Offense has Good Day

For the first two and a half weeks of spring practice, the Gators offense has struggled against a strong returning defense. Injuries on the offensive line combined with a few of the playmakers participating in other sports have made for a rough spring. But the offense got going on Saturday winning their first competitive practice of the spring.

Wide receivers Carl Moore and Deonte Thompson both had pretty good days, but it was the play of backup quarterback John Brantley who led the offensive surge on Saturday morning.

"I was real pleased," Urban Meyer said after practice. "Johnny Brantley had his best day as a Gator. We all knew he was talented, but he missed one early and one of the guys was wide open. After that he was on fire. He did an unbelievable job today. The offense was looking non-functional a lot like it was our first year here for about 4-5 games, but I'm very pleased."

Brantley spent a lot of time working behind the first team offensive line on Saturday, and Meyer said Brantley's confidence is growing.

"He's getting there, but today he looked like a Florida quarterback," Meyer said. "We've been doing a lot of [playing him with the first team]. Today was even more because at one point I saw a walk-on playing at left guard with Tebow behind him. I also want to see him manage it with the ones."

The Gators were a man down in the backfield today with running back Emmanuel Moody sitting out practice after breaking his hand.

"They put two screws in it, and he won't practice Monday, but he'll be out here running around," Meyer said. "He'll be ready to go on Wednesday."

The wide receiving corps struggled through the first week of practice, but with both Thompson and Moore starting to make plays, Meyer is gaining confidence in both of them. The second team wide receivers still has a ways to go.

"I'm starting to [gain confidence in Carl Moore], and I need to get some confidence in him," Meyer said. "There's only one way to do that and that's for him to make some plays like he did today. Deonte, too."

"Frankie Hammond will be good, he just needs to grow and get better," Meyer added. "Desmond Pars was one, but he got hurt. Our first tier receivers right now are Riley Cooper, Carl Moore, David Nelson, Deonte Thompson. Behind them, I'm not sure. Frankie Hammond is the next one. Cade Holliday had a good day today, and T.J. Lawrence is getting better."

Meyer said both Justin Williams and Paul Wilson have to start making more plays to work their way up the depth chart.

"They both have the ability to blow through people, but they just have to do better," Meyer said.

Defensively, Meyer wasn't pleased with the effort of the backups on Saturday, but said he's starting to see some real depth develop at corner.

"Defensively, we kept some guys out," Meyer said. "I'm not pleased with the backups, and I wasn't pleased with the guys that have been here for a while. We're starting to get some depth at corner, which is good cause we lose some of them next year. We lose Wondy and Markihe."

Meyer was happy to have Matt Patchan back at practice after he missed the first two weeks of practice because of injury.

"It's good to see him back," Meyer said. "He's still got a long way to go, but he's a tough one. It was great to see him back."

The Gators may see redshirt freshman Jeremy Brown return soon. The corner missed all of last season with a disc injury in his back.

"I'm hoping next week," Meyer said. "They did some new treatment on him, and it's been positive."

Lineman David Young was out on crutches on Saturday with sore knee caps.

"When we recruited him he had broken knee caps," Meyer said. "They're not broken right now, but they're sore."

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