Notebook: Meyer confirms Rainey will play


Published: Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 6:43 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 6:43 p.m.

Junior slot receiver Chris Rainey, who was suspended five games following his arrest for aggravated stalking, will play against Georgia on Saturday, Florida coach Urban Meyer said Thursday.

"Chris is going to play," Meyer said after practice. "He had a good week."

In order for Rainey, who returned to practice two weeks ago, to earn his way back onto the field he had to abide by the conditions of a contract created by Meyer and UF officials. Meyer said Thursday that Rainey did what he was asked "and beyond."

Meyer said he expects Rainey to split his time "50-50" between receiver and running back. In the backfield, Meyer said Rainey will play alongside another running back similar to the way sophomore receiver Omarius Hines played against Mississippi State.

In the two games Rainey has played in, he has four carries for 16 yards, including a long of 15, and has caught six passes for 34 yards and a touchdown. He also returned three punts for 17 yards.

Florida (4-3, 2-3 SEC) also got some good news out of its backfield this week.

Meyer said starting running back Jeff Demps, who has been bothered by a sprained foot for five games, had a good week of practice and expects him to play against the Bulldogs (4-4, 3-3 SEC).

"It's the best he's been in five weeks," Meyer said of Demps. "I wouldn't say he's 100 percent yet, but I'm hoping he's going to be 100 percent at game time."

As for backups Mike Gillislee (hamstring) and Emmanuel Moody (thigh), Meyer said both are 100 percent and will play.

Senior cornerback Moses Jenkins is also expected to play this weekend, Meyer said. Jenkins has been sidelined since he suffered a hyper-extended left elbow in Florida's opener.

The status of redshirt freshman receiver Andre Debose and junior defensive tackle Jaye Howard aren't as certain. Both suffered ankle injuries against Mississippi State two weeks ago and Meyer ruled them as probable.

Meyer said they'll be limited during Saturday's game if they play.

Two players Meyer said won't play are junior kicker Caleb Sturgis (back) and redshirt sophomore offensive tackle Matt Patchan (wrist).

Meyer said Sturgis kicked this week, and while he looked "great" Wednesday, he still felt pain in his back after kicking. Sturgis has a hairline fracture in his vertebrae and senior punter Chas Henry will continue to fill in for him.

Not having Patchan back is especially bothersome to Meyer.

"I just want that kid around because he's my guy," Meyer said. "He's a guy you want on the bus when you go into Jacksonville.

"I feel for him. I love that guy."

Meyer said Patchan won't travel with the team this weekend.

Hobbled freshmen

It seems freshman running back Mack Brown's lack of game action has come due to a lingering hamstring injury he suffered in high school. Meyer said Thursday that Brown was close to playing, but keeps having setbacks because of his hamstring.

Other freshmen dealing with injuries include receiver Chris Dunkley (hamstring) and cornerback/safety Josh Shaw (knee).

Meyer said he's still not considering redshirting any of them at this point.

UF-UGA recruiting visits

Georgia coach Mark Richt mentioned Wednesday that he's in favor of having the home team in this rivalry host unofficial visitors for the game in Jacksonville.

Currently, recruits are allowed to go to the game, but have to pay their own admission.

Meyer said he brought the argument up four or five years ago and hopes recruits can someday visit the game through the schools, but thinks it "would be a mess" if visits were official or coaches had contact with prospects.

"They deserve to go watch this game because they're going to go play in it," he said.

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