Redshirting issue back on the table


Published: Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

SANDESTIN - The Florida football coaches had a tough decision to make concerning true freshmen defensive end Lawrence Marsh with only two games left in the 2006 season. Play him at a position of need and burn an entire year of eligibility. Or sit him and save the year.

Under a new proposal, coaches would not be facing situations like this. UF could have played Marsh and he'd still have four full years of eligibility remaining.

Once again at the SEC spring meetings, the football coaches are pushing for a fifth year of eligibility (for football and basketball players).

The consensus among the coaches is it's a great idea. Now, they have to convince the presidents, who have rejected this proposal before.

"I've been in favor of it, but it never seems to fly," Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said. "With a fifth year, you don't have to strategize at all about redshirting and who you redshirt. Everybody can play. The real good players wouldn't be around for a fifth year anyway.

"I'm not sure why it hasn't passed before. There are some people who are against it. The college presidents are the biggest group against it."

UF coach Urban Meyer said he is in favor of a fifth year of eligibility.

"I'm a big fan of it," Meyer said. "We've increased the season by one game with limited scholarships. In the SEC, you get guys beat up. I'd love to see that proposal go through. Every year we do that it gets blown up.

"It just makes too much sense. Sometimes some things come across and I say, 'Yes, absolutely.' And it doesn't happen. I'd like to know who makes those decisions. It's unbelievable."

Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson said the coaches will try to push the proposal through again this week.

"I would love to see it," he said. "You take that doubt of redshirting out of the equation. Now, you've got some freshmen and you get down to the eighth or ninth game and you don't know whether to play them or not. With a fifth year, you just play them."

Pumped-up Harvin

Meyer said sophomore wide receiver Percy Harvin looks like a different player after a productive offseason in the conditioning program.

"He's 190-something pounds now," Meyer said. "He's much stronger and jacked up now. Our strength program has done a great job."

Harvin rushed for more yards than he had receiving yards as a true freshman. Meyer said that could happen again this season as Harvin becomes more involved in the offense.

"He's going to rush for a bunch," Meyer said. "He only played like half the season last year (because of injuries). He's a talented guy. He'll carry the ball quite often for us. So will (sophomore wide receiver) Jarred Fayson."

Tebow for Heisman?

Even though he hasn't even started a game, sophomore quarterback Tim Tebow is No. 4 on Lindy's preseason Heisman list.

"That's premature. He knows that. Everybody knows that," Meyer said. "Lindy's? I'm sure the guy has watched a lot of film. Maybe this guy was at practice (in the spring) because Tim has improved."

Johnson liked Gators

Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson said he predicted the Gators would win last January's BCS title game against No. 1 Ohio State.

"But I didn't expect them to win that convincingly," he said. "That was just being a fan. I didn't know a whole bunch about Ohio State, but I did know a good bit about Florida. I knew it would be hard to beat them. That's what I based my prediction on."

Robbie Andreu can be reached at 352-374-5022 or andreur@gvillesun.com.

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