Speed kills

One of Florida coach Urban Meyer's stated goals is to field the fastest team in college football. He should achieve that distinction this fall.

Wide receivers Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy cover 40 yards in less than 4.4 seconds. So does running back Chris Rainey. So does signee Jeff Demps. But that's only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Demps recently posted a 10.03 clocking in the 100 meters that would've been the fastest time ever by a high school athlete except that it was slightly wind-aided. He's a 5-8, 176-pounder who probably will play receiver for the 2008 Gators.

"I don't know if he can catch the ball," Meyer said at the recent SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala., "but he can run like hell."

Naturally, Demps' reputation preceded him onto the Florida campus. That's why Rainey, a 5-9, 185-pound redshirt freshman who also has speed to burn, challenged the rookie to a footrace.

Feigning displeasure, Meyer noted: "We don't condone that. We have to babysit them every second. But everyone is saying how fast he is, so they said, 'Let's go out in back of the dorm, figure this thing out.'"

Demps' reputation must have weighed him down because Rainey won the race, according to eyewitness accounts.

"I didn't witness it but I heard a lot about it," Florida quarterback Tim Tebow said. "There were a lot of false starts but, from what I heard, Rainey did win in the 40. That's pretty unbelievable because Demps is one of the fastest men in the world."

Meyer didn't get to watch The Great Race, either, but he admits he would have relished the opportunity.

"I wasn't there but I would've liked to," he said. "We could have probably sold about 10,000 tickets for that. ESPN GameDay probably would've been there, as well."

Like Tebow, Meyer heard that Rainey actually beat the heralded Demps to the finish line.

"I guess Chris nudged him out," the coach said. "So we've got some speed."

The Gators have some speed, all right, and it could prove decisive in Florida's quest for the SEC title. They do call it a conference "race," after all.


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