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Props Slaps
 10 years ago '04        #141
1000bluntz  OP
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$17,311 | Props total: 11347 11347
DAY 11: Defense in-depth report


The Florida defense looked impressive early during today's scrimmage. They continued to look pretty good until the last forty-five minutes or so, when the offense made an attempt to come from way behind. However, it was too little, too late and the Gators defense prevailed.

Defensive Line: 1st unit- DE Jermaine Cunningham, DT Carlos Dunlap, DT Lawrence Marsh, and DE Justin Trattou.
2nd unit: DE Jaye Howard/Matt Patchan, DT Troy Epps/John Brown, DT Torrey Davis, and DE Duke Lemmens.

What I liked: The versatility and improved play of three young defensive linemen left a lasting impression on me today- Carlos Dunlap, Matt Patchan, and Jaye Howard. Dunlap started things off early by knocking down Tim Tebow after the Heisman Trophy winner launched a deep pass to Deonte Thompson down the left sideline. It was very interesting watching Dunlap slide back to the middle linebacker position before the snap on a play in the red zone. Tebow threw the ball just over the outstretched hands of Dunlap to Thompson, who was crushed by safeties Major Wright and Ahmad Black. Dunlap also lined up at defensive end for a few plays. While at tackle, he and Cunningham pounded tight end Aaron Hernandez and Dunlap held him down for a couple of seconds longer, irritating Hernandez. The pair had some words for each other. Later, he mixed it up with offensive guard Maurkice Pouncey after a play. Dunlap was really playing with Pouncey and even went with a little Ali impressions, but Pouncey was pretty hot. It was so funny to receiver Louis Murphy that he fell down laughing and fellow receiver Percy Harvin was holding his stomach he was laughing so hard.

Dunlap is also the beneficiary of the improved interior defensive line play. There were two plays where the interior line led by John Brown and Terron Sanders forced the ballcarrier outside into the waiting arms of Dunlap who either made the tackle or a.ssisted on the stop. Perhaps his most athletic play came when two interior defensive linemen forced Moody outside. The back stepped inside and back outside trying to juke Dunlap. But, the big d-lineman made a hop-step back along the outside of the line of scrimmage and wrapped Moody up for a loss.

Patchan was all over the place too. They lined him up and end for the most part, but we saw him on the nose during a few obvious passing situations. He also found himself at tackle a couple of other plays. Patchan has an explosive first step and made a couple of offensive linemen look bad. He came free on one play up the middle and missed as the ballcarrier ran outside of his reach. However, the ballcarrier had to cut back and Patchan was able to get in on the stop. He got a couple of pressures on the quarterback as well. One time he and Cunningham were able to crash from their end positions and get Tebow. Patchan also teamed up with fellow freshman Earl Okine to stuff running back Emmanuel Moody with a nice hit.

Howard sacked quarterback Cam Newton after badly beating tackle Kyle Newell. On the following play, Howard popped running back Mon Williams, who was beginning to have a monster day. It was a one on one meeting at the line of scrimmage and Howard won the battle.

Cunningham got great pressure on Tebow and forced the quarterback to hurried throw the football. He did so, right into the arms of Wondy Pierre-Louis who was covering Brandon James. I also witnessed a great play by Lawrence Marsh, who fought off a block by Maurkice Pouncey and worked a step to his left before diving at James who was running over left tackle. He picked up maybe a half-yard on the play because of Marsh’s effort. Marsh also blew up an option to the left side.

What I didn’t like: The offense was able to move the ball downfield and score a couple of times later in the scrimmage session, souring what began as a sterling performance from the first whistle. At one point, Coach Meyer said that the defense was up 56-12 in their point system. You can’t point the finger at any one, two, or three guys though. It just seemed as if the defense lost some of its edge. I also wasn’t as pleased with the push from the middle of the defensive front. It’s definitely improved since the start of drills, but it isn’t consistent. Patchan doesn’t seem to utilize that tremendous first step as often as you’d like. Understandably, he is just a freshman though.

Linebackers: 1st unit- OLB Dustin Doe, MLB Brandon Spikes, and OLB Brandon Hicks.
2nd unit- OLB Jerimy Finch, MLB Lorenzo Edwards, OLB Chris Pintado
Injured: Beal and Stamper

What I liked: There were plenty of plays made by Brandon Spikes, who was everywhere as usual. Spikes had a spectacular day. He was one of the only players to get Rainey in the backfield. He shot the tackle/guard gap one other time and got pressure on Tebow. I also thought that Finch had a nice day too. He jumped the gap behind the defensive end and made a really nice unassisted stop on Moody. Finch actually wrapped Mon Williams up at the line of scrimmage with an ankle tackle. Coach Dan McCarney came in yelling at the defensive line telling them they were playing “too soft”. Doe was in a few plays, including a wonderful ankle grab on Chris Rainey, who had open space in front of him and would have certainly turned a one yard pickup into a huge gainer. He also had a monster hit on tight end Cornelius Ingram.

What I didn’t like: There didn’t seem to be enough plays at the end of scrimmage session made by the linebackers. There were a few missed tackles early in the scrimmage that thankfully several other defenders were on the scene to secure. I didn’t think that Doe was as active as I’d seen him in other practice sessions either. Doe also got crushed with a couple of blocks, one by Hernandez who freed the back to run in space. Guys like Finch, Hicks, and Edwards are stepping up though.

Secondary: 1st unit- CB Joe Haden, CB Wondy Pierre-Louis/Jacques Rickerson, SS Major Wright, FS Ahmad Black/Dorian Munroe.
2nd unit- CB Janoris Jenkins, CB Jeremy Brown, SS Jamar Hornsby, and FS Bryan Thomas.

What I liked: Ahmad Black continues to establish himself as a reliable factor at safety. He has a nose for the football and really punishes people. Black contained a run wide to the left made by James that allowed Spikes the opportunity to step up and make the tackle. As I stated earlier, he teamed with Major Wright to crush Thompson on a catch. He knocked the helmet off Hernandez on a short pass play. It appeared as if Hernandez bruised or cut the bridge of his nose on the play.

Munroe also made several big plays. He had a certain interception that went through his hands when coming up to cover Thompson. Munroe received a lot of praise from coach Chuck Heater on that play. Wondy’s highlight was when he picked off a pass intended for James after the pressure from Cunningham.

Janoris Jenkins and Jeremy Brown are really picking things up now. They still have a long way to go, but it’s good to see them doing a few more things the right way.

What I didn’t like: The corners and safeties allowed Deonte Thompson to get behind them. Major Wright was in on two of those plays. The corners on two of those plays were Joe Haden and Wondy Pierre-Louis.
 10 years ago '04        #142
1000bluntz  OP
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Deonte shows he’s fast and so smooth


[pic - click to view]



Deonte Thompson made a cross-over move to the inside on a backside skinny post that was so quick and so smooth that he nearly broke the ankles of Wondy Pierre-Louis. He accelerated so easily that safety Major Wright was unable to react quickly enough. Thompson was wide open, just like the days when he was making defensive backs look silly at Glades Central, and here came the ball, a perfectly thrown spiral by Tim Tebow.

“I was styling,” said Thompson, the redshirt freshman from Belle Glade who was once timed at 4.28 in the 40. “I already knew I had a touchdown. I was styling and smiling already.”

That celebration of the mind may have lasted just a millisecond but it was just enough lapse of focus that cost him. The ball hit him squarely in the hands but instead of a clean catch, Thompson’s knee came up and jarred the ball loose. He shook his head and looked at his hands as if they had deceived him as he slowly made his way to the sideline, feeling like a pariah because he cost his team a score.

A couple of moments later, he was joined on the sideline by Tebow, the 2006 Heisman Trophy winner. Thompson didn’t make excuses but he did tell Tebow to give him another chance.

“I said come back at me and he said ‘I gotcha,’” said Thompson.

On their first play back on the field together, Tebow called the identical route with Thompson working down the left sideline against Pierre-Louis with Wright once again in one-high safety coverage.

Once again the ball was thrown perfectly. Once again Thompson accelerated so easily and quickly that he blew past Pierre-Louis, too quick for Wright to get there in time.

There was no lapse in concentration when the ball arrived. Thompson waited until the ball was safely tucked away in the end zone to celebrate his second long touchdown of the day, this one a 50-yarder.

