Early Impressions From First Scrimmage

The 2010 Gator Football team had its first contact work of the spring Saturday, getting after it for about two hours on a picture perfect day in Gainesville.

It wasn't a full-scale scrimmage. Mostly it was situational in the middle of the field -- 3rd down and five to go, 4th down and two – that sort of thing. Still there was enough activity to reach some early conclusions about where this team is right now. Here is an assortment of thoughts unit by unit as to where the team is right now.

Defensive tackle ---- On the surface this looks like a position of concern when you consider that starters Omar Hunter and Jaye Howard were backed up by Earl Okine and walk on offensive lineman Shawn Schneider. Eventually the unit will be bolstered by Terron Sanders, Lawrence Marsh, Brandon Antwine and Leon Orr, but until that happens it's not a healthy situation. Florida's freshmen will have an opportunity here this fall.

Defensive end ---- Playmakers must be found. There's nothing wrong with the players on hand, led by Justin Trattou but there's not an impact guy who can provide sacks and other QB pressure. In fact the best pass rush today came from former linebacker Lerentee McCray.

Linebacker ---- There's no doubt that Jon Bostic is going to be a special player and he was a fore this morning/afternoon. With Brandon Hicks and A.J. Jones on the outside this unit starts off in good shape. Jelani Jenkins and Lorenzo Edwards look like the guys next in line with Dee Finley and Brendan Beal trying to impress.

Cornerback ---- To be you can put names of all the corners not named Janoris Jenkins into a hat and pull one out and you just might get the starter for this fall. Joshua Shaw and Jaylen Watkins look about the same as Adrian Bushell, Jeremy Brown and Moses Jenkins. Watkins had an interception in goal line, but it was a duck thrown by Trey Burton that anyone would have caught.

Safety ---- The one injury concern on the day is that Josh Evans went down during a one-on-one blocking drill and had to be helped off the field. This is not a deep unit and this opens the door for Matt Elam and Jordan Haden to get a ton of reps during practice to try and provide support behind starters Ahmad Black and Will Hill.

Offensive line ---- The young guys need to pick it up if Florida is going to have the depth it hopes to have this fall. Sam Robey was back at and looked sound, but Mo Hurt's shotgun snaps were not too good. James Wilson certainly looks like a definite starter to me.

Tight end ---- Gerald Christian looks like he's already as big as if not bigger than Aaron Hernandez and already plays like him. He is my pick to be the first true freshman to start in 2010.

Wide Receiver ---- Between the added emphasis on the passing game with John Brantley behind center and the fresh start that comes with a coaching change this is a happy group. Frankie Hammond, T.J. Lawrence, Stephen Alli and Solomon Patton all look like they will be part of the mix. Deonte Thompson made a fine catch and took a hit from Will Hill and held on to the ball which was another good sign.

Running back ---- Today was all about Mike Gillislee and Emmanuel Moody and both did a pretty good job today. Add Jeff Demps and Mack Brown to the mix in the fall and Florida may have four guys who run for 500+ yards each. I have yet to see anything that tells me one guy or two guys will get the lion's share of the carries.

Fullback ---- Steven Wilks made three catches out of the backfield, which is an indication the expanded passing game will include a "fullback in the flat safety valve.

Quarterback ---- Stay healthy, Johnnie boy, stay very healthy. Trey Burton can be a "wildcat" type guy in this offense but if he has to play a lot get ready for a lot of talk about odd throwing mechanics. He not only has the big wind up, he also often throws the ball nose down. Brantley, on the other hand looks more comfortable in the pocket than any Florida QB since Rex Grossman in 2001.

All in all a good day in pads, and a good start to 2010.


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