Reggie Lewis: New Doctrine For UF Secondary

A long, hot summer has only served to strengthen the resolve of the Florida secondary. They have heard all the questions about their lack of depth, lack of intensity, and general lack of skills. Reggie Lewis says that this Florida secondary is founded on a new doctrine.

"When Coach Meyer first came in here and took the job, he addressed us and said that we weren't a physical team," Lewis recalled. "We weren't a physical secondary either. During the off-season our strength coaches made us more physical. Now, we're trying to show that on the field. We want to be more physical than in the past.

"We strictly play man and we want receivers to know that when you play the Florida DB's, it ain't gonna come easy. We want to be known as a speedy, fast, physical defense."

Lewis said that the summer program and Coach Urban Meyer's concepts regarding team unity took hold of a team that wants to achieve championship goals. Meyer's strategy benefits the Florida program two-fold. The team grew close together in an atmosphere of fierce competition, then unity and leadership served to push the Gators even harder.

"It was a team thing," Lewis said. "Dee Webb and Jarvis Herring were our leaders. We went out there and worked on our technique and our backpedaling. In the weight room, we worked out as a team, getting stronger and faster and doing a lot of cone drills. We were always together at somebody's house cooking out or did something together as a team. We showed more unity now than we had in the past. We had a rule that if you don't contribute 100 percent we don't want you out here. We pushed each other. That's why there's a lot of competition out here now.

"The competition brings out the best in us," he continued. "Everybody is out here everyday competing. Without that competition, there wouldn't be no test. But, I think that we've got a lot of good corners that are going to be great corners once everybody takes in the work that the coaches are giving us."

He said that the fruits of their labors are just beginning to surface. He feels that those who have been out to a practice session have seen the Florida secondary as a more physical group overall.

"We have good talent in this secondary," Lewis said. "People didn't think that we had any depth but now they (people at practice) see that we could have four or five corners who are ready to play."

Lewis smiled when talking about the talented newcomers, Reggie Nelson and Avery Atkins.

"Once they (Reggie Nelson and Avery Atkins) got here, we built a relationship with them. I think those two are going to be a hell of a good couple of players once they get going. They help us out tremendously. I mean, we're going to have four or five corners who can play a one or a two, so our corners are not going to be a problem, once we get out of two-a-days."

Lewis spent several hours a week working on his technique this summer. He felt that having never played corner before, this was the most pressing need for his personal improvement.

Fightin Gators Top Stories