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Florida Gators expect track star Jeff Demps back for football season

Coach Will Muschamp plans to meet with running back/track star Jeff Demps next week to discuss his football plans.

Associated Press

Coach Will Muschamp plans to meet with running back/track star Jeff Demps next week to discuss his football plans.

HOOVER, Ala. — Although RB Jeff Demps has not been with the team full-time since January, Florida coach Will Muschamp said Wednesday that he expects the senior to return for football season.

Demps, a world-class sprinter, is in Italy competing with the U.S. national team. He missed all of spring practice and the Orange and Blue game competing with the Gator track team. Talk of Demps' imminent departure has filled Internet sites.

"Jeff and I have talked all summer," Muschamp said. "He and I are going to meet next week, and I expect him to be a part of our football team. He had a great indoor season, he won the 60-meter national championship. He had a great outdoor season, didn't run as well in the NCAAs as he would have liked to, he was very frustrated about that. He and I talked about it all summer, he wanted to run with the U.S. National team, he wanted to go to Italy. When he comes back we're going to reevaluate where he is, but I fully expect him to be a part of our football team."

GARCIA'S RETURN? South Carolina senior QB Stephen Garcia has "done well" and is expected to compete for the starting job, coach Steve Spurrier said, although the former Jefferson High star remains suspended — for the fifth time in his career.

"He has some guidelines he must follow to be reinstated in August," Spurrier said, adding jokingly, "I guess we don't want to kick him out for stupidity.

"He's done everything we've asked. He's certainly behaved very well, gone to all the workouts from what I understand. So right now, he in all likelihood, will be set to return. … He may be our best quarterback, but we're going to have a little competition in preseason this year (with sophomore Connor Shaw)."

Asked if he considered bringing Garcia to Media Days, Spurrier had a one-word answer: "No."

Spurrier showed his familiar wisecracking side and said it was due to coming off his first SEC East title with South Carolina: "Most coaches if they win a lot, win a lot of championships, they do talk a little bit more."

BALL OUT: UF sophomore LB Neiron Ball will sit out this season, then will be reevaluated early next year. He has had congenital vascular condition since birth. It caused blood vessels to burst in his brain in February and left him in intensive care. Ball played in all 13 games last season, mainly on special teams.

O-LINE DEPTH: Former Notre Dame OL Dan Wenger is on campus working out with the Gators and preparing for the upcoming season. He played at Notre Dame under former head coach Charlie Weis, now UF's offensive coordinator. He was injured in 2006 and redshirted, then played in 29 games (19 starts) from 2007 to 2009. He had two concussions in fall practice before the 2010 season, ending his last year of eligibility with Notre Dame, but he was granted a sixth year of eligibility.

INTERVIEW WITH A DAUGHTER: One of Muschamp's interviewers at his first official SEC Media Days was the daughter of his predecessor, Urban Meyer. Nicki Meyer, a student at Georgia Tech, is a Fox Sports intern.

Slive proposals: Commissioner Mike Slive said to address problems in major college sports, his proposals include raising academic requirements for incoming freshmen to paying athletes the full cost of scholarships. "We don't have the luxury of acting as if it's business as usual," Slive said. He wants an increase of the requirements for initial eligibility from a 2.0 grade point average to 2.5 in 16 core classes and the restoration of partial qualifiers.

Information from Times wires was used in this report. Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com.

Florida Gators expect track star Jeff Demps back for football season 07/20/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 11:35pm]

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