Meyer Has Some Go To Guys

There may come a time this 2009 season when Tim Tebow isn't going to be able to be counted on to provide a play and the Gators have to turn to someone else on offense. In the unlikelihood that happens, Florida Head Coach Urban Meyer thinks he has a group of players that are ready to step up and take the reigns. The offense has more playmakers than just Tebow.

So many times in the last two years the Florida Gators have relied on Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin, or Louis Murphy at the end of games to come through and pull the game out. With two of those three options gone to the professional ranks, the Florida Gators are looking to find others they can lean on. Urban Meyer touched on that on Thursday.

"Riley Cooper is a guy that comes to mind because he has done it before," Meyer said about Cooper's big play capability. "Aaron Hernandez is another because I have witnessed it. I am anxious to see Deonte Thompson do it. I'd say those three and maybe Jeff Demps, because I have seen those guys do. it."

Providing those guys the time to make a play will be an offensive line that Meyer thinks is as deep as any he has had at Florida. The Gators lost starting tackles Phil Trautwein and Jason Watkins from last year, but return a lot of beef and some young guys that are stepping up and making noise along the front.

"I think it is the most depth we have had," Meyer said. "We miss Trautwein because he was such a good technician and a stalwart at that left tackle spot. Matt Patchan is getting a little better. Having the ability to move Carl Johnson...he gives you some flexibility. I think Maurice Hurt will be able to play and Sam Robey. So all that flexibility is what you want and we haven't had that before here."

Meyer is consistent on saying that they aren't going to settle on a starting offensive line unit until Wednesday of game week. In the meantime he is liking the competition and wants to wait it out.

"We aren't there yet and we aren't announcing the starting lineup till next week," he said. "We will probably announce that on Wednesday."

Meyer said Thursday, "we had a very good practice." But, the injuries, especially at linebacker are something that he hopes will be better next week.

"Lawrence Marsh has an ankle sprain and they are saying Monday (for his return)," Meyer said. "You have Jelani Jenkins (ankle) and Brandon Hicks (ankle) and he is running around a little bit now. Our training staff are glass half full people so they are saying we will have them early next week. Jon Bostic has a sore neck, he is practicing, but we need to get him full speed. Beal is doing well, but he is also dinged up a little bit. I think on Monday we will have a full allotment and be ready to go."

With game week only a couple of days away Meyer seems ready to see what backup quarterback John Brantley can do. The sophomore from nearby Ocala has been producing at practice and Meyer says he deserves to be on the field early and often.

"I don't want to make any promises because they always come back to haunt you," Meyer said. "He has earned playing time at Florida. We are anxious to get him in the game. It isn't charity work, we would like to get him in the game."


Meyer singled out freshman Frankie Hammond as a young receiver that has made some noise and is ready to join the quartet of Riley Cooper, David Nelson, Deonte Thompson, and Brandon James as a guy that can be counted on in the passing game.

"Frankie Hammond is showing some strides and the next level guy that is going to step into the rotation," Meyer said.


The Gators are planning on redshirting freshman tight end Desmond Parks. With Aaron Hernandez as the only other real scholarship tight end on the roster, the Gators would have to turn to other options if something were to happen to the Gators' super junior.

"Desmond Parks is a guy that we will probably redshirt," Meyer said. It isn't for sure but he isn't ready to play yet. The one guy that we will be ready to play in goal line situations is (defensive end) Justin Trattou."

Meyer also said that fullbacks T.J. Pridemore, Rick Burgess, Christopher Scott, and Steven Wilks will be used a lot in the way they attack opponents.

"The good thing is we can operate without a tight end," Meyer said. "The fullback/tight end is interchangeable, so you have Pridemore, Burgess, and when Wilks gets back, and Scott."

The Gators will hold practice Friday evening and then early Saturday morning. Media availability will only be after Saturday morning's practice.

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