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20 observations (at least) from the Florida Gators' first day of spring practice

GAINESVILLE -- Here's the No.1 thing you need to take away from the first day of Florida's spring practice: Wednesday was the first practice since Urban Meyer showed up in 2005 to feature a team comprised exclusively of his own players.

It's a pretty good team, right?

David Nelson, who will be a fifth-year senior next season, was one of Meyer's first recruits. He has watched the program evolve for more than four years. He's been a first-hand witness to Meyer's vision. 

"This is the first time he has had all his recruiting classes here," Nelson said. "This is the team he wants. You can tell this is his team and these are the style of players and the type of people he wants on this team. You can just see that through his attitude with us and the players' attitudes with each other."

Quarterback Tim Tebow has a lot to with that attitude. On Wednesday, Tebow was the first player on the practice field and the first player to leave. (It was probably staged that way but it was pretty cool nonetheless.) Everyone got the point. This is Tebow's team and he gets the honor of jogging onto the field first.

"I feel like an old veteran out here now," Tebow said. "It's just fun and it's great to see the guys who I've come up with just mature and get that much better and the guys I saw come in after me really step up in those leadership roles.

"It's just cool to see how it develops here and how it's turning into a program."

OK, that's the big picture. Now for the minutiae I was promising everyone. Here's a few observations from today's practice:

1. Matt Patchan is hurt again. The offensive lineman was involved in a scooter accident this week and was on crutches on Wednesday with his leg immobilized in a removable cast. Patchan played on the defensive line last year but was expected to move to the offensive line this spring. He was recruited as an offensive tackle and Florida must replace two starting tackles from the championship team. Meyer said on Wednesday that Patchan told his coach that he would be ready to practice "in about a week."

"He's a fast healer," Meyer said. "He's had a lot of chances the last year."

2. Here's the starting offensive line, which took the field together at the beginning of practice: LT Carl Johnson, LG James Wilson C Maurkice Pouncey, RG Mike Pouncey, RT Marcus Gilbert. After a few snaps, Mike Pouncey stepped away from the practice field and joined other injured players. Pouncey is not expected to practice this spring due to a shoulder injury. He had surgery after the championship game.

3. RG Maurice Hurt is filling in at first-string right guard while Mike Pouncey recovers.

4. WRs Justin Williams, David Nelson and Deonte Thompson practiced with the first-team offense during team drills. WR Riley Cooper is playing baseball this spring and will not participate in spring football practice.

5. Defensive linemen Duke Lemmens and Justin Trattou are looking pretty good. They lined up at defensive tackle during team drills.

6. Lemmens and Trattou, defensive ends last season, are playing defensive tackle because the Gators' lost two tackles in the offseason. John Brown is gone and so is Torrey Davis.

7. Meyer said that Davis will not rejoin the team this fall and indicated that Davis might transfer to a junior college to get his grades in order.

8. Back-up quarterback John Brantley sure throws a pretty ball. He hooked up several times during team drills with redshirt freshman receiver Frankie Hammond Jr., who also played well on Wednesday. Meyer is looking forward to watching Brantley compete with pads on. The Gators practiced in shorts and helmets on Wednesday. This is the first spring practice that Brantley has been completely healthy.

9. SS Dorian Munroe practiced with a brace on his right knee but appeared in good health. He moved well and didn't have any problems competing with Florida's other talented safeties. Munroe tore his ACL last summer.

10. Tebow took snaps from under center for about nine minutes and 52 seconds on Wednesday.

11. Florida ran a few plays in the I-formation during its team drills. Emmanuel Moody was the single back. Moody says he's looking forward to being an all-purpose back this year.

12. Urban Meyer was in his practice uniform. Long-sleeved white T-shirt and middle-aged-white-guy khaki shorts.

13. Freshman OL Nick Alajajian likes to sing rap music while he's warming up. Very tacky.

14. LB Brandon Spikes would not confirm rumors that he choked Alajajian during workouts for not giving enough effort. He also didn't deny it.

15. SS Dee Finley looks pretty athletic. My early vote for special teams dynamo of the 2010 season.

16. Brandon James (foot surgery) was on crutches.

17. Omar Hunter finally appears to be getting into shape. He looked pretty good today. A lot of fight in that kid.

18. DE Carlos Dunlap (abdomen strain) was in street clothes.

19. LBs Ryan Stamper, Brandon Spikes and A.J. Jones worked with the first team. Dustin Doe, Lerentee McCray and Lorenzo Edwards were the second-string linebackers.