On the first offensive series of Saturday’s two-hour scrimmage, the last one for the Florida Gators before next Saturday’s Orange and Blue Debut at The Swamp, Thompson blew by Joe Haden over on the right side and it was like Haden wasn’t even there.

Again, the shift from fast to warp speed was so smooth and so instantaneous that Wright couldn’t get there in time to help. It was a 40-yard touchdown pass from Tebow that looked like a couple of kids playing pitch and catch in the backyard it was so easy.

This was Deonte Thompson’s day to shine. It felt just like the old days when he was making a big name for himself torching any defensive back that dared to try to stop him and that quick-score Glades Central passing game.

“I had a nice day today,” he said with a grin. “I just felt nice and Tebow and I had it going. He was throwing it right there where it needed to be all day.”

Thompson and Tebow connected four times for 122 yards and those two touchdowns. It was the kind of performance that caught the eye of Coach Urban Meyer, who was looking for energy and positive production from his team.

“He [Thompson] laid one on the ground,” said Meyer. “He had a bomb for a touchdown but he came right back and that’s the typical young player.”

Thompson might be the typical young player in respect to age and experience, but in terms of speed, he’s not your typical wide receiver. When he’s on the field, defenses have to lay off because he can get deep so quickly and almost so effortlessly.

He’s already looking forward to the fall when Jeff Demps (ran a 10.17 100 meters at the Florida Relays Friday, second fastest time in history by a high school sprinter) arrives to join Florida’s already impressive arsenal of fast, explosive backs and receivers.

“We’re almost a track team out here,” said Thompson. “Me, Demps, Percy Harvin, Louis Murphy and Chris Rainey … that’s some speed. That’s some real speed.”

* * *

Thompson wasn’t the only young guy that showed up big Saturday. Matt Patchan seemed to spend the day in the backfield. He had two sacks and harassed Tebow, Cameron Newon and Johnny Brantley into at least six bad throws.

Lined up on the left side three straight plays against right tackle Jason Watkins, Patchan was already on Watkins’ hip before Watkins could plant his right foot on the drop step. Watkins started 13 games as a fourth year junior in 2007 and he rarely gave up a sack and that was against some of the best defensive linemen in the Southeastern Conference.

In 2007, Patchan was playing high school football for Seffner Armwood in the Tampa metro area where he was considered one of the best offensive linemen in the country. Since he’s been at Florida, he’s moved over to defense and he’s done what Mike Pouncey did last fall when he switched from offense to defense, which is to energize the entire defensive line with his enthusiastic play.

“We had to move a backup offensive center to get energy for our offensive line [last year],” said Meyer. “You shouldn’t have to do that. A true freshman offensive center we had to move to the defensive line and that tells you how bad we were at that position. I don’t see that right now. Patchan’s bringing a lot of that to the table.”

Patchan wasn’t the only young defensive lineman to show up big. Sophomore Carlos Dunlap got lined up in a variety of positions. He played as an end on both the strong and weak sides, did some time at tackle and moved up and down the line as a standup lineman, creating havoc wherever he was the moment the ball was snapped. Another freshman defensive end, Earl Okine, got a piece of a Tebow pass, batted one Cameron Newton pass in the air, and got pressure twice on Brantley. Third year sophomore tackle Lawrence Marsh forced Newton into a bad pitch that sophomore end Duke Lemmens recovered. Third year sophomore Terron Sanders got a couple of sacks.


Last edited by 1000bluntz; 04-06-2008 at 06:48 PM..
 10 years ago '04        #143
1000bluntz  OP
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cont....


* * *

This was also a coming out party of sorts for Mon Williams. Williams tore his ACL the first day of spring practice in 2007. Proclaimed the go-to guy at tailback by Meyer prior to the start of last year’s spring fling, Williams had surgery and spent the 2007 season rehabbing. He had been running rather tentatively all spring until Friday’s practice when he started showing signs that he was back to the Mon Williams that was one of the most highly recruited tailbacks in the country as a high school star in Texas.

Then came Saturday’s scrimmage when he became a between the tackles workhorse. He finished the day with 16 carries and 83 yards and at least 60 percent of his yardage came after the first contact. His longest carry of the day was good for 11 yards so the storyline of his Saturday scrimmage was consistency.

“Mon Williams was officially welcomed back to Florida football,” said Meyer. “He ran really hard today. One stretch I think we gave him the ball about 10 straight plays.”

Williams wasn’t the only tailback that came up big. Kestahn Moore finished with 71 yards on seven carries including a 39-yard run when he hit the hole off left tackle, cut to the sidelines and then turned it into a sprint before he was knocked out of bounds by two players that had the angle.

Chris Rainey had 11 carries for 60 yards including runs of 13 and 23 yards that had some highlight reel material in them, but it was a two-yard run on a fourth and two at the 42 that sent his teammates swarming to pick him up off the turf.

Not exactly your prototypical inside runner at 5-9 and 176 pounds, Rainey broke a tackle in the backfield, stepped through another tackle at the line of scrimmage and then fought his way to the 40 for a first down that had Tim Tebow and the entire offense rushing to the pile to congratulate the little guy on such a tough, determined run.

Even though the stats (10 carries, 17 yards) don’t show it, Emmanuel Moody had a good day. He took 13 yards in losses on three carries due to bad pitches or no blocking on option plays. He also got four carries in short yardage situations when the line was stacked. Moody had impressive runs of eight, six and six yards. On the eight-yard run, he cut back and only an ankle grab kept him from breaking into the secondary.

It was improved work on the parts of the running backs, but still not everything Meyer is looking for.

“The expectation level I have for those guys because their talent is so high so we still don’t have that guy that you turn around and hand him the ball consistently,” said Meyer. “What I think we are is a lot of talented guys but they have to improve a little bit more. The expectation level I have is so high. I expect them to be no different than our receivers. If we get to where we want to get I think our tight ends will be some of the best in the SEC. I think our receivers will be some of the best in the SEC … our quarterback [Heisman Trophy winner]. How about backs? I don’t know but they should be.”

* * *

The offensive line took a couple of hits when Mike Pouncey went down with an ankle sprain and Carl Johnson dislocated a thumb, but there were bright spots with young guys like Corey Hobbs, Jim Barrie and James Wilson. Wilson, who was considered the top high school offensive lineman in the country as a high school senior, is starting to look the part. He’s still got sore knees from two surgeries, but now that he’s getting his reps, he’s feeling like football is fun again.

“I’m feeling good … feeling great,” he said. “I’m having a lot of fun again.”

He had talked of transferring to Wake Forest before spring practice. The Demon Deacons will have to do without James Wilson, however. He’s a Gator and happy to say he’ll be in orange and blue in the fall thanks to supportive teammates that wouldn’t give up on him when he was so depressed because of knee injuries that forced him to sit a year of football for the first time in his life.

“It got really frustrating toward the middle [of last season],” he said. “Everything looked good on the surface but deep down I was getting depressed. Now I’m able to get out here and hit people and throw people down like I used to and that feels good. This is so much fun. I really love it.”

And he loves being a Gator. Asked if he’s happy he will be a Gator in the fall, Wilson responded, “Definitely. I know over the summer I’ll get my knee 100 percent and I’ll be good to go in the fall. It’s awesome and this is where I want to be.”

* * *

For Carl Moore, Saturday was a breakthrough day. He caught six passes for 68 yards and a touchdown, but for the first time all spring he felt he knew what he was doing and where he is supposed to be at all times. He’s spent most of the spring trying to learn an offense that is many times more complicated than the one he ran in junior college last year, where he was a first team All-American wide receiver.

“In junior college I didn’t have to think at all,” he said. “We had maybe 10 plays and that’s all and you just ran the play that was called no matter what you see. You run a play now and it looks cover two but it’s not cover two. It’s really cover one man. You have to think everything in about three or four seconds and know everything you need to do. Once I adjust it’s going to be good.”

Because he’s spent so much time thinking about where he’s got to go and where he’s supposed to be, he’s been playing at perhaps 80 percent speed all spring. He’s looked like a possession receiver when he knows he has the speed to be a big time playmaker.

“I’m still tentative out there because it’s not [the offense] in my head,” he said. “I’m still thinking out there and trying to read and think everything that I see so it’s still a little difficult but today was better than it’s been all spring.”

* * *

Louis Murphy sat out Saturday’s scrimmage. The senior wide receiver has had to miss practices this spring because of a staph infection that’s now under control and because of a problem with chronic headaches. Meyer said the headaches are now under control, too.

