Ten Guys to Watch on Saturday

Last year, the Orange and Blue Game was sort of irrelevant with Florida returning such an experienced, veteran football team for 2009. Well that's not the case this year with most unit undergoing significant change from last year's 13-1 squad. Add to that a high number of injured guys who wont be out there much, if at all and you have youth on parade in The Swamp Saturday afternoon.

Yeah, a lot of young guys were on display a year ago, but we knew most of them would not be seeing a lot of playing time except in blowouts. And Florida had painfully few blowouts last season. This year there will be a lot of young guys who play in this game that will play significant roles in the 2010 season.

Here are ten guys who I think you should try to watch closely. You may add John Brantley to the list. That's just too obvious for me.

Trey Burton ---- He's the number two guy and it would be good to see him respond well to playing in front of a crowd. There's no question he can run it well and from what I've seen he throws it better outside the pocket. Watch to see how he performs in pocket passing situation.

Jordan Reed ---- The QB/TE combo is Mr. Versatility and may give Florida a number of play calling options this fall. Like Burton when he's at QB he's best on the run and improvising. Still, TE is his first responsibility and he has some Cornelius Ingram like qualities.

Mike Gillislee ---- I think he is the most complete back Florida has had since Meyer's arrival and has the best combination of size, speed, elusiveness and toughness. He might get a slew of carries Saturday and I bet he breaks a few.

Frankie Hammond ---- He starred last spring only to be forgotten during the regular season as most balls went to Riley Cooper, Aaron Hernandez, Deonte Thompson and David Nelson. This time he has a new QB, a new position coach and a real chance to get major playing time.

Any Young Lineman ---- Should be a ton of snaps for Ian Silberman, Jon Halapio, Nick Alajajian, Jonotthon Harrison and David Young. None has proven he can play at this level; perhaps one of two of them will prove it this weekend. Pick one (or more) and see how he/they perform(s).

William Green ---- He's a junior now and has a great opportunity to be Florida's premier pass rusher. He still struggles to get his weight up (I should have such problems) but he has the speed to the corner that gives him a chance to replace Dunlap or Cunningham in attacking opposing passers.

Jelani Jenkins ---- Last spring it was Jon Bostic. This spring it's Jenkins showing that he has off-the-charts ability. Saturday gives him the opportunity to finish off a great spring in style and perhaps cement a spot in the starting lineup. The competition at linebacker is very good, but Jenkins is going to get his snaps this fall.

Earl Okine ---- This third year sophomore has the size (6-6, 280) to be a force somewhere and it's time to find out where that might be. Many believe Okine could be a great offensive tackle, but with half the DT o the shelf this spring there was no time for experimentation except as a "point" blocker at TE where he was impressive.

Jaylen Watkins ---- I don't expect to see a lot of Janoris Jenkins at CB in the spring game and Watkins has impressed me more than the others in the competition to grab Joe Haden's vacated spot. Watkins is listed at 5'11" but sure seems to play taller.

Matt Elam ---- Pick a spot aside from the line of scrimmage on the football field and Matt Elam would probably be very good at it. He's as natural a football player and you'll ever see and if Jenkins is not the leading tackler Saturday I bet Elam is. Bob Redman was right when he called him the best player in the state regardless of position. He will play more snaps than any other true freshman this fall, bank on it.

Enjoy the game.

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