20. Plenty of drops from the receivers on Wednesday. Deonte Thompson appears to be the early leader as Tebow's go-to target.

-jo-

Comments

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My observations on your observations:

1. I used to see these guys riding around on scooters all the time. (a) I don't know how it is possible to get in a scooter accident. (b) If you do not take classes on the other side of campus, you do not need a scooter if you are an athlete. Or a bicycle. Ask Lee Humphrey.

4. Our WRs are scary young and inexperienced. Where's Carl Moore if he's behind Justin Williams? Uh-oh.

10. I get where you're going with this...but...it is completely irrelevant. And scouts that think he can't take snaps from under center will force Meyer to put him under center this year, which is not where he is most effective. NFL scouts could very well affect the Florida Gators play calling. Absurd.

12. What's more standard, the long-sleeve white t-shirt during practice or the blue pull-over jacket during games? At least he's not wearing a visor (Spurrier) or enormous elephant hat (Saban).

15. Considering our starting secondary has returned, Will Hill is still going to be the stud/beast/anomaly on special teams...but Dee Finley is disgustingly awesome.

17. Good news. Need him.

18. Bad news. Need him.

20. I heard some team (maybe Texas Tech?) had their WRs in sneakers catching passes from a tennis ball machine all summer. (This is legal as the NCAA rule says they basically can't be practicing and playing football.) Maybe Meyer should consider this. Dropped passes are unacceptable.

Is it that bad Adam? Scary? Or did the presence of Percy, Murph, Hernandez, and receiving backs limit the touches of all the returning guys making them look more inexperienced than they actually are. I understand that these guys have produced minimally but isn't that more the result of waiting behind the aforementioned studs ? In 08 we saw guys step up at every spot on the field and I don't see why the 09 receivers should be any different. Isn't that the Meyer culture?

I feel pretty good going in with Thompson, Hernandez,Nelson, Cooper, Williams(?), Hammond Jr., Moore, and Debose. And there is receiving production from the RB's as well. I'm confident that a couple of these guys will quickly emerge as go-to guys. The first four games will give the Gators plenty of time to sort this out.
Debose could be making significant contributions by the time we travel to Baton Rouge on Oct. 10. The season doesn't even heat up until game five. (yes I'm looking past UT)

I'm optimistic that our receivers will perform well, since D's must keep an eye on our QB, TE, and RB's. The WR's will definitely see plenty of opportunity to perform.

Scary is often used as an adjective and synonym for "very." Such as, "Man, LeBron James is scary good." That is how I was using it. But to give credence to your point, yes, the presence of those guys makes them look more inexperienced than they actually are. Nevertheless, my second sentence in that point still holds...where is Carl Moore if he's behind Justin Williams?


Carl Moore was also working with the first team.

-jo-

Well there ya go. How did he look?

HA !!

( I feel better)

How did he look? He caught the ball at times. He dropped the ball at times. First day of practice stuff.

-jo-

::rolling my eyes::

I don't know if Jo posted a blog abou this or not, but what do you guys think about the rumor that UF AD has been trying to back out of the last two games of the current UF-UM series?

1) There's only 1 game left in the series. 2) He flatly denied it.

There is only one game remaining on the current contract and you are a UM wank.

Nice try.

Pound dirt .....Ricky

Yes, there is only one game scheduled for 2013 but from what I'm hearing UF is trying to pull out of it.

Of course that's what you're hearing because UM fans are trying to perpetrate (like they always do) that schools are scared of them. Foley was asked DIRECTLY about it and DENIED it. In fact, it was in the Herald.

Barry Jackson: [UM proposed playing UF in football twice every four years so every player can experience one home game against the Gators. ''Currently, there are no plans to play Miami past the 2013 game,'' UF athletic director Jeremy Foley wrote in an e-mail. ''This may change, but if it did, it would not be on a schedule of twice every four years.'' Foley denied broadcast speculation that UF wants to escape the 2013 game at Dolphin Stadium.]

Broadcast speculation (I believe) = 560 WQAM

Where are you "hearing" this Gator Rod? It's absurd.

Play UM anytime/anywhere...It was always great to bookend the season with UM to start and FSU to close...IT should be that way!

Debose should fill a big role for us as a freshman and Hunter will pick up for the loss of Brown/Davis.

