Haden, Pounceys Providing Leadership

Joe Haden

Everybody knows quarterback Tim Tebow provides the leadership for the Florida Gators offense and linebacker Brandon Spikes the defense, but they aren't the only leaders of the team. Head coach Urban Meyer praised the other players who lead his team beside the big two. Cornerback Joe Haden and the Pouncey twins were the names he mentioned for those who also motivate his team.

While he values what Tebow and Spikes bring to his team, Meyer credits the others for elevating team to another level.

"You wouldn't have a good team if you didn't have them," Meyer said. "I would put some of those guys on the same level.

"As far as motivation and leadership, Joe Haden is right up there with Spikes and Tebow."

The junior cornerback and offensive linemen exemplify Meyer's sentiment that his player's don't have to be seniors to be leaders.

That type of thinking is what he blames the Gators' below-standard 2007 season on.

"The one thing that everybody has to understand is you aren't just because you are a senior," Meyer said. "We had that two years ago. It's hard as freshman, but you can lead by example."

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Meyer expects LB Jelani Jenkins (ankle), DT Lawrence Marsh (ankle) and WR Deonte Thompson (hamstring) to play Saturday. Jenkins and Marsh were "hobbled" but should be ready. The freshman backer will most likely be limited to special teams. Thompson participated "a little bit" in Wednesday practice but still should be ready.

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Meyer reminisced about his first time playing Tennessee as UF's coach and isn't likely to forget it anytime soon. "I had never seen anything like it, and then singing the fight song with the student body afterwards. I still have a picture at home of that." He also thought back to Tebow's first game against the Volunteers, where he picked up a crucial 4th-and-1 late in the fourth quarter with the Gators down 20-14. "It was one of the beginnings to see what he was like in clutch situations."

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Although the Gators defense is focusing on the stopping the run, there is one Tennessee wide receiver that worries Meyer. "The one guy that has been hurt, Gerald Jones, is a real talented guy," he said. "I saw him play a little bit last week, but he still didn't look full speed."

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With pretty much a entirely new coaching staff at Tennessee, the Gators don't have much film to go off of. Meyer expects to see plenty of pressure from everywhere from the Vols defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. But there is still much unknown about Tennessee's new scheme. "We haven't spent much time at all on last year's film other than evaluations, so it's been a lot different," he said.

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Despite how good his three safeties are, he only expects to see them all on the field at the same time on defense in the Joker package.

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