Percy Harvin is at 90% right now, but he hasn’t done any contact drills since his injury back in November.
That sentence might be worrisome for some people. It certainly is for at least CBS’ Dennis Dodd. When you’re talking about a team’s best receiver and a prominent rushing threat, 90% and no contact drills in almost a month and a half is usually not good news.
This is Percy Harvin we’re talking about though. He’s been less than 100% more often than not when he plays, and he’s yet to play a full season. He has missed time in the spring, summer, fall and winter at times throughout his career. If there’s a day on the calendar, chances are Harvin has felt pain on it during the past three years.
That fact is why I am not concerned about 90% and no contact drills in over a month. It’s Harvin’ modus operandi, and he still has been one of college football’s most electrifying players during his stay in Gainesville. His performance makes me think he’s a bit like Peter Gibbons in Office Space: he misses practice, but he doesn’t really miss practice.
Quite a few pixels and a few gallons of ink have given their existences to describe the freshman speedsters Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps in Florida’s backfield, and for good reason. They are lightning quick and elusive, able to take it to the house from just about anywhere on the field.
Neither is Percy Harvin though, and No. 1 reminds you almost every time he touches the ball. Rainey and Demps can evade tackles, but Harvin can break them too. He has the best first step in the game, meaning he gets to his top speed (which is quite possibly higher than Rainey’s and Demps’) faster than the other two. Neither the Gators nor anyone else in the nation has another player exactly like him.
The second of these two runs is what happens when Harvin decides to issue a friendly reminder as to why he’s the best of the bunch.
Missouri has someone similar in Jeremy Maclin, though Maclin doesn’t carry the ball as often as Harvin does. Some Oklahoma players have tried to downplay Harvin’s threat as a player by saying they’ll be ready thanks to having seen Maclin.
I have seen him play too and believe me, Jeremy Maclin is a certified playmaker. He has a chance to go in the first round of the NFL draft, and if you ask me he’s as good or better than recent, similar early rounders Ted Ginn, Jr. and DeSean Jackson.
Maclin is not Harvin though. He doesn’t have Harvin’s first step, and he doesn’t have Harvin’s power. I’ll put it this way: both Steve Spurrier and Bobby Bowden made comments this season saying they would have loved to see what Harvin could do just as a running back in a conventional I-formation offense. I don’t think you’ll find anyone out there who would say the same thing about Maclin.
So no, I am not concerned about Harvin’s lack of playing time. It’s nothing new to him, so he knows how to deal with it by now. If he’s playing, and he will be, then he’ll be a difference maker. It’s what he does.
As a side note, have a look at all of the injuries UF has had to overcome this season. The Gators have collectively missed 103 games due to health issues by the Gainesville Sun‘s Pat Dooley’s count, and that’s not counting Jim Barrie (out for season: ACL) who likely would never had played anyway.
It’s pretty remarkable that they are where they are with all of those guys missing for so long.