Opening Practice: Defense

You can tell fall has arrived as the Florida Football teamed opened up its fall practice this morning to a slew of fans and media. The Gator defense looks to top their top rated performance last year and lead the 2009 Gator football team to another SEC and National Championship. Here is a look at hat we saw on defense from the Fall's first practice.

Overall: It was the first day of practice so there wasn't a whole lot of action, but the defense looked tight and didn't make very many mistakes for their first time out this fall. Senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes and junior cornerback Joe Haden lead the team in drills and look forward to leading their team to another successful season. Exactly how big is the goal for the Gators to repeat another undefeated season?

"It's a big goal it's something I think about every day. This whole summer we have been stressing this. My job is to make sure these guys don't get satisfied; we just got to keep striving and push that rock back to the top of the hill." said Brandon Spikes.

Spikes has nothing to worry about trying to get these guys ready, and it shouldn't be a daunting task for the senior. Everybody was out there this morning with a lot of enthusiasm and ready to make plays.

Defensive Line: The defensive line started the day with some individual work where Carlos Dunlap looks to be in great shape and primed for a breakout season along with Jermaine Cunningham off the edge. Inside, Jay Howard looked good and will contribute quite a bit this year along with senior Lawrence Marsh and Omar Hunter.

Sophomore William Green and freshman Gary Brown will be two guys to keep an eye this fall as they can provide great depth and bring a youthful exuberance to this defensive line.

Linebacker: The leader Brandon Spikes looked great in every facet today he worked well in one-on-one coverage and was good in his positioning in run support. It's hard to judge the linebackers and defensive linemen in this setting but they all looked pretty solid today. When asked about getting everyone prepared for this early morning practice Spikes said.

"Everybody is looking forward to this day. We have been training hard the whole summer conditioning and strength program has been going great it wasn't that hard, the guys have been looking forward to this looking forward to this."

The senior leader is definitely still motivated and wants to make history here in Gainesville before he leaves.

One thing to keep an eye out for Lerentee McCray, Brendon Beal, and Brandon Spikes all did some individual work with the D-Line today most likely getting ready to play that Fox position that loves to blitz the quarterback in long passing situations.

Brandon Hicks sat out this morning's session, but not due to injury or disciplinary reasons. He will practice in the afternoon session.

"Everybody is looking forward to this day. We have been training hard the whole summer conditioning and strength program has been going great it wasn't that hard, the guys have been looking forward to this looking forward to this," said Spikes when asked about how hard it was to get up this morning's 6 a.m. workout.

Secondary: This was the easiest position to evaluate this morning and more the most part as a group they were pretty sharp. The Gators have two absolute stud corners in Joe Haden and sophomore sensation Janoris Jenkins who vows he has learned his lesson from this summer's run in with the law.

"I learned a lot, being at the wrong place at the wrong time," Jenkins said. "T.P.S TIME, place, substance this like that. I had to do community service and stick around after practice."

But even with his troubles Jenkins did enough last year as a freshman to earn himself the No. 1 jersey and says it's in good hands.

"It's a great honor," Jenkins said. "I'm glad to have it I'm glad Coach Meyer gave it to me, I'm going to go out and compete to the best of my ability and have fun"

Jenkins wasn't the only standout this morning super soph Will Hill got plenty of reps at safety this morning and looks to be in great physical condition and primed to compete for an extended amount of playing time. Look for this group of Wright, Hill, Haden and Jenkins to torment opposing offenses all year with their ball skills and their ability to take someone's head off.

Quick Notes
Brandon Spikes is up to 258 pounds and says he was testing out that weight so he could rush of the edge and battle with opposing offensive tackles, but he plans on dropping all of it back off and playing at his ideal playing weight of 240 pounds. He was just not comfortable playing with that much weight on himself.

Janoris Jenkins has lost about six lbs this summer which takes him down to about 189 pounds. He's not sure if that is going to be his new playing weight or not.

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