DAY FOUR: One on One with QB Josh Portis

Josh Portis is a long way from home and working extremely hard these days. The true freshman quarterback has been pitching the ball around the practice field in Gainesville in order to try and get on the field this year for the Gators. He isn't scared of the competition he faces. He doesn't care who is ahead or even with him right now on the depth chart.

He just wants to show what he can do with all the weapons at his disposal, of which Gator fans got a tantilizing glimpse of in the last Orange and Blue spring game. Still, you can't fault him for thinking about home and his family far away in California a little bit these days.

"I need to give a shout out to my momma out there in Cali," said Portis in the middle of our interview we had with him. It was just a little line he dropped in between questions, but it showed just how much he is in control of things at such a young age.

This is just the way he was brought up. Portis is attacking the depth chart like he has always done everything. He wants to be the one in control. He wants to show the defenses he sees every day what he is all about. That is Josh Portis and he wants to catch everyone off guard.

"Coming from high school these are definitely more aggressive corners," he said about the tough defenses he has seen in practice. "It makes me more responsible to be even more accurate. I am going to see all types and I need to be the leader out there and make everyone better. I have to be vocal out there and do what I have to do."

Portis has been coming along quite well in practices so far - especially so because overall the quarterbacks haven't been too impressive. Coach Urban Meyer praised his young pupil after practice.

"The one thing about Josh Portis is he loves what he's doing and he cares," Meyer said. "He really had a good day."

Portis could be seen from two practice fields over zinging the ball around like the quarterbacks haven't done yet this fall. There were a lot more deep passes thrown to receivers that were open down the field. Portis explained that he just has to take what the defense gives him.

"We just had a lot of one on one match ups, we like to take shots down the field and score," he said. "We can be a nickel and dime offense, but we also like to take the shots and put the points on the board. Coming up this season we are going to tear defenses apart with this offense."

Wednesday was different, but the first two days of fall practice weren't rosy for the offense and Josh. They just hadn't been in a rhythm.

"The first couple of days it was just like getting back into the flow of things," he said. "We did a lot of passing over the summer. We didn't throw every day, just like three or four days a week. You just have to get it straight and get better each day and get more comfortable with the offense, and things will come. I am doing pretty good right now, the team is doing good. Being off a few months, we just need to get back in a rhythm."

Portis also had good praise for the freshmen receivers: "Those three guys are pretty good. Nyan Boateng is impressive. He still has to learn, but he is going to be a big time ball player for us this year. He is big and athletic and can go and get the ball. He can jump and he played basketball in high school. David Nelson is a big tall receiver, smooth, athletic and can also go get the ball. He is tall with a big frame. Louis Murphy has quick fast, good hands, and a natural for the receiver position."

And so it goes with the young quarterback from California who came to Gainesville on a mission to one day lead his team. By the end of the spring people knew what he was made of physically. Slowly but surely everyone is learning he has the mental faculties to go along with the physical ability.


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