FOOTBALL: Fall Practice - In-depth report for 8/9

<img src= align=right>The practice was originally scheduled to start at 2:30, but afternoon showers are expected so they moved them up. About 20 people made it out there to watch with the time change today. The media was playing it up to see if people were mad, go figure. I expect more people will show up when they actually practice at the scheduled times.

Group A

Starting Defense

Line - Joe Cohen, Jeremy Mincey, Ray McDonald, and Marcus Thomas

LB - Channing Crowder, Earl Everett, and Travis Harris

DB - Reynaldo Hill, Dee Webb, Corey Bailey, and Terrance Holmes

Offense -

QB - Chris Leak

RB - Fason, Wynn was out there with this group and they were alternating snaps

TE - Markell Thompson

WR - Bubba Caldell, Jemalle Cornelius, OJ Small

OL - Jon Colon, Randy Hand, Steven Rissler, Mike Degory, Lance Butler

The offense started today with running through a progression of pass routes while the linemen, backs, and tight ends go work on running plays.. The receivers will of course limit and concentrate each day on different ones, but they run through just running the routes on air at first. Then they move to specific plays.

Defense starts out as a unit and runs some different defenses against a coach running the ball. They get lined up and call out the defense and everyone pursues to the ball carrier. A few times they did this for pass plays and it looked like it was blitz city. I got the feeling today that heat will be applied. Coach Zook certainly spent a lot of time with the defensive backs, this is what I expect with a new DB coach.

The next part of practice had the quarterbacks, receivers and defensive backs playing a 1 on 1 across the field on the 2nd field. The linemen, tight ends, running backs, and linebackers went to the 3rd field to run a little inside running segment. It's non tackle, so at this time it is all about knowing your assignments.

The 1 on 1 action as I have mentioned before, usually benefits the wide receivers, and it did today. Combined with the fact it was on the opposite field, the view wasn't the best. Of course this will be helped when I am able to see film, when I get the chance, right now this is the fast report.

First Pass-skel session

In Pass-skel they lined up in our normal 3 WR 1 TE RB look. The starting receivers were Bubba, OJ, and Cornelius. Fason was first team today also. Bubba was Leak's first target for about a 9 yard pass over the middle. He followed that with a nice wide open Fason out of the backfield. I thought Leak looked exceptional today and seemed to really follow through his progressions. Then he came back with another nine yard pass route over the middle of the field.

One thing that I think Leak really missed on last year was the middle range ball over the middle. It was there a few times, when he saw the Cover-2 split safety look on the field, and he hit the middle of the field for a couple of 14-21 yard passes.

When the first group went to a four wide receiver set, Mike McIntosh slid in there and Bubba Caldwell moved to one of the slot positions. Normally Dallas would slide outside here, but in this practice grouping this is the way it worked out. I think McIntosh is solid. He really looks like Ike Hilliard to me when he runs. Hilliard used to keep his feet so low to the ground it would almost look like he is skating, this is how McIntosh runs. He is very smooth.

Cornelius Ingram started off very shaky, he was short arming almost all of his throws, even the deep one's today. He came back to have a couple of sizzlers late in the practice that were pretty nice throws. He was intercepted by Tremaine McCullom on one pass late in pass-skel.

Darrell Carpenter looked good out there today. He ran in Group A but saw the field when Markell Thompson came off. He had a great grab over the middle of the field and right now is probably our best receiving threat at tight end.

Matt Kynes really had a good day today also. As Leak was hitting the stuff over the middle, he seemed to really be hitting some nice corner and outside routes that were barely open.

I thought the offense in the Group-A pass-skel was a little too good. They seemed to really eat up the defense. This isn't too surprising as we expect a lot of our defensive strength to come from our pass rush and the defensive line in general. They of course are not out there on pass-skel drills.

Group A Team stuff.

The Team drills are conducted on the far field and the visibility is clouded by distance and players being in the way. This is also the point I time in practice where the B-Group is out there and watching. They concentrated a main portion of the early part on running the ball and the traffic was really difficult to see through. There were a couple of nice balls thrown deep to Caldwell and Cornelius, the rest were too blocked to see. I should be able to get more on these later Reynaldo Hill did make a great break on the ball and broke up a great pass from Leak on a deep corner pattern.

