Gators trying to settle on backup QB after transfer

Updated: December 13, 2005, 6:21 PM ET
Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No. 16 Florida will spend the next few weeks trying to settle on a backup quarterback for the Outback Bowl.

Freshman Josh Portis has decided to transfer and will not be with the team for the game Jan. 2 against No. 25 Iowa, leaving the Gators with little experience behind starter Chris Leak.

"Huge concern," coach Urban Meyer said. "Keep Chris healthy."

Cornelius Ingram and Gavin Dickey shared repetitions as the backup during practice Tuesday, but neither has thrown a pass this season.

Ingram, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound redshirt freshman who also played on Florida's basketball team last season, was going to switch positions before next season. But Meyer said Ingram will work at quarterback and tight end leading up to the bowl game.

"He's fun to watch," Meyer said. "A lot of our players have commented about he's a big talented guy, athletic guy."

Dickey, a 5-foot-11, 205-pound junior, played quarterback his first two years at Florida before moving to receiver this fall. He caught one pass for 12 yards this season.

Both Ingram and Dickey took snaps at quarterback in the second game of the season against Louisiana Tech. Ingram ran twice for eight yards. Dickey carried once for a yard. But they have done little under center since, even in practice.

Leak and Portis got most of the work.

But Portis abruptly decided to transfer last week, citing a lack of playing time. His mother, who moved him from several high schools in California, played a major role in her son's decision.

Meyer wouldn't talk about the transfer.

"I'd rather talk about the bowl game," he said. "At some point, I'll say something about that. Not today."

Portis played in six games this season and had mixed results. He was 6-of-11 passing for 81 yards with an interception. He also ran 29 times for 163 yards.

Portis, who initially committed to Utah before following Meyer to Gainesville, said he wanted to go where he could play.

"Even after wins, you feel sad inside because you're a great player and you want to be on the field," Portis told The Gainesville Sun. "How do you feel if someone says good game and you can't even help your team out?

"I don't like sitting on the sideline. I want to be on the field."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press