One Week to Go

The Gator Football Team moved within a week of the conclusion of spring practice with a solid scrimmage Saturday morning. The scrimmage brought out several outstanding performances and was a step towards answering some key questions about the 2008 football team.

Running backs ----- The Gator runners had one of the best days if not the best they've had under Urban Meyer. Mon Williams showed the first signs of returning to his form of a year ago. Emmanuel Moody not only ran well but threw two excellent blocks. Kestahn Moore got every yard that was there to get, while speedsters Chris Rainey and Brandon James had some good moments as well. Moody has not claimed the job as many hoped/expected, but he has helped raise the overall level of the position.

Safeties ----- Dorian Munroe's experience will allow him to be at least as productive as Tony Joiner was and the improvement of Major Wright is virtually assured, making this a better position than it was a year ago. Jamar Hornsby looks to be making a move on being the third guy and has more big play potential than the other two. We'll have a story on Jamar in a day or two. There's no Reggie Nelson back there, but this is one unit that is better today than it was three weeks ago.

Defensive tackles ----- This is still a big question mark but two guys took steps in a positive direction in this scrimmage. Terron Sanders and Lawrence Marsh both had good, disruptive days in the trenches. Marsh would be happier on the outside, but that now seems increasingly unlikely. He just needs to keep his motor running all the time, as does Sanders. If both commit to playing with passion every day, the tackle situation will be fine. It'll be a while before we know if that's going to happen.

Phil Trautwein ----- The fifth year senior offensive tackle is finally clear to go all out and saw a lot of action in the scrimmage. His return is a big boost for the offensive line, and they need it. At times Florida was playing without its top four guards Saturday morning. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Offensive line is the most important position for this recruiting class coming up. We'll have more on Trautwein in a few days, too.

Brandon Hicks ----- Here's one linebacker making a move on the lineup. Hicks was added to the first team and gives Florida a little more size at the SLB position. Hicks and Jerimy Finch will be guys to watch this fall.

Deonte Thompson ----- The ultra talented redshirt freshman beat the defense deep three times, and although he dropped one, he still caught two long touchdown passes. Only Louis Murphy is ahead of him as a receiver, and who knows how long that will last. One thing is clear to me. Thompson is not going to be good. He's going to be great.

There's no question the Gators will have a tremendous offense this fall. Once the offensive line is healthy they should be able to control things pretty effectively. With the improvement at running back and the return of Tebow, Harvin, Ingram, Murphy et al they could be scary good.

The defense is making some progress and certainly looked better on Saturday than they did on Wednesday. I'm increasingly confident the secondary will be more than adequate, though not great. The key remains in developing a front four that can control the line and rush the passer. The improvement in Marsh and Sanders will go a long way to making that happen. IF they continue on that track.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

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