The shoulder of Tim Tebow is getting better and Riley Cooper is catching passes again. All signs are pointing towards a more effective offense when the Florida Gators return to The Swamp on Saturday afternoon.
It's been quite a while since the Gators have played on Florida
Field - in fact it's been more than a month. And when they take the field on Saturday to face Vanderbilt
, both teams will be fighting for their SEC East lives as the winner will keep their division title hopes alive and the loser will be all but eliminated from contention. For the Gators, quarterback Tim Tebow
should be a little more involved in the rushing offense after being used only on short yardage situations against Georgia
"The shoulder's not bad, so I'm hoping he'll run some more," Urban Meyer
said after Wednesday's practice.
In addition to Tebow's sore shoulder improving, so is the status of Riley Cooper
. For the first time since breaking his finger against Kentucky
two weeks ago, the sophomore wide receiver caught passes during Wednesday's workout.
"Riley's going to play," Meyer said. "He caught some balls and I think tomorrow he'll catch some more balls. He should be ready to go."
The running back situation is still up in the air. Kestahn Moore
was pulled on Saturday after fumbling and mishandling a direct snap. He also fumbled late in the third quarter in the loss to LSU
"We have Brandon James
, Percy Harvin
and Jarred Fayson
and Kestahn Moore," Meyer said. "All those guys will get some snaps."
Louis Murphy is begining to make more of an impact on offense, but if you asked Meyer when Murphy was a freshman, Meyer would have bet against him still being in Gainesville two years later. Said Meyer, "He makes plays in practice. It actually started at the end of last year. There's not a guy that I can remember in 20 years who has made that significant of an improvemnet. He's going to be very successful someday. He is one of our go to guys."
There's still a lot of work to do this season, but the future definitely is bright for the young Gators. Said Meyer, "It's a team that there are still so many opportunities available and so much football left. I looked at the roster today and next year we'll have 33 sophomores and I think we'll have five seniors. You can see the disparity. I wish I could put the foot on the accelerator and make it happen."
After a quiet start, Derrick Harvey is putting together quite a season. He leads the Gators with 6.5 sacks and ranks seventh with 31 tackles. Said Meyer, "I expect that out of Harvey. He's another guy that had a great offseason."