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Can Percy Harvin play running back in the NFL?

GAINESVILLE -- Florida coach Urban Meyer wants to know how NFL coaches plan on using junior Percy Harvin once he makes the jump to the NFL.

Meyer indicated on Monday during his weekly press conference that he has asked a few NFL coaches how they think Harvin's unique skill set will translate to Sundays. Meyer is close friends with New England coach Bill Belichick and Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio.

"I think he's going to have a great career at the next level," Meyer said. "I'm intrigued and I've already approached people how they're going to use him and I think it's going to be a lot like I use him."

We're assuming all this talk of Harvin and the NFL means there's no chance he returns to Florida next season. Of course, I'm sure everyone was expecting that already. How do you think Harvin will be used in the NFL? Is Harvin better than Reggie Bush?

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, who has NFL coaching experience, said on Saturday that if Harvin was a full-time running back, then he would be the best in the country. At the beginning of the season, Harvin classified himself as a receiver who is running the ball at Florida to help the team win.   

The Southeastern Conference named Harvin the league's offensive player of the week for his efforts against South Carolina. Harvin rushed for 167 yards on eight carries in the Gators' 56-5 win against South Carolina.

"I'm not sure he has the body to handle 25 to 30 inside-the-tackles type games but pound for pound [Harvin] is as strong as we got," Meyer said. "I think the way we utilize him -- You'd like to get him more involved in the pass game and I think we're going to try and get him more involved. -- but for what we do with him, he's in the right offense at the right place because there are some places that don't really have the knowledge or experience or personnel to use him the way we do."

UF junior Jermaine Cunningham was named SEC defensive lineman of the week. Cunningham had a game-high eight tackles, including a sack. He also forced a fumble and deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage. Speaking of juniors leaving early, will Cunningham forgo his senior year and make himself eligible for the NFL Draft?

UF ASSISTANTS LEAVING?
Speculation is beginning to heat up around the Florida football facility about assistants leaving Florida for head coaching positions. Offensive line coach Steve Addazio has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Greg Robinson at Syracuse. Syracuse finally fired coach Robinson (According to the New York Times, the school hired a search committee to replace him earlier in the season.) and Addazio is the top choice of former Syracuse players who played during the Donovan McNabb years.

Other Florida assistants -- namely defensive line coach Dan McCarney, defensive coordinator Charlie Strong and, to a lesser degree, offensive coordinator Dan Mullen -- could also be in line for interviews. Meyer intimated on Monday that outside sources are showing interest in some of his lieutenants. "We've already had some people sniffing around," he said. "If things happen, then we'll have the appropriate discussion at that time."

Meyer also said Monday that he is keeping his "eyes open" for possible replacements. "I have some stuff right now," he said.

PRAISE FOR BRANDON HICKS
Meyer named UF linebacker Brandon Hicks the team's defensive player of the game on Monday. Hicks forced two interceptions against South Carolina and had a sack during an amazing four-play sequence in the first quarter. Hicks started on Saturday for linebacker A.J. Jones, who is nursing a slight injury. Hicks and Jones will battle this week mortal combat style to see who gets the start against The Citadel.

"[Hicks] is one of our better players on the team right now and that all happened within a couple weeks," Meyer said. "He was actually floundering for a little while. He has a hard time grasping the defense. He's a great athlete. He's exactly what you go recruit -- a 225-pound linebacker that can run like the wind -- and now he's starting to get confident. Coach Strong has a lot of confidence in him right now and that wasn't the case two weeks ago."

COULD UTAH WIN IN THE SEC?
It's no secret that Meyer still has a great affinity for the Utah football program. Utah is 11-0 and ranked No.7 in the USA Today coaches' poll. Meyer is a voter in that poll this season. On Monday, Meyer said he voted Utah "real high" this week.

"They're a hell of a team," Meyer said.

Meyer was asked on Monday if he thought Utah was better than some of the SEC's elite teams? Meyer indicated that he believes his former team might be that good this season.

"I'd get blown completely out of the water if I answered that truthfully so I'm not going to," Meyer said. "And that's not one way or the other."

Meyer said on Monday that the year (2004) he led Utah to an undefeated season and a BCS bowl, he was a "big proponent of the playoff." Now, not so much.

"Could that team realistically have just survived the level of competition we just played? No," Meyer said.

MEYER ON OBAMA
President-elect Barack Obama made news earlier this week when he once again talked about the need for an eight-team playoff for major college football. Meyer might not agree but he likes that President-elect Obama has an interest in college football.

"Any time a President-elect or any people place the value on athletics like we all do, I thank that's good," Meyer said. "I think that's good for our country. I don't know if [a playoff] is the right thing to do but some people will make that decision down the road."

-jo-

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