“He’s had headaches since the fall and they found what it was,” said Meyer. “Chronic headaches but they found the problem. Next week I think he’ll be cleared to go.”
 10 years ago '04        #144
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Spring practice: An evaluation of offense


There is one week left of spring football 2008 and the Florida Gators still have work to do on both sides of the ball and as well as special teams. While the Gators have found numerous answers to some important questions, this final week of practice will tell us just how much improvement is needed and where between now and August 30 when the games begin for real against Hawaii.

With four practices left, here are my opinions of what has been accomplished this spring and what could still be accomplished by Saturday when practice concludes with the Orange and Blue Debut. Here is a position-by-position look, touching lightly on the issues. Once spring practice is over, we can deal with things on a more in-depth basis.

QUARTERBACK:

What I Like So Far: The first week saw a big problem with snaps especially when the quarterback is under center. The under center problem is no longer an issue as far as I can tell but there is still the occasional high snap which is not the fault of the signal caller … Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow actually struggled early in the spring but has been right on for the last four to five practices. I would say that he has even improved the quarterback run game, especially when it comes to the decision on whether to hand off or keep the ball on an inside option play ... Cam Newton has also progressed in this department and he looks really natural running the ball on the keepers now. Newton also seems to have improved his accuracy, especially when rolling out. It’s a different story when he’s pressured but we will get into that just below … John Brantley has progressed as much as can be expected in my mind. I like his aggressive nature for a freshman. He can make all the throws and is doing it now with his non-throwing shoulder still ailing a bit. Brantley has really come on as a runner of late.

What’s Left to Fix: Can we really fix the Heisman Trophy winner? Sure we can. One thing I have seen Tebow do is get frustrated late in a series or drill when he doesn’t have an open receiver and just throw it anyway, often times turning it over to the defense. He has to be the leader and stay away from that … As for Newton, faster checks through his progressions are needed. He often times gets lost when receivers one and two are covered. It is a quick reaction offense, so he has to speed that up. Newton also needs to work on mechanics when under pressure. If someone is in his face and he throws, he loses all of his mechanics on the throw … Brantley is a little too zealous at times and needs to tone it down. I do like the aggressiveness for a freshman, but he has committed more interceptions due to that aggressiveness.

RUNNING BACKS:

What I Like So Far: I have seen nice glimpses from all of them. I do like that they are using Brandon James and Chris Rainey in the reverse Percy Harvin role. Both have shown the ability to catch the ball down field like receivers and both seem to be the best play makers at the position so far … James and Rainey have shown they can run inside, but Kestahn Moore, Mon Williams, and Emmanuel Moody are definitely all suited more for it and have all shown hard running ability … Williams seems to be taking off a bit and Moody as well with both of their carries increasing of late … Steve Wilks at fullback just needs to keep doing what he is doing. He won’t play a lot at the position, but he is a heck of a blocker and will only get better.

What’s Left to Fix: My number one complaint for the backs is we haven’t seen enough of Moody. I was expecting him to get more this spring, and it is slowly coming but not there yet. Lately he has shown a spectacular move every practice, and we need to see more of it … Moore had fumbling issues early in the spring, but they seem to have disappeared as of late … Wilks could gain a little more weight,

WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS:

What I Like So Far: The Gators are getting big plays from Louis Murphy, Cornelius Ingram, Aaron Hernandez, Deonte Thompson, Justin Williams (occasionally), and Brandon James and Chris Rainey when used at receiver. They are getting steady and positive play from Carl Moore, David Nelson, and Riley Cooper … Moore probably has the best hands of the group and has become a steady target for all the quarterbacks … Murphy is definitely a threat deep on any play … Thompson started hot this spring, then cooled and now is hot again. He is an exceptional talent … Hernandez and Ingram are the best pair of tight ends in America and have shown it regularly this spring … Justin Williams has really impressed both with speed and his play making ability … Nelson has been impressive at times, but injuries have sidelined him a great deal.

What’s Left to Fix: Too many drops this spring … I’d like to see a little more f!ght for the ball. The defensive backs have had more pass break ups and interceptions this spring than I can remember, but some of the blame has to be on the receivers not f!ghting and coming back to the ball … Thompson needs to keep a steady presence. He was placed in the starting line up from the beginning of spring. He needs to make his presence felt every time on the field … Nelson needs to stay healthy so he can impress more often.

OFFENSIVE LINE:

What I Like So Far: The offensive Line has owned the defense in running drills for most of the spring. The interior of the first line has been especially forceful against the defense … Phil Trautwein dominates when he is out there … Maurkice Pouncey and Corey Hobbs have really done well with snaps since about the third practice … Carl Johnson looked good moving back and forth from left tackle to left guard … James Wilson is really improving while his knee gets better … Jim Barrie has made himself valuable by being able to play different positions at a pretty high level. He has also played some left guard and left tackle … Jason Watkins is invaluable being able to play both tackle positions and maybe the true leader on the line right now … Corey Hobbs came in prepared to play and has done pretty well.

What’s Left to Fix: The second unit, while not bad, is definitely a drop off from the first … Johnson needs to work on technique going against faster players … Marcus Gilbert has shown the least versatility among the scholarship linemen. I have only seen him line up at right tackle … Both the first and second unit have issues with the blitz at times … A healthy Trautwein, Jim Tartt, and now Johnson and Mike Pouncey would be nice. The depth is getting pretty non-existent.
 10 years ago '04        #145
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Spring practice evaluation: Defense


Florida’s 2007 defense was much maligned and for good reasons. In critical games when the Gators needed stops, they didn’t deliver. It has been a focus this spring on getting the defense closer to the standards set in years one and two of the Urban Meyer era at UF. Today, Gator Country takes a look at the defense and how it has improved this spring.

With a couple of new defensive coaches added to the staff, this has been a spring for transition as well as improvement. Former Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney is handling the defensive line now and former Michican secondary coach Vance Bedford has the corners. It just so happens that those are the positions that needed the greatest improvement. Here is what we think they have accomplished so far and how we would like to see them finish.

DEFENSIVE LINE:

What I Like So Far: The ends have made plays all spring. Whether it is rushing the passer, blocking passes, or stopping the run inside or outside of the tackle box and at or behind the line of scrimmage, the ends have done their part as a group.

Carlos Dunlap is a freak of nature with his size and speed he needs to be on the field whenever he isn’t gassed. Justin Trattou has great instincts for the game and plays at a high level every single play. He is also a great physical specimen at end, but has the ability to play inside very well. Jermaine Cunningham is a great run stuffing end, especially from the weak side. Matt Patchan has come out of nowhere to make a name for himself on defense in the last four practices. He is extremely quick and impressively strong for his build. He also comes with a high motor…I have seen Duke Lemmens make plays. He is another hustle guy. Jaye Howard is very quick to the quarterback most of the time.

The tackles have all shown signs of being able to make a difference. Right now Lawrence Marsh has to be considered the most dependable on the inside and is a guy that can make plays and has shown some fire inside. Troy Epps is probably second followed very closely by John Brown. Both haven’t done it consistently enough but have shown the ability to push the pocket and stuff the run. Terron Sanders has made a late spring push to get playing time. He has the ideal size and strength wanted on the inside. Torrey Davis is probably the biggest playmaker in the bunch, but his regular absences from practice doesn’t allow him a great report.

I like the idea of getting the best four linemen on the field, and right now, I believe that the top three linemen are Cunningham, Dunlap, and Trattou. The staff is starting to find ways to get these guys on the field together, even if it means moving one of them to a defensive tackle position for a bit.

What I’d Like to See Fixed: There is no consistency at defensive tackle from any of the group. This has to change and it should. I think John Brown is taking big steps forward, and I see it from him, but in my mind he isn’t really a playmaking defensive tackle but more of a plugger, run-stuffer type. Lawrence Marsh is getting more consistent, and he can really be a difference in there if he maintains. Torrey Davis needs to get himself straight away from the football field, and then he will have the time and get the training enough to be a difference on the football field. Davis has great quickness and ideal size inside but he doesn’t use it every down like he should. If Terron Sanders makes another leap forward like he did last week, we may see more of what we want from one of these big guys.

I’d like to see Cunningham be more productive in his time on the practice field. We don’t call out his name enough in the reports and he should be both a leader by example and vocally. Lemmens needs to get a little bigger so he won’t collapse at the hands of offensive tackles. Howard needs to work on his change of direction and breaking down when tackling a ball carrier.

