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Friday, September 30, 2022
<p>UF wide receiver Brandon Powell lines up during Florida's 33-17 loss to Michigan on Saturday at AT&amp;T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.</p>

UF wide receiver Brandon Powell lines up during Florida's 33-17 loss to Michigan on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Brandon Powell isn’t fazed by hurricanes.

He’s been through plenty of them before.

Growing up in Deerfield Beach, Florida, the wide receiver has endured everything from imposing Category 5 storms to meager tropical cyclones.

“You know, my family, we’ve been through Katrina and Hurricane Wilma,” Powell said. “There’s not too much to worry about.”

Ask around the rest of UF’s locker room and you’ll hear the exact same thing. Most of its players are from Central and South Florida and are used to the annual murmurings of devastating whirlwinds and catastrophic natural disasters.

But with Hurricane Irma — one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, according to CNN — expected to hit the United States this weekend, Powell and the rest of his teammates can’t help but be concerned.

“I talked to my grandma and she’s got her generator ready,” Powell said. “She’s got water. If I got to send something back home to help her out, I will.”

Family isn’t the only thing on the players minds' this week, however. Florida, coming off a loss in its season opener for the first time in 28 years last Saturday against Michigan, is looking to rebound this weekend in a matchup with Northern Colorado.

The game is currently scheduled this Saturday at 7:30 p.m., but with Irma looming in the distance, UF is preparing for possible alterations.

“We continue working with university and government officials to… determine the impact of the storm on our events in Gainesville this weekend,” Steve McClain, Florida’s senior associate athletic director for communications, said in a release.

Athletic director Scott Stricklin added in a series of tweets on Tuesday night that the university still hopes to play the game in Gainesville "if possible" and will get an updated forecast today before communicating its plans to the public.

UCF’s football team has already rescheduled its home opener against Memphis from Saturday at 8 p.m. to Friday at 6:30 p.m. to avoid issues with team travel and fan safety.

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The NFL has also reportedly postponed this Sunday’s game between the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Buccaneers due to similar concerns.

While no official decision has been made on Saturday’s contest between the Gators and Bears, Florida’s players are prepared if similar adjustments need to be made.

“We’re just ready for anything at this point,” Powell said.

Changes in scheduling is nothing new to Florida’s football team. The Gators matchup with LSU last season was postponed and relocated from Oct. 8 in Gainesville to Nov. 19 in Baton Rouge due to Hurricane Matthew.

UF's players said that last year's postponed game does lie in the back of their minds heading into this weekend, but also stated they're concentrating much more on the future rather than the past.

"It's this year. We're focused on this year," running back Mark Thompson said. "So when we play this game, it will be ready to play.

You can follow Dylan Dixon on Twitter @dylanrdixon, and contact him at ddixon@alligator.org.

UF wide receiver Brandon Powell lines up during Florida's 33-17 loss to Michigan on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

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