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Gators go to replay on last year's LSU loss

Jacob Hester’s 2-yard touchdown run was the winning score for LSU in last season’s meeting against the Gators.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times (2007)

Jacob Hester’s 2-yard touchdown run was the winning score for LSU in last season’s meeting against the Gators.

GAINESVILLE — Just in case the memory had somehow, inexplicably faded away, the Florida coaching staff is making sure no one on the squad forgets last season's LSU game.

This week, the main video attraction in the Gators weight room is video of last year's 28-24 loss to the Tigers — a game Florida led 24-14 after three quarters.

"We're still watching it now," sophomore OL Maurkice Pouncey said. "They've got it playing in the weight room. It was tough watching it. We have it for this week. It's to get us motivated. It's like we can't let this happen again. … I think we played great that game. It was a tough loss. It was tough on us."

LSU was 5-for-5 on fourth downs in the game, including 2-for-2 on a drive in the final seven minutes that culminated with Jacob Hester's 2-yard touchdown run with 1:09 remaining. It was LSU's only lead.

So just why is the tape part of the conversation this week?

"So history doesn't repeat itself," Pouncey said.

Generally, coaches and players say last year was last year and this is a new year. Not this week. The past is part of the future.

"It makes you frustrated," senior WR Louis Murphy said. "Like our loss to Georgia, it sits in your stomach. It's a bad feeling. … We can't go out like that this year."

COACHES FAVORITES: Count LSU's Les Miles and Florida's Urban Meyer among the fans of the LSU-Florida rivalry. Both said Monday that this game is one of their favorites.

"I like the matchup," Miles said. "I think it will be a lot of fun to go there and play. I make no bones about it, this is a fun game to play. You play in the SEC, you play classic matchups and you better enjoy it. I promise you there will be a lot more energy around our building this week and we'll look forward to playing at Florida."

Meyer, who called the 2006 meeting "one of the great college football games that I've been associated with," said he doesn't like to rank opponents as rivals, but this game is clearly among the best.

"What makes this such a big game is the quality of personnel on both sides," he said.

HARVIN TO PLAY: The protective boot junior WR/RB Percy Harvin wore on his right foot at Sunday night's practice was precautionary, but it isn't expected to affect his play this week, Meyer said. "He was sore (Sunday), and they had him in a boot," Meyer said. "But he should be fine."

CHANGE OF PLANS: It turns out the decision to hold a second consecutive Sunday practice was team-driven. After the Ole Miss loss Sept. 27, Meyer convened an unprecedented Sunday practice. This week, it was at the players' request.

"I kind of listened to some of the leaders on the team," Meyer said. "Game-planning wise I've never believed in that. I think Sunday is a player's time off for themselves, but it's also not bad to be a student on Monday. And I've heard some positive feedback from our players. Other than coming in and getting some treatment on an injury, they are off. And from what they tell me, (today's) practice will be much more crisp."

TWO HONORED: Freshman RB Jeff Demps and Pouncey earned weekly honors from the SEC. Demps had a career-high 103 yards on seven carries and two touchdowns (48 and 36 yards) in Saturday's 38-7 win over Arkansas. Pouncey graded out a team-best 94 percent and anchored a line that helped produce 278 rushing yards.

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

Gators go to replay on last year's LSU loss 10/06/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 6, 2008 9:28pm]
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