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UF's receivers were inconsistent last season. Will the new guys be much better? Spring is a proving ground.

GAINESVILLE — We're talking receivers today. Florida has plenty this spring but they're all either unproven or unknown. To make the spring even more interesting, UF's receivers' coach is new. What's more, the quarterback is a first-year starter.

In other words, there's a lot for Urban Meyer to be worried about.

Zach Azzanni is the new receivers' coach. He comes from one of Michigan's directional schools (it's not important) and is replacing turncoat Billy Gonzales, who is now coaching receivers at Louisiana State. Azzanni seems like a pretty sharp guy. I interviewed him on Monday and this was the most interesting thing he said:

"Coach Gonzales did a hell of a job and he was a great coach but it’s always good to give a fresh start to some people sometimes and some of these guys needed a fresh start and they were all excited about the change. Every coach has their own style and philosophy and I’ve brought some things maybe they haven’t heard before and maybe a different way of teaching the same thing Coach Gonzales did — just kind of shock them a little bit, just kind of put the shockers in their heart and got them going again. And that’s a good thing.”

Note to self: Remind Azzanni to avoid heart metaphors.

ANYWAY, Azzanni has his work cut out for him this season. Florida might have a lot of receivers but that doesn't necessarily mean Florida has a lot of good receivers just yet. I haven't seen any potential All-SEC pass catchers this spring (despite what I wrote on Saturday), so that means Azzanni is going to need to develop some talent between now and the fall so Florida can take full advantage of quarterback John Brantley's arm.

"Everyone keeps reminding me of that," Azzanni said. "I’m excited about it, to be quite honest with you. I walked in here with a bunch of guys that want to learn and not a bunch of guys that have the answers and have played four years of football and just go no matter what. These guys are all kind of looking at me bright eyed because none of them had an extensive amount of playing time except Deonte [Thompson]. So, it’s kind of neat that I get to mold them in the way of my style and my philosophy."

Last season, Florida's receivers pretty much lacked style. Last season, it seemed like all of Florida's receivers suffered through a bad cause of the yips at some point. You know what the yips are, right? The yips are an internal rash that forms on the brains of athletes and flares up, impairing hand-eye coordination, when touchdowns are imminent. Deonte Thompson, Riley Cooper and Brandon James know all about the yips. They passed it around the locker room last season like swine flu. Another form of the yips brain rash affects men when they attempt to communicate with women. Alcohol cures this form of the yips.

ANYWAY, Florida's receivers were so yippy last season that the leading receiver was actually a tight end. Aaron Hernandez led the team with 68 receptions for 850 yards. That's an interesting offense, isn't it? The quarterback led the team in carries and the tight end led the team in receptions. ANYWAY, the Gators' three leading receivers from 2009 — Hernandez, Cooper and Nelson — are all gone. Thompson was Tebow's fourth option. Thompson wasn't happy with his role last season, but he did it to himself after dropping about 390 touchdown passes in the first two games. The memory of all those drops has Urban Meyer concerned this spring. Meyer has only spoken to reporters one time so far this spring but here's one of the most important things he said: "[Thompson] has got to be the man."

Of course, the best way for a receiver to cure himself of brain rash is to first come to grips ... with his yips. Bada-Bing!

According to Azzanni, Thompson seems to have done just that.

"I can’t say enough about the way he has come out with his hunger,” Azzanni said. “He knows he hasn’t lived up to the billing. He knows that. He’s humble. He’s letting his guard down. He says, ‘Coach, coach me. I want to be the best receiver here and I want to catch all those balls I may not have caught in the fall and I want to block better and I want to run better routes. What do I need to do?'"

Catch touchdowns, Deonte. Just catch touchdowns.

One reporter asked Thompson on Monday if he thought his career at UF has been a disappointment so far.

“I wouldn’t say a disappointment, I’d just say a lot of things didn’t go as planned,” Thompson said. “But things are going to get better here in the future.”

If Thompson is an unproven receiver, then the rest of UF's receivers are simply unknown. Who will step up and win playing time? That's the big question this spring. Things are so unsettled that running back Chris Rainey has been moved to slot receiver, the position vacated by Brandon James. Ideally, the slot-receiver position would be reserved for Andre Debose, but the status of his recovering hamstring is still uncertain. Making matters worse, Rainey recently pulled his hamstring and isn't practicing.

Beyond Thompson, Florida's returning receivers combined to catch 24 passes last season: Omarius Hines (14), Justin Williams (six) and Frankie Hammond Jr. (four).

Hines is currently competing with Thompson for the primary wide-receiver position, the one vacated by Cooper. A rising redshirt sophomore, Hines showed glimpses of potential last season but didn't play much. Hammond Jr., another rising redshirt sophomore, has been waiting patiently for this spring as well.

