May 12, 2008

Report: Patchan 'fine' after incident

Florida freshman defensive tackle Matt Patchan was shot in the back/shoulder Friday night at Sadie Park in Brandon, his high school coach at Seffner Armwood, Sean Callahan, confirmed to Monday morning.

Callahan told the St. Petersburg Times' Web site that Patchan, a five-star recruit in the 2008 class, is fine and that he did not know why Patchan was at the park. Callahan said he did not know the full details. He did not immediately return a phone call on Monday morning.

The Armwood coach told the site that Patchan has returned to Gainesville and is expected to visit Shands Hospital so the doctors there can work on the gunshot wound. The understanding is that the bullet has not been removed yet.

"Matt Patchan was a gunshot victim Friday night at a Tampa-area park," Florida coach Urban Meyer said in a statement released on the Web site. "He was a bystander and shot in the left shoulder and is expected to fully recover in three weeks."

Although the full details have not emerged, Patchan is not expected to be in any serious danger. He graduated high school early and enrolled at Florida for the spring semester. He was recruited as an offensive lineman but excelled early in spring ball at defensive tackle and was moved.

Patchan's play during spring practice impressed Meyer and first-year defensive line coach Dan McCarney. A position of weakness last season, the emergence of Patchan was welcome news to Florida's football team.

"Patchan is going to play," Meyer said in early April. "We had to move a backup offensive center (Mike Pouncey) to get energy from our defensive line. Never in the history of college football has that been done before. You shouldn't have to do that.

"I'm going to say that again. A true freshman backup offensive center, we moved him to the defensive line and that tells you how bad we were at that position. I don't see that right now. I see much more energy. Patchan is bringing a lot of that to the table."

Said McCarney, also in early April: "We're trying to take a look at (Patchan). He's real sudden. He's playing fast. He's got good skills pass rushing. I'm trying to find the best four people to put on the field in base, in nickel, in Joker which is a 3-man defensive line, goal line which is a 5-man defensive line.

"We're trying to get our best people on the field and he's a guy that plays with constant relentlessness and plays real fast. That's why I moved him in to get a chance. I'm going to move him in (Saturday) some with the 1s to take a look at him. He's learning the game. He's got the personality and the temperament and the toughness and the God-given ability we're all looking for in the defensive line. He'll have a great career at Florida." rated Patchan as the fifth-best offensive tackle, the fifth-best prospect in the Florida top 100 of 2008 and the No. 18 recruit in the entire class. He picked the Gators over Miami, LSU, Georgia, Notre Dame, Florida State and a host of others. Patchan missed the U.S. Army All-American Game while battling mononucleosis. reported that Patchan declined comment when reached late Monday morning.

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