Azzanni in Search of Playmakers

Ever since the start of spring practice, most of us have been trying to figure out where the Gators would find playmakers in the receiving corps. Florida said goodbye to four of the top five pass catchers from last season as Aaron Hernandez (68), Riley Cooper (51), David Nelson (25) and Brandon James (24) moved on to the next level. That's 168 pass that someone else has to catch.

While we speculate about it, Gator receivers coach Zach Azzanni has to figure it out in the next month. Azzanni has a lot of guys to work with. There are 13 receivers on scholarship working out this fall, but seven of them have never caught a pass in a college football game and another, Carl Moore missed all of last season. To call it a young group would be an understatement, but somehow they are going to have to be ready in a hurry if the Florida offense is going to successfully make the transition to the more passing oriented scheme we expect to see with John Brantley at QB.

Azzanni talked about his unit and getting ready for 2010:


On early practices:

"We're still getting a lot of rust out of there and working on technique. We have a lot of young players so there's a lot of development going right now. Every period there's something getting improved or something new getting learned. The development is slow right now but it's going to have to speed up fast."

On how the unit carried over things from spring ball:

"I like it. I like the culture. It's a brand new group and a lot of young guys in there developing their own mentality and their own identity. They did their thing in the summer, but now that it's fall I can see their mind set carried over from the spring."

On veterans Deonte Thompson and Carl Moore:

"They are both really trying. They're doing everything I've asked of them leadership-wise. They are trying to get on those young guys. In the spring time it wasn't happening because they were just trying to figure out what I was all about. They weren't worried about anyone else at the time. They are really trying to step it up and I'm really happy with those guys."

On where Moore is as a player after missing last year:

"Everything looks good. Carl plays really hard and he goes out there and expends all the effort he has so he slows down a little bit. His technique has really improved. I'll say this about Carl Moore; he loves the game of football. He wants to get better every day. I have to kick him out of the offices and get him out of there to get him to go home and get some sleep."

On the new guys hitting the field:

"I really like them. You can go right down the list. Adrian Coxson is a great young talent, a big strong kid. Quentin Dunbar is a strong, fast kid that can do some things. Chris Dunkley is really improving as well. He's another kid loves the game of football and whatever we ask him to do he's tried to do."

On whether there's a benefit to having all new receivers and a new QB:

"Absolutely. Timing and rhythm are things they have to be worked on. Hopefully they've been doing that all summer but we still have to knock the rust off and keep that timing."

On his timeline for determining a rotation:

"I really don't lock into that. It's a chemistry thing and getting to know each guy and how many reps each guy can handle at once and just go from there. We're going to get our playmakers on the field. Whoever is making plays (on the practice field) we'll figure out how to get them in there and rotate ‘em around."

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