Minus Hammond, Gators looking for playmakers
Published: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 8:43 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 8:43 p.m.
HOOVER, Ala. — Florida wide receiver Frankie Hammond Jr., who was placed on probation last week following his DUI arrest in June, is no longer on scholarship but will have a chance to eventually earn his way back onto the team, UF coach Urban Meyer said Wednesday at SEC Media Days.
"He's off of scholarship at Florida," Meyer said. "If he tries to come back and play, which I understand he will, he'll have to pay his own way and earn a spot like any other member that would like to be a part of Florida football.
"There will be playing time taken away from him. He'll be on probation like other players that have made mistakes. If he does something again, it will be probable dismissal."
Hammond was suspended from the team indefinitely following his arrest. That status has not changed, Meyer said. Hammond has been working out separately from the team this summer.
"As of right now, he's not on the football team," Meyer said. "He's training away from the team, off of scholarship. We'll see how he shows up (for the start of practice on Aug. 5) and if he goes. If he goes, we'll make the adjustment as we move on."
In the spring, it appeared Hammond would play a major role in the wide receiver rotation and have a chance to be a playmaker in the offense. Now his future is uncertain at best.
Meyer said Wednesday that his No. 1 goal heading into training camp is identifying the Gators' top six or seven playmakers on offense who will surround new starting quarterback John Brantley.
"We have a clear understanding of what John Brantley can do," Meyer said. "It's the guys around him. We have a lot of talent. I can't list you the top six or seven playmakers in order. I know we have to have them.
"One common characteristic of a great quarterback is the personnel around him. I think we have it, but it's just not been identified yet. So that's going to be a big job for us in training camp. Once again, we know what John can do. It's what these cats can do around him. It's going to be the key thing in the next month.
"The No. 1 thing I have to do is identify the playmakers on that team. I'm going to spend a lot of time on it. That's going to be my deal during training camp."
Meyer said another big concern heading into the start of camp is UF's lack of depth and experience at linebacker.
"We have some really good young players, but not much depth and not much experience," Meyer said.
Meyer said one thing that isn't a concern is his health. He said he's good to go.
"I'm not going into the season with the same concern I had last season," he said. "Last season, I walked in with my third year of dealing with some pain (in his chest) that was undiagnosed. It's been diagnosed. I don't have that same concern.
"You know, if you have a concern about your health going into a season, that's a problem, and it became a big problem (last season)."
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