LINEBACKERS:

What I Like So Far: Brandon Spikes has a.ssumed the leadership of the defense and he is a great representative. There is no better tackler on the team and a guy that has impressive range for his size. Lorenzo Edwards is all over the place and may need to make a position change away from Spikes back up so that he can see the field. Edwards is fast and intelligent. He really flows to the ball really well and sifts through traffic as well as anyone. Jerimy Finch is just one of those guys that seems to always be around the ball. If I am a linebacker coach, that is who I want on the field. He is a pretty sure tackler and is fast and not afraid to mix it up. Brandon Hicks has played great this spring and is impressive in pass coverage at the SAM. Dustin Doe is another guy that always seems to be where the ball is. He has really improved in his pass defense and has made numerous pass break ups this spring. Brendan Beal, A.J. Jones, Ryan Stamper, and John Jones are all getting incompletes so far for lack of participation in spring drills although some of that is due to lack of snaps. The Fall looks great with strong depth in Spikes, Doe, A.J. Jones, Hicks, Edwards, Finch, and Stamper all playing well at some point ion the last two years.

What I’d Like to See Fixed: The first shot goes to the staff as I think Edwards and Finch need to be on the field a lot more. Right now I think they are two of the top three backers. Hicks gaining ten more pounds of muscle will help him when he gets matched up with tight ends and allow him to win that battle more often. Doe needs to tackle more consistently. He would be in my top three if he did. Finch will probably also need to gain a few pounds to play consistently at the position.

SAFETIES:

What I Like So Far: The safeties were virtually non-existent early in spring drills. About practice six or so, they just started making play. Oddly enough it happened when starter Major Wright went down with the flu. Suddenly sophomore Ahmad Black decided he was going to make some noise and did so in a big way. Then Jamar Hornsby got into the act. Both Black and Hornsby have made more plays in the last two weeks than anyone else at the position. Suddenly there is a f!ght for both positions, and that is a good thing. Wright has looked good in his return, making deep break ups of some passes. Hornsby has shown toughness, speed, and play making ability as of late. Black has done the same, and may bee second only to Wright in someone back there that likes to punish the ball carrier. John Curtis, Dorian Munroe, and Bryan Thomas all have excellent physical gifts for the position.

What I’d Like to See Fixed: The safety position is so important and a player with instincts is necessary at both spots. The Gators are going to incorporate a dual safety mode this year meaning both safeties will have to be able to play strong or free safety when they are called upon to do so. We know Wright has instincts, he seems to have improved his speed and needs to do a little more of that, otherwise he s a good to great one. I haven’t seen the instincts from Munroe yet, despite the staff saying he is one of the 11 best players on defense. The bottom line is they need to get a second play maker on the field, whoever that is.

CORNERBACKS:

What I Like So Far: Cornerback is the most improved position on the field in my opinion. Honestly, all seven scholarship corners have played better than any of them did last spring. Joe Haden seems to have taken on a leader role by example and he came out from day one playing lights out. Wondy Pierre-Louis started medium and then heated up and has played the best of any corner over the last two weeks. Haden and Wondy should be a really good starting duo next year. Jacques Rickerson is the smallest of the group but has shown the ability to really cover on deep routes and also blitz the quarterback. Markihe Anderson has been steady and productive and is just under the starting two at this time. Moses Jenkins, Jeremy Brown, and Janoris Jenkins have all shown aggressive play and been consistent in breaking up passes to covered receivers.

What I’d Like to See Fixed: A few have the tendency to get beat on deep balls, but honestly they play so aggressively now, that is going to happen. I can live with the occasional deep pass if they are in the player’s faces knocking them off course from their routes, breaking up passes, and making interceptions. We have seen more of the latter group than the long ball connections this spring.

We will look back at special teams and all of the offense and defense, after the spring is completed.
 10 years ago '04        #146
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DAY 12: Defense in-depth report


The secondary and defensive line had a great day for the Florida defense. The two units have been very impressive the entire spring.
Defensive line-

SDE- Justin Trattou, Carlos Dunlap, Jaye Howard
DT- Matt Patchan, Terron Sanders
DT- Lawrence Marsh, Troy Epps, John Brown
WDE- Jermaine Cunningham, Duke Lemmens, Earl Okine

What I liked: Matt Patchan took every snap with the first team defense today. You’d expect him to get tossed around being around 250 pounds, but he was impressive. He knows what his strengths are, and he uses them to get by linemen. He is extremely quick off the ball. His swim move is the main move he uses, and it looks effective against the Pouncey twins. Justin Trattou was back at practice after an injury Saturday, and he looked pretty good. He looks really quick from the edge, broke inside Trautwein and drug Rainey down. His speed off the edge helped him chase down an option play on the opposite side of the field. Tebow pitched the ball to Rainey, and Trattou completed the play by making the tackle. Carlos Dunlap continues to be a force as well. He stays low enough at the snap and uses his height as leverage to push the lineman backwards. During the scrimmage at the end of practice, he even stood at the line of scrimmage standing up, and dropped back into pass coverage in the middle of the field. How many guys of his size in the nation can do that? Terron Sanders also drew praise from defensive line coach Dan McCarney. Troy Epps looks to be every bit the space eater the staff wanted when they signed him. Sanders and Epps combined to dominate the interior of the second team offensive line. Lawrence Marsh did some very nice things as well, and Meyer was pleased with his performance after practice. Earl Okine had at least one sack today and showed good burst off the snap.

What I didn’t like: With all the potential the interior of this line has, its mind blowing why Matt Patchan is getting first team reps. He’s had twelve days of practice and is being talked about as a starter? Something isn’t right about that. Jermaine Cunningham needs to pick up his play. I’m not suggesting he won’t start, but Dunlap and Trattou are just that good. Cunningham has been dominated by both Trautwein and Jason Watkins this spring. Whether that’s a good sign for the offensive line or bad sign for Cunningham is up for debate. The two minute offense had the defensive line pinning their ears back and going after the quarterback, and when the offense ran the football, a long run was pretty much a guarantee.
Linebackers-

OLB- Brandon Hicks, Jerimy Finch
MLB- Brandon Spikes, Lorenzo Edwards
OLB- Dustin Doe, Chris Pintado

What I liked: Brandon Hicks had a good day. Coach Meyer and Coach Strong were constantly applauding his efforts and patting him on the back after the plays he was making. The blocking drills gave Hicks a chance to shed blockers, and he did so very impressively. The tackling drills had him standing Mon Williams, right after a great day of practice, up and throwing him out of the drill. He has improved every day of the spring. Jerimy Finch will be on the field this year simply because of God given ability. I firmly believe right now that he and Lorenzo Edwards are the second and third best linebackers on the team. Edwards is a good tackler in the open field. He stays disciplined and always wraps up the ball carrier. Dustin Doe also had his best day of the spring. The one-on-one tackling drills had given him serious trouble this spring, but he looked good today. He went up against Rainey, who has always given people trouble this spring. Doe stood patiently as Rainey tried a few moves in front of him, and then attacked him when Rainey tried to go around. It was probably the best anyone has contained Rainey this spring.

What I didn’t like: Brandon Spikes had his worst day of the spring. He seemed to lack the intensity that makes him the player he has been for this defense. The good part is that if there is one player on defense I’m not worried about, it’s Brandon Spikes. I also saw John Jones walking into the trainer’s office, and he didn’t participate in practice after that.
Secondary:

CB- Joe Haden, Moses Jenkins, Janoris Jenkins
CB- Wondy Pierre-Louis, Jacques Rickerson, Jeremy Brown
S- Major Wright, Jamar Hornsby, Bryan Thomas
S- Dorian Munroe, John Curtis, Ahmad Black

What I liked: Moses Jenkins had a great day. Coach Bedford was very complimentary of his effort in drills. He deflected at least four or five passes in coverage. At one point during the two minute drill he deflected back-to-back passes. His height gives him an added advantage. It’s scary looking at him tower over the other cornerbacks and think about the potential he has. Joe Haden had a good day, just like every other day he’s had this spring. He’s developing into the shutdown cornerback everyone thought he had potential to become when he was being recruited. He made two pass breakups today where the receiver made the catch, and he just ripped the ball out of his hands. Haden didn’t participate in the end of practice for some reason, and Rickerson stepped in his place to make plays. He bumped a receiver off the line and broke up a few slants. He also had an interception on a Tebow pass that went through the hands of Justin Williams. Jeremy Brown also had an interception on a pass dropped by a receiver that would have been returned for a touchdown in a game. The safeties had a good day, but nothing in particular stuck out about them. Major Wright had a good day in pass coverage, breaking up at least two throws.