The other receiver position, the one Nelson manned in 2009, seems to be reserved for fifth-year senior Carl Moore, but there are no guarantees that Moore will be healthy in the fall. He suffered a back injury last year and missed the entire season. He's competing in contact drills this spring but hasn't returned to his old form, which was a still a work in progress when he injured his back.

"We’re being smart with him," Azzanni said. "He hasn’t played football in a year. He’s a little rusty because he hasn’t been out here for a year, but we’re knocking some of the rust off and he’s out here every day full go."

Moore is currently behind redshirt freshman Stephen Alli, the 6-5 receiver from Canada. Alli seems to have plenty of potential, but he's young. Still, he has been one of the most impressive receivers so far this spring.

With Debose still recovering from his complicated surgery (hamstring tendon), the slot-receiver position is a major cause for concern. Florida didn't get much out of James last season and the offense struggled because of it. Rainey is an option but for now true freshmen Solomon Patton and Robert Clark are receiving most of the practice time at the position.

Nothing is certain (other than Thompson "has to be the man"), so here's a guess at the depth chart for receivers if everyone is healthy by the preseason:

'Z' receiver (deep threat)
Deonte Thompson
Omarius Hines
Frankie Hammond Jr.
Quinton Dunbar enrollees this summer

'Y' receiver (possession receiver)
Carl Moore
Stephen Alli
T.J. Lawrence
Justin Williams
Adrian Coxson enrollees this summer

Slot receiver (Percy position)
Andre Debose
Chris Rainey
Solomon Patton
Robert Clark
Chris Dunkley enrollees this summer

-jo-

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What do you expect when you have a fullback playing QB. It's either run it with teabag or dump it off to the TE.
Teabags in QB school now, learning how to throw & Hernandez is in TE school, learning how to block.
Thanks urbin, for padding your resumes and not coachin us up.
BTW, teabag won the heisman for his running & winning, not for his passing. (ala nebraska's QB crouch)

Great job envious cane goober. U woke up thinking about the Gators. And a quick check of the last blog shows you went to bed thinking about the Gators.

The Gators own your every waking thought.

2009 floriduh gators are the greatest football team to ever play the game....NOT. It took 4 years for meyer to figure out that tebow had an awkward delivery and now he's getting it fixed at the QB repair shop. first off, it should have been a personal initiative for tebow to relive this problem, not the coaching staff. Oh yeah, before i forget.... Pete Carroll is a way better head coach than urban meyer.
here's why
1. pro offense
2. knows how to handle success
3. knows how to handle the media.
4. knows how to handle his team's off-field issues

whereas Urban weiner myer is a fool
Here's why

1. irrelevant offense
2. fakes heart attacks cause he lost a game
3. he come's off as piece of shyt to the public.
4. and you know where i am going with this one

I wouldn’t say a disappointment, I’d just say a lot of things didn’t go as planned,” Thompson said.


Do you think? He plays receiver wich means you have to throw the ball to him so he can catch it. No wonder there were rumors for two years about him transfering to UM. Sad thing is he would struggle to make the two deep for the Canes.

"1. irrelevant offense "

The winningest class in the history of the SEC and two NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS are irrelevant??? Ur a clown.

You're clownliness aside, you're projecting your own teams irrelevancy on others again LOSER.

Gonzales got the hell out of that dump and bolted to LSU because of the circus that has pitched its tent in gainesville. Can you imagine what was going through his head? Urban cant put his shoes on the right foot. They cant get A D coordinator to hang around for more than A month and Addazio should be coaching at the swim complex as much as he likes the dive.

Last week you imbeciles were on Nick Saban's jock, now you're on Pete Carroll's. Demonstrating yet again that you don't have a shred of dignity.

Talk about your lame duck coach and all his ACC and NC titles clownazz.

Daily, you insult you're OWN dwindling fanbase when U attempt to insult anothers. That Wisconsin tailback is STILL running.

Now THAT'S FUNNY!!! Cane Capper has to go to USC now to punt an insult...that's desperation. Have a nice day Gator biatch.

Good morning bloodied canefan. Nice to see you woke up thinking about the Gators, just like EVERY DAY.

The Gators OWN your every waking thought.

Jo -

Here's the skinny on Thompson...Canes pulled their scholly offer to him late because the dude couldn't catch the ball. When he was told he's be buried on our depth chart because of this lack of skills he knew he wasn't wanted. Then came his big decision...become a Turd or accept that scholly at Illinois St., where he knew he would be "the man". Get ready for a chorus of boos from the cheese grits eating faithful crowding the Swamp when his fumble fingers are on full display against the mighty Redhawks.

irrvelant offense to the nfl, fool. the goal is to reach the NFl and having played in a mickey mouse offense for four years will definitely guarantee a struggle. thats why its a irrelevant just like the gators are irrelevant in south florida.

