Slick Moves

As Camp Zook looms, offensive line starts to heat up, Freshman Michael Hill is a no-show, and cornerback Reynaldo Hill gets coach's praise. Plus much more…

For most of his practice Thursday, quarterback Gavin Dickey spent his time heaving passes through a downpour of rain. The redshirt freshman, who practiced with the first of two groups, said the weather wasn't able to slow him down.

"I feel pretty comfortable throwing it," he said. "It's all about ball security. It's about holding onto the ball and making sure it doesn't slip out of your hand."

Dickey, in the mix for the starting job, said he knows throwing a wet ball can be a beneficial. Just look back to last year's Tennessee game.

The Gators won 30-13, based mostly off their ability to hold onto the ball during a heavy downpour. The Volunteers turned over each of its three fumbles.

"We had a lot of practice in the rain last year, and that came in handy against Tennessee," Dickey said. "Rex was able to throw the wet ball really well."

HILL YET TO REPORT: Freshman Michael Hill has not reported to practice because of a medical condition, but he still remains on the 105-man roster.

Zook said he could not elaborate on Hill's condition. The coach did say, however, that Hill first found out about the condition during summer workouts.

"He's going to be fine," Zook said. "He's not out here now. It's something that has to be monitored but he's going to be fine."

Hill is a first-team all-state defensive lineman from Smiths, Ala.

THE LINE-UP: It didn't take long for Florida coach Ron Zook to begin making position shifts, this time experimenting with some of the Gators' most seasoned veterans.

Left tackle Max Starks, one of two three-year starters on the roster, saw time at right guard Thursday.

Zook said he wouldn't rule out the possibility of trying out some other personnel shifts throughout the summer.

"That's a possibility," Zook said. "I don't know for sure."

Those changes could include a shift at center and right guard. Entering the summer, Billy Griffin was slated to play guard while Mike Degory held his spot at center.

Thursday, Griffin said Coach Joe Wickline told him both positions are still open.

"If I can step it up, maybe I can go to center and Degory could go to right guard," Griffin said.

Griffin, a transfer from Ventura (Ca.) Junior College, said he just hopes to start somewhere by the Aug. 30 opener.

"I see myself somewhere in the starting lineup," said the junior, who has become friends with Degory since arriving in Gainesville. "That's what I'm looking for. I just want to play."

At right tackle, Lance Butler is the potential starter. Butler showed significant improvement through the spring, something he credits to not switching positions.

Although rumors circulated last season that Butler was considering a transfer, the sophomore said the situation wasn't that drastic.

"I was just unhappy that I wasn't playing," he said. "I just focused all that in the weight room and out here conditioning during spring ball. I tried to work hard, because this is where I want to be."

CHECK-IN TIME: As he did last year, Zook will check his team into an area hotel Friday for a two-week period known as Camp Zook.

Players are forced to move from their homes or apartments and into the hotel. Curfew is 11 p.m.

"I would love to just go back to the dorms," Zook said. "But because of summer school and the dorms they can't get them turned around in time."

SPECIAL IMPROVEMENTS: Kicker Matt Leach said the field goal team put in extra time this summer to improve on last year's special teams struggles.

Leach said part of the problem last year was a lack of consistency among who the holder was. During the season, the kicker went through three holders.

Now, though, everything has been worked out. Sean Morton will hold, and Casey Griffith will make the snaps.

"We really needed that time in the summer," Leach said. "That was a big problem last year with the holder switch outs. We got the same guy as last year, so we're a lot better off. As a kicker, I guess you take the blame a lot, but that's alright."

LAST CALL: Tight end Ben Troupe said he occasionally gets approached about his now-famous play during this year's Outback Bowl where the senior leaped over a defender for an extra gain.

"When Coach (Steve) Spurrier came to the combine, he said ‘when you played for me, how come you weren't jumping over people?'…

Coach Zook carried a tape recorder, similar the ones carried by reporters during interviews, underneath his belt during Thursday's post-practice interview.

"Just so you know now, everything I say is being tape recorded," Zook said. "So when you guys write things you need to make sure that it's the right thing."

Zook said he was misinterpreted by several reporters after Wednesday's workout.

Fightin Gators Top Stories