Rainey Will Play vs. Georgia

Junior receiver/running back Chris Rainey will play against Georgia this weekend in Jacksonville according to Florida head coach Urban Meyer. Rainey's return comes after a four-game suspension for an off-the-field issue. Rainey is one of a handful of players that will return against Georgia as the Gators are getting as healthy as they have been following their bye week.

The return of Rainey was expected this week after Urban Meyer stated in the last two weeks that Chris Rainey was back practicing with the team and had to meet certain criteria in order to return.

"Chris is going to play," Urban Meyer said. "(He did everything he had to do) and beyond, he really had a good week."

Rainey adds a little bit of explosion to the offense, something that has been missing all season long. Meyer said he expects Rainey to play receiver and running back in Saturday's game when Florida meets Georgia in the annual rivalry game in Jacksonville.

"A little bit of both, probably 50-50," Meyer said when asked what position Rainey would play. "It's just some of the things we do. We like to do some two back things. A little bit like we did with Omarius Hines in the last game."

The Gators are also expecting a boost from players that are healing from various injuries. The backfield has been really banged up in the last few weeks and players have missed more practice time than anyone would have wanted. Meyer was pleased to announce Thursday that running backs Jeff Demps and Mike Gillislee could be at 100 percent on Thursday and Emmanuel Moody is doing fine as well.

"Demps is pretty good, we are going to rest him tomorrow…he went pretty good today," Meyer said about Thursday's practice. "It's the best he's been in five weeks. I would say he's not 100 percent yet, but I'm hoping he will be 100% by game time. Gillislee is 100 percent and ready to go. Moody is good."

The Gators can also expect to have the services of offensive lineman Jon Halapio who is ready to go and senior cornerback Moses Jenkins who has missed the first part of the season with a hyper-extended elbow.

"Moses is available," Meyer said. "He isn't quite 100% but he is available and will make the trip."

Junior starting defensive tackle Jaye Howard has been hurt and has been really limited in practice. Freshman receiver Andre Debose was injured in the loss to Mississippi State and has missed a lot of practice as well in the last two weeks. Meyer says both may play, but not much.

"Andre and Jaye are both probable," Meyer said. "I haven't been inside (to talk with trainers) yet, but I would say they are both going. I think Jaye Howard will play but not a whole lot and I am hoping we can get something out of both of them."

The suffering goes on with sophomore offensive tackle Matt Patchan. Patchan was injured in the preseason and had to have a second surgery on his hand to repair a fracture. Meyer says Patchan will not play Saturday and was asked if the thought ever crossed his mind that Patchan may never play again.

"I don't want to think that," Meyer said. "I just want that kid around. I just feel for him because I love that guy."

Freshman running back Mack Brown has been the most widely talked about player on the team in the last couple of weeks. With all the injuries to running backs, the freshman has yet to see any meaningful playing time. Brown was the number one target at running back this past recruiting cycle, and his talent has not been questioned. His learning of the offense has been behind, but Meyer said an injury has been hampering his young back.

"He's had some hamstring issues," Meyer said of Brown. "We've had some with (freshmen) Chris Dunkley, Quinton Dunbar, Joshua Shaw was a knee. All of those kids were planning on playing and they get dinged up. I think Mack is getting close but he has had hamstring issues.

Meyer also said the Gators will be without placekicker Caleb Sturgis who was probable earlier in the week. Sturgis has missed the last three losses and is sorely missed for his kickoff and field goal duties.

"He's not going to kick," Meyer said. "He felt some pain yesterday. He probably could (kick), but in the best interests of the young man…that's a pretty tough injury. We didn't have him kicking off this week, because it's a hair line fracture of a vertebra. He was doing great on Wednesday and then afterward he told us."

Meyer said in Sturgis' absence, punter Chas Henry will continue the kicking duties. He said that Henry hit every kick in practice on Thursday and feels comfortable putting him in there to kick from as far as 45 yards.

The Georgia game is always one of the biggest of the year for the Gators and the added emphasis on this season with the way it has gone is noticeable.

"It's the whole world," Meyer said of the big game. "First of all its Florida-Georgia. It's been like this before in this conference. In our first year for sure, it was like ‘what is going on?' These teams kept beating each other. That's where we are at."

Winning the game also means a chance to continue on their run to a chance at the SEC Eastern Division title where the Gators still control their own destiny despite three straight SEC losses.

"We can't worry about that, we have to worry about one day at a time," Meyer said. "We had a really good week and have been really good in the last two weeks of practice. We eased up a bit yesterday and today and I am expecting a good performance…. We aren't at that point. Where we are at right now, we are just trying to get a little better."

The Bulldogs started 1-4 and have been on a three game tear evening their record to 4-4. In that streak, receiver A.J. Green has been on a tear. Green is tall at 6-5 and very fast and quite possibly the best receiver in the entire country. They also have a very good tight end in Florida native Orson Charles.

"The receiver is an issue and the thing that makes him an issue is the height," Meyer said. "We'll have ways to start him like putting two guys on him, but we can't do that too much because there are other guys that are pretty good too. That tight end is a pretty good player too."

Junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins will be asked to play a lot against Green and Meyer likes the match up for his all-conference candidate.

"I don't remember Julio Jones hurting us bad," Meyer said when asked about the matchup problems. "Janoris is a good player and matched up against Julio in that game. The tall ones that are real fast are a problem. The one at Georgia is tall and real fast.


There is some talk about letting prospects attend the game in Jacksonville as recruits. Right now, the schools are not inclined to do so and therefore no recruits are allowed to attend for free and watch. Meyer says he is in favor of having the prospects watch the game.

"I think both teams should be able to bring recruits," Meyer said. "Give 25 tickets or something like that. They would be able to sign up for tickets, watch the game, and then go home. They deserve to watch this game because they are going to get to play in it."
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