Harvey rushing to notice

Published: Tuesday, April 18, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 18, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
Last season, a talented young defensive end with a world of potential rose from obscurity to become one of the University of Florida's best defensive players.
We're talking about Jarvis Moss, probably the feel-good story of 2005 for the Gators.
It was such a good story that another talented young defensive end with all kinds of potential is hoping it repeats itself this season, with a new guy in the leading role.
"I'm trying to follow in Jarvis Moss' footprints," redshirt sophomore Derrick Harvey said Monday. "I look up to him and I'm trying to do what he does. I'm trying to follow him.
"It's been a real good spring. Now, I have to take it over to the season."
For the first time in his brief UF career, Harvey appears to be in a position to start revealing some of the immense potential he brought to Florida coming out of Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Md., as one of the nation's highest-rated defensive players.
With starting defensive end Ray McDonald sitting out the spring following two knee surgeries and potential starting end Joe Cohen playing exclusively at tackle, Harvey has had a chance to run with the first team and he's starting to make plays.
He was one of the defensive standouts in last Saturday's scrimmage, recording two sacks and making several other plays.
"He has the potential to emerge as a big-time player," co-defensive coordinator Charlie Strong said. "He's going to get a chance to. He'll get his chance."
"Derrick is having a really good spring. He's coming along and developing well. With the injuries we've had at the position, he's stepped up and had a great spring. He's a player who will help us. The thing you like about him is he's worked and had a great attitude about it."
Like Moss, Harvey is a pass-rushing defensive end. In his senior season at Roosevelt, he had a state-record 31 sacks - even though it was only his second year playing organized football.
Harvey redshirted his freshman season and saw only limited playing time in 2005, so he really hasn't played all that much since giving up basketball (before his junior season) to become a football player.
"As I get older, I feel I'm getting a little better," he said. "I still have a long way to go, though. This is only my fourth year in football, so I'm still learning. I'm trying to work hard every day and improve my game. I'm listening to my coaches and taking everything they say. I'm more focused and paying attention to the little details. I just want to help the team the best I can."
Everyone seems to agree, Harvey has potential. But potential is a word UF coach Urban Meyer disdains.
"Potential is just an awful word," Meyer said. "That means you're not very good yet, but you're supposed to be. He does (have potential). He's becoming a decent player. He's up and down. The last couple of (practices) have been pretty good. He actually graded a champion in our last scrimmage."
Harvey is in a position to play in 2006, which means he will have a chance to turn potential into production.
"It feels real good," he said. "It makes me work hard every day and pay attention more."

Moore practices

Sophomore tailback Kestahn Moore practiced for the first time this spring, taking part in four non-contact drills. Moore has been sidelined with a bulging disk in his back, but he will not require surgery, Meyer said. "We're not going to scrimmage him. It would set him back. He's doing pretty good. He won't need surgery," Meyer said.
Meyer said the Gators have another 10 or 11 potential starters who are injured and could be held out of Saturday's Orange and Blue Game.
"I'm going to decide on Thursday and really look at the numbers," Meyer said. "We have a responsibility. We have to be ready in August for that game (against Southern Miss on Sept. 2). I've got to do what's right.

This and that

Starting cornerback Avery Atkins missed his third consecutive practice. Meyer said Atkins is involved in a family matter that is positive and he's expected to return for Wednesday's practice. ... Meyer said sophomore wide receiver Louis Murphy is going to have a chance to return kickoffs. "Some guys just run into people. He has some elusive ability. We're hoping he grows up because he has some ability," Meyer said.
Robbie Andreu can be reached at 352-374-5022 or andreur@gvillesun.com

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