Spring Practice Report - Day 2

Sometimes a rainy practice when your pass catchers look bad can be a good thing. That's what I took out of Friday's spring practice for the Florida Gators. Lots of dropped balls and missed chances by the offense, and some nice plays from both sides of the ball meant a good practice overall. Here is my interpretation of what I saw in some of the worst weather in a while during a practice session.

I know there are reports out there saying that Tim Tebow isn't throwing well, but I have to say I think he is throwing better than I have seen. Even the wet balls today seemed to have some zip and precision to them. Tebow doesn't throw the prettiest ball in the world, but he had some beauties today and his long passes seem to be a little more flat and getting there faster. I have seen him hit four wide open corner routes in stride with different receivers in the two practices

Brantley is the pretty thrower of the two. He has the picture perfect motion and slings the ball with ease. He has practiced well in the first two days and the one thing I have noticed with him and Tebow is hitting the hot reads and the vacated spots on the field from blitzing secondary members. Brantley still has more of a habit of throwing into coverage than Tebow, but that is to be expected from a guy that isn't afraid to throw it down field and doesn't have quite the grasp that Tebow has.

The backs look fine, but we will get to see more from them on Saturday when the pads come on. The swing passes are coming more frequently and these guys are really learning to be an option in the passing game. I really noticed a few nice catches from Emmanuel Moody on the day. Chris Rainey did make a terrible drop in the bad weather, Kenny Carter was not happy with the wide open Rainey who let the ball hit him in the chest before hitting the ground. Jeff Demps, did not make practice on Friday.

The receivers had their share of drops on the day. I believe there was a drop from everyone except maybe Carl Moore who was without a doubt the player of the day in my book. Moore started strong at practice and finished even stronger when the weather got rough. He was thrown the ball three times in a row and two of them were great catches. The third was only a little dump down, but it is easy to see that he could become a go to guy for Tebow this year. Meyer talked about how much he has improved since his arrival.

Freshman T.J. Lawrence is another that was a big target on Friday. He did drop a sure touchdown bomb, but also made some tough catches and a couple of plays where he got himself wide open and made the play he needed to make.

Freshman Frankie Hammond continued to make plays on day number two as well as senior David Nelson who like Moore will be reliable and can also make some plays for the Gators in their senior seasons.

Sophomore Deonte Thompson dropped a couple of passes on the day, but seemed to get better once he got used to the rainy conditions. The receivers as a whole struggled early with the rain, but progressed through the issues and started catching everything as the practice wore on.

I like Justin Williams fluid running style. He reminds me of Reidel Anthony with his long gate. However, one wet ball popped off of Williams chest and into the air, Brandon Spikes bobbled the ball a few times before reeling it in for an interception during team drills. Williams will have it burned into his head to catch the ball with his hands.

Desmond Parks continues to make noise in my opinion. He made two nice catches, but we shall see more from the freshman tight end when the hitting begins on Saturday. He made a tough catch about six yards deep in the middle of the field with freshman linebacker Jon Bostic draped all over him.

It is hard to tell much from the linemen until the pads go on, but I did notice that Sam Robey got a lot of work with the first unit at center. Meyer commented that he just doesn't want Maurkice Pouncey to get dinged up, but Robey looked fine in there without the hitting going on.

Earl Okine got a lot of work on the second unit at the 3-technique on the interior of the defensive line. Up to 280 pounds now, Okine will be one of the biggest Gators to don a uniform this year and the second most impressive physical specimen on the defensive line behind Carlos Dunlap who is still out with an abdominal injury.

Omar Hunter got a great deal of work on the second team at the nose and showed no symptoms from a back injury whatsoever. He is running around well and again it is easy to see he is in the best physical shape since his arrival on campus last summer.

Jaye Howard got a little time with the first team at the 3-technique with Terron Sanders not going full.

The linebackers continues to play well and junior Lorenzo Edwards continues to make plays in space in pass defense. He almost picked the ball off during 7-on-7 on a mid-ranged pass in the middle of the field where he dropped perfectly to hit an angle so he could reach the ball. Then he and Markihe Anderson bobbled a ball that Chris Rainey bounced in the air, Edwards almost intercepted the pass.

Adrian Bushell continues to impress with his press coverage and tenacious play at cornerback. He plays the nickel behind Janoris right now and I can see him really pushing to get in the starting lineup and making the three guys ahead of him really work to get on the field. He had an excellent interception in 1-on-1 drills and you can see that on the highlight video.

Reginald Hopkins was the first to get an interception this spring during team or 7-on-7 drills. The walk-on is short, but impressive looking in person and came up with the first pick during drills for spring.

Joe Haden had at least three pass breakups that I saw on Friday and he has had an excellent couple of days of practice as he tries to assume a big leadership role with some of the younger guys in the secondary.

Tomorrow, the pads come on and the fun really begins.

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