Gator Safeties Limited in Number

Day one for the Gator veterans drove one point home loud and clear: this team has very few safeties. When your veterans are going through practice with second team safeties Cade Holliday and Andrew Fritze you know there aren't enough players at those positions.

One notable absence was sophomore Bryan Thomas who was inexplicably left off the roster. Coach Urban Meyer says Thomas had a cyst removed form his knee and should be back before the start of classes in three weeks.

The safety positions will look a little bit better when the rookies join the varsity for full squad practice Tuesday. T.J. Lawrence and Will Hill will join Major Wright and Ahmad Black to give Florida four scholarship players at the two spots.

Safety was a pretty healthy spot for the Gators a year ago. But since then Jerimy Finch transferred, Jamar Hornsby was booted from the team. Dee Finley failed to qualify and Dorian Munroe tore his ACL. Poof, the depth has disappeared. After practice Wright spoke to the media guys, including me. In one year Wright has gone from a true freshman learning the ropes to the most experienced safety on the field.

MG: Major there are not a lot of guys at safety right now, is that a concern?

MW: No, not really because the guys we have out there are going to work hard and compete.

MG: How thin is it back there when you look at all of the losses?

MW: We have a couple of freshmen that are coming in and doing pretty good and we have a couple of guys who were already here that know safety.

LV: A year ago you were the new guy trying to learn it and now you're the leader of the unit. What kind of a transition is that for you?

MW: It's a very big transition because it goes from me being young to me having to grow up a lot, sooner than I would have had to.

MG: How do you think Ahmad (Black) will do? He seemed to have a good spring.

MW: Ahmad is great. He's going to do real good. I trust all the safeties we have there.

MG: Have you seen enough of Will Hill to get an idea of what he can do?

MW: Yeah, he's a great kid. He's come in and he's working hard and I feel like I can have trust in him, too.

MG: What kind of uphill battle is that for Will Hill going straight from high school to college?

MW: It's a very big uphill battle coming from high school to college because the transition is so fast but I think he'll handle it pretty good.

LV: Will they have to simplify the defense since there's so little experience back there?

MW: I don't think they'll simplify anything. I think we'll just roll with it.

Major Wright is a young man of few words, as you can see from the above exchange. His confidence in his teammates is admirable, but safety remains the most uncertain part of this team.

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


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