In the trenches…
One of the offensive moves was on the line where Phil Trautwein was seen at first team for most of the day at left tackle. The rest of the first offensive line remained the same with Jim Tartt at left guard, Steve Rissler at center, Ronnie Wilson at right guard, and Drew Miller at right tackle.
What does this line do for the Gators compared to last year? I think they still have about the same quickness at tackle as Trautwein has really good feet and can really move. I think the interior linemen as a whole will be far more aggressive and more of the road grader types this current staff likes. This should allow for better inside running and create an inside zone running game that last years unit would not have been as adept at running.
The second line is a work in progress but it looks like the staff wants to make one significant change and move Simon Codrington to right guard. It seemed odd at first, but from the looks of discussions and the body language of coaches and Codrington after practice, I think it is something that may be good for the future. Codrington was able to put on 40 pounds since his arrival last July and he still looks fit and trim. At 6-7 and 310 pounds he can probably still add about 30 more pounds and be a real force from the position. Codrington has good feet and a 340 pound monster like him pulling will give big time nightmares for linemen and linebackers that aren't ready for it.
The rest of the second team offensive line is Jason Watkins at left tackle who also started Wednesday on the first team at left tackle. Maurice Hurt and Carl Johnson are splitting time at left guard right now and I think you will see Johnson eventually move around to where his body is more comfortable. Eddie Haupt is the second team center and with Codrington at left guard, Carlton Medder was at right tackle. Medder got abused a couple of times and we could see Johnson possibly moving out there to contend for that spot.
They got skills…
Leak is still throwing well but threw a couple of passes he would like back in the seven on seven drills. You should see those highlight and low lights in the video coming later. Again, the offense is on the other side of the field and we can't get a great look at the offense. I put in a media request to have the offense and defense switch fields every other practice, but I just don't see them looking out for my best interests. So be it.
Tim Tebow was off again for a lot of his passes, but he will be fine. He is pressing and just has tons to soak in. One thing of significance to mention s that on both of the first two days of practice, Leak was with the running game during one on one passing drills and Tebow threw with the receivers. This of course has a dual purpose as Leak needs to grow more adept as a runner and Tebow needs to get more familiar with the routes and the receivers he is throwing to.
Dallas Baker has been the best and most consistent receiver by far, in my opinion. He makes big plays down field and really gets to the ball and does not lose a battle when the ball is in the air. I thought Nyan Boateng may have had the second best day among receivers. He is learning a lot of Chad Jackson's routes and playing a lot of that position. Andre Caldwell and Jemalle Cornelius were steady all day.
Some of the younger guys they had a rough day. Louis Murphy and David Nelson both dropped too many balls and were spending time with the JUGS machine and doing up-downs. McIntosh was steady but not spectacular today.
Cornelius Ingram is going to make Tate Casey work at tight end. Ingram is the guy that gets the second glance because he just looks like a supreme athlete. Then, you see him do some things on the field and you see why he has to get on the field somewhere. He could be that Vernon Davis (probable high first round pick out of Maryland) type of tight end. You should see three highlights of his in a row on the videos coming later.
I think DeShawn Wynn looks good, he seems to really be running well and in a very good mood compared to last season. Chevon Walker looks blazing and Manson is sold from what we can see from our end of the practice complex.
I want to start with the linebackers. They played excellent pass coverage today and were responsible for five passes that should have been intercepted and one that Brandon Siler did intercept. It isn't just the first unit, Darryon Robinson the walk on from Gainesville Eastside had two balls hit his hands but on a bad note, he didn't come down with them. There is a premium for speed in this defense and the linebackers are a very speedy unit and wreak havoc on passing lanes.
Jon Demps is still hobbled by his injury but did complete the full practice. It doesn't look like he is in pain out there, but that he just doesn't have the full range of motion and strength from his post ACL surgery. Brian Crum was the starting strong side linebacker and Demps was his immediate backup. Robinson played at the middle spot behind Siler and Ryan Stamper backed up Earl Everett at the will linebacker spot.
In the trenches…
Probably the biggest move I saw was walk on Lutrell Alford and his 300 pound frame playing at string side defensive end on the second unit. The second team tackles were Clint McMillan and Branden Daniel, while Darryl Gresham was the other second team defensive end. That makes for a very big, but not very fast unit on the second line. McMillan and Gresham seemed to be the best of that group today.
The scoop is loose. Marcus Thomas is definitely down from his 315 pounds last season and is listed at 290. I asked him where Scoop went and he replied that he will probably show up in the fall. With his old back problems, I'll take Thomas at a little lighter weight and keep him healthy.
Kyle Jackson at free safety, Reggie Nelson at strong safety, Reggie Lewis and Avery Atkins at cornerback are still the guys that comprise the starting secondary. That group is playing well already. The McCollum twins had a better day today and it will be noticeable on the video later. Nick Brooks played a little corner today and walk on John Curtis got some time at free safety with the first unit at times. Lamont Sheppard made a few outstanding plays and probably was among the top five players of the day in my opinion.
Odds and Ends…
Jemalle Cornelius and Mike McIntosh stayed after practice to run a little cornerback work with coach Heater. I have a couple of pictures that show it, but it looks like they want to see if these guys can add anything to a very thin unit. Jemalle is a good one to try because he is so intelligent he can play both sides of the ball. If McIntosh does play corner, I believe it will mean a full time position change for him.
Vernell Brown and Terry Jackson were former players in attendance. A few of the Lakeland kids were at practice today including the Pouncey twins and Chris Rainey. Jerry Howard from Orlando Jones was also at the practice. The Gators are expected to host more than fifty of the state's and southeast's best players tomorrow for a Junior Day.