Friday Practice Notes

The Gators took a lighter approach to Friday's workout as the pads came off for the first time since last week. But that didn't mean there wasn't contact and energy. Here are some of the things that stood out from Friday afternoon.

The highlight of the day came during the scrimmage. Tight end Aaron Hernandez went across the middle for a pass and defensive end Jaye Howard dropped into coverage. As usual, it took several Gators to bring down Hernandez and Howard ended the play with an extra shove. Hernandez got up and threw the ball at Howard and the two started swinging at each other. Nothing came out of it, and in fact, both Hernandez and Howard were in the next play, but it was exactly the kind of intensity and competitiveness that Urban Meyer looks for. The head Gator just stood in the middle of the field and watched the entire event evolve.

Other than connecting on a couple of long pass plays, the offense struggled during 7-on-7s and during the the 11-on-11s. Tim Tebow missed passes throughout the afternoon, Emmanuel Moody lined up in the wrong place during the two-minute drill and receivers dropped passes.

There were a couple of nice hookups. John Brantley hit Deonte Thompson on a strong pass to the sidelines for about a 20-30 yard gain. Tebow also hit Hernandez during the 11-on-11s for a 60-yard touchdown. Cameron Newton also connected with Tate Casey for a long score. But during the two-minute drills, the offense wasn't really able to move the ball downfield. They had to settle for a long field goal from Caleb Sturgis from about 50 yards out on one occasion. During the final rep, Newton was able to set up a field goal when he passed to Thompson who made a circus catch on the far sideline for about 40 yards.

Major Wright sat out practice again. The sophomore safety was also out on Wednesday because he was sick. During the scrimmage, Moses Jenkins was lining up with the first team, while Joe Haden worked with the second team. Haden did pick of Tebow during the 7-on-7s. Lining up at left tackle for the first team offense was Phil Trautwein. It was Trautwein's first extended involvement during a scrimmage, albeit non-contact. Jason Watkins was receiving treatment on his left foot throughout practice, so Marcus Gilbert lined up at right tackle for the first team line.

They worked on kick returns again, and although Brandon James and Deonte Thompson got most of the reps, Joe Haden was also working with the returners for a bit.

Brandon Spikes had a great day for the defense. He broke up several passes during the 7-on-7s. On the flip side, Cornelius Ingram had a good day on offense. CI made several great catches across the middle. Tebow still struggled a bit with his touch on the long ball and it seemed like he was trying to force in some of the shorter passes. Although, he wasn't getting much help from his receiving corps. Numerous times, Tebow got in the face of his receivers after a play, especially when he was faced with pressure.

The offense had some more success during the 1-on-1s. For the most part, the secondary was working on jamming the receivers and would consistently be beat off the line. Jacques Rickerson picked off Newton during the 1-on-1s, but aside from that, receivers won most of the match-ups. Hernandez ate up Bryan Thomas and Kestahn Moore ran a great route and made a good catch against Rickerson. Moore later took off Ahmad Black's helmet during a jam, but Black had the last laugh breaking up the pass.

During 1-on-1s, Joe Haden collided with David Nelson, and Nelson stayed down favoring his right knee. He did come back to run routes during the 7-on-7s, but he was limping after every rep.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Chris Chmielenski


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