FOOTBALL: 8/21 Scrimmage report - Along the lines

Today's scrimmage signaled the end of camp for the 2004 Florida football team. It comes at an appropriate time as there were a few guys who looked as though they could use a break to get their legs back under them. And as always, fatigue is a terrific precursor for injuries.

1st O vs 2nd D

The first team offense worked extensively against the second team defense today, and as it was last week along the front line…the first team O-Line dominated. The first group front left to right…Jon Colon, Lance Butler, Mike Degory, Steve Rissler, and Randy Hand. Mo Mitchell and Billy Griffin also saw time working with the first group as well today. Time in the pocket was not a concern for Chris Leak. Heck, he could've gone through airport security. The line didn't allow a sack on Leak until Billy Griffin had taken a few reps for Degory at center and Dickey picked up a few reps behind the first O-Line. Both occurred much later in the scrimmage. The first team scored every time that Leak was under center.

In fact, three different plays saw Leak with so much time that he double pumped the ball waiting for the receiver to clear and fired the ball downfield with no pressure. One play, Leak pumped the ball three times before hitting OJ Small dragging across the field. Great job by the offensive line or are the Gators that depth deprived on defense. At this point, probably a little of both.

2nd O vs 1st D

In the battle between the first team offense and the starting defense, the offensive front won the war. It was a solid, but unspectacular day for the ends. Joe Cohen and Jeremy Mincey got nice pressure at times, interrupting the offensive plans. Their speed and strength seemed to trouble the young tackles charged with blocking them.

Early on Ray McDonald looked really good. But, he didn't dominate throughout the session, which could be a shining testament to offensive guards Mo Mitchell and Drew Miller. Thomas was pretty good, but inconsistent as well. Though Thomas was held out yesterday with a virus. These guys have to get better before the trip to Rocky Top.

Highlight of the Day

The highlight of the day was the fact that nobody was seriously injured today. I usually find myself holding my breath as the second week comes to an end. We're picking up tidbits about injuries at rival schools, some of them season ending, as we hope that the Gators stay healthy. There are a few areas of every team where injuries are to be avoided like the plague. The Gators are no exception.

The Butler did it

What didn't he do? Butler receives the Mr. Hustle Award for today's effort. There is no question that he hustled, as have many of his fellow O-Linemen. But, on consecutive plays Butler led the charge. On the first play, he pulled right, and was bumped by C-4, who was coming up with the ball. C-4 settled in behind Butler and picked up additional yardage, largely because the secondary couldn't get around him. They sure as hell couldn't go through him!! The play covered 14 yards and Butler was in front the entire way.

On the following play, Leak ran to the right, but handed the ball back off to Jemalle Cornelius coming around on the reverse. The entire defense was sucked to the right. Butler was 35 yards, that's right 35 yards, downfield leading the charge for Cornelius toward the goal line.

Butler also worked a short series at left offensive tackle and looked very good. Personally, I'd like to see Butler get a few more reps over there. He did a nice job pushing back Travis Harris on one play. Harris' spin move didn't work at all. Butler also moved his feet real well as Harris' tried to go outside and I'm unconvinced that Colon can get through a season without injuries. Also, at this stage, Colon is probably the biggest liability on the line. With Tavares Washington far behind, having Butler available is a huge bonus for the Gators. Seemingly, the only guy more valuable on this front is Degory, who is miles ahead of backup Billy Griffin and is unquestionably the leader of this group.

Saturday Night's All Right for Fighting

Daytime version. Offensive tackle Randy Hand and defensive end Tranell Morant traded punches after Dickey had held the ball too long during one play. Hand used a beautiful right-left combination, as Morant threw punches wildly. After a few punches, Morant mimicked Hand's approach. Coach Zook came in and balled out Morant for starting the fight, saying "He didn't do anything to you". He then told Hand to get back to the huddle as well.

Joe knows…

Defensive end Joe Cohen had his best day since the start of practice. He used his quickness to get in the backfield on several plays even recording a sack and a couple of pressures. He must continue to progress through the first two contests for Florida to keep the UT front busy in Knoxville. .

During the scrimmage…O-Line highlights

Drew Miller and Billy Griffin did a nice job on Thomas keeping him out of the play on a sweep left.

Rissler did a great job on Kenny Parker as Skyler Thornton ran through the hole. Butler also was in front knocking around Brandon Siler.

Degory and Butler blew open a hole for C-4 on the draw. C-4 could've run through in his church suit and wouldn't have had to worry about getting dirty.

Degory and Rissler opened up a nice hole for C-4 as he ran into the secondary.

Butler pulling ahead as C-4 got the pitch and ran to the right side. He and Butler ran into each other, and C-4 hesitated and got behind Butler for a 14 yard pickup.

One play later the offense faked a run to the right and reversed field with Cornelius running away toward the end zone. Butler was 35 yards downfield ahead of the play.

Right side of line (Degory, Rissler, and Hand) blew up the defensive front from the five yard line. Thornton waltzed into the end zone behind those guys.

Jason Watkins did a nice job against Michael Brown.

Manson ran by Thomas as he was headed up field with a full head of steam. Unfortunately, Thomas couldn't get a glove on him

. Trautwein made a nice block for Manson.

Mo Mitchell got away with holding on this one.

Rissler-Nice block on KP

Colon got very aggressive against Harvey one play after getting a sack.

D-Line highlights

Marcus Thomas peeled back and made a nice tackle on Manson after a three yard gain.

Mincey showed a lot of effort and speed going across the field in pursuit of the play going opposite field.

Dickey was sacked by Ray Mac and Thomas. Thomas actually blew into the backfield a little deeper than Ray Mac.

Both tackles rush and force Dickey to his right and to hurry his throw. Joe Cohen was taken out by center Billy Griffin, who peeled back to pick him up.

Ray Mac and a blitzing Channing Crowder got pressure on Dickey as he waited for open receiver while in the gun.

Joe Cohen knifed in to make the tackle on Manson for a two-yard loss.

Entire defensive front got a little pressure and as Travis Harris stepped into the gap, they forced the runner back. Loss of seven on the play.

Mincey got heat on Dickey coming around Phil Trautwein. Forced Dickey to get rid of the ball. Thomas was within a yard and a half of Dickey.

Dowdy got a hand on Harvey's jersey.

Cohen in the backfield for a one yard loss as Dickey handed the ball off.

Cohen again getting pressure on Justin Midgett, Drew Miller had peeled back to get a pad on Cohen.

Mincey around Trautwein.

Dowdy held Ray Mac on pass play. Ray Mac was looking for a flag.

Mincey and Cohen with pressure on Midgett. Nice job.

Clint McMillian and Kenny Parker get the sack as Billy Griffin missed his block on McMillian.

McMillian again got pressure on Dickey over Griffin.

Brandon Daniel looked good caving the front on a run up the middle.

Harvey got around Colon for the sack.

Projections…as the season goes along

Now that camp has wrapped up I'm convinced that the guard position will flex its' muscle at Florida for years to come…starting this season. I just don't see Steve Rissler sitting idle. And yes, fellow Sarasota Riverview grad Drew Miller is ready to see time as a true freshman. How?

Barring injuries, by mid-October don't be surprised if the Gators starting five are Butler and Hand at tackle, Rissler and Miller at guard, with Degory manning the middle. That's not to say that Mitchell and Colon aren't capable. It simply means that the young guys will probably have passed them. Coach Joe Wickline will have to make some tough decisions in the very near future.

It's early, but adding Jim Tartt, Jason Watkins, Carlton Medder, and Phil Trautwein to the picture in the spring will give Florida a plethora of talent in 2005.

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