"I am excited, it has been a tough and hard one and it's the last one," Thompson said of fall football camp which concluded with the start of classes on Monday. (The team has ) just body aches, but pretty much me and everyone are pretty healthy to get ready for the season."
Not many are expecting much from the offense, especially in the passing game where the Gators struggled a year ago. Thompson though has seen some things that stand out and he believes this unit will surprise some when the season starts.
"There have been a lot of days where the offense has come out quick and making plays," he said. "Every day there are some freaky plays happening… freaky plays on offense and freaky plays on defense. Everyone is going hard right now, it is real good. There are all kinds of players that are making ‘hella' plays from top to bottom."
Pressed to give examples, Thompson didn't want to single anyone out, but eventually he broke down and talked about Florida's big time running backs Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps as two guys that are ready for huge seasons.
"It is going to be all over the place… I can't give you any names because everybody is doing something crazy every day," he said before adding the following. "That backfield is going to be crazy."
Thompson likes the spirit of this team. It may be a spirit that has been missing for more than a season when things just didn't go as planned, really for more than just last season.
"It is just the competitive edge and everyone competing every day," he said of the positive vibe he is getting from the 2011 version of his team. "Guys are going hard. There seems to be some energy around the team right now.
"I say the chemistry is a lot better. We are clicking on a lot of cylinders right now and moving in the right direction."
Thompson has been a mentor of sorts to some of the younger players. One of the guys he was asked about that has stood out is redshirt freshman receiver Quinton Dunbar.
"Dunbar and I are pretty tight, he's like my little brother, he and Robert Clark," Thompson said. (Dunbar) matured and got better. He is going to play a lot of ball this year. He was just a freshman coming in and learning the offense. "I admire him period, he is a guy that comes out here every day and makes plays and competes. He catches some deep balls."
There was a terrible mood that seemed to surround the team a year ago and a lot of that seems to be dispelled with all of the changes on the team. The somber and edgy mood was much different than what we had seen from this team in year's past.
Now, we see a more relaxed group and catch glimpses of quality interactions between the coaching staff and the players that spill over into the interview room. It seems that one coach likes to kid Thompson and fellow fifth year senior Rainey about being the old dogs on the team.
"The only person that gives us a hard time is Coach Weis," Thompson said. He gives Rainey and I a hard time every day and says we are the old guys and that we have been playing college ball since he was in college.
"I'm not that old, still young. My time is just running out here."
Thompson on the Quarterbacks
Thompson was asked his assessment of the Florida quarterbacks. First and foremost were his thoughts on fifth year senior John Brantley. Thompson loves the direction that Brantley has taken in his final year on campus.
"He is having a great camp and has been a great leader," Thompson said of Brantley. "He is taking control of the whole team.
"I would just say his ‘swag' and his confidence are a little higher than they have been in the last couple of years. He is taking leadership and control of the team. He's out there going ‘let's go fellas'.
He also talked briefly of the two new freshman quarterbacks that are on campus and in their first year with the Gators. Jeff Driskel enrolled in the spring and has assumed the second team spot behind Brantley. Jacoby Brissett has looked good in his limited two months on campus.
"They are real good… playing real good ball right now," Thompson said of the pair. "Both are learning the offense and playing real well. Both make good throws and good decisions."