for the Outland Trophy, awarded to the nation's best interior lineman. … C Ryan McMahon is expected to set the school record for career starts with 51.
UM: Change of diet
CORAL GABLES — Miami DE Allen Bailey said the Thanksgiving spread at home in Sapelo, a remote island off the coast of Georgia, includes ham, macaroni, stuffing, collard greens.
There's also possum or raccoon.
"We go, clean it and cook it the day before or what-not," Bailey said. "It's the usual stuff, the whole Thanksgiving."
Today, there will be no possum or raccoon for Bailey to feast on.
That's because he's going to DB DeMarcus Van Dyke's place as he has during past seasons. Now, that's where they have some real "weird" stuff on the menu.
"Lamb; they had lamb!" Bailey exclaimed. "And goat. I was surprised myself by what they have."
FB Pat Hill planned either to go to RB Damien Berry's place — they're close friends, each with two young kids — or have Berry come over to his. Hill, who cooked the past two years, is a great chef, according to Berry. Hill doesn't disagree.
"I have pretty good skills in the kitchen," he said.
The 'Canes will practice this morning instead of in the afternoon as they usually do. Then it's off to eat.
South Florida Sun Sentinel