Door Might Be Open For Baker To Play Saturday

Don't count on wide receiver Dallas Baker seeing the field Saturday in Columbia when the Florida Gators take on the South Carolina Gamecocks. The chances that you'll see number 81 on the field are considered "slim" by Coach Urban Meyer but after Thursday's practice there is a possibility that Baker might see some action.

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Baker, Florida's second leading receiver with 38 catches for 492 yards and two touchdowns, broke a rib last Saturday against Vanderbilt. He was held out of practice the first three days of this week but he took part in the Gators final workout before they leave for Columbia, opening the possibility that Meyer could send him on the field.

"He did a little something today but it's still slim," said Meyer after the Thursday tuneup. "I'd have to put it at slim but he's going to go with us."

Baker's presence would bolster a wide receiver corps that has had to battle through one injury after another. Chad Jackson, who played banged up and with sore hamstrings for about three weeks, appears back to full speed and Jemalle Cornelius, who missed one full game after a high ankle sprain against Alabama, finally is back to full speed as well.

On the defensive line, the overall injury situation is not so bad. Marcus Thomas, who took himself out of the game twice against Vandy with a sore back, appears ready to go along with Joe Cohen, who has had a few dings. The news on Ray McDonald continues to be not so encouraging.

"They drained Ray McDonald's knee today and it will be minimal plays if he plays," said Meyer. "Marcus Thomas had limited work all week but he's feeling much better. He hurt himself against Georgia but he's been battling back. Ray McDonald is the one who hasn't been the same since Tennessee."

South Carolina is the kind of game that lends itself to more playing time for sophomore defensive end Jarvis Moss who leads the team with five sacks.

"A game like this he's probably going to help us because they're going to throw it a little," said Meyer. "A 240-pound defensive end is hard to match up with 310-pound tackles in a hard physical run game but he's getting better."

Moss was down to 215 pounds in the spring but he's close to 245 now after UF doctors discovered a lingering bone infection was the cause of his pain, weight loss and lack of energy. Meyer expects Moss to pack on more weight in the offseason but he's cautious to predict just how much.

"You have to see how much his body can handle," said Meyer. "This is the heaviest he's ever been but he moves real well. He's done a good job."

Elsewhere on the injury front, tailback DeShawn Wynn was held out of contact this week and the rest apparently has been good for him. Wynn has battled through a chronically sore shoulder all season. An MRI on Sunday revealed that there is no structural damage to the joint and nothing wrong with the shoulder that some rest couldn't cure.

"Not much contact but he's been able to practice," said Meyer. "He told me he's feeling much better."

Despite all the injuries, Meyer doesn't like talking about how many players he has hurt and banged up.

"Everybody's dealing with it so I don't want to use that as a crutch," he said. "We're dealing with it and we're moving on. I don't know if we've ever dealt with this many injuries, though."

READYING FOR SPURRIER: Spurrier has a well earned reputation as a coach who will use a trick play to his advantage. During his years at Florida he would spring the Emory and Henry formation on unsuspecting teams and used throwback passes to quarterbacks as well as other gimmick plays. Meyer has had his defensive staff studying old game film of the Gators during the Spurrier years to pick up some of the trick play tendencies.

"Our defense kind of looked at what he did at Florida and in a big game he's been known to do that and home," said Meyer. "I don't think on the road. Watch the Arkansas game and it was fairly close knit."

Co-defensive coordinator Charlie Strong spent time on Spurrier's staff at Florida so he's been given the assignment of getting the team prepped for trick plays.

GOOD WEEK FOR THE SECONDARY: With Vernell Brown out, Meyer and the defensive staff have been making adjustments in the secondary and readying Reggie Lewis and Avery Atkins for extended action at cornerback. He said the practice week with the secondary "was a good one … we've had a good week."

Other than Lewis moving permanently from the nickel to corner, the greatest change to expect will be the Kyle Jackson returning to free safety in situations when Reggie Nelson moves down from free safety to nickel. The move of Nelson could prove critical when South Carolina goes in three and four-wide sets since he has good cover skills. Nelson, second on the team with four sacks, will be able to blitz the quarterback easier from the nickel which will help the Gators get more pressure.

Brown's absence has meant adjusting personnel to fit the situations.

"We've got a lot of different packages," said Meyer. "When they're two backs and a tight end it's a certain group. When they're three wide outs and four wideouts it's different."

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