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Saturday March 30, 2013 Gators take practice off site again

Updated: 10:12pm, March 30

Practice SaturdayDALLAS -- After winning their NCAA South Region semifinal games Friday night, both Florida and Michigan were allowed 90 minutes of closed practice Saturday on the floor of vast Cowboys Stadium.

The Gators took about 30.

And just to shoot around.

“These guys needed to rest and recover,” UF trainer David “Duke” Werner said.

Instead, the Gators pushed back their full-blown practice and preparation for the Wolverines a couple hours Saturday to give the players more time to relax and the assistant coaches more time to scout UM before presenting a game plan to the team.

Think about the timeline and what the NCAA asks these teams to do.

Florida put the finishing touches on its 62-50 defeat of Florida Gulf Coast around 11 p.m. local time. By the time the Gators wrapped their post-game media obligations and took the 22-mile bus ride from Arlington to downtown Dallas, it was after 1 a.m. Saturday.

The players, even after some treatment from trainers, were still amped up from the game. Hardly ready for lights-out. The coaches had to cram.

Eventually, the players went to sleep while the staff spent nearly three hours previewing tape of Michigan before going to bed around 4. The coaches got five hours of sleep. Maybe.

Breakfast was at 11, immediately followed by a bus ride back to the stadium for its required media session. Afterward, the Gators had 90 minutes inside the cavernous stadium, but opted for a light half-hour of shooting and were back at the hotel around 3 for lunch and more rest.

At 5:30, the team bused to Southern Methodist University for its Saturday practice, with massages and flushes scheduled for afterward. Then dinner.

“When the schedule is this tight, the best thing we can do for them is make sure they eat right and hydrate,” Werner said.

Strength and conditioning coach Preston Greene made three trips to Whole Foods this week -- “The best place in America,” he said -- for snack foods (he likes nuts and berries) to supplement the players between meals.

After practice, the training staff provides body massages (emphasis on legs) and flushes to get the players ready for a 1:20 p.m. local tipoff Sunday that will mark the biggest game of the season ... just 38 hours after finishing the last biggest game of the season.

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