Fingers crossed on Moody - heard one issue was that perhaps is not the sharpest knife in the drawer and you have to think the offense is fairly difficult ...

Damn you guys are effin pissy.

To Adam S.:
"1) There's only 1 game left in the series."
My mistake. I could have sworn there was a 2014 date as well.
"2) He flatly denied it."
That doesn't mean it didn't happen. Not trying to stir the crap and you can see from my orginal post that I said "rumor", but if it in fact happened, I'm under the assumption that a lot of you would be upset, right?


To 13-1 Blah Blah:
"There is only one game remaining on the current contract and you are a UM wank.

Nice try.

Pound dirt .....Ricky"

UM wank? Pound dirt? WTF are you saying?
One or two games left doesn't change my question you "UF wank" (although I'm still not sure what that is, I'm guessing some form of Englishman). I'll ask you the same as I asked Adam, as civil as I can possibly put it. I think it's good for UM and UF to play each other on an atleast once-every-couple-of-years basis. If Foley does (not saying that its true) find a way to get out of it, you guys would be upset as well, correct?

What do I think about the rumor? I think...well...its a rumor. A rumor on some sports talk station hosted by a UM wank trying to fill airtime.

Why would Foley try to "find a way to get out of it?" If you are a UF fan you instantly find that laughable since he is as good as it gets. The game draws big interest which means money. He has serious interest in cash.

Do you think in some UM wankian way that Uf will be "scared" to play the U in 2013?

Your post is nothing more than wild speculation based on a "rumor" you heard in wankville. Why bother unless you have some UM agenda?

I’m not pissy in the least...I like to talk about factual things and not contrived rumors from the UM fan base. ESPECIALLY when they are denied and termed to be false. How can you take "Foley denied broadcast speculation" and say "that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen." He said that the school is NOT trying to do something. NOT that they aren’t trying to do something *anymore.*

One thing about Foley that I’ve learned through previously working in the UAA and listening to him give interviews over the course of five-six years is that he is *honest and trustworthy to a fault.*

Of course I would be upset if we didn’t play UM in 2013, it wouldn’t make a bit of sense to drop that game. Which is why I believe it is a completely contrived rumor that has no basis in reality.

To go back to your part to 13-1...I agree that it is good for UM to play UF on some type of schedule...once every four years works for me. BUT, you need to understand that for UF, we already have an out-of-conference scheduled opponent every year. UM doesn’t. It would be our second regularly scheduled OOC in-state game – combine that with a schedule against the best competition in the country (SEC) and it makes ZERO sense for us to schedule UM on a regular basis from a competition standpoint.

UM needs to play us right now much more than we need to play them.

To me, it has nothing to do with current schedules or the conference you belong to. There is nothing more important and exciting about in-state games against FL. ST and Miami.

And actually, we do play an out of conference opponent every year (Fl ST.) but so does Miami. They have played TX A&M the last two years, OU for two years, and they have a series with OH St. scheduled after that. They just dropped FIU, added S.FL and are still looking to play other power house schools. This will do nothing but elevate their program.

There is nothing better than going to a Gator vs Miami game, just hope it continues every two years or so.

13-1, I asked a legitimate question and you turn it into a piss fest like the bufoon that you must be. Don't worry, I won't be feeding the animals (aka you) anymore.

Adam:

I can understand where you're coming from as far as the competitive standpoint. I just don't share that opinion. I always want to see UM play the the tough in-state rivals. I think they've done a good job of it though scheduling UF, UCF and USF, to go along with the annual FSU game, all in the past few years. And I always want to see UM scheduling the OOC national powers, like their doing now with Ohio State, Oklahoma, Florida etc. I don't get any enjoyment watching my team get an easy win against Troy or Charlston Southern, never did. I can't understand how you would.

Adam, one more thing:

When you said:
"How can you take "Foley denied broadcast speculation" and say "that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen." He said that the school is NOT trying to do something. NOT that they aren’t trying to do something *anymore.*

You misunderstood my response. The intention of my response was to make the point that just because Foley denied it, doesn't mean it didn't happen. If you believe in Foley's impeccible honesty, shoot, you are much more trusting with anyone in sports or business than I have ever been. Even the most honest person in sports has to lie on occassion for the best interest of his organization. But, if you believe that Foley is the second coming of George Washington, hey I'll leave it at that. In my opinion, that's not it though. You are just being too stubborn to admit that this is even a remote possibility. Never say never because you might look exceeding stupid if never becomes a reality.

