Defining double duty
Published: Sunday, January 23, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 23, 2005 at 4:23 a.m.
Urban Meyer is expected to have his top two returning back-up quarterbacks for Florida's spring football practice, despite their involvement in other sports.
Sophomore Gavin Dickey and freshman Cornelius Ingram said this week they have worked out agreements with their other coaches to allow them in spring football practice; Dickey also plays for Florida's baseball team and Ingram plays for the basketball team.
Each will have to go about it differently.
Dickey will participate in baseball and football practices simultaneously. Ingram will join football practice immediately after basketball season.
The importance of both quarterbacks being at spring football practice is heightened this season as it will be their first chance to learn Meyer's new offensive system. Still, both quarterbacks will be very busy come March.
Depending on when Florida's basketball season ends, Ingram could miss a few days or several weeks of spring practice. Florida is scheduled to begin football practice March 16, the same week as the opening rounds of the NIT and NCAA tournaments. The Orange and Blue game is scheduled for April 9.
"(Meyer) told me to make sure I take care of whatever I had to do with the basketball team right now," Ingram said. "He was OK and straightforward with me playing both sports. He told me, 'Just make sure you do what you have to do with basketball and whenever you're done, you can make the transition back to football.' ''
Dickey to be busy
Meyer has a different plan for Dickey.
Dickey, the top back-up to quarterback Chris Leak and a reserve outfielder for UF's baseball team last year, will spend some days this spring on both the football and baseball practice fields.
"The agreement is that I'll be doing spring football practice and baseball at the same time," Dickey said. "It's going to be tough, but that's what coach Meyer said. He said that was the agreement and if I want to do both that's what I have to do."
Dickey played in five games last year for Florida's football team, completing 5-of-7 pass attempts for 56 yards. He played a little more than half of Florida's baseball games - mainly as a late-game defensive replacement - and hit .273 with a home run and four RBIs. His role during his second baseball season is expected to increase this spring.
Casey also in baseball
Freshman tight end/pitcher Tate Casey is also expected to join Dickey in double duty this spring. It's hard to say how much baseball Casey and Dickey may miss, but a critical three-game series at Georgia comes on the same weekend as the Orange and Blue game.
"I think everything will work out," Dickey said. "I should be able to get both in."
Baseball coach Pat McMahon said he doesn't have a problem sharing players with Meyer.
"Obviously in a new offensive system, for (Dickey) as a quarterback, it's important for him to know it," McMahon said. "It's obviously a difficult task, but it's another opportunity for him to excel."
Dickey missed nearly all of spring football practice last season while a member of Florida's baseball team. He didn't play in the Orange and Blue game. He said he is excited to learn Meyer's new spread offense. Ingram is, too.
"I get asked all the time, 'Hey man, you got to be feeling good with the offense that coach Meyer runs,' '' Ingram said. "And I'm like, 'Yeah, but I still have to go out there and prove myself.' We have a great line of quarterbacks. But he is just like any other coach. He's going to play the best player. So I know the opportunity will be there for me and I'll just have to do what I have to do to play."
Ingram said his only concern about staying with the basketball team was falling behind in football.
"I know with the new strength and conditioning coaches, they've started lifting and running already," Ingram said of the football team. "And that was the first thing I told them . . . 'I don't want to fall behind because I have a football scholarship.' ''
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