Several Starters to miss Spring Game

When the Florida Gators take Florida Field at The Swamp for the Orange and Blue Game on Saturday, they'll be missing a couple of starters. Center Maurkice Pouncey underwent shoulder surgery earlier today, and Janoris Jenkins, Lawrence Marsh and possibly Carlos Dunlap face surgeries as well.

Maurkice Pouncey has sat out more practices this spring than he's participated in, but a lingering labrum issue forced him to have surgery today. He'll be out for three months, and it could impact his weight lifting routine during the summer, but Urban Meyer expects him back for the fall.

Lawrence Marsh and Carlos Dunlap will also miss the spring game causing Meyer to have to consider what he'll do for the game on Saturday.

"Maurkice Pouncey had shoulder surgery today," Meyer said. "He's going to be out for about three months. For sure, Marsh is going to have surgery and Dunlap might. The good thing is they'll all be back fairly shortly, but I don't know how we're going to manage the spring game. I've got some work to do this week to figure out what's best for our team."

Cornerback Janoris Jenkins will also have surgery, but will only be out three weeks.

"Janoris is going to have surgery on the top part of his finger," Meyer said. "It's minor, but he's going to miss the rest of spring."

The Gators only have two practices left before Saturday's Orange and Blue Game. Wednesday will be what Meyer termed as a "work day", but Friday will be more lax.

"Friday we'll have Coach Belichick and Coach Gruden here who will talk to the high school coaches clinic," Meyer said. "Tim [Tebow] has a lot of things going on this week, too, so it's a busy week."

With all the injury news, the Gators have had some good news recently. First, the Gator fullbacks are starting to improve a little especially from the play of senior walk-on Rick Burgess. Meyer said he doesn't know where Burgess came from – he just showed up at practice one day. But he likes what he sees.

"I love Scott," Meyer said. "He's going to play for us. It might be fullback, it might be running back. Scott had his best day for us on Saturday. He had another good day today. Another guy that had a good day today was [Steven] Wilks. I made the comment that the fullback position was bordering on embarrassing, but it's very functional right now."

Burgess is 6-1, 230-pounds and played his high school ball at Jupiter High School. He played two seasons at Southern Illinois and was the school's freshman player of the year in 2006.

The Gators will also return last year's place kicker Jonathan Phillips who gained an extra season through a redshirt.

"Jamie McCloskey does a phenomenal job, and at first he said he wasn't sure," Meyer said. "At first I thought he should get it, but then I heard some things and I wasn't sure. … It's great. It adds depth. He's a great kid and he made some big kicks for us in the fall."


In the past, Meyer has been against taking commitments from high school prospects early, but the Gators already have 10 commitments for next year.

"We're kind of taking the bait right now," he said. "We got some commitments now, and I'm not a big fan of it, but I also know that we have a job to do. The good thing is that at Florida we get to meet all these guys and spend time with them before we commit."

Meyer went as far as to say that he would consider favoring an early signing period for football.

"I'm a guy that voted against it, but I'm a guy who wants to reconsider," he said. "I want to hear some more about it because it makes some sense to me now."


  • Meyer on Jeff Demps"We meet with him four days a week. He lifts with us and still does the change of direction drill. It took us about two months to get the straight ahead, not speed, but the straight ahead out of him because football is not straight ahead. The first month he wasn't very good. The last three months he was tremendous. He comes in and does change of direction drills with Coach Mickey. He does position meetings with Coach Carter. And then he runs track."

  • Meyer on offensive coordinator Steve Addazio "It's our offense. It's the same offense. He's the fourth offensive coordinator we've had, and three of them have been promoted to head coach, so we've been very fortunate to some good coaches."

  • Meyer on defending Percy Harvin to NFL teams… "I have. Not through the media, but if I get phone calls, and I have gotten some phone calls about him. … We won two national championships and won 44 games a lot of them in the SEC. I was on the sideline with a guy that I know exactly what he was. Percy is an extreme competitor. He's got to be in the right place though. I think he'll be a great NFL player. I just hope he goes to a good team with good coaches."

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