Patton ready for another shot at Georgia
Published: Friday, November 1, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 10:42 p.m.
Florida lost more than a game in last year's 17-9 loss to Georgia.
On a fourth-and-1 attempt midway through the first quarter, UF offensive coordinator Brent Pease called a jet sweep for Solomon Patton.
But the play didn't produce like it had in previous games — 140 rushing yards on 13 carries.
UGA linebacker safety Shawn Williams wrapped Patton up behind the line of scrimmage and slammed him to the ground.
Patton landed awkwardly and broke his left arm. His junior season was over.
"I'll tell you, that hurt me,” Pease said. “He was just starting to come on and that particular play, it was kind of such a weird hit that he didn't get hit directly.
“He didn't fall on his arm. And that was kind of a play we put in figuring he could get around the edge and we kind of had for him. ... I felt bad about it because he meant a lot to us of what we could do at that time.”
Many feared the injury would set Patton back in his development, particularly at the receiver position. Up until that point, he had not been a threat in Florida's passing game and made just one catch in 2012.
But Patton rehabbed his arm relentlessly, and once it fully healed, the coaches said he dedicated himself in the offseason to improving every facet of his game.
His efforts have paid off this fall, as Patton is Florida's top playmaker on offense. He has 28 receptions for a team-high 426 yards and seven touchdowns along with nine carries for 56 yards.
“I would say I was a little worried (about the injury), but obviously he hasn't stepped back at all,” fellow senior receiver Trey Burton said. “He's put two feet forward, and I'm extremely happy for him and how he's playing now.
“It was tough break for him, but hopefully he has a great game this year.”
As expected, Patton is looking forward to facing the Bulldogs again.
“Oh yeah, I've definitely been waiting on this game,” he said. “I had it circled since last year. This is like the main game that I've been waiting on all year.”
Pease is counting on Patton to turn in a big performance Saturday.
“Obviously he's come through it full circle,” Pease said, “and the season he's having now, good for him, because we need him.”