Spring Practice Report - Day 6

If there has been one guy that seemed to have disappeared over the first hand full of practices this spring it was sophomore wide receiver Deonte Thompson. Thompson will be counted on heavily this season with the departure of two big receiver targets from 2008, but he hasn't been much of a factor so far this spring. Friday was different as he caught passes short and long and made things happen.

The Florida Gators return one of the more potent offenses in the country led by Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Tim Tebow. A couple of positions that are up for grabs on a team that returns 18 starters from the offense and defense is the slot and one outside receiver position.

Sophomore Deonte Thompson was recruited out of Belle Glade a couple of years ago to play a prominent role at Florida and this looked to be the year it would happen for him. This spring he has been pretty quiet, much to the chagrin of the fans and coaching staff in attendance. On Friday, all of that changed and Thompson looked like the deep threat everyone was looking for.

Twice in 7-on-7s and team drills Thompson blazed past cornerbacks on Go-routes to catch long would-be touchdowns. Two other times he turned simple crossing patterns into long plays up the sideline. In one on one drills, he made one cornerback look a little ridiculous trying to cover his speed.

It was as if Thompson was keeping things under wraps all this time. Whatever the reason, it was great to see him perform well on Friday.

The Gators practiced what I call the "10-yard tackle drill" on Friday. Ball carriers are given the ball 10 yards away from scoring and they have to transverse those 10 yards inside about a five yard wide alley with a defender ready to tackle them or knock them out of bounds. Most of the time on Friday the defender won, but a couple of offensive guys made some nice plays.

Frankie Hammond, who is likely the offensive MVP of spring so far, scored on his first two tries in the drill juking guys to get to the other side. David Nelson does it a little different where he makes on move and then gets up a head of steam with his larger body to power through to the end line...he did that twice.

Paul Wilson scored once early on a nice move and the next time fumbled so was forced to do up—downs as a penalty.

Freshman T.J. Lawrence continued his good play this spring and he scored twice during the drill.

Poor Chris Rainey caught the bad side of linebacker Brandon Spikes twice. You would think the bigger Spikes would have a hard time with the extremely shifty Rainey, but Spikes takes up so much room, it is hard for Rainey to do much against him.

On defense the Justin Trattou and Duke Lemmens shuffle continues as Trattou was back with the first unit on Friday. Lawrence marsh wasn't out there and so Omar Hunter was running with the first unit in his place most of the day. Defensive line coach Dan McCarney did get all over Omar on one occasion to get out there and make the play as if he wasn't running hard enough. Otherwise, Hunter has performed well this spring.

Aaron Hernandez continues his great play and had a great touchdown reception from about 15 yards where the team practiced a lot full offense versus full defense in a "Going In" drill.

As mentioned above Frankie Hammond keeps making tough catches in traffic or laying out his body every single day. You will see a few of these on the highlight video again today.

Hunter and William Green combine for a quick sack on John Brantley at one point in drills.

Jon Bostic has had a good spring s far. The true freshman, early enrollee middle linebacker ran a lot with the second team on Friday. He blazed in for what would have been a sack on Brantley on one pass play.

David Nelson caught a pass from Tebow and was promptly aid out by Will Hill on a tough catch over the middle. Hill actually pulled off on the play and could have hit Nelson much harder.

The Gators ran a bit of the 2-minute drill on Friday and the offense looked pretty good in the drill. For most of the practice the offense seemed to have the upper hand. Tebow was really energetic with his teammates and getting after them when he needed to. At one point, he got after one of his receivers catching the ball near the sideline, but not heading out of bounds."Get the freak out of bounds", he said on the play.

Coach Brian White has an all-American at tight end in Aaron Hernandez. However, his second option right now is Desmond Parks, a true freshman that isn't used to the pace of practice and the rigors of college football just yet. Parks has shown progress this spring and looks to be a good one, but White was all over him near the end of practice when his legs were a little tired. "You're getting tired 80, you're getting tired!!" White yelled making sure his young pupil knows he is being watched at all times.

Prospects On Hand

The Gators continue to host big time prospects at practice and Friday was no exception. Gator commitment quarterback Trey Burton of Venice , along with Tampa Plant's Phillip Ely (2011) were in attendance. Under Armour All-American wide receivers Chris Dunkley of Palm Beach Gardens and Solomon Patton of Mobile (AL) were on hand. Palm Beach Dwyer tight end/athlete and Army All-American Gerald Christian was there as well. He is the teammate of Gator commitment Matt Elam who did not make it to practice after planning on attending earlier in the week. All-American offensive lineman Brent Benedict of Jacksonville Bolles was in attendance. Four-star defensive end Corey Lemonier from Hialeah with some teammates. Under rated Gainesville cornerback DeVont'a Davis and a couple of his teammates were also in attendance.


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