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Injuries hit Gators' top wide receivers

By ANTONYA ENGLISH and JILL MARTIN
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 17, 2002

GAINESVILLE -- Carlos Perez is out for the season after breaking his right fibula against South Carolina, leaving the Gators possibly missing their two top receivers for the Nov. 30 game at Florida State.

Perez was injured in the second quarter and was on the sideline with a splint on his right foot.

UF's top receiver, senior Taylor Jacobs, did not play despite having shown improvement in recuperating from a sprained MCL suffered Nov. 2. Jacobs is questionable for the FSU game.

Jacobs said throughout the week his health was his top concern and he would make a game-time decision on playing. He wanted to be 95-percent healthy; on Wednesday he listed himself at 80.

Jacobs caught some passes and ran sprints at practice while wearing a brace, but did not fully regain his speed.

"If I don't have my speed, then what do I have?" Jacobs said.

SOLEMN HONOR: Standing near the families and friends of Florida's senior class, Ernestine McGriff wept as she was presented a framed No. 40 jersey in honor of her late son James McGriff.

McGriff was a high school All-American from Palm Bay High School who drowned on April 17, 1998, two months before he would have attended Florida.

McGriff's mother and father, James, were honored before the team's 15 seniors.

"I didn't think it would be that rough," Ernestine McGriff said. "But when people started clapping, they were clapping for him ... and it was very tough. I appreciate what they did for James. It was very nice."

INJURY UPDATE: Florida guard Jonathon Colon missed the first half because of a back injury. Tight end Ben Troupe missed the game because of a high ankle sprain suffered against Vanderbilt. Defensive tackle Ian Scott had surgery and is out at least two weeks.

CHANGE IS COMING: The wrecking ball moves in today and begins a six-week demolition project on Monday. The final phase of the $50-million renovation at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium began immediately after the game.

Construction crews moved in Saturday night to begin removing equipment -- TVs, chairs and anything that will be salvaged -- to put into storage. Demolition begins at 6 a.m. Monday.

"Monday morning they bring in the trucks and the small equipment that will basically be knocking out walls and taking out the tremendous amount of concrete and brick that has to be removed," said Greg McGarity, associate athletic director for internal affairs. "From level five down to the present existing level, everything will be removed except the big structural columns, the concrete beams."

Crews will work two 10-hour shifts, seven days a week to complete the work. The only quiet time will be between 2 and 6 p.m.

"A lot of the brick work, stair towers, elevator shafts have to be demolished and that requires a lot of wrecking ball mentality," McGarity said. "What will remain standing is only the concrete, structural elements of the facility. Everything else will be demolished so you can tie everything back in to the two new pods that are north and south of the old press box facility."

END OF AN ERA: Saturday was the final home game for Norm Carlson, the longtime associate director of athletics for communications. It was the 505th game Carlson has worked in that capacity. Through 40 years, which included a stint at Auburn, Carlson's tenure spanned six university presidents, seven football coaches and eight U.S. presidents. Carlson was presented with a No. 40 jersey by UF athletic director Jeremy Foley to commemorate his tenure.

WE DON'T WANT TO KNOW: Florida officials decided not to run updated scores of the Georgia-Auburn game, waiting until the game ended to flash the score. With 35 seconds left, the final score was placed on the scoreboard. A Georgia loss coupled with a Florida win would have given the Gators the SEC East title. Florida coach Ron Zook said he wouldn't object to having updates for fans, but Foley decided against them.

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