Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Myth Meets Reality UF's Heavily Hyped Warren to Play vs. Vols

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Myth Meets Reality UF's Heavily Hyped Warren to Play vs. Vols

Article excerpt

GAINESVILLE --- It's as if he's this 300-pound lingering myth, complete with tales of what could be.

Gerard Warren has yet to play football this season for the Florida Gators, and has one career start at defensive tackle. He is coming off a two-game suspension, and will take his first snap in Saturday's showdown with defending national champion Tennessee.

Yet the stories and warnings from teammates come in waves.

"When he gets on the field, he's unstoppable," says UF wideout Darrell Jackson.

"You don't see people who are that big, that can run that fast and are that strong," says UF rush end Alex Brown.

"He knows how to get down and dirty, and just get nasty like a defensive player should," said UF linebacker Keith Kelsey.

Through all the talk and all the hype of the player many believe could potentially be the best tackle to play at Florida this decade, one thing stands clear this week:

"We're depending on him to do what he does," said UF defensive end Derrick Chambers.

Which is much more than disrupt offenses. That's why there is a sense of excitement and intrigue among Florida's defensive players going into the key game of the Southeastern Conference season.

The Gators looked lost at times in the first two games of the season, giving up more than 800 yards against two non-conference cupcakes. Now Warren, who teammates call "Big Money," will plant his 6-feet-4, 300-pound frame at the nose of UF's beleaguered defense and make a stand.

On and off the field.

"He'll help in a lot of ways," said UF defensive coordinator Jon Hoke. "Gerard doesn't lack for conversation or enthusiasm. He'll give us a little spark. And I think we need some of that."

One of Hoke's concerns with his defense is its lack of emotion. Because the defense is so young --- the Gators will start seven sophomores including Warren on Saturday --- the swagger of years past, and in some sense the confidence, isn't there.

Warren has been an emotional leader all summer and through fall camp, even though he missed the first two games after he was charged with a misdemeanor possession of marijuana in January. …

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