|No. 2 Florida counting on Harvin again vs. FSU|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 27 November 2008 10:08|
Harvin has torched the Seminoles the last two seasons, running 20 times for 243 yards and two touchdowns and catching five passes for 67 yards.
The second-ranked Gators (10-1) would like to see more of the same when they play at No. 23 Florida State (8-3) on Saturday. Given the way Harvin has performed in big games, they might even expect it.
``If there's a better player in the country ... he's one of the top two, top three as far as skill level,'' Florida coach Urban Meyer said. ``I think everybody knows how I feel about him. I've done this a long time and I've seen him do stuff that I've never seen anybody else do. I think he'll go down as one of the great players in Florida football history, and deservedly so.''
mes, burned defenses several different ways and even caused South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier to say he could be a 200-yard-a-game guy if he played somewhere else.
Whether it's on a counter trap, a jet sweep, an option play, a direct snap, a short pass, a long pass, even a tipped pass, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound junior keeps finding new ways to dazzle teammates, coaches and fans.
``He's somewhat of a freak of nature,'' Meyer said. ``There's not many like him. I've heard that in recruiting all the time: 'We're going to use you like Florida uses Percy.' When I hear that I start laughing. Good for you. Good luck in doing it. It's not as easy as it sounds.''
Why not? Because it's rare to find a player who can handle a direct snap like a veteran quarterback, take an option pitch and go the distance, catch passes over the middle in traffic, find running lanes and follow blocks, and make catching deep passes look routine.
``The ball-skill level that he has - to catch pitches, to take the direct snaps - people take that for granted,'' Meyer said. ``There are certain guys that have that ability, and he certainly does. He can take a snap. He can catch a pitch. He can catch a 50-yard pass down the middle of the field. There's not many guys that can do that.''
Harvin has done it twice against FSU.
ore slamming his head into a linebacker's knee in the second quarter. His 41-yarder gave the Gators a 14-0 lead, but his injury left them without their primary threat.
Harvin was strapped to a backboard and carted off the field, briefly losing feeling in his neck and giving Florida a big scare. The Gators were much more relieved when they saw him walking around the locker room at halftime. Florida held on for a 21-14 victory, and Harvin returned the following week and earned MVP honors against Arkansas in the Southeastern Conference title game.
Harvin did even more damage last year against the Seminoles. He ran 16 times for 157 yards and a touchdown and caught five passes for 67 yards.
``We found a couple ways to get him the ball and he had a huge game,'' offensive coordinator Dan Mullen said. ``Great players make great plays in the big games, and that's what Percy does.''
He does it often, too.
Even though Harvin was slowed by a foot injury early in the year, he has scored a touchdown in every game he's played this season.
The Gators expected as much. After all, Meyer and quarterback Tim Tebow started pumping Harvin for the Heisman shortly after Tebow won college football's premier award last year.
ce time because of a hip pointer, tendinitis in his Achilles' tendon and tendinitis in his knee - he would have some gaudy numbers.
It hasn't quite worked out that way, thanks mostly to the emergence of running backs Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey. With them, Florida hasn't needed Harvin to do nearly as much as he did last season.
``With a guy like Percy Harvin, when you say he has three touches or five touches in a game, you want to increase that to eight and 10 touches a game,'' Tebow said. ``But also you don't want everybody to be keying on him and him double-covered and still try to force him the ball.''
Unless he's playing against Florida State.
``He's as talented a guy as I've ever seen,'' Mullen said. ``You put the ball in his hands and I don't know if I've ever seen anyone as talented as him.''