What I didn’t like: Wondy Pierre-Louis had a bad day. His hands need some serious work. I don’t think I saw him catch a football during the drills. He also got burnt in coverage over and over again. Jamar Hornsby had the trainer’s looking at his neck for about five minutes during the first part of practice, but no one knew what happened. Luckily he went right back in to drills and didn’t seem to miss a beat. Markihe Anderson missed practice because of a concussion.
Player of the Day:

Moses Jenkins. I was impressed with the day he put together. His potential is through the roof.
 10 years ago '04        #147
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DAY 12: Offense in-depth report


[pic - click to view]



The day after a tough scrimmage can sometimes mean a rough practice. It was for the most part for the Florida offense on Monday, but the offense finished strong on the day. Here is a look on what went right and wrong during the day at each position.
Quarterbacks

Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, John Brantley

What I Liked: Newton took exception to a hard tackle and sack of John Brantley, his fellow quarterback. Jaye Howard actually lifted Brantley and slammed him, Newton retaliated...His technique wasn’t the best, but the fact he would take up for someone he is competing with for a job shows a lot about team chemistry and chemistry among that group in general...Brantley stood in there under some real heat during the last part of practice and took some major hits, it was good for Brantley that hasn’t seen contact all spring...Newton and Tebow directed their first attempts at the two minute drill remarkably well. Tebow, I believe finished three attempts with touchdowns in the drill.

What I Didn’t Like: Newton’s shot at Jaye Howard for the hard hit on Brantley was actually a swinging helmet. He didn’t do anything to hurt anyone as he didn’t exactly swing as hard as he could, but it was a stupid move in general...Except for the two minute drill, the quarterbacks were off today. All three threw into coverage and Brantley and Newton often threw behind or over receivers...Some of the coverage throws were quite bad and looked like desperation throws into double coverage.
Running Backs

Kestahn Moore, Brandon james, Mon Williams, Chris Rainey, Emmanuel Moody

What I Liked: It was a strong day for the running backs. All of them ran hard in running drills. Emmanuel Moody had his best day. He had three different plays where people in the crowd went wow or oooohhh, including the last play of the second two minute drill where he scampered for a 20 yard touchdown after making a great move on someone. It was definitely an eye opening day for Moody...Kestahn Moore probably had the second best day, he ran with authority all day long and looked really strong in the 9 on 7 drill earlier in practice.

What I Didn’t Like: I am not sure who and really didn’t even see it myself, but someone fumbled the ball because all of the backs were doing up downs on the far field after practice...Not really a whole lot else to say negative here.
Receivers - Tight Ends

Louis Murphy, Deonte Thompson, Cornelius Ingram, Aaron Hernandez
David Nelson, Carl Moore, Tate Casey, Justin Williams, Riley Cooper

What I Liked: Someone new stepped up today-Riley Cooper. He was a work horse on the day and made several nice catches short with tons of yards after the catch following...Justin Williams had a few nice catches including a couple of deep ones...Louis Murphy continues to be the real go to guy with Percy Harvin out, that was more of the same today...Cornelius Ingram seemed to be stretching the field a little more in this practice...Somehow the mid range crossing pattern was open all day today.

What I Didn’t Like: Too many times where the ball was up in the air and the receivers did not go to the ball and allowed defenders to make plays...Carl Moore left injured…
Offensive Line

LT Jason Watkins, LG James Wilson, C Maurkice Pouncey, RG Mike Pouncey, RT Marcus Gilbert
LT Kyle Newell, LG Carl Johnson, C Corey Hobbs, RG Jim Barrie

What I Liked: The starting offensive line played well...James Wilson was singled out a few times during the day for basically destroying his guy on the line of scrimmage. He told me after practice he had over 60 snaps today and moved from backup at LG to the starter by the end of practice...Jason Watkins was owning the best we had at defensive end in the half line drill today...Snaps were good from Maurkice including several that were quarterback under center.

What I Didn’t Like: The second team offensive line got owned for most of the day...It started off rough in the half line drill where they couldn’t hold out, then during almost every phase, they were really beaten bad...Jim Barrie has been pretty good and reliable all spring, but had a really rough day holding off Troy Epps and Terron Sanders most of the day...The line is just really beat up right now with Jim Tartt and Mo Hurt out, and Phil Trautwein not playing a lot of snaps at practice. Throw in Carl Johnson with his broken thumb where he must have been less effective today, it is real tough for these guys to get in a groove.
Odds and Ends...

Prospect Alert: Corey Addison, a 5-11, 190 pound safety from Jacksonville Jackson was in attendance for practice today.

Something new: About 2/3 of the way through practice, the offense was over on the far field working on offensive drills. In the middle of the drills, Coordinator Dan Mullen called the whole offense into a circle in a bit of a rage,. He was quite loud as he was yelling at his troops to focus on the far side. This went on for a few minutes and it was something quite new to hear from Mullen. I approached him after practice and he told me that the offense at that point in practice was just going through the motions and was really sloppy. They needed a little bit of a talk and afterwards had a great last part of practice. The two minute drill was definitely the best all spring.
Offensive Player of the Day:

Hands down in my book it was Emmanuel Moody. He made a couple of moves in the team portion of practice that were game changing long play type moves. Mullen told me afterwards he was really starting to catch on. I believe it.
 10 years ago '04        #148
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DAY 13: Defense in-depth report


After a down practice Monday, Wondy Pierre-Louis couldn't help but yell after every defensive stop on Wednesday. The defense lost the final head-to-head matchup of the spring, but the advances taken as a defense are still easily noticeable.
Defensive line-

SDE- Carlos Dunlap, Justin Trattou, Jaye Howard
DT- Matt Patchan, Terron Sanders,
DT- Troy Epps, Lawrence Marsh, Torrey Davis
WDE- Jermaine Cunningham, Duke Lemmens, Earl Okine

What I liked: I thought Troy Epps had the best day of the defensive linemen. He started out the spring by just being a space-eater for the team, but now he’s doing that with a purpose. I love his intensity. He got pancaked by Maurkice Pouncey, and then the two got into a f!ght. He came right back after the f!ght and broke inside Pouncey to get to the quarterback. He seemed to have a chip on his shoulder today. Hopefully it came from the coaches talking about their issues at defensive tackle. Carlos Dunlap stepped into a first team role today and did what he’s been doing all spring. He ran straight through Tate Casey, who was attempting to block him on one play, and would’ve blown up a quarterback if the red jerseys weren’t on. Lawrence Marsh was on second team today and gave the second team offensive line trouble. Corey Hobbs couldn’t do a thing to stop him. Duke Lemmens is a guy that is always in the right place at the right time. He picked up a fumble today and would’ve scored an easy touchdown. I thought Jermaine Cunningham had his best day so far this spring. He blew up an option and got praise from Coach McCarney on plenty of other plays. He hasn’t had any issue stopping runs to the outside of him, but it’s the ones on the inside he isn’t making plays on. I’m not sure if this is good or bad, but Patchan knocked down Tebow over a throw today, making it all three quarterbacks that he has pushed over at one point or another this spring. Torrey Davis had a moment where he showed his athleticism to slip inside the line and make a big hit on a running back.

What I didn’t like: The first and second team defensive lines were completely opposite today. The second team line didn’t have much trouble stopping the run game against the second team offensive line, but when the first team lines went at it there were gaping holes in the middle of the defensive line. I only saw one run outside of the tackles break for long distance, and that was Rainey on the first play of the scrimmage taking a sweep 60 yards for a touchdown. As good as Marsh looked at times today, he also was dominated by James Wilson a few times in the one-on-one blocking drills.
Linebackers-

OLB- Dustin Doe, Jerimy Finch
MLB- Brandon Spikes, Lorenzo Edwards
OLB- Brandon Hicks, Chris Pintado

What I liked: Lorenzo Edwards is quietly having one of the best springs out of all the defensive players. He is a fundamental tackler who wraps up better than any other linebacker. He blitzed a few times and pushed some of the offensive linemen back. He came through the line untouched during the scrimmage, chased Newton out of the pocket, and came very close to catching him before Newton stepped out of bounds. I just can’t think of a scenario where he isn’t on the field during meaningful plays this fall. Dustin Doe is also coming on late this spring. He’s getting a lot better during tackling drills and seems to be wrapping up the ball carrier with a purpose now. He made a big hit on Chris Rainey at the line of scrimmage, letting Rainey try a few juke moves before blowing him up. Jerimy Finch is also having a good spring, and he looks to be getting healthier as the practices go along. After playing safety throughout high school, he’s using his ability to make an impact in the pass game. He picked off Cameron Newton in the end zone Wednesday.

