No. 7/7 Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer met with the media after practice on Thursday and divulged a few important notes about the team’s fifth game Saturday against the No. 1/1 Alabama Crimson Tide. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni also spoke on Wednesday. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details which you can check out below.
DEBOSE CONTINUES TO GROW
As Meyer alluded to last week at this time, redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose saw his first legitimate action last Saturday against Kentucky, catching four passes in the first quarter for 36 yards. Azzanni explained on Wednesday that Debose’s limited time on the field was by design based on the number of plays to which he had been assigned.
“[We] just had a small package for him. He practiced really hard last week. When you’re a young guy, the way you practice dictates how much you play here. That’s how it is,” Azzanni said. “He practiced great last week. So what did I do? I put together a little package for him and said, ‘This is your package. Go get it.’ […] He had a good game. […] He’s a young guy. I want him to go play really hard, really fast, and I don’t want him thinking a bunch. […] I thought he executed his package well. The way he practices this week, the package will grow.”
Meyer had similar things to say Thursday about Debose’s improvement.
“[He's] getting close. He had a good week. He’s still very much involved,” he said. “I made the comment last week and it’s going to [stay true] for the next week: If he doesn’t practice very well [he won't see the field]. He’s really coming on. Good to see that, too.” Part of what Meyer is looking for is how Debose understands and executes the playbook. “He just can’t handle it [all] right now,” Meyer continued. “That’s where a guy like [freshman quarterback] Trey [Burton] does. It’s amazing. Trey – boom – got it and go. But that’s not uncommon. It took [redshirt junior WR] Deonte [Thompson] a while. [Debose]’s doing a good job. Really good week of practice.”
DEMPS REMAINS PROBABLE
Even though he was limited in practice on Thursday, junior running back Jeff Demps continues to be listed as Probable on the Gators’ unofficial injury report. Demps had been wearing a protective boot for the last few days, which is now off according to Meyer. “[He was] limited today still. We’re going to try to practice him [Friday] more. But he’s still limited. He’s probably for the game Saturday. He wasn’t full speed moving around.”
Should Demps have difficulty playing, it was made clear that redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody and sophomore Mike Gillislee will have increased roles. Meyer also mentioned that freshman Mack Brown could see additional time. “[Brown’s] a freshman with really big wide eyes. A nice guy that has a lot of talent and he’s getting a lot better,” he said.
OTHER INJURY UPDATES
Redshirt senior defensive tackles Lawrence Marsh (hamstring, stitches) and Brandon Antwine (shoulder) are both “ready to go,” according to Meyer, who also said junior kicker Caleb Sturgis is slowly recovering from a nagging back injury. “He’s got that back issue. He fought through it [during] last week’s game,” he said. “It’s going to be something he’s going to have to deal with and work through and he has been. He’s done a nice job with it.”
QUOTES (After the break…)
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