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Spurrier may ground Air Florida for UGA

When Steve Spurrier hands the ball to either Terry Dean or Danny Wuerffel this week, do not be surprised if he instructs the quarterback to hand it off to Fred Taylor come Saturday.

While the current fuss in Gainesville involves the quarterback position, the tailback's job could be more critical this week against Georgia.

The Bulldogs have one of the worst run defenses in the country, giving up more than 200 yards per game. And in this case, running the ball is not simply good policy for the offense, it also makes sense for the defense. The longer the ball stays on the ground, the more time comes off the clock and the less chance Georgia quarterback Eric Zeier has on the field.

"Offensively, no one has slowed them down. You can only hope to get a tipped ball for an interception or something like that," Spurrier said. "It creates pressure for (UF's) offense to stay out there and run it. Looking at Georgia's games, they've struggled somewhat on the defensive side."

Spurrier certainly knows what he's talking about in this case, because that game plan is precisely how Florida beat Georgia 33-26 last year. Errict Rhett set a team record with 41 rushes as UF maintained possession for more than 35 minutes in the game. The Gators also attempted only 21 passes, the lowest total in Spurrier's 55 games as Florida's head coach.

QT on the QB: Spurrier said he has made up his mind regarding the starting quarterback and will inform the team of his choice today and announce it publicly Tuesday.

Dean, the incumbent through the first six games, said last week he expects Wuerffel to be the starter against Georgia.

"I made the decision the same way I do for every position on the team," Spurrier said Sunday. "We'll put the player out there who has the best chance of helping the team win."

Will it ever pass?: For all the posturing about Florida's improved pass defense, UF is on pace to give up more yards than last season.

With Zeier, the SEC's all-time leading passer, coming to town this week, Spurrier says there may be changes in store for the defense. One probable scenario would include bringing more defensive backs into the game in obvious pass situations.

"We need to get better at situation-type substitutions," Spurrier said.

Injury update: A number of key players have been hurt in recent weeks and they may start trickling back in.

The recovery process has gone much better than anticipated in several cases and a decision will be made Thursday or Friday on the playing status of offensive linemen Jason Odom (knee) and Jeff Mitchell (knee), defensive tackle Henry McMillian (knee), cornerback Larry Kennedy (knee), cornerback Shea Showers (elbow) and tailback Elijah Williams (ankle).

Odom, Mitchell and Kennedy were originally thought to be out until mid-November.

The stretch run: If Florida has any hope of returning to No. 1 in the polls, it has to remain No. 1 in the SEC's Eastern Division. And the Gators can go a long way toward doing that by beating Georgia.

Florida (5-1 overall, 4-1 SEC) leads South Carolina (5-3, 4-2) by a half-game and Georgia (5-3, 3-3) by a game and a half.

Kentucky has already been eliminated from contention, and a UF victory Saturday would eliminate Georgia, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. That would leave only a Nov. 12 date with South Carolina to determine the Eastern Division champ.