Patton excited to be back

For some on the 2013 Florida football roster, the season is a time to get back into the sport they love. A year ago and in late October, senior receiver Solomon Patton was on the verge of helping his undefeated team continue on its success when he broke his arm in the Georgia game. The Gators ended up losing the game and Patton was also lost for the year.

From more of a role player, to now a starter at receiver, Solomon Patton is really excited to see what he can do as a senior for the Gators.

"Not nervous, I'm really excited," he said of game day on Saturday against Toledo. "I was talking to Neiron Ball and Ronald Powell the other day. We're three guys that haven't played in a long time and we're excited to get back.

The injured linebackers were a big blessing for Patton and helping him through the dark tunnel of not playing the game they love.

"It helps out a lot because you get to hear from those guys: keep your head up and you'll be back. Just to keep pushing and stuff. It was a real tough time for me. I would cry every day because I wished I was playing. I love the game that much. Just listening to those guys talk to me, it really helped out a lot."

Things were bleak in October when the injury happened on a fluke tackle at the sideline in the Georgia game.

"Real devastating, I had finally gotten my chance and you know, and it was just like boom, it happened," he said. "I never thought I would break anything."

Patton said when it happened it hurt, but he didn't know the extent of the injury or that it was even broken at the time.

"No I really didn't (know) until the doctor leaned me up and I heard him say it," he said. "I was out of it though and I really didn't pay attention to it until I got into the locker room."

Initially, the injury was devastating, until he started getting his mind right an focusing on getting better.

"Just long and hurtful and painful," he said of the injury when it first happened. "I just had to suck it up and try to get myself back able to play."

Most of the angst from the injury came in the form of not being able to help Florida win that Georgia game and finish off the season strong like they wanted to.

"It hurt me real bad and I wish I was out there to help them out," he said. "I would have done my best to help us get in a better position."

The pride is up in Gainesville with this team and the Gators feel like they can go places in 2013. Patton hopes to be a big part of a successful year, one like hasn't been seen around here in about five seasons.

"(I'm) looking into having a big year and being able to make some plays for my team and making sure we get to the SEC championship," he said.

Patton is also proud of his teammates and the receiver unit. A group that has been scoffed at for the last few years, the staff has been heaping some praise on them and they have been working hard on their own time to make up for lost time.

"Every chance that we got to run routes and meet as an offense, from watching film to running routes, I just really focused on releases and really getting my routes down to a T."

"I think everybody is on the same page and that goes back to the summer with all of us working together. It's all coming together."

A big part of the expected success at receiver is receiver's coach Joker Phillips who is in his first year at the position after working as the head coach at Kentucky.

"He brought a lot," Patton said of his new coach. "Coach Joker is a real good receivers coach. Just different things like you get different coaches that come and go and they bring all types of different things, but I would say releases and stuff like that and really focusing on running our routes the correct way. He brought in a lot of stuff."

Solomon Patton brings his 5-foot-9 and 177 pound frame to the game as a starter on Saturday. His size has been a constant obstacle and he has endured injures to get on the field. His speed can make him a difference maker and that is all he wants to be in his last year at Florida.


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