Three Days Worth of Observations

The Gator football team has finished up three of 15 spring practices and we have already learned a few things about this team, though many of the early impressions could be gone by the end of spring let alone the start of fall camp. Still, there are some interesting things going on out there.

Here's what I think about each unit after three days.

Quarterback ---- John Brantley seems more comfortable in the offense and is a solid back up to Tim Tebow. The passing attack has not been particularly crisp in the first few days, but that's not a concern.

Running backs ---- Stop me if you've heard this before… Emmanuel Moody is showing a lot of ability. Moody is getting extra work with Jeff Demps running track about half the time and seems to be more comfortable in the offense. He does give the Gators more size at the position, but I still expect Demps and Rainey to get more carries.

Tight end ---- Aaron Hernandez might be the best tight end in college football this fall. His blocking, pass catching and ability to run with the ball will have pro scouts drooling. Desmond Parks has much to learn and sometimes does the wrong thing, but also has made enough good plays to show he'll be more than adequate off the bench.

Wide receivers ---- Florida is going to be good here, but I'm not convinced they'll be great. Carl Moore had a very good day on Friday and Saturday's scrimmage really featured redshirt freshmen T.J. Lawrence and Frankie Hammond. Both young receivers are talented and look like they will help this team, but I'm still waiting to see Deonte Thompson raise his game.

Offensive line ---- With Mike Pouncey out Sam Robey is getting a great opportunity to get lots of reps as the backup center. He should add to Florida's depth. David Young looks like he can help and true freshmen Nick Alajajian and Johnatthon Harrison may not be ready, but they're not in over their heads either.

Defensive ends ---- The absence of Carlos Dunlap is readily apparent as this group has been solid but unspectacular. They didn't disrupt much in the passing game with no significant pressure from the corner. Would like to see William Green in particular makes some plays.

Defensive tackle ---- I wouldn't worry too much about this position despite the departures of Torrey Davis and John Brown. Earl Okine and Jaye Howard have looked very good and have the potential to give Florida a lot of quality snaps. Omar Hunter just blew up a pass play with a power rush on Saturday and has explosiveness. That gives Florida three solid guys behind Terron Sanders and Lawrence Marsh.

Linebacker ---- Florida has a ton of talent here and we've seen most of it on the field so I've focused on guys we haven't seen as much. Jon Bostic made a terrific play racing to the sideline to tackle Chris Rainey. I think he's going to be special. Lerentee McCray is a big, strong guy who made a nice tackle for a loss. Lorenzo Edwards has not done a whole lot. The talent level at this position compared to two springs ago is night and day.

Safety ---- Dee Finley is a football player. He seems to have a natural feel for it and has made significant progress from a stiff first practice to a fluid third time out. It's just hard to see how he gets on the field with all the talent in front of him. Will White made a tremendous play and Ahmad Black and Major Wright did as well. Dorian Munroe looks almost all the way back from his knee injury. By opening day the Gators could have five guys capable of starting.

Corner ---- Another loaded position has another youngster making some noise. Adrian Bushell is showing why he was considered one of the top 20 or so high school "athletes" in the country. Fundamentals need work, but he has physical gifts and a feel for the game. He'll be a player one day.

So to no one's surprise the Gators have a very good, remarkably deep football team and it's obvious they are in good shape. The real challenge in terms of focus, work ethic and staying "hungry" will be over the long break from mid-April to mid-August, but to this point so far so good.


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