What I didn’t like: Two days in a row I’ve seen Brandon Spikes not wrapping the ball carrier up. The one-on-one tackling drills show him going for the big hit, and I didn’t see too much of him during the scrimmage either. Brendan Beal is struggling a little bit this spring. He’s got plenty of confidence in himself, as he is constantly picking f!ghts with offensive linemen, but he’s having running backs go right by him. One of the coaches even yelled at him before he went head-to-head with Kestahn Moore, saying “he’s going to run you over, Beal!” And Moore did just that. The linebackers have been good this spring in zone coverage by deflecting passes, but they lost Brandon James and Chris Rainey in pass coverage Wednesday.
Secondary-

CB- Joe Haden, Jacques Rickerson, Jeremy Brown
CB- Wondy Pierre-Louis, Moses Jenkins, Janoris Jenkins
S- Major Wright, Ahmad Black, John Curtis
S- Jamar Hornsby, Dorian Munroe, Bryan Thomas
What I liked:

Intensity was high for this group Wednesday. There were plenty of tipped passes and some of them were even intercepted. The secondary made almost all of their tackles during the one-on-ones with the wide receivers. They are letting the ball carrier come to them and not making over aggressive mistakes. The first play of the scrimmage has Wondy Pierre-Louis coming down with an interception that would have been run back for a touchdown. He got an a.ssist on a play he reached into the receiver’s hands and tipped the pass up into the air for Brandon Spikes to come down with. Moses Jenkins had another big day. It’s been beaten to death this spring, but these cornerbacks just look completely different. It’s a brand new atmosphere with these guys. They’re attacking the football and the receivers off the line. Markihe Anderson looked physical today, even with a yellow jersey on for an injury. Janoris Jenkins also came down with an interception on a pass that was deflected.
The biggest surprise with the safeties was Jamar Hornsby’s emergence into the first team. Munroe was still practicing with the second team and didn’t appear to be injured. Hornsby made some good plays in pass coverage today, breaking up at least two passes. Ahmad Black made some big hits during Wednesday’s practice. You can put your head down during a play and know when Black hits somebody because it echoes through the practice facility. Major Wright is still Major Wright, making plays to affect the run and pass game.

What I didn’t like: Coach Heater wasn’t happy with the safeties leadership on the field, yelling at them to take control after a few plays. As good as the coverage has been, some of the cornerbacks still aren’t turning around in time to make a play on the ball. They are in good position more times than not, but some passes are still completed because the receiver is the only one looking at the ball. That happened to Pierre-Louis and Hornsby, when Riley Cooper caught the ball in the air and the two secondary members didn’t even know the pass was caught.
Player of the Day:

Wondy Pierre-Louis. He had a great day, exactly what he needed after a not so great practice Monday.
 10 years ago '04        #149
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 P. Dedos said:
hmmmm where's will hill gonna play?

im guessing he aint on campus till the fall

that major wright/will hill/dee finley combo at saftey is gonna be sick

:sick: :sick: :sick:
Hill is definitely a safety but he's so good he could play WR. He gonna be at FS I think though. Safety should be one of our strengths.
 10 years ago '04        #150
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An excellent day of practice


It started out with a little bit of extra pushing and shoving. Maurkice Pouncey was at it with Troy Epps in an three-on-three drill where pads were popping and coaches were yelling things like “hit them with your purse!” to linemen that didn’t show quite enough toughness or aggression. The whistles blew but Epps and Pouncey had hands in each other’s faces and that’s when things got interesting.

There was a swing and a miss and a retaliatory swing that also missed followed by some shoving and pushing. By this time, Pouncey and Epps had teammates from the offensive and defensive lines egging them on. The pile of humanity moved about 10 yards to the end zone and then over to the pylon. By then there had been a few more swings, some that might have come close to connecting and some that whiffed completely. About then, Maurkice Pouncey a.ssumed his John L. Sullivan boxing stance, dukes up and on his toes.

That’s when the coaches finally broke it up and pulled the two combatants aside. In a couple of minutes, things had died down and it was back to normal with a lot of hitting and contact on the final real day of practice for the Florida Gators before Saturday’s Orange and Blue Debut at The Swamp (1 p.m., ESPN).

The intensity of that one-minute encounter pretty much emphasized the kind of day it was. Coach Urban Meyer said Monday he wanted to see intensity on Wednesday and intensity is exactly what he got on a winners/losers day that ended with a scrimmage won by the offense. Because the defense lost, the entire unit had to run extra sprints at the end of practice.

“It was an excellent day and I appreciate their efforts,” said Florida coach Urban Meyer.

There were a few plays of note on this day. Chris Rainey broke a 59-yard touchdown run that was called back for holding. Riley Cooper caught a 50-yard bomb from Tim Tebow when he out-leaped Jamar Hornsby for the ball at the five-yard line. Wondy Pierre-Louis sat on a slant route and got a pick and Janoris Jenkins had an interception off a ricochet. Emmanuel Moody broke a couple of tackles, made a defender miss and then cut outside for a long gainer and David Nelson had two excellent catches for touchdowns, one where he made an excellent adjustment on pass by Cam Newton and the other a 25-yard score toward the end of the scrimmage.

It has been a spring marked by the intensity of competition at nearly every position on the field. On the defensive line and in the secondary, improvement has been seen nearly on a daily basis. No matter the position, there has been enough competition combined with effort that Meyer believes he’s seen what he needed to see out of spring practice.

“We’re leaving the practice field after practice 13 and I’m fairly positive,” said Meyer. “There are some things that we have to grow up. There are some things going on that you don’t expect out of a mature football team. We’re not.”

Effort, enthusiasm and intensity were elements that Meyer had to see this spring but as important as those things are to the building of a successful team, so is chemistry and he’s seen marked improvement in that area.

That was a necessity after what he went through last year.

“We’re better but we’re not where we need to be,” said Meyer. “You can’t win a championship without great chemistry and last year it was awful … the chemistry on our football team. I’m surprised that it went as well as it did at times when I think of some of the things we had to witness as a team. That’s not good football compared to where it was the year before on January 9 in Glendale.”

There is an awareness among the team that there were chemistry issues last year. Even though the chemistry isn’t where Meyer wants it to be, he is seeing progress in that area and he knows he’s got a team working to rectify any problems.

Last year, when there were chemistry issues, Meyer didn’t see a team working to overcome the problems.

“We’ve still got a long way to go but they understand there’s an issue,” said Meyer. “Last year I think they denied it after shaking hands with the president. ‘What are you talking about coach? Chemistry issues? What are you guys talking about? We’re champs!’ Champs?”

This spring there is no denial. A 9-4 season that included some heartbreaking losses sobers teams up quickly and makes them face reality. If the Gators can carry the attitude, effort and intensity of this spring into August, Meyer could have a very good thing going because there is no denying he’s got players at every position now.

* * *

Percy Harvin had surgery on his heel and even though the operation was more complicated than expected, Meyer is expecting a normal recovery and rehab.

“I talked to him this morning,” said Meyer. “They actually took bone out of his heel --- think about that for a moment. Then they drilled holes in his heel so if you guys get some spare time tonight, do that and tell me how you feel.”

* * *

A couple of players who have battled through some health issues this spring stood out in Tuesday’s scrimmage. Defensive end Jermaine Cunningham had perhaps his best practice of the spring and wide receiver David Nelson, feeling healthy for a change, showed what he can do when the ball is thrown in his direction.

Meyer said that Cunningham’s health issue required holding him out of a couple of practices and that contributed to a spring with very little production.

“He’s had a very average spring because he has a rapid heart rate that he every once in awhile gets,” said Meyer. “It showed up again [this spring] and I put him behind a couple of days.”

Cunningham had 6.5 sacks in 2007. It was a decent year but by no means was it the kind of season that Meyer wants to see again.

