Florida's Freshmen Future

The Florida Gators have played about as many true freshmen as any team in America five games into the 2010 season. Taking it a step further, I will look at not only the true freshmen but the redshirt freshmen. Let's face it the main difference between the two is one has the ability to leave for the NFL a year early.

Trey Burton was tops on the team in receptions with four for 33 yards and also had four carries for five yards from the Wildcat position I wouldn't mind seeing Burton get some looks at the running back position in certain down and distances. Burton averaged roughly four yards per touch last night in congested parts of the field. I would like to see them spread the defense out a little more when he is in the Wildcat formation versus running right into the teeth of the defense.

Andre Debose had another nice night and seems to be getting more and more comfortable with each game. It's taking a little longer than what Gator fans had hoped for but I think we can all agree that he is going to be a special player for the Gators. Debose had two receptions for 30 yards and two kickoff returns for 45 yards. Debose averaged just less than 19 yards per touch last night on the road versus the No. 1 team in the country. The learning experience of the minutes he played will pay huge dividends down the road.

Jordan Reed had one reception for 17 yards and is too much of a weapon not to be utilized moving forward for this team. He creates mismatches and has great hands and provides a very big target for John Brantley.

Both Reed and Burton started the game last night in Tuscaloosa.

Stephen Alli made his first catch last night on an underneath route that went for two yards. Alli, like Reed, is a very big target and can be a vital weapon down the field moving forward. I would rather see underneath passes or check downs go to the running backs and slot wide receivers like Debose, Robert Clark, Deonte Thompson or Frankie Hammond to give themselves an opportunity to create something after the catch.

On the defensive side of the ball, the freshmen impact was felt as well starting off with safety Matt Elam who came up and made a great shore tackle on the Alabama quarterback forcing the Crimson Tide to a field goal on their first possession of the game. Elam was credited with three tackles on the night and was around the ball a few other instances.

Sharrif Floyd who started last week was in the game and was credited with one official tackle and I did see a few times where it looked like he was in on the tackle. I think Florida has the ability to go big in its base set of four defensive linemen with Jaye Howard, Omar Hunter, Sharrif Floyd and take your pick for number four.

Ronald Powell was also credited with one official tackle last night but clearly the defensive end play has been below stellar and certainly not consistent even though they have produced some big plays. Powell is one of your "stars" in the making on the defensive side of the ball and it's time to let him grow up on the field and earn his scholarship. The best teacher is the game itself-let him learn on the field. Typically I don't agree with that line of thinking but in this case I believe it would be an upgrade considering is potential and athletic ability.

Dominique Easley was credited with one tackle against Alabama and I think Easley has the ability to play defensive end in certain situations. He is extremely off the snap and may be able to provide much needed pressure from the outside edge.

Other freshmen that were listed as playing in last night's game include: Jaylen Watkins, Cody Riggs, Gerald Christian, Robert Clark, Solomon Patton and Mack Brown, mostly on special teams.

This team has the ability on both sides of the ball. They have incredible young talent at numerous positions all over the field. Watching the young players it's clear that the Gators have horses up and down this roster. It's time to get them out of the barn and turn them loose. The future of Florida football is very bright and I think it will start to show this weekend as the Gators host LSU Saturday night in The Swamp. Mack Brown and Chris Dunkley are going to be very special players and I think you will see both guys sooner rather than later.


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