Captain Announcement Headlines End of Camp

Urban Meyer announced the Gator captains after Saturday morning's practice, and all five are expected to be major contributors to the Gators' success this season. Seniors Andre Caldwell, Drew Miller, Phil Trautwein and Tony Joiner along with junior Derrick Harvey make up the list. Both Joiner and Harvey are the only returning starters on the defense.

"Bubba [Caldwell] had the most votes," Urban Meyer said after practice. "I'm proud of those guys. It's well deserved, and a great mix of offense and defense. To be captain of a football team is important, but to be captain of a winning football team is much more important."

In addition to announcing captains, Meyer also announced who the backup quarterback will be for the start of the season. True freshman Cameron Newton had the benefit of spring practice after early-enrolling at UF, and that benefit paid off after Meyer officially named him as Tebow's backup.

"Johnny [Brantley] is going to be fine," Meyer said. "He's going to be a great player here. We are not redshirting Johnny Brantley. He's going to be an outstanding player here at Florida, and he's got to be ready to play, but the backup quarterback is Cam. We will not play Johnny in a mop-up role. We're going to develop him to be starting quarterback."

Junior college transfer Bryan Waggener was also in the mix, but has been sidelined with injuries. A broken foot on the first day of spring workouts kept him out of all action, and now he'll miss the next few weeks with a meniscus tear.

Meyer said he will not manage Tebow and Newton in the same way he managed Tebow and Chris Leak last season.

"Cameron's not that much different than Tim," Meyer said. "If Cam has a good week of practice, he'll play in that game next week."

Defense finished camp on a high note

Earning the most criticism throughout fall camp because of their youthfulness, the Gator defense had a spirited effort on Saturday.

"Our defense had a good day today," Meyer said. "They're starting to act and smell and walk and run like a defense right now. Our defense is energy and passion, and I saw that today."

For now, true freshman Joe Haden has secured a starting cornerback role opposite sophomore Markihe Anderson.

"He's one of the top-five fastest guys on the team," Meyer said. "He's a competitor. He's just outperforming the other guys right now."

Meyer also said that freshmen Justin Trattou, Duke Lemmens and Carlos Dunlap should all see action this season, and Torrey Davis and Jaye Howard are getting there. As for John Brown, there is still no word on his status with the NCAA Clearinghouse.

Offense solidified

Since arriving at Florida, Meyer hasn't been this excited about one particular unit as he is about this year's receiving corps. On Friday, he raved about Andre Caldwell's leadership and on Saturday, he talked more about the group as a whole.

"That's a solid group," he said. "A group of talent without leaders is just awful. We've seen that around here. I know I've said that about our running backs, but I haven't seen it until this year. Kestahn Moore and our running backs are protecting our quarterback."

Even with things coming together just one week away from the season opener against Western Kentucky, there will still be some uncertainty as to how the younger players perform when they're on the field at The Swamp in front of 90,000 people by themselves.

"Last year, it was a little more mature camp, so you had a better idea of what was going to happen," Meyer said. "We got a lot of young guys trying hard, but I don't know what's going to happen when we tear that ribbon off. I think we'll be explosive, but as a coach we just worry about minimizing mistakes."

Notes

  • Despite the youth and inconsistency, Meyer said he's had fun so far this fall. Said Meyer, "It's great. We're having fun out here. Major Wright, you could coach him all day long."
  • The team celebrates it's third annual former players barbecue this afternoon. The event is just one of things that Meyer has changed since his arrival three years ago, including other "new" traditions like the Gator Walk. Meyer said the Gators don't hide anymore. Said Meyer, "We put on a shirt and tie and go walk in the greatest stadium in college football. When you recruit, you walk by Jack Youngblood and Emmitt Smith and all the great names that played here. We are going to do this thing right."


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