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September 27, 2005

BOL NOTEBOOK: Mincey's mouth means little to Tide

On Monday, the Alachua County Lip --a.k.a UF defensive end Jeremy Mincey-- announced to the media that Alabama wasn't as talented as the Tennessee team the Gators disposed of in week three of the season.

And that wasn't all Mincey had to say.

The Lip, who has recorded all of a half sack through four games this season, went so far as to suggest that a blowout win might be in the cards for UF when the Gators visit Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday .

One day later, a handful of Tide players were asked for their thoughts on Mincey's comments.

Weakside linebacker Juwan Simpson: "Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. You can't get upset about what a man thinks. We're going to keep the trash talking on the field and we'll see what he thinks after the game."

Strongside linebacker DeMeco Ryans: "That's his thoughts, but we'll see about that on Saturday. It's a lot of lip service right now. When the helmets and pads are put on we'll see who's talking after the game."

Left cornerback Ramzee Robinson: "That's his opinion. Just make sure he shows up and we'll figure it out. Everybody's got their opinion on certain teams and certain players, but as long as he's dressed we'll determine everything on Saturday."

Defensive end Wallace Gilberry: "As far as what I see, we have guys who are just as strong and physical as anyone. I'm around these guys everyday, so I can honestly say we have the best team in the SEC. Come Saturday we're going to let them know that Bama's back, and we're not taking any prisoners."

BOOK IS OUT ON TIDE RECEIVERS: According to UA offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Dave Rader, until they prove capable of beating it, Alabama's wide receivers will continue to see physical, press coverage from opposing defensive backs.

When Tide receivers weren't dropping passes in last Saturday's win over Arkansas, they often times found themselves being manhandled by Razorback cornerbacks at the line of scrimmage.

"I think we've opened the door now. People are going to say, 'We're going to come up there and press and crowd you and see if you all can complete 48 percent of your passes against us,'" Rader said. "I think the door's wide open, and that's what we're going to see. I'm sad to say that. We had an opportunity to hit 65-70 percent of our passes (against Arkansas) and we didn't do it. Not just one (receiver); I'm talking about all them."

That's music to the ears of a Florida secondary that plays a lot of man coverage in support of its blitzing scheme.

"We were totaling expecting to be able to line up and run past Arkansas' corners last week," said UA quarterback Brodie Croyle. "They really stopped us at the line at times when we were trying to do that. After Florida watches that I'm sure they're going to play even more aggressive than they already do."

SPREAD OPTION NO BIG DEAL TO SIMPSON: At least one player on Alabama's roster hasn't been mesmerized by Urban Meyer's spread option offense. While the attack is arguably the hottest topic in all of college football, Simpson claims there isn't anything magical about it.

"I don't see the big deal with it; several other teams run it," said Simpson, who is third on the team in tackles with 20. "I don't think they are that much different than South Carolina, other than the fact that they may run (the ball) a little bit more."

The Gators rank third in the SEC in passing offense (268.2 yds ppg) and second in total offense (34.5 ppg).

TAKING BACK BRYANT-DENNY: The numbers are not pretty: 19-14. That's the Crimson Tide's record at Bryant-Denny Stadium since 2000, and it's a big reason why Saturday's game is so …well… big.

On top of that, the Tide has never beaten a team as highly ranked as Florida presently is in Tuscaloosa, going 0-5 all-time against top five squads at Bryant-Denny.

"Someone told us that Alabama has never beaten a top five team here at Bryant-Denny," Croyle said. "That was a shock to us and it maybe gave us a little motivation to be the group that does that first."

GAME BALL DUTIES: Former UA quarterback Andrew Zow will run out the game ball prior to Saturday's showdown with the Gators. Zow helped guide the Tide past Florida twice in 1999, and has an SEC championship ring to prove it.

INJURIES: UA coach Mike Shula said once again that his team is in relatively good shape on the injury front. Shula noted that strongside linebacker Terrence Jones (ankle) and right guard Mark Sanders (knee/ankle) "might be back" for this week's game after being sidelined for the last two contests.

Also, tight end Trent Davidson continues to work his way back from a broken foot, but it doesn't appear as if he'll be able to go against UF this weekend. Shula said a redshirt year remains a possibility for Davidson, who played as a true freshman in 2004.

NO COMMENT ON MEYER'S COMMENT: When asked why he pulled quarterback Chris Leak after the first series of the third quarter in UF's 49-28 rout of Kentucky last Saturday, Meyer made reference to Croyle's knee injury in 2004, saying the drive in which Croyle was injured was "insignificant".

When asked to respond to Meyer's perceived barb on Tuesday, Shula issued a "no comment".

What many fail to realize is that, like Leak, Croyle started the second half of the West Carolina game before going down. Also, Meyer actually re-inserted Leak into the lineup in the fourth quarter at UK after the Gators' shaky depth on offense failed to produce much.


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