Practice 12 Thoughts

The story of the day overshadowed the star of the day. Freshman receiver Andre Debose returned from injury for his first work in light contact drills on Monday. Senior receiver Carl Moore may have had his best practice in front of a crowd on Monday as well and was the real star of the session. Both looked good as the offense really spread the ball around and deep.

Andre Debose had been running and cutting and doing all the things you might expect of him if healthy this spring except one thing. He was never allowed to compete on the practice field against any defenders. The redshirt freshman from Sanford's Seminole HS sat out all of last year with a hamstring injury that eventually required some uncommon surgery to repair.

On Saturday, as we reported, he sat behind the offense getting instruction from receiver coach Zach Azzanni on just what he would be doing in certain plays. On Monday, he got to do it for himself.

Debose looked about as expected having seen him run around a lot. He looked fast, energetic and ready to play. He caught his first pass thrown to him and dropped his second, something else that should be expected. He went something like 5-6 on the day with five catches.

Maybe a bit of a surprise was the fact that he lined up both inside and outside, sometimes at the X position when junior starter Deonte Thompson wasn't on the field. Thompson was seen constantly helping him with the route directions when the play was called and Debose had to get lined up.

Debose is a welcome sight to a position that had talent but lacked a number of real play makers a year ago. When healthy, Debose should be a big time dynamic play maker for this offense. Monday was a huge step that certainly debunked the rumors that he might need a second surgery to repair the hamstring.

As good of news as having Debose back and practicing, there was some other exciting news on the day. Carl Moore practiced extremely well on the day and may have had his best practice as a Gator in front of a crowd. Moore caught passes in traffic and all over the field including a couple that would have been touchdowns.

Moore seems to put a lot of pressure on himself and seemed to play really loose allowing himself the chance to really make some exciting plays including two that he was hit by two defensive backs simultaneously and still held on to the ball.

Omarius Hines also seemed to be a big target on the day and found himself working at the Z with Moore and also at the Y position, normally the tight end spot. Hines is a big receiver and really had a nice practice catching the ball in a myriad of different ways.

As mentioned, the offense really played well and especially John Brantley at quarterback. However, we need to mention that the defense was not allowed to really hit, which gives the advantage to the offense.

The offensive line saw some drastic changes on Monday. Staring center Michael Pouncey sat out most of the practice in favor of sophomore Nick Alajajian who has struggled with bad snaps since his insertion a week ago after the second and third team centers went down with injury.

By the end of practice the starting line looked like sophomore Xavier Nixon at left tackle, freshman Jonotthan Harrison at left guard, sophomore Nick Alajajian at center, sophomore David Young at right guard, and freshman Ian Silberman at right tackle. Silberman is a battler out there even if he is only at about 270 pounds right now. Some of that group saw almost every snap of practice of practice on the day.

The big news on defense came in the form of some line up moves, but more so because they practiced a lot of the Joker package, which is a a three man line with three linebackers and a nickel back player.

Matt Elam has remained the constant at the nickel. The fronts were mixed up a bunch and they started with Earl Okine and Justin Trattou on the ends, with Duke Lemmens in the middle in the first reps of the personnel move. They also had different linebacker groupings with Jon Bostic, Jelani Jenkins, and Brandon Hicks on the field at the same time to start the rotation.

Okine has certainly made some strides since the first week of practice when he was ridden hard by the coaching staff and fellow players. He has continued to make plays in the last week and a half and it has been much needed with injuries to the defensive line.

Jelani Jenkins has been a beast at linebacker and has been the starting middle linebacker for for five practices in a row now.

William Green also got some work in the three man line along with Okine at the other end and Lemmens again in the middle. We also saw reps with Omar Hunter in the middle and Green and Lemmens on the outside. They are trying to figure out which is the best group and that may be determined by the down and distance situation. The farther the distance on any down, we may see a smaller and faster group for really long distance situations.


One prominent visitor on the day is Gator signee and all-American defensive end Ronald Powell. The freshman will be leaned on to help with a pass rush when he arrives on campus and spent a lot of time in the ear of Urban Meyer on Monday.

Two prospects in attendance were LB Norkeithus Otis of Gastonia (NC) Ashbrook and Willie Snead Jr. of Muskegon Heights (MI). Snead is the son of former Gator player Willie Snead Sr. and an athletic quarterback with offers from Wisconsin and Michigan State already. The elder Snead also coached Deonte Thompson at Belle Glade Glades Central HS.


We got a little clarification on some injuries and the list is still a big one, even with the removal of Debose. The list of injuries includes RB Emmanuel Moody (quad), WR Stephen Alli (groin), WR Solomon Patton (ankle, but out of boot), TE Desmond parks (wrist), OT Matt Patchan (knee), OG Carl Johnson (shoulder, C Kyle Koehne (shoulder), C Sam Robey (knee), OG Maurice Hurt (shoulder), DT Lawrence Marsh (hip), DT Terron Sanders (knee), DT Brandon Antwine (shoulder).

Freshman WR Robert Clark missed practice Saturday with an ankle injury but was back practicing and competing today.

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