Five Guys Facing Crucial Off-Seasons

After a month or so of spring drills we were able to identify a number of things. The other day we wrote about the five emerging stars from this year's spring drills. We also saw that the first offensive line can be dominant, the skill talent is off the charts and the secondary made significant progress from the unit that played scared against Michigan.

Now we focus in on five guys who must have great off-seasons to put themselves in position to be major players in '08. These guys are also in almost a must-perform situation for various reasons. For some it's the competition at their position while for others it's about taping into their talents before time and other players pass them by.

Torrey Davis ----- The ultra talented defensive tackle enters just his second season with the Gators, but he is already in a situation where he must prove his worth on and off the field. Davis reminds me a lot of Gerard Warren on the field, but has behaved a bit too much like "Big Money" off it as well. Gerard didn't do anything all that bad, nor has Davis, but they do generate the wrong kind of attention. On the field Davis can improve his strength and conditioning and must learn to keep that motor running all the time. Florida needs great improvement at defensive tackle and Davis has the potential to deliver just that.

Lorenzo Edwards ----- Again, he's just a second year guy, but Edwards needs to find his niche on the field. I have written several times I think he has the ideal size to play SLB, but he remains the backup at MLB. The problem is backing up Brandon Spikes is like being the Maytag repairman. It can be a lonely existence. Edwards can make a lot of progress in the off season by going into the offices, request video and learning as much about this defense as possible. Mastering the scheme will help him push for playing time this fall.

Jamar Hornsby ----- Major Wright and Dorian Munroe are entrenched as starters at the moment and super frosh Dee Finley and Will Hill are due in this spring. Hornsby has the best combination of size, speed and physicality in the Florida secondary and this is the time to make the move. He always has seemed to be in great shape, but adding strength has to be part of the plan. Like Edwards he also needs to be a great student of the game so he can be the first guy in line at either safety spot.

Emmanuel Moody ----- Two things should be very clear to the transfer back from Southern Cal. He has a ton of competition for playing time, and his coaches have no use for guys who fumble. Now you can argue Florida takes its banishment of fumblers to an unhealthy extreme, but the message certainly has been delivered. Moody ran for well over a hundred yards in the spring game, but it's his touchdown negating fumble that will be most remembered. He has to get himself ready for a big challenge this fall.

Riley Cooper ----- He has been devastating against directional schools Western Carolina and Western Kentucky, but what about everyone else. Cooper has a combination of size, speed and strength that most receivers would kill for, but it's time to put it all together. Cooper has to get himself 100 percent fit and strong enough to stay healthy for an entire season. With talent like Percy Harvin, Louis Murphy, Aaron Hernandez, Cornelius Ingram and Deonte Thompson just to name five the Gators have plenty of weapons. If Cooper is going to be a significant player in Orange and Blue it has to happen this fall.

Honorable mention would go to Terron Sanders and Lawrence Marsh on the defensive line. Markihe Anderson and Jacques Rickerson at corner and Marcus Gilbert and Carl Johnson on the offensive line.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel


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