The recent addition of Mohamed Abukar may bring back the "Billy Press". Last year, the Gators were predominately a zone team with limited pressing opportunities. Matt Bonner who played the #4 spot was to valuable to the half court offense to waste energy on the press. That along with the significant minutes given to freshman Matt Walsh and Anthony Roberson made the decision for Donovan. The Gators have been very good at pressing because players like Brett Wright, Major Parker and Orien Greene were athletic high energy guys with great range. One thing they also had in common was their limited offensive ability. Abukar gives them an athletic young player who will not be called upon to be the first or second option on offense. He has offensive game similar to Bonner's but with his footwork, athleticism and wingspan, it could make him earn a lot of minutes early for the press. A lot has been made of the move of David Lee to the number 4 spot but expect him to see just as many minutes at the 5. Right now the plan is for him to start at 5 with Drejer at the 4, Walsh at the 3 , Al Kaleem at the 2 and Roberson at the point. Abukar will play the four and take serious minutes away from Moss and Colas. The interesting situation will be if Donovan makes the move of Walsh to the shooting guard. This depends on Drejer developing his offensive game and Chris Richard being able to pass Colas and Moss at the five spot allowing Lee to bump over. Walsh did all the little things at the three spot and became a better rebounder as the season went on. Drejer must defend and rebound to move to the starting rotation. Do not be surprised by the Al Kaleem move as the starter at number two he has impressed coaches with his ability to knock down the three from long range and with the three point line moving back gives UF a fourth three point threat when on the court with Roberson, Walsh and Drejer.
The Gators came up short in their bid to sweep Kentucky and get into the SEC tournament this past weekend. UF wasted 32 runs in the first two games only getting 5 in a 7-5 loss on Sunday. The Gators gave up a grand slam in the 8th inning and had a critical base running error in the ninth were costly. UF's first Sunday loss at home kept UF from finishing sixth and instead they finished ninth in the SEC. Florida won 34 games including 30 at home for the seventh time in school history. No team has missed it's conference tournament and made the NCAA tournament, but Florida does have a #32 RPI this week. But the fact remains the season is over. UF was 6-6 in one run games and 4-5 in two run games. UF never had a losing streak of longer than 4 games but only won 3 games on the road all season. The Gators had 65 homeruns and three guys in double digits with CJ Smith leading the way with 16, Brian Rose with 12 and Ben Harrison with 10. Brett Dowdy led the team with a .364 average as the team hit .314 while allowing teams to hit .273. Justin Hoyman finished with 8 wins and a 3.22 ERA while Tommy Boss, Connor Falkenbach and Darren O'Day all finished with sub four ERAs. Hoyman was only a sophomore in his first season while other youngsters such as Justin Tordi, CJ Smith and Jonathen Tucker will all return next year. The SEC Tournament is held in Birmingham this week beginning on Wednesday. I like Auburn by the way if anyone is keeping track of predictions.
Chris Leak is going to be honored in Washingtion D.C.along with Carson Palmer by the National Quarterback Club. Many coaches will be on hand including former Gator coach and Washington Redskins coach Steve Spurrier. Players are back at work with Rob Glass and beginning weight workouts for the summer. One group that will look to get bigger stronger and quicker is the defensive line. Eric Holcombe, who was disappointing at times in the spring, is starting to pick up his intensity in the weight room. He has ability but could not get the most out of it because of poor conditioning prior to getting at UF. At the junior college level he dominated on talent alone but at this level he needs a big summer with Rob Glass. Mo Mitchell is looking a bit trimmer and taking to the defensive line workout program. Mo is a very vocal leader with the weights. Todd McCollough is looking to add a little weight on his frame for middle linebacker. He could hold 10-15 pounds more and still be effective. Charlie Strong does not want him to lose some of his mobility with the extra pounds. Summer A is also an important session for injured players to get their body right so that they can gain some strength and conditioning for fall camp. Jon Colon will be monitored closely especially in his conditioning and Carlos Perez who went through spring at less than 100% is looking to get back to the form he had before his injury. Finally Summer A is important for guys in the classroom. Athletes who are taking classes want to make sure they stay on track to be eligible for fall workouts. Georgia Tech had a disastrous spring semester and lost 10 players. Those guys cannot make up the ground in the summer. All indications are that UF players have taken advantage of the resources and with a strong summer could all be in great shape for the fall. Finally, I would like to pay my respects for Red Mitchum who passed away this past week. His family resides in Ocala and from what all the old Gators tell me he was a Great Gator. God Bless you Red.