Ricky, you're HYSTERICAL. First of all, we play FSU out of conference every year. You really think UCF and USF are "tough in-state rivals?" You MUST be kidding me. And don't even give me the "USF was No. 2 in the country two years ago..." that was an inflated ranking early in the season.

You obviously don't "understand where I'm coming from" one bit. If you did, you'd realize that we play one of the toughest schedules in the country year-in and year-out. We don't need to schedule tough OOC games because we play in the TOUGHEST CONFERENCE in the nation. If we played Duke, Wake Forrest, Virginia, Maryland and Georgia Tech, I'd agree and say we need to get a hard OOC schedule. But we don't. We play LSU, UT, Alabama, Georgia, and a rotation of other teams (like Auburn, Arkansas and Ole Miss) who can be very good any given year.

You are right in one respect...UM scheduling tough OOC games is GREAT for them. And that is because they HAVE TO...we don't, no one in the SEC does. The only school that does do it occasionally is UT. You want us to go out of our way to schedule you so you have ONE tough OOC game each year...you'd be our SECOND tough OOC game each year along with FSU.

As far as the last part, with not understanding how I could get enjoyment out of wins against Troy and CSU...how do you get enjoyment for wins against Florida A&M, FIU and UCF? Because they're in-state? Again, you must be kidding me.

I understood your response perfectly...and I will repeat...Foley is honest to a fault. I'm not saying he doesn't lie, but just as I choose to believe he was telling the truth, you choose to believe he is lying. Doesn't make one of us right and the other wrong. I think you're believing a rumor (unsubstantiated without ANY proof WHATSOEVER) while I'm believing a person that has a history of being trustworthy and honest.

I won't look the least bit stupid if it becomes a reality. Do you know why? Because that is four years from now. A million things can change between now and then. We could have a scheduling conflict two years from now and have to shake things up and move the game to 2014, who the heck knows. YOU are the one looking pretty damn stupid trying to perpetuate that you understand college football and the UF schedule when you OBVIOUSLY have no clue whatsoever. Go back to your Canes blog.

LMAO Adam. You always sum these wankers up nicely.

That these guys try to cast Foley in a negative light is a joke. Any university in the entire country would snap this guy up in a second if he was available. He has the finest AD resume there is. But the UM honk wants to portray him as "scared." UM fans cling to that laughable "scared" nonsense because it is all they have.

No "Ricky" U didn't ask a "legitimate" question.

Go back to your Denial U blog and talk about how great you once were.


Hey Adam, I saw this posted by Robbie Andreu on Gatorsports.com. I like the sound of it.

* Carl Moore is starting to look like the explosive wide receiver everyone thought he was going to be when he signed with UF out of junior college a little more than a year ago.

Moore looks like he's in much better shape, and much quicker getting off the line of scrimmage and separating from defensive backs. He's doing everything a lot faster, a sure sign that he's feeling comfortable and confident in the offense now. He has a chance to have a breakout spring and enter the fall as one of UF's top two receivers.

Lift,

I could write the same nonsense after watching one practice but it seems ridiculous to me. They were just running through drills without pads.

-jo-

LAYING THE SMACK DOWN ON ROBBIE ANDREU'S CANDY ASS! LOL

I'm getting tired of reading other sports web sites and seeing articles about another Gator player getting arrested.

"On the same day Florida football coach Urban Meyer said there is a chance Torrey Davis could return to the team, the troubled junior defensive tackle was arrested for violation of probation".

I guess this happened yesterday?

Urban - Kick this kid off the team!

WOW ! LOL

Okay, point taken. Apparently your esteemed colleague isn't held in such high esteem around these parts. I'll heed the advice of higher powers (Matzo Ball the Cat, Goody, Adam) and take his posts with a grain of salt.

I'm hoping for huge contributions from Moore so I took the bait in an inexcusable homer fashion. I just hope this doesn't go in my file.

I wasn't hating on him. I was just saying jo laid the samck down.

Rod, Davis is already off the team.

Gator Rod,

Torrey Davis was already off the team when he was arrested. So, technically, it should read: Former Gator Torrey Davis was arrested ... for being an idiot and driving with a suspended license when he was on probation for driving with a suspended license.

-jo-

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