Gators Moving On

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – More has happened with the Gator football team over the last four days than has happened in quite a while. Where last summer was a somewhat quiet summer, Urban Meyer has had to deal with legal matters facing one of his players and another player getting hit by a stray bullet.

The stories of Jamar Hornsby and Matt Patchan both came over the weekend, while most players were home for the break between the spring semester and the first summer session. But Summer A got underway on Monday, which should quiet some of the off-the-field issues.

After everyone who was gone got back into town this weekend, Meyer met with the Leadership Committee members to discuss the events of the last week.

"I just met with the leaders of the team," Meyer said at last night's Gator Gathering in Tallahassee. "I let coach Mickey Marotti handle the rest of the team. We're going to have a meeting on Sunday."

The news of both Hornsby and Patchan drew national attention, but Meyer would like some of the attention brought back to the silent majority that helped put together a record-setting grade point average of 2.86.

"I talked to the leaders for quite a while," Meyer said. "That's one guy out of 105 that made a very poor decision. There are 104 other guys out there, and I'd like to spend more time talking about the guys that are out there and did a great job in the classroom."

Patchan had a successful procedure on Monday to take out the remnants of a stray bullet that hit him over the weekend in Tampa. He's expected to be back to working out in two weeks. As for the Hornsby situation, Meyer is definitely looking to move forward, but it's still had an impact on the head coach.

"It's heartbreaking because I know the mom and I know the family," Meyer said. "I just get heartbroken because I see great opportunities thrown away. It's baffling to me. I'll read in the papers about things that are happening to kids elsewhere and then a story shows up about one of ours. It's baffling. I know how we grew up. Every opportunity that you're given you have to take advantage of and to take an opportunity and throw it away, it's astonishing."

Defensive tackle John Brown, on the other hand, is trying to make the most of the opportunity given to him. Brown was a late qualifier coming into Florida, and although he's still making some adjustments academically, he seems to be making strides off the football field.

"It is an adjustment, but he's getting there," Meyer said. "It's an up hill battle for him, but it's a battle. John Brown going to the University of Florida, but Dallas Baker did it. Those are non-qualified students that are going to make it. Some guys are given that opportunity and taking advantage of it."

When it's put into perspective, the effort of all the Gators in the classroom is quite astonishing according to Meyer. He was recently asked by a family friend to help their son transfer into Florida from South Carolina, but he wasn't able to pull it off despite the student's high academic achievements.

"He had a 33 ACT," Meyer said. "They said no chance. A 33 ACT tells you how hard it is to get into the University of Florida. A kid with a 4.0 and a 33 ACT on an academic scholarship at South Carolina. And now our guys are doing well in the classroom, and we have great people giving academic support and they're working their butts off in the classroom."

Notes

  • Percy Harvin is rehabbing three days a week after having heel surgery back in April. The Gator star is off crutches and walking with a boot while working out with Marotti.

    "I was talking to Mickey Marotti about his strength and he said he's a beast because he really didn't go home," Meyer said. "He's just rehabbing and rehabbing and rehabbing with coach Marotti. He's one-on-one with him. He's doing great."

    Harvin hasn't been able to do any cardio work yet, but he should be able to do some bike work soon.

  • As for other offseason injuries… Quarterback John Brantley is still wearing a brace, but should be fine in about a week. Offensive guard Maurice Hurt has been cleared 100 percent, linebacker Brendan Beal has been cleared after minor shoulder surgery that followed the spring game and linebacker A.J. Jones is good to go after a broken wrist kept him out of contact throughout the spring.

  • Three members of the class of 2008 arrived on campus this past weekend. Normally, their scholarships don't kick in until Summer B, but T.J. Pridemore, Sam Robey and Omar Hunter made it in early.

    "Pridemore graduated early so he came in early," Meyer said. "Omar was just a situation that we worked very hard to get done and we made it happen. Sam Robey is paying his own way. His family wanted to get him to get a head start."

    Pridemore could have been an early enrollee had it not been for the scholarship numbers during the spring. He has the potential to play both offense and defense and he'll learn both over the summer.

    "We'll make that decision in the fall," Meyer said. "I have not seen him. I've seen video on him. We are not perfect at linebacker right now, so we'll see."

    Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Chris Chmielenski


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