|Florida's Harvin turns heads, makes history against Vandy|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 05 November 2007 01:16|
Tebow is supposed to give the ball to Harvin, then finish the play by faking a run or simulating a pass. At times, though, Tebow gets caught watching his dynamic teammate.
Few could blame him for staring Saturday.
Harvin ran 11 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns in a 49-22 victory against Vanderbilt. He also caught nine passes for 110 yards, becoming the first player in school history to have 100 yards rushing and receiving in the same game.
``He's naturally gifted at playing football,'' Tebow said. ``God gave him the ability to make people miss that he didn't give a lot of other people.''
Harvin proved to be the best player on the field against the Commodores, something that has become a trend for the Gators. The speedy receiver emerged as Florida's top playmaker last season, but coaches were concerned about giving him the ball too often because they didn't want to wear him down or get him hurt.
They have since softened that stance. Why? Well, Florida (6-3, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) lost three of four games, Tebow bruised his non-throwing shoulder and starting tailback Kestahn Moore struggled to hold the ball.
``This is it. There's no tomorrow,'' coach Urban Meyer said. ``We're in November, fighting for our lives in the SEC, so do what you've got to do.''
And that means riding Harvin.
Although Meyer said Sunday that Tebow avoided taking any hits on his bruised right shoulder against Vanderbilt and should be close to 100 percent next week at South Carolina, he expects Harvin to get about 20 touches a game the rest of the way.
``The biggest thing I see about our offense is when Percy Harvin is in that backfield it opens up the inside run, the outside run, the play-action game because the threat is real,'' Meyer said. ``And also the threat is in Tebow running the ball. And that's exactly where we want to be - have a legitimate threat in the backfield and also a quarterback and great passing game.''
Harvin has 54 carries for 442 yards and four touchdowns this season, averaging 8.2 yards a carry. He also has a team-high 45 receptions for 714 yards and three scores.
He had 855 total yards and five touchdowns last year.
The only athlete in Virginia high school history to win five gold medals at a state track meet, Harvin was hindered by his speed earlier this season.
He was outrunning blockers, trying to beat defenders to the sideline, missing cutback lanes and sometimes even slipping because he couldn't control his body.
Harvin corrected the problems - he simply slowed down - after a conversation and some film study with running backs coach Stan Drayton.
``A lot of times I go too fast and outrun my blocking,'' Harvin said. ``I just tried to slow down and read my blocks. I saw plays where I missed a block or like last year I was falling down. I had to slow down and read the blocks and know when to turn it on.''
Harvin turned it on against Vandy.
He wove through the defense for an 18-yard touchdown that made it 14-0 in the first quarter and added a 13-yarder that extended the lead to 49-16 early in the fourth. In between TD runs, Harvin nearly gained more yards than Vanderbilt's entire team.
``That's a very good defense, and a lot of that was well-blocked and a lot of that was on his own,'' Meyer said. ``He's got as good a first step as there is in the game of college football.''