CALIFLORIDA BOWL: Avery Atkins' Journal

We spoke with All-American defensive back Avery Atkins, who has graciously agreed to provide us with a day to day account of his CaliFlorida Bowl Game experience in the format of a journal. As expected, Avery is very excited to represent Team Florida, and have the opportunity to give Florida fans a preview of his playmaking abilities.

I've seen Avery play on three occasions, and can tell you that you won't be disappointed. The fact that he is going against an All-American from California is not lost on him either. He is ready for the challenge.

The CaliFlorida All-Star Game has featured some of the best players in the United States of America. The game will be played on Sunday, January 2 at 8 p.m. in the Orange Bowl. It will be televised on Fox Sports Net.

AVERY ATKINS: We arrived in Miami about 6:30 or 7:00 last night. They sent a charter bus to pick up the players and drive them down. We went out to eat at a place called "Diners", and went back to the hotel for a team meeting, met the coaches and stuff like that. Our head coach is David Wilson from Lincoln High School (Tallahassee). We stayed up after the meeting, just hanging out and generally getting to hang out with one another. It was basically everybody introducing themselves and hanging out talking football a little bit. Eventually recruiting came up. Guys were just asking where you're going and stuff like that. Most of the guys are undecided. Demetrius (Morley) is committed to Tennessee, and I'm committed to Florida, but the rest seem to be open. We stayed up pretty late, and were ready to get some sleep.

Today, we woke up at 6 o'clock. We have to be ready to eat breakfast between 6:30 and 8:30am. I got in there between 6:30 and 6:45am. We loaded up on the bus and they drove us over to the practice field. We're practicing at Tropical Park right now. We'll be practicing at Washington High School later in the week.

It was a long day at practice. We got started about 9:30 this morning and left about 4:30 this afternoon. We worked on everything: offense, defense, and special teams. We took a break for lunch. They brought some pizzas in for us. Everybody had a couple of pizzas for themselves. During the break and when the coaches were getting things set up, we all got a chance to talk and get to know one another better. Practice was a real good experience today. They have me playing corner. I'll be playing one side. The other side is up in the air right now. I got a chance to go against Fred Rouse. The only time the ball was thrown to him while I was in coverage, I was able to jump up and knock the ball out of the air. He ran a post pattern with some crazy move. I hadn't seen that route before. He's really an outstanding player. The quarterback who threw the pass was Jon Garner (his Mainland teammate). Coach Bennett from Pensacola High School is my position coach.

We have a really good defensive backfield. Dee Morley is starting at safety. Randy Phillips will be starting at the other safety. As I said, the corner position opposite mine is undecided, but we have some players competing over there. Bruce Jackson from Live Oak, the guy from Ed White (Guesly Dervil), and Clarence Ward from Pensacola.

Tonight, we're going to a place called GameWorks. We'll get to eat and relax. It will be a good opportunity for us to hang out with each other since the time we had last night at the hotel. I think that everybody is looking forward to it.

Fred Rouse, PJ Williams from Tallahassee Leon, Eugene Hayes from Madison County, Antone Smith from Pahokee are some of the guys who made an impression on me today. There are some other guys who are doing good things as well, I just don't know everybody out there yet. We'll be wearing Garnet and Gold colored uniforms. (laughs) It doesn't matter to me, I know where I'm going.

I hope that everybody will tune in and watch the game. We hope to create a lot of excitement. We are definitely in to beating these guys from California. We know they want to beat us, but…Let 'em bring it.


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