Notebook: Injuries plague Florida’s offensive line

Published: Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 9:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 9:41 p.m.

Florida's right offensive tackle spot has taken a major hit with a little more than a week before the Gators' opener.

Coach Urban Meyer said after Thursday's practice that sophomore offensive tackles Xavier Nixon and Matt Patchan will miss the opener with injuries. Doctors discovered "something" while scoping Nixon's right knee, while Patchan had a pin put in his right wrist, which he fractured during training camp.

With Nixon, who played in 10 games in 2009 and started five, and Patchan sidelined against Miami of Ohio, Meyer said he was unsure who would get the nod at right tackle. Each of Florida's offensive linemen have cross-trained at each line position, and offensive coordinator Steve Addazio said earlier this week that he's considered putting senior center Mike Pouncey in at right tackle if needed.

Meyer said he's letting Addazio control most of the line setup, but he's against having Pouncey move out wide for the opener.

"I was opposed to that because the first game I want the ball to hit the quarterback in the hands and not look like Bad News Bears out there," Meyer said.

Senior Carl Johnson has started multiple games at tackle and could move from guard back to tackle. Redshirt freshmen Kyle Koehne and Nick Alajajian are also options.

The Gators could also be without redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed after he went down with a deep knee bruise, Meyer said. The injury appeared to be much more serious at first, but Meyer said it will only be a pain tolerance issue and that he'd know more Monday.

"We thought we lost him," Meyer said.

With Reed sidelined, freshman quarterback Trey Burton and redshirt sophomore wide receiver Omarius Hines will fill in for Reed at the hybrid tight end/receiver spot similar to what Aaron Hernandez played at Florida, Meyer said.

Meyer also said senior receiver Carl Moore missed practice because of an emergency root canal. Linebacker Brandon Hicks missed practice with a sprained thumb.

Agent conference call

Meyer took his lunchtime Thursday to join another conference call centered around agent-player contact at the college level.

Meyer said he was more of a "listener" Thursday, but that things seem to be progressing the right way and he hopes that a decision is made this season concerning how to deal with the agent problem in college football.

"There are a lot of good minds on there and a lot of good people that want to do right," Meyer said.

A delay in a decision could come because of the legal issues that the NCAA would have to get around, Meyer said, but that he's starting to hear positive feedback from the agent side as well.

"There's a lot of great guys out there just trying to do their jobs," he said.

Joining Meyer was Alabama coach Nick Saba, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, Ohio State's Jim Tressel and Texas' Mack Brown along with officials from the NFL Players Association and the NCAA.

Meyer said the next step will likely be a face-to-face meeting involving the non-coaches and possibly something “put on paper.”

“Obviously, we’re not going to go to it because we’re coaching. But I think the representatives of all involved are going to get together,” Meyer said. “I’m really anxious — we all are — to see what they put on paper.”

Pouncey investigation

Meyer said Florida’s message to players concerning agents hasn’t changed while the Gators await results of an investigation into allegations that former offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey accepted money from an agent between the SEC championship game and the Sugar Bowl.

“We’re waiting to see what comes out of this (NCAA investigation),” Meyer told the Associated Press. “We wear them out around here about that stuff. Everything’s coming back positive about the investigation. I’m not sure it’s finished or not. But I think we do everything by the book, and I’d be disappointed if I found something that we don’t because we educate them and we meet with the families and we do everything we can.”

Pouncey makes list

Mike Pouncey was named to the 2010 Rimington Trophy Watch List on Thursday. The Rimington Trophy is presented annually to the Most Outstanding Center in NCAA Division I-A College Football.

Pouncey has appeared in 39 games with 32 starts and started all 14 games in 2008 and 2009. Last season, Pouncey was named a 2009 AP Second-Team All-American, as well as an AP First-Team All-SEC selection.

In 2009, Mike’s brother, Maurkice, became the first Gator to win the award.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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