First the receiving corps lost Cornelius Ingram. Then both Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy missed extended time on the practice field. Add to that Riley Cooper has been banged up throughout camp, David Nelson is fighting through a hip pointer and Justin Williams is now playing free safety.
All things considered, Billy G has earned his pay during pre-season camp as he works to get his guys ready for the upcoming season. Gonzales talked about what a strange preseason it's been.
BG: "Well the first thing and foremost is losing CI. You're hurt when you lose a leader like CI, and it's much more than his playmaking ability. He's one of those people that people gravitate to. Murph's the same way. He's the leader of my position group, plain and simple as Murph goes the rest of the group goes. Not having Murph the last week has been good and bad. It's forced others to step up and try to lead, and the bad is you don't have Murph out there."
Gonzales talked about a number of his receivers and what progress he sees from them so far this fall.
BG: "He's moved over from tailback to help me out at the wide receiver position. With the exception of working on some fundamental discipline things such as the little things in route running he's been pretty explosive when he has the ball. The guy's a great football player, but now we have to hone in the fundamentals to make him a great receiver."
BG: "Deonte has been a trouper for me so far. He hasn't missed a practice. He hasn't missed a rep. He's gone and gone and gone. Again, we've got to clean up some of the mental things. He's had a really good camp. He finished strong last spring. He had a good summer, but he's still a work in progress. He still hasn't stepped into The Swamp in an SEC game yet."
BG: "I don't know (if he's going to play). He started off strong. He's mixed in more plays and he's coming along. Frankie needs to be consistent. He's been up and down lately.
BG: "David is having a solid camp right now. David has been dinged with a hip pointer and he's fought through it. Ultimately the guys you're going to have on the football field are the guys that have done it in practice."
BG: "Coop's been fighting his butt off and hasn't missed a practice yet. He's as talented as anybody out there on the football field. He's as talented as any receiver across the country. He's got fantastic hands. The issue with Coop over the last two years is the time he's been away with injuries. This is the first camp that Riley's been healthy and he's pushed through things. He's made some really serious strides. He's such a big, physical, strong receiver you know that when the ball's around him he's usually going to come down with the ball. If he can stay healthy he'll be a major contributor to this program."
BG: "Carl is playing fast. He's playing strong. He's playing like the guy we recruited him as. When he came here in the spring he was so tentative, learning the plays and playing slow. He missed a couple days practice last week (groin) and today he was a little rusty. Any time you got an injury and come back you've got to get back into it and you've got to go fast."
Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel
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