Defensive Players Pass Eyeball Test

Our summer of discontent finally ended this morning when the Gator football team began fall practices at six. Most of the freshman and a number of returning players took part in the roughly 90-minute workout in front of maybe a hundred onlookers.

Florida is looking for a number of youngsters to fill key role in its defense this fall, so let's go through some early impressions.

Will Hill ----- The rookie safety certainly looks the part. Hill has unusual size and speed for a safety but will have to work on his acceleration. He also displayed pretty decent hands.

Omar Hunter ----- I have been referring to him as a young Warren Sapp since I first saw him on video and seeing him in person reaffirms that assessment. He has been slowed this summer with some back issues that probably affected his conditioning, but he has remarkable feet for a big man.

Jeremy Brown ----- The corner from Orlando seemed to be in good position on a couple of pass plays when they did a little 7-on-7, but didn't break on the ball and make a play. Still, he showed good quickness and change of direction.

T.J. Lawrence ----- As expected the Lakeland product has already made the switch from receiver to safety and looked pretty comfortable there. Florida's lack of depth at safety means just about anyone back there has a chance to play this season.

Ronnie Wilson ----- He was part of the 2005 Gator recruiting class, and made an early impact on the offensive line. He also got himself tossed from school for a variety if issues, which culminated in him firing a gun to scare off someone during an altercation. Now Wilson is trying to rebuild his name, image and career as a defensive tackle. I'll say this for him, he looks to be in great shape. Wilson moves very well and has the size Florida needs at tackle, but it's impossible to tell if he really has improved his attitude and will improve his decision making. This is definitely the last chance for the fourth year junior, but so far, so good.

Brandon Hicks ----- He needs to get bigger, but the second year player from Jacksonville actually looked slimmer to me. With his speed he might be a potential safety candidate.

Matt Patchan ----- He was the subject of a rumor du jour throughout the summer but is he has trouble with his shoulders, pectoral muscle or anything else it sure doesn't show. Patchan carries himself like a veteran on the field, and went through everything smoothly. He looks like he's going to be special.

We'll eyeball the veterans later on.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

Join Chris Chmielenski and Jason Higdon for chat Monday night at 10:00 p.m., recapping the first day of practice and the world of recruiting.

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