Five Offensive Players with the Most to Prove

Fall practice is always bigger for some offensive players than others. Some starting spots remain open and will be decided on the practice fields, while other players must prove they are healthy and ready to contribute.

5. Running back Emmanuel Moody- The redshirt senior transferred from USC after his freshman season with expectations of being an every down back for the Gators. His highlight film from one season with the Trojans, where he was named Pac-10 Offensive Freshman of the Year, justified the expectations.

Moody's career at Florida has been marred with injuries. First, he struggled to learn the Florida offense that had him taking handoffs from shotgun formations instead of the I-formation he was used to. When he got accustomed to it, the injuries began. The excitement from coaches and players around an impressive offensive game for Moody were only to be let down, as his ankle would flare up shortly after.

This spring was his chance to prove he deserved a bulk of the carries in 2010, as Jeff Demps was running track and freshman Mack Brown wasn't to campus yet. Instead, he sat out with an ankle injury at the beginning of practice, only to hurt his quadriceps muscle when he returned.

Fall practice is his last shot. If the senior wants to get carries during his final season in a Florida uniform, he must fight through some of the nagging injuries and prove his toughness to the Florida coaches. The talent at the position is too deep for Moody to miss much time.

4. Wide receiver Deonte Thompson- The redshirt junior has the talent to be a go-to wide receiver. This year, he has to put it together for the Florida offense to succeed. He ended last year as the third leading receiver on the team with 343 yards and four touchdowns. The two ahead of him, Aaron Hernandez and Riley Cooper, are now gone.

He started the season with what seemed like more drops than catches in the first few games, but his 77-yard touchdown catch against Arkansas looked like it could jumpstart his career. Instead, he had only five catches for 52 yards over the next four games.

The Gators will line up plenty of talent in Andre Debose, Chris Rainey and Solomon Patton as the slot receivers. To keep defenses from creeping up towards them, Thompson has to step up and be the deep threat for the offense. His ability to stretch the defense can pull the safeties back and allow the slot receivers more room to work with.

3. Quarterback John Brantley- The redshirt junior showed in the spring that he is capable of leading this team, but there is still work to be done. Brantley wasn't as consistent as he wanted to be, which is why the fall is even more important for him.

He has spent time on the practice fields this summer throwing with the wide receivers to continue building chemistry. His leadership was the most noticeable improvement in his game. When he served as Tim Tebow's backup, Brantley was quiet and kept to himself. Now that it is his team, he showed in the spring that he has taken the next step to being the vocal leader of the offense.

The offense will change from the one the Florida skill players have been learning over the past few seasons, which makes Brantley's leadership even more important. He must continue to make strides as a leader.

2. Offensive guards James Wilson, Maurice Hurt and Jon Halapio- This is the only spot on the offensive line with uncertainty around it. The Gators return four of their starting five offensive linemen from last season, with the right guard spot being the only one with a new starter.

It will be a three-way battle between Wilson, Hurt and Halapio, as Mike Pouncey will slide over to play center. Wilson was highly recruited out of high school, and after being talked out of transferring to Wake Forest, the redshirt junior now has his best opportunity to start. Hurt has provided quality time as a backup guard, and even filled in for injured starters.

Halapio is the wildcard. The redshirt freshman hasn't played on the big stage as the other two have, but the Florida coaches love his toughness. The 6-3, 305-pound guard is chiseled and carries his weight with ease.

The decision may come down to which player has the best chemistry with right tackle Marcus Gilbert. The two must be able to work well together or blitz pick-up will struggle.

1.Wide receiver Andre Debose- The Percy Harvin comparisons out of high school were obvious. But when Debose injured his hamstring running track for Seminole High School, the injury lingered into his college career. He was limited in workouts before the 2009 season, and his family eventually decided season ending surgery would be the route to go.

He started spring practice about halfway through it, although he just ran routes and caught passes with no contact. The smile on his face to be running again was noticeable through his helmet.

The Florida coaches decided to let him play without limitations a week before the spring game, and two catch, 30-yard performance in The Swamp had everyone abuzz. With a full off-season of getting stronger and faster, Debose could be the key playmaker the Florida offense needs in 2010.

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