Spring Quarterly Report: Hot and Cold

We are just past the halfway point of the 2009 spring practice and it is time for the second quarter report. Here are my thoughts on the players that are hot and cold at practice....who is making a move and who has disappeared. The defense has dominated, but that doesn't mean there aren't some offensive players making noise.

Both Tim Tebow and John Brantley have played well enough and about where they should be, so no need to get into their situation. With only two on the roster for the spring, they are getting all the snaps. Both have shown more bright spots than not and Tebow is busy staying in the pocket and not taking off running as he might want to do in games. That is increasingly difficult with the lack of an offensive line right now due to injures.

Both guys have been working under center a great deal and it has been a pretty smooth change so far. Both have had their bad moments as well and I would say that Brantley is much more apt to throw into coverage than Tebow still.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: Who is cold?

Cold only in the sense in that I haven't seen the ball thrown to him much is Justin Williams. The junior from Folkston (GA) has gotten his fair share of reps at practice, but does not seem to get the ball thrown his way very often. He is definitely one I would want to see the ball thrown to.

WR/TE: Who is hot?

The hottest right now would be T.J. Lawrence. In the last couple of practices he has really seen the ball thrown to him and has taken advantage of the chances. He is lining up in the slot a lot if not exclusively and seems to be getting open for the quarterbacks to get him the ball.

Cold just a week ago, Deonte Thompson had a couple of good practices including a great scrimmage on Saturday before he left with a ham string injury. Thompson has shown some elusiveness and of course the blazing speed on the deep routes to make a name for himself last week. I think he will be back very shortly.

Running Backs: Who is cold?

Nobody right now. They are all running fairly well, but it is hard to grade this group with the lack of healthy offensive linemen right now.

RB: Who is hot?

Walk-on Christopher Scott has had a few really good practices in a row and is making some noise. He is probably the biggest of the tailbacks and he has decent speed. He looks to run between the tackles with authority and has to be a surprise to the coaching staff as well as the fans that have been watching practice.

Offensive Line: Who is cold?

I could list all the injuries in this category, but it might take an extra page to do so. Byran Jones is probably the guy I would point to right now. The two true freshmen are both playing ahead of him right now even though they are playing more at tackle where Jones is a guard. Jones is working his way forward, but is getting extra reps because of injuries. I would like to see him make a move and push some of these other young guys that are getting a lot of reps right now.

OL: Who is hot?

Sam Robey has to be the top name at the moment. The redshirt freshman center from Louisville (KY) was thrown in to the heat very early this spring due to an injury to Maurkice Pouncey and has earned the praise of the coaching staff even playing on the first unit. As Coach Meyer said, if he can perform this well, it will give the Gators a lot of flexibility with the ultra-talented Pounceys to make some moves on the offensive line if there is a real emergency in the fall.

Nick Alajajian also made a move to the first team for a bit on Monday, showing his progression. Alajajian struggled a little bit in the first quarter of spring, now he seems to be getting it and is able to rely on his athletic ability instead of having to think out there on the field.

Defensive Line: Who is cold?

Edwin Herbert has yet to make a big move although he made a sack and a tackle in the last practice. The Gators brought him in from junior college for immediate help and we haven't seen it from him yet.

DL: Who is hot?

Omar Hunter was hot last quarter and I think he keeps showing more and more as he plays himself into better playing condition. Hunter is becoming that play maker type at the nose tackle position the Gators need.

Senior Fox defensive end Jermaine Cunningham had a normal first quarter with nothing really standing out. Over the last few practices, Cunningham has been a menace to the offense and really taking it to the young offensive linemen. He is extremely quick and hard to handle for a lineman and needs to really take charge out there as a senior.

Linebacker: Who is cold?

Lerentee McCray and Lorenzo Edwards have kind of disappeared within the linebacker corps. Both have all the physical tools, but they aren't standing out like a few others at this point.

LB: Who is hot?

True freshman Jon Bostic has seemingly worked his way into the number two middle linebacker spot behind Brandon Spikes. His ability to close on the football is probably unmatched among the linebackers. When he gets his sights on the ball carrier, there is no one stopping him from bringing that guys down.

He is kind of sneaky when he makes plays, but junior John Jones always seems to be in on the tackle when I watch the replays of practice from video. Jones is playing the weak side linebacker position and is extremely fast and has shown a new penchant for attacking the football that I haven't seen from him in his first two years on campus.

Defensive Backs: Who is cold?

It is hard to put anyone here right now. The only injury is Jeremy Brown and even with everyone healthy, they all seem to be playing pretty well. I guess I will go with Dee Finley simply because he hasn't gotten much face time on defense with the other guys at safety. Still, Finley has shown signs when he is in there so that isn't really fair.

DB: Who is hot?

Markihe Anderson is making a play for starting spot again. The senior from Ft. Myers had a great week this past week and a solid spring. He breaks on the ball so well, is confident in his ability, and plays very aggressive. He has great speed and only lacks prototype size, which he makes up for with his aggressive play.

Senior Dorian Munroe is starting to make some of those plays we never saw of him before his injury last season. Munroe has always been a solid defender, able to tackle well and play his assignment. The thing missing has been making the big play and now we are seeing him react to the ball and also pop the receivers that go over the middle in his territory. Munroe will make the secondary that much deeper this fall.

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