GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Gators got a round of
flu shots Sunday, the latest precaution for a team fighting to stave off a major
Running back Jeff Demps, tight end Aaron Hernandez and
defensive end Jermaine Cunningham were isolated last week because of flulike
symptoms. Coach Urban Meyer said receivers coach Billy Gonzales was sent home
Monday because he was feeling ill and had a fever.
No player has had a confirmed case of swine flu, but
Meyer did say he was concerned the virus could ravage his team.
"It is a panic level of proportion I've never seen
before," Meyer said Sunday, a day after his team's 23-13 victory over Tennessee.
"You hear about, I think, Wisconsin had 40 players. Ole Miss had 20 players. My
wife, with her great insight, said, 'Do you realize the swine flu and everything
is hitting the Florida campus last week.' My gosh."
Meyer said team doctors and trainers were doing
everything they could to prevent an outbreak. They have hand sanitizer and
prevention checklists all around the training facility, and are telling players
to stay hydrated and monitor their weight regularly.
"We're trying the best we can, but it's real," Meyer
said. "We go to the extremes. They get a separate dorm room for them. They get a
separate hotel room for them. They put them right on whatever the flu stuff is.
Our guys, our team doctors, they're on it as fast as you can get on it."
The regular flu shots were the latest course of action.
They came about a week after one school official predicted that as many as 40
percent of students could catch swine flu.
"We knew it was hitting Gainesville," senior receiver
David Nelson said Sunday. "Not just the football team, but throughout the campus
and throughout the community. We knew it was a problem. Everywhere you turn,
they're always telling you to wash your hand, take showers and all this
"We knew there was something going on and there was a few
players getting sick, but we didn't know the extent of how many people on our
team were sick from it."
So far, only three.
Demps, Cunningham and Hernandez all played against
Tennessee on Saturday, but none of them seemed up to par.
Demps, who had a 101-degree temperature, ran four times
for 31 yards and a touchdown. Hernandez caught four passes for 26 yards. And
Cunningham finished with one tackle.
"They were beat up pretty good," Meyer said.
Meyer said there could more players isolated this week
as the Gators prepare to play at Kentucky. Meyer was most concerned with Demps,
the team's starting running back, because he's early in the course of symptoms.
Hernandez and Cunningham were getting over theirs, Meyer said.