“He’s got to get a lot better,” said Meyer. “That position he plays is the position Jarvis Moss played. He [Moss] changed the game. Jermaine hasn’t done that. He’s a good solid player that we expect much more out of.”

Nelson, who graded champion on a regular basis in 2007 because he was such an outstanding blocker, has had good production catching the ball this spring when he’s been able to go full speed.

“David’s been up and down all spring because of injury,” said Meyer. “His attitude has been great. He’s had a knee … they thought it was a cartilage but it’s not. He’s been gimped up all spring.”

On Nelson’s first touchdown catch Wednesday, the ball was supposed to be thrown to the inside but instead it went to the outside, forcing Nelson to make a 180 degree turn to snag the ball from Cameron Newton for a score. On his second touchdown, he put a good move on the corner and broke in the clear, catching the 25-yard pass from Tim Tebow for a touchdown before safety Ahmad Black could get over to help.

* * *
 10 years ago '04        #151
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cont...

Maurkice and Michael Pouncey continue to have a profound effect on the Gators. Last season Maurkice made freshman All-America at guard while Mike left his role as the backup center on the offensive unit to take over at nose tackle on the defense with four games remaining in the season. He re-energized that unit and the Gators played their best defense of the season during the month of November.

Maurkice has moved to center now and Mike is back on the offensive line, starting in Maurkice’s former position at right guard. They’ve made an impact with their high voltage personalities and intensity. The f!ght that Maurkice got into with Troy Epps was the third one he’s been involved in with a defensive lineman this spring. Mike has gotten into a couple of scrapes, too.

The after the whistle battles are indicative of the kind of energy the Pouncey twins bring to the field every day.

“I can’t imagine not having them,” said Meyer, who recruited the Pouncey twins and five other players off Lakeland High School’s three-time state and two-time national championship teams. All seven of the Lakeland kids figure to play significant minutes this fall. The Pounceys will start on the offensive line. Steve Wilks will see action at fullback and on special teams. Paul Wilson (recovering from a dislocated knee cap) will be a backup wide receiver and a special teams contributor. John Brown is in the rotation at defensive tackle and Ahmad Black is in the rotation at safety.

And then there is Chris Rainey, the electric tailback whom Meyer said, “I don’t know if he’s going to be a starter but he’s going to play next year.”

The Pounceys set an attitude standard for the rest of the team. They lift the team with their energy and they’ve even made it a point to be helpful to teammates.

“I think they’ve helped James Wilson; I think they’ve helped Jason Watkins,” said Meyer. “I think they’ve helped Urban Meyer … they’ve helped Steve Addazio. Every time they come out here, they love the game, they have a smile on their face and let’s go play football.”

* * *

Meyer has been impressed with the way that rising senior Kestahn Moore has handled the increased competition at the tailback position. It’s been a spring when there was plenty of hype for Southern Cal transfer Emmanuel Moody. Rainey has broken a long run nearly every single practice and lately Mon Williams, who missed last season rehabbing a torn ACL, has come on strong.

Moore has just gone about his business and turned in a solid spring. He’s looked powerful between the tackles and has even broken a couple of long runs like the 39-yarder he had at last Saturday’s scrimmage.

Meyer said Moore has handled things this spring “the way you would expect him to.” Meyer went on to say that Moore could be a thousand yard rusher “if he holds onto the football.”

* * *

Meyer said that Saturday’s Orange and Blue Debut will be a “fan appreciation day” with plenty of activities at The Swamp. The College Game Day crew (Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, Erin Andrews) will be there from ESPN, which is broadcasting the game in front of what Meyer hopes will be a huge crowd similar to the one he saw in the stands his first year in 2005 (60,000).

The National Championship Trophy and Tim Tebow’s Heisman Trophy will be on display for fans when Gate 7 opens at 9:30. Fans will have a chance to have their photos taken with the trophies from 9:30-11 a.m. The first 2,000 fans will receive a coupon good for a free hot dog during the game.

Also from 9:30-11 a.m. Meyer and the Gators will be available for autographs in the north end zone concourse. The University of Florida will provide posters for autographing. Outside items will not be allowed as per NCAA rules.

From 11-11:45 a.m., there will be a flag football game on the field in The Swamp featuring two all-star teams chosen from the student body and coached by Florida a.ssistants Dan McCarney and Kenny Carter.

There will be a skills challenge and before the kickoff there will be a Fastest Gator on Campus contest pitting five students against Gators Louis Murphy, Deonte Thompson and Chris Rainey in a 40-yard race.

And, of course, there will be the game. Meyer is hoping the atmosphere at the stadium will be impressive to recruits who are at the game and those watching on television.

“I want recruits across the country to say I want to be a part of that!” he said.
 10 years ago '04        #152
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 1000bluntz said:
cont...
There will be a skills challenge and before the kickoff there will be a Fastest Gator on Campus contest pitting five students against Gators Louis Murphy, Deonte Thompson and Chris Rainey in a 40-yard race.
those five students will prolly end up being a bunch of drunk groupie white girls who just want attention.:thumbsdow


Last edited by madness; 04-10-2008 at 01:31 AM..
 10 years ago '04        #153
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 madness said:
those five students will prolly end up being a bunch of drunk groupie white girls who just want attention.:thumbsdow
Naw they had some sort of competition where people showed up to run and the fastest people made it to the next round and then they did it again and are taking the five fastest and letting them run against the players on Saturday. At least that's what I've heard.
 10 years ago '04        #154
1000bluntz  OP
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Day 13: Offense in-depth report


The offense looked like the walking wounded Wednesday when the Florida Gators went through their last full contact practice before Saturday’s Orange and Blue Debut. There are four scholarship players at receiver right now for practice and maybe the spring game and the offensive line has been down as many as four regulars. Still, the practices and the game must go on and Wednesday, the offense won the scrimmage although the defense had its moments to shine.

Here is a look at the offense on Florida’s last day of scrimmaging for the spring.

QUARTERBACKS: Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, John Brantley

What I Liked: The running of the quarterbacks seems better. I understand that no Gator fans really worry about how well Tebow runs with the ball, but the decision to keep or hand off the ball in an inside option is very important in this offense ... The decisions by all three quarterbacks in that department seem to be going very well and Brantley, in particular, has stood out in making some nice runs ... The two-minute offense at the end of practice was really nice by the quarterbacks. Tebow scored on his first one and Newton and Brantley did well, but didn’t quite stick it in the end zone until Newton hit David Nelson on the last play of the practice on a very long throw on the left side for a touchdown.

What I Didn’t Like: Tebow looks so nonchalant sometimes it appears as if he is throwing in slow motion. He all but telegraphed a short stop route that Wondy Pierre-Louis jumped for a touchdown today. He had another ball tipped in the middle of the field and intercepted by Brandon Spikes. It just appears that he was getting rid of the ball slow today and trying to aim it or something. He has also gotten into a habit of under-throwing deep receivers knowing it is easier for them to come back to the ball. That is fine on the sidelines with one defender, but it is difficult to get away with in the middle of the field where there is safety help ... Newton didn’t have a great day and threw a few worm burners that no one could catch ... All three threw deep balls into coverage today.

RUNNING BACKS: Chris Rainey, Kestahn Moore, Brandon James, Mon Williams, Emmanuel Moody

What I Liked: When the team periods started it was Rainey out there with the first unit and he didn’t disappoint. On the first play of the fourth down series, Rainey took a hand off and ran wide left, stutter-stepped a defender that was in the backfield and then cut up field quickly, at that time it was over and he raced 57 yards for a touchdown. The next two times he was given the ball within two or three yards of a first down and he put his head down and really earned the short yardage for a first down both times. They are trying him in every scenario right now and he is performing ... Moore had a couple of nice runs in the 9-on-7 running drill. He does seem to have a little extra get-up this year.

What I Disliked: Moody fumbled and he had to do a 100 yards of up-downs after practice. Rainey was the most successful at inside running today --- he of 175 pounds or so, that is worrisome ... The backs were really kind of hot and cold today ... The offense won the practice, but I thought the defense had their best overall day against the run today

WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS: Deonte Thompson, Aaron Hernandez, David Nelson, Louis Murphy, Justin Williams, Tate Casey, Riley Cooper, Butch Rowley

David Nelson was the star today and caught a couple of long passes and a few short ones that he was able to make nice catches on ... Deonte Thompson had a wow catch and run when he caught a little underneath route and turned up the juices really quick to get to the end zone from the red zone area ... Tate Casey had a couple of nice grabs today including one in the two minute drill where he probably amassed 40 yards on the play ... Aaron Hernandez continues to play really hard and make plays when called upon ... Riley Cooper made a terrific catch on a deep throw from Tebow where he had to come back for it and in between two defenders that lost track of the ball.

