Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Senior Specialist Could Help Gators against Mizzou

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Senior Specialist Could Help Gators against Mizzou

Article excerpt

COLUMBIA, Mo. * There's very little Andre Debose hasn't seen during his football career at Florida. As a high school senior in Sanford, Fla., he watched the 2008 Gators win their second national championship in three years. An injury sidelined Debose during his freshman season at Florida while he watched senior quarterback Tim Tebow guide the Gators on a second straight 13-win season.

Once he finally saw action on the field, Debose witnessed a head coaching change Will Muschamp replaced Urban Meyer after the 2010 season played in a BCS bowl game in 2012, suffered a season-ending injury in 2013 and watched the Gators crumble to their worst season in 34 years.

Granted a sixth year of eligibility for the 2014 season, Debose has become long in the Gator tooth.

"Some of those guys were in middle school my freshman year in college," the senior return specialist said in a phone interview this week. "They've been watching me play since they were toddlers and now they're on the team. As an older guy I always watch what I say and do because I know they're always listening.

"I've seen this program at its highest moments and its lowest."

The Gators could use Debose's perspective this week while they regroup from Saturday's 30-27 home loss at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The Gators dropped to 3-2 and 2-2 in SEC play when a late interception led to LSU's game-winning field goal in the game's final seconds. Florida can tread water in the SEC Eastern Division with a home win Saturday over Missouri (4-2, 1-1), another team desperate for a conference win. Georgia hammered the Tigers 34-0 last week.

"Going into this game, we know this is going to be another test, another big SEC game," Debose said. "They're definitely nobody we can look over."

Debose doesn't take much for granted these days. He missed his freshman season after knee surgery to repair a high school track injury. He sat out all of last season, too, after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during preseason camp.

Rated one of the nation's elite wide receiver recruits when he signed with Florida, Debose has made little impact on UF's passing attack with just 29 career receptions for 543 yards coming into the season. …

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