GAINESVILLE — The waiting game has ended: Coach Urban Meyer said Thursday that LB Brandon Spikes and WR Percy Harvin will play Saturday when No. 5 Florida hosts Miami. Meyer said that Spikes (foot) will start and Harvin (heel) will get in early according to the offensive formations.
Sophomore TE Aaron Hernandez will make his season debut, too. He missed the opener against Hawaii due to undisclosed disciplinary reasons.
AVOIDING HYPE: With all the madness surrounding the matchup this weekend, Meyer said he worries about keeping his team focused and can't wait until tonight when he sequesters his team in a hotel.
"I like getting them away," Meyer said. "What happens, especially at a place like Florida, (the fans) are going to be rolling in here and the text messaging, the Internet, the people, the families, God bless them (but they're distracting)."
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY: Redshirt freshman and Tampa native Robert Marve, expected to start for the Hurricanes, was heavily recruited by Meyer coming out of Plant High.
"When you evaluate a quarterback, it's not velocity. It's not size. It's not speed. It's the 'it' factor," Meyer said. "It's the Brett Favre, the Joe Montana, the Tim Tebow. It's that guy that has the little something to him that finds a way to win a game, and that's what (Marve) is."
FSU: WR cleared
TALLAHASSEE — Florida State's coaches don't know if they will have junior college transfer Corey Surrency for two years, but they're thrilled he has been cleared to play.
Surrency, a 6-foot-5 receiver, is a high school dropout from Miami who was discovered playing flag football and eventually landed at El Camino College in California.
He signed with FSU in February and is listed as a junior. But offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher said the NCAA told the university this week that there was a snag that could affect Surrency's eligibility.
Thursday, coach Bobby Bowden said Surrency is cleared to play. The school plans to seek a waiver for Surrency for 2009 as well.
"We got him Saturday," Bowden said. "That was my biggest worry."
LITTLE CLEARED: Freshman TE Ja'Baris Little was cleared to practice after waiting nearly two weeks for academic clearance.
"We couldn't do anything with regards to meetings or walk-throughs," unit coach James Coley said. "But he's a kid that when he was gone, he looked at his playbook; he's worked on it on his own."
Coley said Little could play Saturday, even after just one day back at practice.
USF: RB Ford iffy
TAMPA — USF might be without its leading running back from last season when it travels to UCF on Saturday.
Sophomore Mike Ford, who is battling an ankle injury sustained in Saturday's opener, might not make the trip to Orlando, coach Jim Leavitt said.
"Ford doesn't look good," Leavitt said. "It will be a minor miracle if we even take him. I never want to say no and then all of the sudden he plays and everybody gets mad at me, but it would be a minor miracle. Those things happen, though."
LaDre Watkins, a walk-on LB from Wharton High and one of four true freshmen to start last weekend for the Bulls, hurt his knee in practice.
"His knee buckled," Leavitt said. "He's probably not going to play Saturday."
Leavitt said another injured running back, senior Ben Williams, looked good and was ready to go. He also said it would be hard not to bring sophomore TE Trent Pupello, who has an injured ankle, to the game.
UM: Role reversal
CORAL GABLES — Six years ago when they last met (and won) in Gainesville, the Hurricanes were the defending national champs and UF was on its way to an 8-5 season. Now UM, 5-7 last season, is the one talking about closing the gap. "Florida's been one of the premier teams in the country for probably the last four or five years," coach Randy Shannon said. "… We really need a game like this. ... We need to know where we're at as a staff and as a football team at this point."
Times correspondents Joe Rienzi and Ira Schoffel contributed to this report, which used information from the Associated Press.