By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Florida coach Urban Meyer has talked all season about trying to limit the number of carries for quarterback Tim Tebow.
Now, he might really have to do it.
Tebow has a bruised right shoulder, an injury sustained in the second half of Florida's 45-37 win at Kentucky on Saturday. Safety Major Wright (thumb) and offensive tackle Carlton Medder (heel) also were banged up in the game, maybe more serious than Tebow.
Tebow, a left-hander, played through the pain and sealed the victory with 2-yard touchdown run that followed a 40-yard pass to Percy Harvin.
Meyer said Tebow won't have any contact in practice this week as the ninth-ranked Gators (5-2, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) prepare for No. 20 Georgia.
``We have to be careful,'' Meyer said Sunday. ``We've got to continue to coach him up to manage the game. He's had so much success (running). He's the kind of persona that takes it. That's a concern.''
Meyer said there were several plays Saturday in which Tebow could have thrown the ball to an open receiver for short yardage, but instead tucked it and ran, taking the safer option but also taking unnecessary hits.
The Gators have tried to limit Tebow's touches, especially after he ran 27 times for a career-high 166 yards at Mississippi last month.
But Tebow has carried 19, 16 and 20 times in the three games since. He finished with 78 yards on 20 attempts against the Wildcats.
``He's getting about 20 carries a game, but a lot of those are him all of a sudden making a play,'' Meyer said. ``When you take that away from Tim Tebow - not that he's a normal quarterback - but he's not what Tim Tebow is to our offense.
``The thing we all have to understand is we can't get him hurt.''
That may have already happened.
Tebow, however, said he would be OK.
``It's just a little banged up,'' he said. ``It's fine.''
The Gators - who control their destiny in the SEC East with consecutive games against Georgia, Vanderbilt and South Carolina - sure hope so. After all, Tebow has accounted for 73 percent of their offense this season.
He has 125 carries for 578 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also leads the nation in passing efficiency (177.5), completing 66 percent of his passes for 1,711 yards with 17 touchdowns and three interceptions.
``You can see him changing,'' Meyer said. ``A year ago, he would have had many more carries because that's kind of who he is. Now, he's getting a lot of confidence in distributing the ball. That comes with experience and confidence in the people, the personnel, around him.''
But Florida would like to see him pass more often. Meyer said a typical game plan calls for no more than 10 runs by Tebow. Tebow's competitiveness and desire to make something happen lead to many more, too many more for Meyer.
Still, there's one thing Meyer doesn't want to take away from his star quarterback.
``We don't let him lose his edge, No. 1,'' he said.
Meyer said he would know more about Medder and Wright later Sunday. Wright's injury seems to be the most serious. He broke a thumb and might need surgery.
``They could cast it, which we all know a safety without a hand that can grasp and make a tackle and intercept a pass, that's awful difficult,'' Meyer said. ``We have some injury issues.''
Source: ncaafootball.com; Photo Credit: SEC Sports