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Gators getting healthy for LSU

GAINESVILLE — Injuries have taken a toll, but Florida could get some key players back this week, when defending national champion and No. 4 LSU comes to town.

Against Arkansas Saturday, UF was without two starting running backs, three offensive linemen and three defensive players.

Coach Urban Meyer said at least four injured players are expected to play this week: LB Ryan Stamper (ankle), RB Kestahn Moore (hamstring), G Marcus Gilbert (ankle) and freshman S Will Hill (hamstring). RB Emmanuel Moody and OG Jim Tartt (shoulder) are questionable. Junior WR Percy Harvin, who hurt his right foot Saturday but returned to the field, was in a boot after Sunday night's practice. His status was unknown. LB Dustin Doe (double hernia) will not play until after next week's bye.

The Gators moved up one spot in the AP poll to No. 11, and are No. 12 in the USA Today coaches poll.

END OF A STREAK: With his interception late in the third quarter, QB Tim Tebow ended his streak of consecutive passes at 203. "I just threw it right to the guy," said Tebow, who expressed no concern about the end of the streak. "We could have had a good play there. I was just reading something different."

A NEW ROUTINE: After the loss to Ole Miss on Sept. 27, the Gators participated in their first Sunday practice under Meyer.

Apparently, he and his staff liked what they saw. Florida practiced on Sunday for the second straight week. The Gators are off today and resume practice on Tuesday.

ENJOYING THE MOMENT: With the offensive line missing three key players, sophomore Carl Johnson made his first career start. After waiting two years for a chance to play, he made sure not to take it for granted.

As the team made its way into the locker room, Johnson stayed on the field, taking it all in. When an assistant coach motioned for him to move on, Johnson replied: "Leave me alone, let me enjoy this. It's my first start."

"He's a guy that needed to step up and I believe he did," Meyer said.

DID YOU KNOW?: Florida has shut out four of five opponents in at least one half of a game this season. … Five defensive backs have interceptions, matching last year's total. … The Gators are second in the SEC and third in the nation in turnover margin (plus 1.6 per game).

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

Gators getting healthy for LSU 10/05/08 [Last modified: Sunday, October 5, 2008 9:36pm]
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