Loud and Clear

Florida's freshmen, who couldn't meet with the media during Wednesday's first practice, will be introduced to reporters for the first time during the annual media day Saturday. But after that, Florida will place its new class under a gag order until they play their first game. For Leak, the wait may not be long.</b>

He was told he couldn't talk to the media. And he didn't. Not a word.

So instead, freshman quarterback Chris Leak spoke through his spirals. He parleyed through his passes. And he conversed through his completions.

At the end of Florida's first official practice Wednesday, Leak simply walked past nearly 80 fans and 20 reporters at Sanders Practice Field. His teammates, on the other hand, had plenty to say.

"Oh, man," wide receiver Carlos Perez smiled. "He looks good. He knows everything. Coach (Ron Zook) is going to have a pretty good decision to make. He really knows his stuff."

So while Florida may be far from nailing down a depth chart, Leak made it clear. Unless his name appears at the top, he's not going to make the choice easy.

Leak connected with wide receiver Dallas Baker on several passes during the practice, which lasted nearly three hours.

But Baker was hesitant to play up the freshman just yet.

"That's just what we expect out of somebody who studies the plays," Baker said. "He's supposed to come out here and do well his first day. But he didn't look too bad to me. He had the right reads."

Baker's point? There are a handful of other quarterbacks also making the right reads. That's where Ingle Martin comes in.

Wednesday's practice was split into two sessions – two groups of players practiced at different times.

Based on class schedules, Martin and Leak were paired together for the first workout. And just because Leak was impressive, Martin didn't back down. But he isn't expecting the job to be handed to him.

"I can't worry about that," Martin said. "Coach Zook will make the final call. I'll just play to the best of my ability. The guy who takes control of the offense, has the highest completion percentage, makes the right decisions, and the right checks, will win the job."

Zook, as expected, took a broad approach when assessing his quarterbacks.

"[Leak] pressed a little bit," Zook said. "Probably a little excited. Just like all of them. I was impressed with all four quarterbacks. Actually, all five. All of them did some really good things and all of them did some things that weren't quite so good."

The other pair of quarterbacks vying for the job includes Gavin Dickey and Justin Midgett, who worked out in the second practice session.

PEREZ GOOD TO GO: Less than a year after breaking his right leg, Perez said he has made a full recovery. A projected starter at wide receiver, Perez suffered the injury during November's game against South Carolina.

Wednesday, the senior appeared fine, completing several passes from Leak and Martin.

"I'm 100 percent," Perez said. "Forget that. I'm 110 percent. I feel good. I was miraculously healed by the Lord. I actually feel better than I did last ear. My leg is stronger."

RATLIFF STARTS ON DEFENSE: Senior Keiwan Ratliff, who could start at receiver and cornerback, began his first practice on defense. Should Ratliff play on both sides of the ball, he could see as many as 100 plays a game.

For now, though, he'll focus all of his attention on defense.

"That's where I see my future and that's where I want to get as best as I can before I go help the offense," Ratliff said.

Zook said Ratliff was used primarily at receiver in the spring so he could become more accustomed to the playbook.

"We're going to start him on defense and see what the receivers can do," Zook said. "He has a good base on offense from the spring. We can get him ready to play on offense as well. He's got more experience on defense, but that's why we used him on offense all spring. We wanted to give him a feel for the offense."

OTHER SWITCHES: Zook said Mo Mitchell has permanently been moved to defense from his slot on the offensive line last season. Also, Sylvester McGrew, who saw time at defensive tackles, made the switch to right offensive guard.

HARRIS STILL OUT: Zook said defensive end Steven Harris remains suspended from the team indefinitely. Harris was charged with felony battery in June by the State Attorney's Office for his role in a fight outside a Gainesville night club April 13. His charges are still pending.

INJURIES: Freshman punter Eric Wilbur, who is expected to make an impact on special teams this season, walked around the practice field with crutches. An infected knee will keep him sidelined for a few more days.

Senior safety Daryl Dixon bruised his ribs during a play Wednesday, but Zook said it will not require x-rays.

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