Younger Guys Coming Along

It was inevitable that after pulling in the top-rated recruiting class last year that some of those guys would make it to the playing field. With injuries and the wear-and-tear of the season combined with player development, Florida head coach Urban Meyer is saying a couple new faces could see action against Auburn on Saturday.

On Wednesday, the Gators were short three receivers from their starting rotation. Riley Cooper (sprained ankle), Percy Harvin (hip bruise) and Andre Caldwell (knee sprain) were all limited, leaving room for true freshman Deonte Thompson to show what he could do. He impressed Meyer who is now talking about Thompson playing on Saturday night.

"It' a long season and we're nicked up," Urban Meyer said after Thursday's practice. " [Thompson] has earned it. That's the biggest thing, and there's nothing like game experience. I think he's game ready. Sometimes, I say we're going to try and get him in there, and we'll see how it goes, but he's game ready now. He was not game ready until this week. He was getting close, close, close, now he's ready."

Harvin did workout for the full practice on Thursday after being limited the last few days.

"He was out the whole time," Meyer said. "It takes a long time to loosen that thing up. He had about 20 minutes of conditioning and stretching with the trainer and then he practiced. He didn't practice 100 percent, but I anticipate he'll be 100 percent by game time."

Meyer said Cooper is 90 percent and he expects the sophomore to be 100 percent by game time on Saturday.

As for Thompson, the original school of thought was that he would be redshirted, but Meyer said he's too talented not to be utilized.

"I used to think redshirt and all that, but he's that kind of talent that who knows five years from now what's going on," he said. "It's more for him. He wants to play and he's getting closer to being ready."

Another true freshman, cornerback Moses Jenkins, may also see playing time against the Tigers.

"He is another guy that's almost ready," Meyer said. "And that's a position we need with Markihe. He's been practicing well, so there's a chance you'll see him on Saturday."

Meyer said Jenkins role could be on special teams as well as with the defense. And defensive tackle John Brown who missed time during fall camp awaiting clearance from the NCAA is also improving.

"He won't play this week, but he's going to start getting a look," Meyer said. "He's starting to get in shape and catch up a little bit. He's really impressive."

Brown has been working out with the scout team.


  • Defensive tackle Brandon Antwine should return to the lineup after missing the last two games with a hyper-extended elbow. Said Meyer, "He can give us a little juice off the ball because he is quick. He had that hyper-extended elbow, but I'm hoping he gives us a little juice off the edge. We'll have a rotation, which we didn't have last week. … He's more of a penetrator. He's what we're looking for as far as getting up the field."
  • Place kicker Joey Ijjas will be fine for Saturday after sitting out the first couple of practices of the week with a sore leg.
  • Meyer is very familiar with Auburn's running back Mario Fannin. Said Meyer, "We recruited him. He's dynamic. We knew what he could do in high school. He's fast."

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