Improvement Is Baker's Goal This Week

Now that game one is a thing of the past, junior wide receiver Dallas Baker is spending this week making certain that his game will show improvement Saturday when the Florida Gators take on Louisiana Tech at The Swamp. Baker had five catches for 44 yards in the season opener against Wyoming he he knows that he and all his fellow wide receivers could have done much more.

At media day on Monday, Coach Urban Meyer praised his wide receivers for catching the ball but he wasn't particularly happy with the way this fleet group handled its blocking assignments. Much of the running game in the spread option offense has its point of attack on the perimeter which means the wide receivers are a critical fixture in the blocking scheme if there is to be success.

"We had a meeting with coach and he said the only way the running game is going to work is if the receivers block better," said Baker.

In the pre-season Meyer talked about a "Go To Board" that coaches use to determine if the ball is being distributed to all the receivers. In the Meyer offense, it is important that the ball is spread around so opponents don't have the luxury of trying to take one player out of the game. The stats for Saturday night showed that Chad Jackson was truly a "go to guy" in game one but Baker says with this wide receiver group what matters is winning not personal stats.

"I don't pay attention to the 'go to guy'," Baker said. I am here to win. It doesn't work out like that. It's who Chris (Leak) has a lot of time to work once the game gets started. He is going to try and spread the ball around. I had five catches. Bubba (Caldwell) had seven and Chad had ten."

Baker knows that if he concentrates on hitting all his goals each game that the stats will take care of themselves.

"My personal goal is to become a complete receiver," he said. "Like coach said, the receivers' job is to run fast and catch the ball, so that is going to come. Blocking … I will have to work on that. I feel like I am getting better but there are a lot of things I need to work on like running my feet and staying alive."

DEMPS GETS FEET WET: For true-freshman linebacker Jon Demps Saturday was an eye opener as well as an ear opener. He was absolutely stoked to be running out of the tunnel for the foirst time as a player in "The Swamp".

"It was awesome," he said. "When you go out there and see all those orange and blue fans, it gets you pumped and your adrenaline pumping and everything."

The coaching staff seemed relatively pleased with Demps' decisions and they hope that once he becomes comfortable playing at this level with the loud, raucous atmosphere that he will start playing naturally and instinctively.

"They said I didn't get too many opportunities so when I get a chance I need to make plays," said Demps, a 6-4, 228-pounder from Pensacola. "I got about 9-10 plays. I got most of my assignments so I think I did pretty good as far as the mental part of the game. I just had to get those jitters out. I was like that on the first five plays then the next series I was good. The game slowed down a little bit."

Demps knows he needs to play loose and react to what he sees on the field rather than think too much. He anticipates a much better second day on the job against Louisiana Tech. He also believes this defense could be special.

"I am just expecting to play as hard as I can when I get a chance to," he said. "The defense is going to live up to what we expected and we expect a lot more than what we saw Saturday."

The Wyoming game was a positive in that the Gators came out of it with an overwhelming victory. The defense isn't resting on its laurels, though. The coaches have pointed out enough mistakes that the unit is working hard to make corrections this week.

KATRINA'S IMPACT: Baker also has had to deal with the effects of Hurricane Katrina. In addition to practicing and going to class, the New Smyrna Beach native has been worrying about family that was in the wake of the devastating storm that tore through Louisiana and Mississippi.

"My cousin Lamar Chandler lost his house," Baker said. "They lost their house, but they are healthy because they got out of town. It is just a sad thing that happened."

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