Meyer: Paul Wilson's Career Probably Over

It has been a pretty uneventful summer and fall so far as far as major injuries for the Florida Gators, but one of their own may have suffered the final blow in terms of his playing career. Urban Meyer announced on Friday that sophomore receiver Paul Wilson of Lakeland reinjured his broken foot from a year ago and will probably not be able to play the sport again.

Paul Wilson is entering his third year on the Gator football team and was primed to see playing time on offense and a lot of time on special teams. Unfortunately, an injury may have derailed his plan for this year and beyond.

"Paul Wilson probably won't play football again" a downtrodden Urban Meyer told the media on Friday. "I was going to count on him for special teams. He has had some tough injuries, he had a wrist injury, a couple of leg issues. The foot that was broken, (broke again) and because of what receivers have to do as far as pushing off, he has been advised not to play football.

"We wish him all the best. Obviously, we will pay for his school and is a medical hardship. It's real tough on him because he wants to play."

Wilson hasn't seen much playing time, but according to Meyer he was an easy player for him to root for.

"You have to say it like this but it's true, but there are certain kids you like more than others," Meyer said. "The guys that put in the hard work, go to class, live right, and take care of themselves...all the things Paul Wilson does. A guy like that deserves his chance to live his dream, but at the end of the day there are a lot of worse things than getting a college degree at Florida."

In the meantime, the Gators are actually starting to get a little healthier overall and had a pretty good practice.

"It was good," Meyer said of the overall practice on Friday. "Moody was back at practice, Trattou is pretty close, Carl is real close, and Jeremy Brown practiced today so we are getting healthy again. Matt Patchan had a minor concussion and didn't practice this afternoon but he will be back tomorrow."

It is the defensive side of the ball that returns all of the two deep that has been dominant so far this fall.

"The offense is catching up a little bit, but the defense is still way ahead," Meyer said. "There is a lot of experience and the offense is a little behind right now. The two corners (Joe Haden and Janoris Jenkins) are playing very well and Will Hill is playing very well, those guys are standing out...Ahmad Black had a really good day today...running with the one's and doing a good job.

One of the real reasons the defense was so special last year is the leadership of senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes. Meyer has high praise for his defensive team captain.

"If you cut Brandon Spikes open, he has a heart of gold," Meyer said. "A lot of people around see him and slap a stereotype on him and that isn't true. He is a great young guy and I love that guy to death. He has a great heart and helps a lot of people and he stands for the right thing and that is a team first attitude."

Meyer attributes a lot of the progress of the defensive line last season to Spikes and his leadership on defense.

"Our defensive line was atrocious (in 2007)," Meyer said. "Brandon was almost scared and he made a comment to me, 'what if I fail as a leader.' I think the reason our defensive line played so well is because Brandon Spikes demanded that. His relentless effort on the field raised the level of play."

Meyer has also been high on the emergence of true freshman linebacker Jon Bostic. Bostic enrolled in the spring and has been dominating at time on the field, even among the older players. One thing about Bostic is that his father played in the NFL. Meyer wasn't sold on that alone, he had to see more.

"When I met the family, it enhanced the guy's value," Meyer said of Bostic's dad and his attitude toward football. "A former athlete's son. After I met his family, (I knew) the chance of him being a good player was real high."

Bostic played safety in high school, but Meyer and defensive coordinator Charlie Strong recognized a big time linebacker when they see one.

"From day one we knew he would be a linebacker," Meyer said of Bostic. "We have known about him forever and we had no doubt he would be a good player for us."

The defense's progression this fall has also happened because of the emergence of Carlos Dunlap as a more primed and ready player. Dunlap seems to have gotten a new lease on life and has picked up his work habits to just about where Meyer wants them to be.

"I wouldn't say all the time, but most of the time," Meyer said when asked if Dunlap is full throttle 100% of the time. He is really a much improved and different player."

Lerentee McCray told the media on Thursday that he was switched to Fox defensive end, but would also play some linebacker. He said that it was his decision to do so. Urban Meyer wasn't ready to make that switch just yet and said that the staff is just tinkering with ways to use Lerentee McCray effectively.

"We are just playing around," Meyer said. "It's way too early and he just needs to work on some pass rush like Spikes does. (The move) way down the road. He is one of those unique, strong, gifted athletes kind of like Spikes...Its a little bit like the Percy position on offense, now we are creating one of those spots on defense. A dual purpose guy that everybody wants."

On offense, receivers are the talk of camp and their progression this early fall should be key for the season. As of now, it is the older guys that have stepped up and continue to be the mainstays for the receiving corps.

"Our top receivers right now are Cooper, David Nelson, Deonte Thompson, Brandon James, and Aaron Hernandez," Meyer said. "There is a group of guys where someone has to surface and they haven't done that."

"Deonte Thompson is about where we need him to be and still needs to improve, but he's one of our top guys and had a great summer."

Meyer thinks that Riley Cooper showed up at Florida in great shape and believes this has been Cooper's finest fall camp even without the summer conditioning with the team as he was playing baseball.

"A few guys can do that and Riley has that body type," Meyer said about taking the summer conditioning off. "We didn't throw him right into the fire right away, we let him work into it. Of all the previous camps that he's been a Florida Gator it's not even close to where he is right now. I am really glad he's back."

One name that will continue to be at the forefront is true freshman Andre Debose. Debose will play in the slot position vacated by Percy Harvin. How soon and how often he gets on the field will be determined by his practice time. He will eventually be asked to run the ball as well, but they haven't gotten that far in the play book for the young super star.

"Debose is coming on, we still have a long way to go,"Meyer said. "Expectations are real high for him. We haven't done him in that dual role yet. I want to do that fairly soon but he hasn't gotten that receiver down yet."

........................................................................

The staff hasn't been hiding the fact that starting cornerback Joe Haden could see some time at quarterback for them in special situations and packages this season. However, Meyer wants to make sure he isn't going to take away from his defense before he lets Haden hit the other side of the ball.

"We want to have that option available," Meyer said of Haden at quarterback. "A lot of Haden's use in the backfield will be if we develop one more corner. Jeremy Brown is getting close and Wondy has had a good camp. If he is getting worn out a little bit, we may have to rest him a little bit."

..........................................................

Meyer wasn't particularly pleased with offensive tackle Matt Patchan's comments to the media at Media Days. Patchan puts on a show sometimes when a microphone is put in his face and he preceded to call Tennessee Head Coach Lane Kiffin "a Bozo" for the media. Meyer shook his head and let the media know that isn't what he expects of his players.

"We don't need to be doing that ...we just need to worry about the Florida Gators," Meyer said.

.........................................................

Meyer hasn't cleared up the status of suspended linebacker Dustin Doe yet. As of now, he is off the team, but he is waiting to hear how everything ends up before making a final ruling on his player who has been arrested at least twice now for driving infractions.

"He's not with the team yet," Meyer said of Doe. "We are going to do what is best for the Florida football team and Dustin Doe."

......................................................

Florida will scrimmage tomorrow (Saturday) morning,the first of the year.


Fightin Gators Top Stories