Camp Breaks on High Note

There are still a few days left before the semester starts, but the Gators officially broke fall camp on Tuesday. With Tropical Storm Fay likely to miss Gainesville, it doesn't look like the Gators will miss any practice time this week. That, and the way the team has looked over the last few days, has Urban Meyer felling good about his team.

"It was a good finish," Urban Meyer said.

The Gators had their second scrimmage of the fall this morning with a focus on their opening day opponent, Hawaii. Several things stood out, but one item that seems to be a constant theme during this camp has been the play of the backfield.

"It's kind of fun to watch right now," Meyer said. "Coach Carter is doing a good job and you had Moody nailing a couple of them, Demps and Rainey. Kestahn [Moore] has a little sore knee, so we rested him today."

Meyer said he's not looking for just a 1-2 punch this fall from his running backs. He's looking for a 1-2-3-4 punch.

"We're really excited about them," he said. "There are some homerun hitters now. Moody had a couple tremendous runs today."

The positive vibes didn't end with the backfield. Meyer was also excited about the performance of the wide receivers, specifically junior college transfer Carl Moore.

"Carl Moore did very well today," Meyer said. "Coop made some plays and then dropped. He's still battling his feet. I'm going to give these guys 24 hours off so that should help a guy like him. Carl Moore was kind of the guy who stood out today. He is really an improved player from the spring."

After watching the spring workouts, Meyer didn't see the player in Moore that he thought he had recruited. But the California native has had an impressive fall and is drawing some impressive comparisons.

"He's very Dallas Bakerish," Meyer said. "You say that name with some reverence around here because he was such a good player for us."

The backup quarterback battle has really heated up as well despite a foot injury to Cameron Newton. Newton did play in the scrimmage, but didn't run.

"He's fine," Meyer said. "It'll be the weekend until he's back to Cam Newton, but he's functioning."

John Brantley is still looking good, according to Meyer.

"John's last five days have been phenomenal," Meyer said. "He throws it. All the intangibles, he's starting to improve."

One of the biggest concerns on the defensive side of the football remains the tackle spots. The Gators have had to deal with a host of injuries inside, but Meyer is still looking for more consistent production.

"It's still a problem," Meyer said. "I see some good things, but I think we're going to play some three-down. That's one issue that's yet to be resolved, however there are some guys getting close."

Meyer said with a full backfield and tight end, they'll most likely play four down linemen, but with a single back, the Gators could show a 3-3-5 defense.

On a positive note, Omar Hunter took part in today's drills. That's two straight days the true freshman practiced, and junior college transfer Omar Epps had his black stripe removed for his play.

One place that Meyer feels pretty good about is at defensive end led by Jermaine Cunningham.

"He's 250-something now," Meyer said. "He's bigger, stronger more experienced. The pass rush technique he's working on with coach McCarney is better. He's a finesse guy, he's not a bull rush guy. I think he's playing with what his body will let him do."

Notes

  • T.J. Pridemore also had his stripe removed today. Said Meyer, "He cements you when he hits you." … Byran Jones also lost his stripe.

  • Safety Bryan Thomas should return to the team when school starts after undergoing wrist surgery during the summer. Said Meyer, "He's been hurt since he got here. He's a good kid and all, but I don't know."

  • Meyer said David Nelson should paly a bigger role this fall after having a solid camp. Said Meyer, "He's done a lot for us. He's one of our most improved players."

  • Brandon Antwine could return to the team after sitting out nearly a year with a severe back injury. Said Meyer, "He's down there rehabbing. They say he's going to come out to practice when school starts. That's almost a miracle because he had a severe issue with his back."

  • Percy Harvin continued to condition today, and Meyer said he was still unsure of his status for next week.


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