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Gators' Patchan has strong practice

GAINESVILLE — Florida freshman DT Matt Patchan was cleared for full-contact practice for the first time Monday, and assistant coach Dan McCarney said he "hasn't missed a beat."

McCarney said that if Patchan continues to practice as he did Monday, he likely won't start but will play in Saturday's opener.

Patchan, a former Armwood standout, ended spring practice at the No. 1 position but has been hampered with a strained pectoral muscle. And DL Torrey Davis (Armwood) returned to practice in a limited capacity. He had been out indefinitely for disciplinary reasons.

GATORS READY: Coach Urban Meyer said UF is ready to face Hawaii on Saturday. The biggest concerns are LB Brandon Spikes and WR Percy Harvin, who are questionable. Harvin has missed most of the preseason recovering from heel surgery. Spikes has had a nagging foot injury for more than a week.

FSU: RB Jones slowed

TALLAHASSEE — Middleton High product Ty Jones, a freshman running back, has lost crucial playing time with what was originally diagnosed as a hip flexor. With freshman RB Jermaine Thomas receiving academic clearance to rejoin the team Monday, and junior college transfer Tavares Pressley gaining academic eligibility last week, Jones has fallen behind in the race for playing time behind starter Antone Smith.

"Whatever the problem is, we better find out what it is ASAP," running backs coach Dexter Carter said.

Jones did not participate in Monday's scrimmage, spending most of his time stretching and running on the sideline.

GAINING GROUND: Freshman DT Moses McCray from Hillsborough High is overcoming nagging injuries. He made several tackles Monday.

SCRIMMAGE NOTES: Smith had a 45-yard touchdown on the No. 1 offense's first drive. … QB Christian Ponder played and said his sore right shoulder felt better.

USF: LB missing

TAMPA — Freshman LB Quavon Taylor of Miami, waiting to be cleared by the NCAA and headed for a redshirt this season, was missing from Monday night's practice without explanation.

"I haven't seen him either. Mystery," coach Jim Leavitt said. "There is concern. If he's okay, then we'll have to see what's the difficulty, and we'll cross that bridge when we get to it."

Taylor was excused from practice three weeks ago to attend to a personal matter in Miami but returned the day before preseason drills began.

Two freshmen who had been held out last week awaiting NCAA clearance, CB John Lejiste and LB LaDre Watkins, were back at practice, and three remain held out: CBs George Baker and Theo Wilson and TE Andreas Shields.

GENUS HOBBLED: Sampson Genus' ankle injury, while minor, has sidelined him enough in the past four days that fellow sophomore Terrell McClain will likely start Saturday at nose tackle.

THIS AND THAT: Leavitt expects true freshmen Watkins, WR Daniel Bryant, T Danous Estenor and QB B.J. Daniels to play Saturday. … WR Colby Erskin, recovering from a second major knee surgery, could be sidelined "a while," Leavitt said. He said Erskin started to work with receivers Monday, but Leavitt pulled him out. … Rosters can expand because fall classes started Monday, and two walk-ons, Northside QB Tyler Stowell and Plant LB Chris Breit, were among the additions.

UM: No QB issues

CORAL GABLES — QB Robert Marve, suspended for the opener, will remain the starter when he returns even if Jacory Harris has a strong game filling in, coach Randy Shannon said. Shannon said there will not be a QB controversy. "I'm not too much worried about all that because eventually things will fall in place," Harris said.

UCF: New right tackle

ORLANDO — Redshirt freshman TE Adam Nissley was moved to right tackle, where he is slated to start and protect the blind side of left-handed QB Michael Greco.

Times staff writer Greg Auman and correspondent Scott Carter contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires and the Orlando Sentinel.

>>Fast facts

Up next

Florida: vs. Hawaii,

12:30 p.m. Saturday, Ch. 38

FSU: vs. Western Carolina,

6 p.m. Sept. 6, pay per view

USF: vs. Tennessee-Martin, 7 p.m. Saturday, Catch 47

Miami: vs. Charleston Southern, 7:30 Thursday, no TV

Gators' Patchan has strong practice 08/25/08 [Last modified: Monday, August 25, 2008 10:52pm]
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