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April 22, 2006
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - More than 58,000 fans turned up last year for Urban Meyer's first Orange and Blue game as Florida's head coach. This year, Meyer may be anticipating the game more than the Gators faithful.
"I'm jacked," Meyer said. "I'm really excited at this point in this year two."
On the surface, you may wonder why Meyer is so positive. Many of his key players are out for the spring game - including three projected starters on the defensive line. His pre-spring No. 1 running back and one of his top wide receivers will also miss the game.
The reason for Meyer's excitement is attitude - his and his team's.
"I didn't know a lot last year," Meyer said. "I took a lot for granted. I know these players now.
"Our goal is to become a team - a great team. We're not there, but we're as close as we've been since I spoke to these guys in December a year ago."
One of the reasons for Meyer's excitement is Cornelius Ingram. He signed as a quarterback before moving tight end during Outback Bowl practice.
Ingram has been the surprise of the spring since moving to wide receiver. The 6-foot-4 receiver is a big target for senior quarterback Chris Leak.
Ingram will bring depth to the wide receiver corps, depth that was missing last season after Andre Caldwell broke his leg in the third game of the season.
"I think (Leak) knows he's going to take it to the next level," Meyer said. "He's had a very good spring. He's anxious for the summer."
Ingram wasn't alone in making a move during spring.
With defensive tackles Marcus Thomas (hernia) and Steven Harris (personal issues) and defensive end Ray McDonald (knee) out for the Orange and Blue game, 6-foot-6 pass-rusher Jarvis Moss took advantage of his additional snaps.
The running backs, who drew Meyer's criticism early in the spring, have made strides - even if the spring didn't completely answer Meyer's questions.
"I don't know how good we are," he said. "But the attitude is there. If you keep working, you start to get better and they are starting to get better."
For more coverage of the Florida Gators, be sure to check out GatorBait.net.
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