Today the offense worked on its screen package. No not the quick screen but the tailback screen in which all three backs Ciatrick Fason, Deshaun Wynn and Skyler Thornton looked very comfortable catching the ball. The run game mixed in a lot of outside runs with the option and the sweep. Ciatrick Fason had one of the better runs of the day on a sweep to the weakside in "Team." In the passing game UF continued to work on it's spread formation including a four wide receiver set that included the improving Kenneth Tookes (Y position) in place of the tight end. Andre Caldwell had a good day and worked some at both inside and outside spots. Dallas Baker continues to be impressive. He has the entire game now, from the fade- to the out -to the cross he displayed all of it and it a much more complete receiver. The offensive line is handling the front pretty well for the most part with Tavares Washington developing on the left tackle spot. He actually slowed down Joe Cohen today in one drill showing good lower body movement. Mike Degory returned to the starting center position and looked a little rusty but healthy inside. As for the quarterbacks Chris Leak had a good day but will look at the film and see some of his mistakes. He needs to get rid of the ball quicker in the redzone and on some of the timing routes. He is so athletic that he can compensate for a "late" read with his touch or arm strength. Chris was tremendous in the two-minute drill leading his team to a touchdown. Right now Chris has the ability to get hot and go on runs like Rex would in 2000 where he hits 8 or 9 passes in a row down the field. Justin Midgett showed flashes with his go to guy Chad Jackson but still looks like a freshman. His biggest struggle (as is with any young qb) is his secondary read or check down. When the first read is not there he starts to look at the pass rush instead of trusting his instincts and working the pocket. One thing I do like is he throws routes in the middle of the field very well.
The defense has really won the spring if you are keeping score and mostly in part to Channing Crowder. His enthusiasm and effort is contagious. He continues to bring it every day, every play. He is the most valuable player to this unit without question. Charlie Strong even experimented with walking Crowder up in the line of scrimmage on a guard and bring him on a blitz-stunt with a defensive lineman. The defense worked more zone coverages today than recently and gave the secondary and opportunity to read and react. I was really impressed with Jarvis Herring today. He seems to really be ready to step into Daryl Dixon's shoes .He understands where everyone is supposed to be and looks to be the natural leader of the group. Right now I think Herring and Dee Webb can make up for the loss of Dixon and Lamar but can Bailey and Hill match the level of Ratliff and Scott? Terrence Holmes and Vernell Brown both made plays in the secondary today with Holmes saving a touchdown on a play. In the redzone defense situation the unit is doing a good job of communicating with the linebackers and not giving up easy touchdowns. On the defensive front Eric Holcombe had a very active day looking to make some time for himself opposite Ray McDonald. Speaking of McDonald he was very disruptive today and once again Joe Cohen and Steven Harris created a bunch of pressure from the end spot.
Snippetts and Tidbits
Here is today's two deep of the offensive line.from left to right-Washington, Lance Butler, Degory, Mo Mitchell, Randy Hand. Second team – Anthony Guerrero, Jonathan Marvin, Billy Griffin, Steven Rissler and Carlton Medder. You will notice two things. One, Griffin is back at #2 center for now while they take a look at Rissler at guard. Rissler worked with the first team at right guard. Secondly, Guerrero at left tackle is his third position of the spring and he has shown great versatility. Defensive line remained the same with Holcombe in for Marcus Thomas. Thomas was dressed in full gear on the sideline and could scrimmage on Saturday. The Gator offense also added the two tight end set to a main part of it's offense with the passing game and looked good doing it.
There have been a couple of walk-ons who have caught my eye during spring. #52 Alvin Butler, an OLB, is a pretty good athlete, WR's #28 (even looks like Doering) Kyle Morgan and #87 Jimmy Newmeyer have made some good catches. Running Back #27 DaJuan Lawrence is a quick threat who has run well at times and #96 Dwayne Norris the Senior Defensive Tackle is doing a good job this spring. Maybe the most impressive Spring goes to #32 Zephrin Augustine who could be a candidate for a scholarship but the numbers are probably too tight this season.
Finally Chris Leak's two minute drive was very impressive to end practice. Actually the defense did some good things to forcing the offense to convert a 4th down. Here is the script:1st down complete to Dallas Baker; 1st down complete to Andre Caldwell; 2nd Down completed to Reggie Lewis, 1st down; 1st down pass incomplete to Baker on a fade route. It was rules incomplete, I thought it was a catch. 2nd down pass incomplete on a nice breakup by Nick Brooks but pass interference was called. After three consecutive incompletions with good coverage by the defense, Ron Zook elected to bypass a 37 yd field goal and go for a 4th and 10. Leak completed a 17 yard comeback to Baker as he dragged his foot in for the first down. It was a big time throw and catch. On the next play Wynn would take it in 3 yards for a touchdown behind a great block from David Kenner. It was worth the wait.