MIAMI -- I want to someone to tell me Percy Harvin is 100 percent.
"I'd probably say about 90 percent," said the fastest player in the BCS title game, maybe the country.
I want someone to tell me Percy Harvin is going to torch Oklahoma instead of someone else having to carry the torch.
"We've got enough people to carry the torch," said the man who last played 38 days ago.
I want someone to take away the gnawing feeling that Florida's unique hybrid tailback/receiver is going into another game with a nagging injury. The official word is that Harvin will play after a lengthy rehab from a sprained ankle suffered Nov. 29 against Florida State. But no one really knows how effective Harvin will be.
"It's hard for me to make that commentary," Florida offensive line coach Steve Addazio said. "He looked good at practice yesterday."
I want someone tell me that I'm crazy to think that Florida can't win this BCS title game without Percy Harvin running his usual 1.79. That's Harvin's top-end speed, according to trainers, over 20 yards. He's a little slower in the full 40, covering it in approximately 4.3 seconds. "That's my roommate, he tells me everything," Florida receiver Louis Murphy said. "He's ready to go. He's 100 percent. Yesterday, he made a plant and exploded so fast up the field it was ridiculous. I said, 'Oh yeah, he's back.'"
"I'm getting back used to cutting again," Harvin said cautiously on Monday. "It feels a little awkward."
True, 90 percent of Harvin is better than most everyone else. But I want him to be 100 percent because we've barely seen him at 100 percent in his magnificent career.
Throughout the three seasons he has graced The Swamp with other-worldly speed and moves, Harvin has seldom been healthy. We found out in the offseason that he had played his first two seasons in Gainesville with a balky heel that required surgery.
There were other ailments, migraines among them, most of which Harvin attributes to overcompensating for the heel. Harvin came up limping again with that sprained ankle in the season finale against the Seminoles. The junior diligently rehabbed his way back but hasn't so much as bumped into a coffee table since that time.
"I haven't taken contact yet," Harvin said.
If I didn't know better -- and maybe I don't -- I'd call Harvin injury prone. In fact, I asked him if he was a bit on the brittle side at Monday's BCS title game media day.
"Not at all," Harvin said. "It is what it is."
|'I want him on my team,' OU linebacker Travis Lewis says about Percy Harvin. (US Presswire)|
"Do coaches sit in the back room rubbing their hands together saying, 'Aha, we've got our weapon back'?" someone asked at the media day.
"That's a good way to put it," Meyer said slyly.
I want to see the Full Percy because the Florida offense struggled without him in the SEC Championship Game last month. It's not something you can quantify so much with numbers; it was the look of the Florida offense that was off kilter.
In addition to Harvin's absence, tailback Chris Rainey was nicked up with a hamstring. Florida trailed 20-17 after three quarters before Tim Tebow led the first fourth-quarter comeback of his career.
Something was missing.
"Against Alabama I was sometimes double and triple covered," said Murphy, statistically the Gators' leading receiver who missed his roomie that night.
That's why I want to see Harvin at full strength in what likely will be his last college game. The NFL wants the junior, gimpy or not. From the player's side, if he's going to keep getting nicked up he might as well get paid for it. Harvin has filed his papers with the NFL and is waiting for a draft grade.
While seldom fully healthy, Harvin became the Gators' best tailback and receiver piling up more than 1,700 yards rushing and receiving while averaging 11.5 yards per touch in three seasons. Tebow might be the Gators' most valuable player. Harvin is the most dynamic.
"I want him on my team," Oklahoma linebacker Travis Lewis said. "I think he'll be 100 percent. It doesn't matter what anybody says, he's a player. When I've been banged up and don't practice for a few days, I come out the next day and tear it up."
Oklahoma might win this game, but the Sooners are kidding themselves if they think they can run with the Gators. There is a mystique to this group headed by Harvin. Twelve Gators currently run the 40 in 4.4 seconds or less. Forty-seven of the team's 79 touchdowns have been scored by the Mystical 12. Murphy improved from a 4.5-second 40 to a 4.3. Tailback Jeff Demps owns the world junior record at 10.01 seconds in 100 meters. Harvin himself has a touchdown in 14 consecutive games.
"Every time it gets to the point of lining up to race each other after practice, one of our coaches will stop us," Murphy said. "They say, 'No, no, nobody's racing. We don't want any pulled hamstrings.' So we all tell each other how we're the fastest."
"You can improve speed, but you better recruit speed," said the man credited with developing the Mystical 12, strength coach Mickey Marotti. "I think it's obvious. Any time you have an athlete like Percy, even if he doesn't get the ball, look out. He's dangerous."
Harvin as a decoy? Please don't tell me that.