SPRING: Mike McIntosh Maintains Positive Attitude

He will readily admit he hasn't lived up to his own or team expectations. He knows it. He also knows that he's young and one of the hardest workers out there. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Mike McIntosh knows a lot of things, but it's his belief in himself and his love of the team that keeps his spirit sky high.

Florida's receiving corps is arguably one of the most talented bunches in the nation and many pundits are predicting Mike McIntosh as one of the guys that will in 2005. After spending a redshirt year in which he gave fits to the first team defense as a member of the scout team, he has been slowed by a little bit of an injury but not disheartened.

"[The spring] hasn't been going the way I anticipated it going and after I got redshirted last year, I wanted to come back strong this year," McIntosh said. "I plan on working for a starting position and I'm going to work hard at it and never give up."

McIntosh has developed a knack for hard work and got a taste of what some would call hell on earth about a week ago when he found himself in "The Pit." Everyone, including Coach Urban Meyer, expected the receiver to be out for the first official scrimmage, but a leg injury relegated him to rocks, chains and sand bags of "The Pit" instead of the pigskins of Florida Field.

"That Pit is crazy man and it's something that you don't ever want to be in," McIntosh said. "That's why… I don't want to say I rushed myself back … but get back as soon as possible so that I don't have to be in there. It's just very hard work.

Mike McIntosh on his first day back from the Pit...

"I know when I'm staying healthy and I'm faster that I can move good and feel good. I read my playbook every night so I just want to stay healthy right now."

Hard work is an understatement to what McIntosh faces in the push for immediate playing time. Chad Jackson has already has gone as far as to say that this receiving corps could be one of the best in the nation and for the freshman receiver to make an impact, it will take a lot more than chains, rocks and sand bags.

With a foursome of Dallas Baker, Jemalle Cornelius, Andre Caldwell and Chad Jackson heading the receiving corps, whenever McIntosh makes a mistake, he's got help from experienced upper classmen ready to help him correct his errors.

"We are obviously led by Chad --- he makes big plays and everyone wants feed off him," McIntosh said. "We are a very close group that sticks together and helps each other through the ups and downs."

One of the ups for this group of receivers has proven to be the offensive scheme. The receivers have been gushing all spring about the offense that Meyer is implementing and McIntosh can't agree more with that assessment.

Coach Heater watches McIntosh catch and get tackled in practice

"I love this offense man," he said. "The offense is really pass happy and it gives everyone the opportunity to score by giving everyone and opportunity to touch the ball."

Aside from finding himself in one group that sticks together, McIntosh is part of the Jacksonville First Coast High School lineage that has produced current Gators Kenneth Tookes, Reggie Lewis and in a couple months, Ryan Stamper.

He will be the first to fess up that the First Coast attitude is a unique one with several interesting twists.

"We all have a great attitude and are built around hard work," McIntosh said. "We actually didn't have a receivers coach there so we all kind of learned on our own and helped each other out. It's just a receivers' school so we are just trying to get out here and live up to that reputation."

With brothers like that on the field, McIntosh has found a comfort level in building a family within the team. There to guide them is another youngster in the surroundings of his own group in wide receivers Coach Billy Gonzales.

"He's a tough coach and I like the way he pushes us," McIntosh said. "We got to understand where he's coming from sometimes with his point of view. I love the way he coaches and I'm going to keep going hard no matter what."

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