FALL CAMP: Rainey Moving Up

Another stepping stone for the Gators on day five of fall practice as they went full pads for the first time. After a poor showing yesterday, the offense rebounded with a better day on Thursday with help from a true freshman.

"I liked the effort today," head coach Urban Meyer said. "I think the offense did a really nice job today."

Both Brandon James and Chris Rainey had strong days at tailback, breaking long runs for touchdowns, which has Meyer smiling about his backfield for the first time in his two-plus years at Florida.

"A lot of it is that little Rainey kid squirting out of there," Meyer said. "He's a lot like Percy Harvin who can turn an 8-yard gain into a 60-yard gain like he did against FSU. That's some great speed and Rainey gives you some of that, Kestahn Moore, Brandon James those are three guys that have busted some runs already."

Meyer has been quite vocal about the backfield in his first two season with the Gators with most of his opinions being negative in nature. But he's had nothing but good things to say just one week into year number three.

"I probably shouldn't have done that," Meyer said about his past comments directed at the running backs. "I just get so upset with effort. If you struggle as a player, but give great effort, I'm okay with that. If you struggle because you give a lack of effort, and you have a bunch of people around you working real hard, it makes you kind of sick to your stomach. My first year at Florida, I was real sick to my stomach. Now they're working hard. I don't know how good they are, but they work hard."

Meyer has already said that safety Major Wright and defensive end Justin Trattou will play as true freshmen, but he's added Rainey to the list after his effort during the last two practices. And speaking of Wright, he became the first newcomer to lose his black stripe after the hit he laid on Rainey at the end of yesterday's workout.

"We went ahead and broke tradition," Meyer said. "That was unbelievable that hit. When I saw that, I had to show the team and take it off right there. That was as good as I saw."

Fall camp doesn't officially start until Friday, so it's a bit soon for newcomers to be losing their stripes, but Meyer made the exception anyway. As for Rainey, he looked good the day after the hit.

Center Woes

Yesterday could best be described as pitiful at times for the Gator centers. Both Drew Miller and Jim Barrie struggled to get the ball to the quarterback. Miller moved to center from guard in the offseason and had some growing pains during the spring, but has looked solid until now. He had some problems again on Thursday.

"The job description of a center is to put it in between the numbers," Meyer said. "I'm fairly confident that we'll get that worked out. That's not uncommon this time of year. In a week from now, if we still have some problems than I'll look at other things."

Meyer did say that the best five linemen will play, which looks to include Jason Watkins and Carlton Medder.

"He's (Medder) one of the top-five," Meyer said. "The most improved lineman we have right now is Jason Watkins. Obviously, if Jason Watkins plays, then Carlton Medder is going to play inside. We'll make that decision soon, probably in about a week."

Notes

  • After a meeting of the minds today at NCAA headquarters, it looks as if the text message ban is here to stay. Said Meyer, "I'd love to go and speak on behalf of the national champions, but other than you, nobody's asked me."

  • After missing most of practice yesterday because of heat exhaustion, Bryan Waggener was once again calling signals on Thursday, and did a nice job. Said Meyer, "We have a nice little battle going at the backup quarterback spot. Johnny (Brantley) continues to come out firing. He's just one of those guys who has a tendency to complete passes."

  • Getting a push from the freshmen, defensive tackle Javier Estopinan, who has seen a good portion of career plagued with injuries, needs to get into form fast. Said Meyer, "Javier has been just okay. His effort's there, but he's just a little rusty. We just have to get him to the top of his game. He will be there."

  • Riley Cooper had what Meyer called his best day on the practice field as a Gator. Said Meyer, "That was very encouraging." Cooper has been bothered with a sore foot since the spring.

  • Two of the fastest guys on the team are experiencing some soreness. Said Meyer, "Percy (Harvin) has some tendinitis in his Achilles. Louis Murphy has some tendinitis in his knee. That's typical for the racehorses."


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