Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gillespie, Gators Get Second Chance UF Lost Other Game Graham Missed

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gillespie, Gators Get Second Chance UF Lost Other Game Graham Missed

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael DiRocco, Times-Union sports writer

GAINESVILLE -- A sprained right knee may keep Florida running back Earnest Graham out of Saturday's game against Tennessee, but the Gators aren't worried about a repeat of the last time they were without their leading rusher.

UF, just six days after regaining the No. 1 spot in the Associated Press poll, played unranked Auburn Oct. 13 without Graham because of an ankle injury. The Gators rushed for minus-36 yards -- Robert Gillespie had just 4 yards on 12 carries -- and lost 23-20. But there's no concern among the players about a similar performance even though the Vols have the nation's fourth-ranked rush defense.

"Robert's going to do a great job for us," UF offensive tackle Mike Pearson said. "Ran Carthon will do the same. It's going to hurt missing Earnest, but I don't think it'll be very different as far as run-game preparation."

The No. 2 Gators (9-1, 6-1 SEC) played poorly on the offensive line against Auburn, and there was some overconfidence as well, coach Steve Spurrier said. Quarterback Rex Grossman even admitted several weeks ago that he went into the Auburn game with thoughts of the Heisman Trophy in his head.

"We didn't block very well up at Auburn," Spurrier said. "They smashed us and looped around and they just beat us. Somebody was asking me the other day [if] we thought we were ready to play [against Auburn]. Maybe we could have been a little bit better, but basically they just beat us and I don't think it would have mattered who was running the ball in that game. They were waiting on us at the line of scrimmage."

Florida's offensive line struggled at times picking up stunts, and Spurrier made changes for the Gators' next game against Georgia. Center Zac Zedalis replaced Tommy Moody at right guard and former backup center David Jorgensen started. Florida used that lineup until the second half of the Florida State game.

Jorgensen struggled with FSU tackle Darnell Dockett, so Zedalis moved back to center and Moody went back to right guard. The Gators will start Saturday's game in that lineup, although Spurrier said Jorgensen will rotate. …

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