Gators continue preparations for Peach Bowl

The Gators continued their preparation for the December 31 Peach Bowl in Atlanta against the Miami Hurricanes with a Sunday afternoon practice that was held in 65 degree weather with a bright, shiny sun. Players were in shorts and shoulder pads, but only a few of the glamour guys needed sleeves to keep their arms warm, but everyone practicing looked like they were having fun.

Chad Jackson smoked everyone he went against in one-on-one drills. He was really running crisp cuts and did a great dance after he burned Dee Webb on a corner/post move.

Reggie Lewis made an awesome one handed grab during the one-on-one and then promptly spiked the ball. Again, the guys were working hard but really looking like they were enjoying the weather and having fun,

The secondary was on the ball today, literally. The first ball Gavin Dickey threw in pass-skel drills should have been returned for six points by Dee Webb as he jumped in front of a pass intended for Reggie Lewis. The defense kept this up throughout the practice, and they were really hawking the ball when the scout team quarterbacks were called in to throw some passes.

Ciatrick Fason did drop the first pass thrown to him and that visibly infuriated him. I didn't see another bad play from him the rest of practice.

No inside information on this one, but it appeared to me that Channing Crowder wasn't totally ready to go. He just looked a little gimpy to these untrained eyes. I'm not sure the reason, but perhaps it's just some rust from having nearly a month off. He was running the Sam backer with the second team.

Todd McCullough ran unimpeded for the first time in a long time. The time away has allowed folks to heal from a variety of bumps, bruises and injuries, so for the first time in several weeks, there is almost a complete two-deep at linebacker.

I also noticed that Terrance Holmes wasn't running with the first or second team at safety. I think he is still healing a groin injury and is not yet back to full speed. He worked with the kickoff coverage team, running straight ahead, but still he looked to be a little bit gimpy.

Kyle Jackson still starts at a safety spot with Cory Bailey manning the nickel.

Coach Charlie Strong's Post-Practice Quotes:

How are the practices going?

The thing you like is they came out and worked hard. They are into it. The thing you really like is their work ethic, they are really into it. They are working together and doing everything we ask them to do.

What is the difference in the defensive line play at the end of the year?

The defensive line is just playing better. Ray is healthy, Marcus is healthy, Mincey is playing better, Joe is playing better. I don't think it has anything to do with the scheme, they are just playing better.

What does it mean to play Miami in this game?

Because it is Miami it has helped us. Nothing against Virginia Tech, but knowing that Miami has beaten us the last couple of years has helped us. What is strange is getting them in Atlanta.

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