Freshman reported this past week for workouts and class for summer B. Reggie Nelson will not be attending school but hopes to return after a stint at Junior College. There is a 50-50 chance Reggie Nelson will ever be a Gator. He not only has to graduate junior college but UF will have to re-recruit him for two years. Joe Cohen's experience at Florida will greatly affect Nelson's decision in two years. James Bates the former middle linebacker on the 1996 team told me Nelson was ready to play as a freshman and the most impressive player at the state championship series games he did for Sunshine Network.
Freshman will work out in the afternoon in Summer B as they do historically do but not to put them through the humid afternoon heat. The reason the freshman and new comers workout in the afternoon is to let them get fully acclimated to going to class and getting their college day in order. It also allows the younger players to develop a bond between them before camp. As they get older they can work around their schedule better.
The freshman however, did begin to throw and catch with the veterans this week in the evenings. It did not take long for Chris Leak to grab many guys attention with his ability to throw the long ball. Ingle Martin and Gavin Dickey will help tutor both young quarterbacks, Justin Midgett and Leak with Martin calling the plays. Leak is already displaying confidence and a swagger that is unique.
A lot has been made of the recent magazine rankings having UF on the outside looking in at the Top 25. Obviously the Gators have a lot to replace, especially on defense but one rumor is that many writers for these publications are taking the opportunity to dish Florida in their way to fire back at the University for the handling of the John Humenik dismissal. Humenik, the long time Sports Information Director who was relieved of his duties before last season, is one of the most respected men in the media nation wide.
The Gator Coaching Staff is not done camping with one more on July 11 and 12th with Senior Camp. This will have some of the top prospects in the country on UF's campus for work with the Gator coaches.
This past weekend former Gator Chris Doering held his celebrity golf tournament in Gainesville with several ex-gators in the field - Shane Matthews, Danny Wuerffel, Judd Davis, Shayne Edge, Mike Pearson, Terry Jackson, Zach Pillar, Neal Anderson and Travis McGriff to name a few. Other Celebrities included UF Assistant coaches, former Gator Coaches Noah Brindise and John Hoke as well as Browns Quarterback Kelly Holcombe and Broncos offensive lineman Blake Brockenmeyer. Doering, who is with the Pittsburgh Steelers reports to camp on July 25th.
Matt Bonner was drafted and traded to the Toronto Raptors. I think he makes the team and even though second round money is slotted and not guaranteed his range and work ethic will give him a chance against NBA Zone defenses. Brett Nelson and Justin Hamilton will wait to sign with someone. Udonis Haslem will go to camp with the Miami Heat. He may have a chance for Pat Riley as he will compete with draftee Jerome Beasley out of North Dakota for playing time.
The Miami Hurricanes are officially in the ACC for the 2004 season and soon we will hear about and ACC title game. This brings up an interesting twist to the FSU-Florida game at the end of the season. Will the Noles now want this game moved to accomodate the new ACC schedules and Championship Games? This was a big beef with former coach Steve Spurrier who wanted the game moved, but Athletic Director Jeremy Foley was against it. Spurrier is gone and I imagine Foley will turn the tables if FSU calls and keep the game at the end of the season. For the record I think the game would be great as season opener.
Stat of the Week from Gator Basketball - (.758) and 100 wins. Florida's basketball team the last four years has the highest winning percentage of any SEC school, including Kentucky.