At the close of team drills for the A-Group, both groups joined for a little running in between the sessions. They did 3 stints of running across the filed from sideline to sideline. Or roughly 150 yards, three times.

Directly afterwards they went into a special teams mode and the punting unit was out there working on spacing. Those positions not involved went off and did their own thing at this point, basically more drills. Of note was Gavin Dickey fielding punts from the arm of Coach Dwayne Dixon. He, Vernell Brown, and Tremaine McCullom took some fly ball catches from Coach D.

Group B

Defense DL - Kenny Parker, Mike Hill, Tree Morant, and Jarvis Moss (Stephen Harris was 3rd team) LB - Todd McCullough, Brandon Siler, and Javier Estopinan DB - Jarvis Herring, DeShawn Carter, Zep Augustine, and Vernell Brown

1on 1

Justin Midgett hit a streaking Chad Jackson for a skinny post, Chad made an adjustment on the ball and would have scored on anyone. Midgett came back and hit Dallas Baker for another long post pass, Dallas also made a nice adjustment to catch the pass.

Gavin Dickey looked pretty good throwing out there today, he threw a few behind the receiver, but a lot of times had some great touch on the ball.

Dallas is making an extra effort that we haven't seen out here from him, maybe the 2nd team thing is letting him take notice. He looks good and hungry out here today.

DeShawn Carter had a nice break on the ball an tipped it, but it wasn't enough as Kyle Morgan came down with the ball.


The 2nd starting unit was Baker, Jackson, Reggie Lewis at wide receiver. The tight end was David Kenner. Gavin Dickey was the quarterback and his tailback was DeShawn Wynn. When they went to a fourth receiver, Kenneth Tookes was the one that stepped in to replace Kenner. The next tight end in was Tate Casey. He is aggressive, but he really needs some weight, he should have the frame to do so.

Justin Midgett shined in pass-skel throwing some nice out patterns and then two beautiful bombs. The first was to Kyle Morgan, who just flat dropped it. Fedora chewed his butt for that one. The next was a wide open post to Kenneth Tookes and Tookes as he did earlier, seemed to quit running and used his out stretched arms to try and catch the ball.

Gavin forced the first throw, to a well covered short receiver. Marcus Manson came in the second play and looked really fluid catching and running with the ball. He followed that up a little while later with some really nice medium length passes over the middle.

Again the team drill ws pretty much blocked from view. They script the plays, so they ran the same plays as the A-Group. I did notice Skyler Thornton on one toss play just seemed to really light a fire under his butt and get around the end as fast as I have sen him run. That's a great sign as he is pushing 225 pounds now and it doesn't seem to have effected his speed. Midgett continued his good throwing and made a really good out throw to a receiver on the far sideline. One thing I noticed with this group is that the defensive line was more than the offensive line could handle. There was a lot more scrambling of the quarterback and forcing the issue with this group.

A few tidbits………………..

Fedora was animated today especially when his receivers dropped the ball, I saw at least 6 times where the whole offense has to do up-downs when a receiver dropped the ball or a QB made a bad pitch. He also was really harping on them to not run out of bounds, to stick their feet in the ground and get their ass up field. These guys are play makers, they need to make plays.

I chatted with Coach Miller for just a brief moment, and he believes that Javier Estopinan and Brandon Siler are going to be everything we thought they could be. These guys can run and are very intelligent. We probably have to go a little light on Javier for fear of a relapse of his mono, but they look like they will be able to help us early.

Coach Zook was more concentrated on helping the defensive backs for this practice. I think that is a good thing with the young coach in Disch.

I don't expect Drew Miller and Jason Watkins to redshirt this year. They were split in the Group A and Group B as Miller was with the A Group and Watson with the B-Group. It probably has more to do with the split up of the offensive lines.

That's all for now, but I'll think of more, so look for it on the BullGator Insider Den -- where only Gators prowl!

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