One Last Chance to Impress

Urban Meyer has always treated the spring as an opportunity for guys to impress the coaching staff and earn playing time for the fall. Now, there's just one more chance for those who have been hanging around in the background to make a name for themselves before another spring comes and goes.

Several guys have had great springs. Lorenzo Edwards, Deonte Thompson and Emmanuel Moody in recent practices have all made moves to impress Urban Meyer. After the final major scrimmage of the spring this Wednesday, Meyer will name several players who can look to have their roles expanded in the fall.

"I'm excited about some of these players and I want to do that," Meyer said. "I did it for Louis Murphy last year. I'm really going to watch the competitive edge and watch the guys that can play."

One of those guys may be defensive end Carlos Dunlap. Dunlap has had a strong spring after spending last season mostly on special teams.

"He falls into that most improved guy category," Meyer said. "I'm not saying that he's the most improved, but he's top five. He's exclusively running with the ones. We sometimes put him in three-technique and sometimes in five."

And since last week, USC transfer Moody has been impressive. The talented running back had a long run Monday, running behind the No. 2 offensive line and scampered for an 18-yard touchdown against the No. 1 defense. But he's got one thing to improve on, and it may be Meyer's biggest pet peeve.

"He's got to hold onto the ball," Meyer said. "That's an art we have to get back around here. We did a study and over the last seven years there's only been one other team that's run the ball more than we have. We can't lose sight of that and that's very disappointing, but we'll get that back. That's teaching and emphasis. We will not drop the ball. If there's any chance you will drop the ball, you will not get into the game. That's the way it is."

On the offensive line, Carl Johnson is also having a strong spring. Johnson at times has stepped in for Jim Tartt while the left guard nurses a recurring shoulder injury, but Johnson will see most of his time on the outside.

"He's having a great spring so far," Meyer said. "He's growing up. He's lost some weight and now needs to keep it off. The problem is that we've had so many depth issues on the offensive line that he's been back and forth. He just needs to stay at one position and it's tackle."

One of the units that needed the most work this spring was the defensive tackles. The line still has a ways to go, but ever since early enrollee Matt Patchan was moved to the d-line last week, Meyer has been pleased with their effort and energy.

"We've moved Matt Patchan in there and moved [Lawrence] Marsh to nose," Meyer said. "That's kind of where we're at. The other ones are Troy Epps and John Brown who are coming along. Dan McCarney is doing a nice job in there. Those guys are starting to develop, but it's not a strength yet."

Wednesday's practice will be the last competitive practice between the offense and defense. Although Saturday's spring game will be scored, Meyer said it's more for fun.

"The parents are there," Meyer said. "The clock is running. Erin Andrews will be there."

Don't mess with the QBs

The highlight of Monday's practice didn't come from a play, it came from the reaction to a play.

During the two-minute scrimmage at the end of practice, defensive end Jaye Howard rushed off the end and tackled quarterback John Brantley. Quarterbacks wear red jerseys and are not supposed to be touched, but in an effort to fire up the defense, Meyer has allowed some minor hits to the QBs this spring.

Howard took Brantley to the ground and both Tim Tebow and Cameron Newton came charging onto the field. A shoving match ensued, and Newton took of his helmet and started beating Howard with it. The skirmish didn't last long, but despite a hotly contested competition for backup QB, the quarterbacks still have each other's back.

Notes

  • Percy Harvin will undergo his heel surgery on Monday night. No details were available after practice.
  • Carl Moore and Cornelius Ingram have suffered sprained ankles. Markihe Anderson has a concussion, but Meyer expects all three to be back on Wednesday.
  • Justin Trattou, Carl Johnson and Michael Pouncey all suffered minor injuries during Saturday's scrimmage, but all three returned on Monday.
  • Meyer is counting down the days until his prized recruit shows up on campus. Said Meyer, "We got the Omar Hunter watch. May 11 is when he shows up in town."
  • The offense moved the ball during the two minute drill the best it's moved it all spring, but it ended on a sour note. First, Tebow threw an interception at the goal line. Wondy Pierre-Louis made the play. And John Curtis ended the day when he picked off Newton.

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


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