|Meyer giving students chance to race Florida's fastest players, earn full scholarship|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 10 April 2008 10:46|
He's quite certain it's one of his football players - Louis Murphy, Chris Rainey or Deonte Thompson.
Just to be sure, he's having a race Saturday.
What happens if someone beats his speedsters before the team's spring game?
``They're on scholarship,'' Meyer said.
It would be a long shot, especially after school officials held 40-yard dash time trials and didn't exactly find any real burners. Of the approximately 225 students who tried out, two covered the distance in 4.47 seconds, one ran a 4.48 and another was clocked at 4.49.
The fastest 15 students advanced to the finals Saturday. They will be split into three groups of five. Murphy will race one group, Rainey another and Thompson a third.
The players aren't exactly afraid of the competition.
``I'll blow them out,'' Rainey said. ``I love challenges and I've got confidence in myself.''
Thompson had a more detailed prediction.
``We should beat them by more than five (yards),'' he said. ``I think we will.''
Percy Harvin was supposed to be the main attraction for the race, but he had heel surgery Monday and is out for two months.
That left Murphy, Rainey and Thompson as the fastest Meyer had to offer.
Murphy, a senior from St. Petersburg, caught 39 passes for 590 yards and six touchdowns last season. Rainey and Thompson, both redshirt freshmen, were two of Meyer's prized recruits in last year's top-rated class.
``I want to show the crowd a little sample of what I can do for the Gators,'' said Rainey, who is expected to play a significant role this fall. ``I'm looking forward to it.''
Although Meyer promised a full scholarship to any student who beats his players, the coach's reason for organizing the event wasn't to find a running back, receiver, defensive back or kick returner from campus.
The spring game will be televised on ESPN, offering Meyer a chance to spread his recruiting pitch about wanting to be ``the fastest team in America,'' and having a race featuring three of his stars could help sell the school.
He also views the spring game as an opportunity for younger players to show their skills, meaning Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and other key starters probably won't get many snaps. So Meyer wanted to give fans something to look forward to while also giving back to the students.
``Our student body, you almost forget about them because they're (always) there,'' Meyer said. ``You can't do that. Our first year, we went to every dorm, every sorority, every fraternity, just trying to give back because they're the home-field advantage, they're recruiting. Our kids meet the students on recruiting weekends. You can't forget them.''
Florida also plans to hold a raffle that will allow one fan a chance to catch a pass from Tebow. Other winners will get to try to catch a punt, attempt a field goal and return a kickoff.
The highlight, though, will be the three 40-yard dashes.
``Anything can happen,' Rainey said. ``But I don't think we're going to lose.''