NEW ORLEANS — Despite the party atmosphere associated with New Orleans for New Year's Eve, the Gators approached the day as the equivalent of just another Thursday during game week.
"It's not New Year's Eve, it's Thursday practice," coach Will Muschamp said after Monday's practice at the Superdome. "It's a normal game week. We had a good day, we'll have walk-through (today), we're ready to go."
No. 4 Florida (11-1) will play No. 22 Louisville (10-2) at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Sugar Bowl. Muschamp said his Gators have prepared and behaved themselves during the trip.
"Very well," he said when asked how the team has fared in a city known for its parties. "They've been on time to everything; everybody's been at everything they're supposed to be at. I've been very pleased with them. They've acted like a mature football team, which they are."
departing Soon: Graduate assistant Bush Hamdan, who took over as interim receivers coach for the Gators after Aubrey Hill abruptly resigned in August, was hired at the same position coach at Arkansas State. Hamdan will coach in the Sugar Bowl.
FOLLOWING TRADITION: The media had a rare opportunity to watch about 15 minutes of Florida's practice Monday, and early on it was a bit confusing. That's because the Gators were following a tradition of jersey-swapping: the practice of wearing other teammates' jerseys on Thursday practice of game week.
"We've done it everywhere I've been on Thursday," Muschamp said. "I don't really understand it, or know (why). We didn't do it when I played. But I've got no problem with it as long as they practice hard, and practice smart and focus in on what they are supposed to do. If they want to have a little fun, that's fine with me."
Antonya English can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.