Young Guys Gain Experience in First Scrimmage

The Florida Gators held their first official scrimmage of the fall camp, and head coach Urban Meyer's initial reaction was positive. One of the main goals for today's scrimmage was to allow the new guys and returning freshmen to get a number of reps to see how they'd perform, and Meyer came away pleased with what he saw.

One of the standouts from today's scrimmage was middle linebacker Brendan Beal. Beal missed last season with an ACL injury, but is really beginning to step up in practice.

"He's earning some respect around here," Meyer said. "Right now he's a middle linebacker but I think he's a good enough player he can be a Sam linebacker. We're still trying to that out with Bostic. Bostic was held out today because of a sore neck."

In addition to Bostic, several others were held out today for precautionary reasons. James Wilson sat out with a sore right ankle, and Jeremy Brown sat out because of his back. Both Major Wright and Matt Patchan were held out with concussions, and Brandon Hicks will miss the next 5-6 days after suffering a sprained ankle. Carl Moore is still out, and Meyer was hoping he would be one to help fill some of the void at wide receiver.

"I'm crushed," Meyer said of Moore not being able to compete. "Not more than him because he wants to play. I keep hearing it's getting close. I've been hearing that for a month and a half now."

Meyer said no one is really emerging into the "Percy" position, but that also wasn't the focus of what they've done so far.

"We really didn't much of that today," Meyer said. "We're going to start that next week. We just wanted to be real basic and let some of those young players [play]."

There are a couple guys stepping up and taking advantage of the first week of fall camp. Meyer has already talked about how happy he's been with Chris Rainey's maturity. He was pleased with what he had to show on the field today as well.

"[He's stepping it up] as one of the tailbacks," Meyer said. "He's not the tailback, but had a good day. Everybody knows he's a great runner. Can he protect the quarterback and can he take care of the football? If he does that, he'll play a lot of snaps."

Emmanuel Moody was also able to go during the scrimmage, and Meyer said he played "pretty well."

The Gators have a lot of youth along the offensive line, and they're facing one of the best two-deeps in college football. Meyer is still throwing them into the fire to get them the experience.

"That's tough, especially the defensive line they're blocking," he said. "We do a lot of 2s on 1s, so that means our second offensive line is out there playing against those guys [No. 1 DL]. That's a lot of experience, a lot of talent, and it looks like it on film. They're trying. Xavier Nixon sprained his ankle, got back in and fought and kept going. Jon Harrison has already got his stripe off. They're all good guys. That's the hardest position to play as a freshman, by far."


Meyer on Aaron Hernandez: "He'll be the "Percy" type matchup issue that we're hoping. He's had a good camp, not a great camp, but he had a good day. He has to be one of our main guys because he gives us such a matchup issue for the defense."

Meyer on Desmond Parks: "He's just OK. He's struggling right now. He's still young. He'll be fine. Right now he's struggling."

Meyer on the place-kicking competition: "Place-kicking is a battle right now. Both our guys are kicking real well. Sturgis and Phillips, and Phillips got into Unviersity of Florida law school. Put a price on his experience, his five-year experience. You can't do that. He's got a degree from Florida, is in Florida law school now, he's got six championship rings and he might not even be starting. It's a battle right now."

Meyer on Mike Gillislee: "He just goes hard. He has no idea which way right and left is. He has no idea. And all we care about here right now is go as hard as you can and he did that and he's tough as nails. That's why he had his stripe off. It wasn't because of great runs or great catches because he's struggling with that stuff. We really don't care about that right now. It's just go hard and toughness. He has both."

Both Gillislee and Harrison had their stripes removed. Meyer also noted that Jordan Reed didn't play much.

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