"Shout the hand! Shout the hand! Shout the hand! Don't stand up!", said linebackers coach Bill Miller, as he forcefully let his corps of linebackers know what to do before one particular play began.
Sophomore LB Earl Everett said that Coach Miller "is kind of crazy kind of guy (laughter). But, everybody gets used to it and we just keep playing hard."
Senior LB Travis Harris said that Coach Miller is a great coach. "He's breaking things down for us and things are just happening faster than I thought."
Harris said that he wants to, not only be the leader of the linebacker squad, but, a leader for the entire team. "A lot of guys look towards me for leadership. I'm one of the oldest guys on the team. And I try to lead by example… and, most definitely try and be a leader out here."
It seemed that on day two of spring practice the players were a bit faster and more solid in running their routes and completing their assignments than on day one of practice yesterday.
For example, during offensive punting drills, Coach Zook bellowed to his players on coverage that they have to squeeze the landmark. When you punt the football you have to have a release point. The release point we call landmark, and, that's the part that you start to (go to), but it doesn't mean you go there. You want each player to start going to the landmark, so you cover the whole field."
Hopefully, come fall, the Gators won't have to punt that much, which means the offense stays on the field.
In one impressive stretch of plays, sophomore quarterback Chris Leak was right on target with his receivers. Leak hit sophomore wide receiver Andre Caldwell with a stick-bomb on a post pattern that gained almost 40 yards. Then, Leak connected with sophomore receiver Reggie Lewis, who make a blind turn-around one handed catch for 20 yards. Leak then hit Lewis again. This time, snagging a 20-yard bullet that would have bounced off Superman!
Junior wide receiver Dallas Baker had the catch of the day with an impressive aerodynamic one-handed snag. Gator fans watching cheered gleefully after Baker's sweet catch.
Leak looked impressive most of the day, regardless of a tipped pass by sophomore running back DeShawn Wynn, which ended up in the arms of senior cornerback Reynaldo Hill, whose radar was tuned into where the ball was.
Hill wasn't done yet. On another play, he stuck Ciatrick Fason like glue. Fason stiff-armed Hill, and the two tangled like it was a regular practice during the regular season.
Turning to the defensive side of the ball the secondary looked sharp and fast.
Senior safety Corey Bailey took control by shouting directions to his defensive teammates before a particular play was run.
"I have to talk. I'm playing safety. Everyone has to know what's going on. We have the eyes behind the linebackers. So, we have to let them know what's up," said Bailey.
You could even hear first-year Secondary Coach Dan Disch barking out what to do and what not to do.
"He's a cool person, just like (former) Coach Woody was when he first came in," said Bailey, adding that, "each one of us has to get to learn to know each other, and has to see what everybody's about. Coach Disch has good input, and he knows what he's doing."
Coach Zook said that Wednesday's practice was better than Tuesday's practice. "We have to continue to improve. We're not anywhere close to where we want to be, but we're making progress. And, that's what our goal is."
The Gators will not practice Thursday. They'll lift weights and get ready for Saturday's practice.
Coach Zook, however, won't take the day off. He has a date with a Jacksonville radio station; will do some recruiting; and, watch some tape from the first two practices. Then, evaluate what needs to be done for practice day number three.
On Saturday morning beginning at 9:30, the Gators will practice at the Sander's facility and at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Senior wide receiver O.J. Small dressed today, but still has a hurt finger. Coach Zook said that he doesn't want to take a chance in making the injury worse. He's doing everything except catching the football. He's going through drills and running routes that he can do without any contact.
Sophomore linebacker Howard Lingard was a no-show yesterday because of a court date for unspecified reasons. He neglected to tell any of his coaches that he'd be absent for practice.