What I Disliked: The numbers at receiver are getting scary thin ... Four scholarship receivers (Thompson, Cooper, Nelson, and Williams) were all that could make it through practice Wednesday … They had to use Brandon James and Chris Rainey a bunch just to get lineups on the field. They did fine considering they were probably ready to keel over at the end of practice.

OFFENSIVE LINE: LT Phil Trautwein, LG James Wilson/Carl Johnson, C Maurkice Pouncey, RG Mike Pouncey, RT Jason Watkins

LT Kyle Newell, LG Carl Johnson, C Corey Hobbs, RG Jim Barrie, RT Marcus Gilbert

What I Liked: James Wilson is really a beast. I watched him drive Lawrence Marsh 10 yards and land on him during the 9-on-7 running drill. Wilson has really progressed more than I would have ever thought out there on the field since his injury has held him back ... Maurkice Pouncey had another great day snapping the ball ... The offensive line has taken to the under the center part of the offense. They are certainly running that offense more, but it is still mainly in the short yardage. However, every practice they do seem to burn the defense with a play action deep pass from the under the center snapping. That means the offensive line is blocking well ... The offensive line absolutely manhandled the defensive line in the one on one drills on the far side during practice. It got so bad they were taunting the defense,

What I Didn’t Like: Again, the offense must have dominated the individual drills because I thought the defense really took it to them in pass rush today ... Jermaine Cunningham whipped Trautwein really bad on one play and honestly it is the first time I have seen Trautwein miss all spring. Carlos Dunlap was a beast out there. Duke Lemmens was getting into the action and making life miserable for the offensive line. All in all the offensive line had a terrible day pass blocking ... Corey Hobbs had a couple of bad snaps that caught the ire of Coach Addazio ... I have to comment on the injuries here too. Trautwein can’t go all the time. Maurice Hurt is injured and out. Jim Tartt is missing. James Wilson still can’t do too many reps. Carl Johnson had cramps and was a little banged up as well. It is amazing they can do what they do sometimes because from a numbers standpoint they are really outmanned.

ODDS AND ENDS:

Player of the Day: David Nelson caught two long passes and made it look easy out there today. He told me after practice that it is the first time he has felt healthy in a while, and boy do they need him.

Prospects in Attendance: There were three prospects of note in attendance --- Tampa Alonso defensive lineman DeMonte McAllister, Cross City Dixie County RB Rodney Scott and Snellville (GA) Brookwood OT Kellen Williams
 10 years ago '05        #155
randumb0 
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Chris Rainey will be named starter
 10 years ago '04        #156
madness 15 heat pts15
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rainey's starting? thought the job was moody's to lose
 10 years ago '04        #157
1000bluntz  OP
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No way to tell who's starting yet. I wouldn't be surprised if it's Moore, the staff loves the kid because he works so hard but I'm thinking by the time Fall rolls around Moody will be on his way to starting. Rainey is the best gamebreaker on the team after Harvin though, he's incredible with the ball in his hands. Mon Williams has been doing very well and Brandon James is like Rainey with the ball in his hands, just not quite as fast. Y'all already know he's one of the best Kick Returners in the nation though.
 10 years ago '04        #158
1000bluntz  OP
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Toast no more


The Michigan game probably seemed like rock bottom for Florida’s corners. Burned so often early in the year that they might have qualified for free care at a Shriner’s hospital, they put together a November of steady improvement only to take several steps backward January 1 in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando.

Vance Bedford knows all about that game. He was on the other sideline, coaching up the Michigan secondary in what was the last game for Coach Lloyd Carr. From his viewpoint that game wasn’t indicative of the progress that was made during that four-game stretch in November when the Gators played their best defense of the year.

“Until that Michigan game I think the [Florida] defense did an outstanding job last year,” said Bedford, who now coaches the Gator corners. “They were so young but each game they got better.”

He’s got a theory about why the Gators slipped so badly in the Michigan game and it has a lot to do with the combination of young, inexperienced players and a 30-day plus layoff.

“That’s what we saw in that particular game,” Bedford said after Wednesday’s practice, the last full-scale practice before Saturday’s Orange and Blue Debut (1 p.m., Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, ESPN).

Something else the Gators saw was an outstanding group of Michigan receivers led by the dynamic Mario Manningham and a healthy quarterback in Chad Henne.

“People don’t realize but those two receivers for Michigan were pretty good players,” said Bedford, who coached with Florida head coach Urban Meyer and safeties coach Chuck Heater at Colorado State back in the 1990s. Florida receivers coach Billy Gonzales was a player on that team. “Mario Manningham is a special receiver. For that particular game he played well and the quarterback was healthy for the first time in eight games so you saw the true Michigan team.”

Bedford’s job this spring is to make sure that the Florida corners that were toasted early and often in that game make significant improvements. They aren’t at the point where he would call his troops lock down defenders, but he’s seen progress from day one and that is what he was looking for.

“It started off a little bit slow, a little bit ragged but I think as we’ve gone through spring practice they know what the expectations are here,” he said. “I think it’s picked up towards the end so I’m pleased with their performance.”

Last year the Gators were hindered by a combination of youth, inexperience and a lack of bodies at the cornerback position. This year the players are a year older, have 13 2007 games under their belts and there are some new faces ready at every opportunity to make a case for playing time in the fall.

Heater coached the corners last spring while Doc Holliday coached the safeties. Holliday accepted the a.ssistant head coach’s position on the West Virginia staff in the off season and Heater moved back to coach the safeties while taking on the responsibilities as the a.ssistant defensive coordinator. The move has been good for both coaches and the players seem to be responding well to the changes.

“I think we’ve made steady progress,” he said. “We have a long way to go. We’ve tried a few different techniques but the guys are playing hard. The thing I like the most is we have a lot of competition. Those two young freshmen (Janoris Jenkins and Jeremy Brown) are making the guys that were here better because they can see those two guys want to play.”

He said the player that has stood out more often among the corners is Joe Haden, who started all 13 games last season as a true freshman. Haden came to Florida last spring as quarterback turned wide receiver, but he moved to corner on day one of spring practice and never gave up his spot in the lineup.

“Joe Haden has made a lot of progress,” said Bedford. “He’s probably our most steady guy.”

Also making big strides has been Wondy Pierre-Louis. A special teams standout as a freshman, Pierre-Louis had mixed results as a starter last year as a sophomore. He ran an interception back for a touchdown against Georgia, but he looked like a lost ball in the tall grass against Michigan.

This spring, Pierre-Louis has made several interceptions and he’s showing steady signs of improvement. While none of the corners have played a dominating role, they’ve all shown a measure of improvement.

“Wondy has come a long quite a bit as far as man to man technique but there is no one individual guy but I’ve seen [stand out] but several guys that have made a dramatic improvement,” said Bedford.

He appreciates the efforts of his freshmen. Jenkins, who hails from Pahokee, was one of the nation’s top cornerback recruits for 2008. Brown, from Orlando Boone, was less heralded but he’s certainly proven he belongs.

“Those two guys, long term, are going to be pretty good players here,” said Bedford. “Janoris Jenkins and Jeremy Brown show extremely good quickness, ball skills … the things you look for in a corner those two guys possess those things.”

Saturday’s Orange and Blue Debut won’t erase the memories of the Michigan game. It will take a summer of hard work before August practice for all of Bedford’s charges and even that won’t make a dent in that picture of carnage in the secondary left by Henne and Manningham back in January. It won’t be until the Gators show some improvement when the games start counting on August 30 (Hawaii at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium) that fans will forget just how young and just how inexperienced those corners were.

“That was more of an experience thing and I think those guys learned a lot from that bowl game,” said Bedford. “From what we’ve practiced this spring, they have matured quite a bit. All those guys who played in that game, they were all freshmen and sophomores so now they know what to expect and they know how to go out there and practice and to perform and hopefully help us win a championship.”
 10 years ago '04        #159
1000bluntz  OP
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Spring game rosters:

 10 years ago '04        #160
1000bluntz  OP
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Damn n*ggas I want one of these here:


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