In other words, there's a lot for Urban Meyer to be worried about.

Shhhhh jo, Not so loud. We need to handle Urban with kid gloves in his "Fragile" state. We need you to be positive. First year starter at QB? No problem. Unproven recievers? We will manage. New D-coordinator? Defense is overrated. Remember jo tread lightly. Gator nation is counting on you.


Nice article, Jo. Hate the yips.

One thing: CFB stats (http://www.cfbstats.com/2009/team/235/receiving/index.html) says that had more yards than Nelson, and a greater yards per catch than anyone except Cooper. I would say he was at least the #3 guy last year, not the "fourth option".

"the goal is to reach the NFl"

No it's to win at the collegiate level, get an education for life after the NFL then go to the NFL. Your given a free education to play athletics.

But that makes sense, the Canes don't care about college only the NFL hence there dreadful program. I can see randy sellin that. Come and play here, you won't win championships but you will go to the NFL. I got it - that's why you all don't go to games.


http://hurricanesports.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/121009aaa.html

We can tell by your screen name you are ignorant jigga, but just in case there were any questions read the press release above.

Good for the U. You put players in the NFL and they graduate...they just don't win in your conference and the NCs are a thing of the past. So I see why no one goes to the games - its just a stepping stone to their next career.

Even with all those nfl players, randy and um still can't get a top 15 class. Here is randy's recruiting pitch:

-no stadium but we borrow one only an hour away from campus.

-no fans but with less noise you'll be able to concentrate more during games.

-our school can't pay for big time coaches but we have great second tier coaches.

-we play in a basketball conference so we will play football powerhouses duke, wake forest, maryland, north carolina state, virginia so you will be exposed to the highest level of competition.

Its no wonder Randy's recruiting classes are getting worse every year.

Soon FIU will have better classes. In 5 years FIU will be the premier program in Miami.

Posted by: Jigga what? | March 23, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Well they could always go to UF and become inmate #00000033 at the Alachua county jail.

Posted by: Donna Shalala | March 23, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Blah, Blah, Blah. You need some new material Dooosh bag. Your like A rerun of seinfeld. Might of been funny the first couple of times but now? Not so much. It's A little sad really.

jo, I would not call billy A turn coat. Clairvoyant is more like it. Why would he make A lateral move to A rival program? because he saw where the gator program is headed and it's going to be uuuugly.

Great blog jo, I think you are as nonbiased as you can be without getting the wrath of Urban dropped on you. Tread lightly my friend. We all know what happend to Shane now dont we.

Blah, Blah, Blah. You need some new material Dooosh bag. Your like A rerun of seinfeld. Might of been funny the first couple of times but now? Not so much. It's A little sad really.


What's sad is cane fans saying "next year will be the year". Your reality is that Miami sucks and will continue to suck for years to come. Randy will be fired in the next couple of years and you can't pay for a big time coach so you will bring in another "project coach". You just can't compete with the big boys any more. Gators have facilities, big fan base and money.You just don't. So start looking for a new hobby or something to do on Saturdays during football season cause you won't like what you see from the candycanes.

I remember when cane fans would walk around with their gold teeth and fade haircuts pounding their chest all the time. Now they just shake their heads and say "we are too young" or "next year". Sad sad state of affairs cane morons.

Read more: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/gator_clause/2010/03/florida-gators-receivers-were-inconsistent-last-season-will-the-new-guys-be-much-better-spring-is-a-.html#ixzz0j0pmJmNK

Miami has never paid for A big time coach doooosh bag. Every coach Miami has hired since Snelly was here went on to the pros except for choker. Your point holds no water. Once again A rerun. The []_[] makes coaches, coaches dont make the []_[].

Gators have facilities, big fan base and money.

And they still have not accomplished in football what the little private school to the south has. BAWHAHAHAHAHA!

Gators may have the facilities but we got the TimeOut Lounge, SpongeBob Bistro, and VIP at the Lower and Upper Extremities Club on SouthBeach.

Time out!

"Clearly Thompson's words are open for interpretation. Personally, I think he was trying to convey that Brantley is more of a traditional pocket-passing QB, and was not trying to insult Tebow"

Who called the time out?

RE: Jo -

Here's the skinny on Thompson...Canes pulled their scholly offer to him late because the dude couldn't catch the ball. When he was told he's be buried on our depth chart because of this lack of skills he knew he wasn't wanted. Then came his big decision...become a Turd or accept that scholly at Illinois St., where he knew he would be "the man". Get ready for a chorus of boos from the cheese grits eating faithful crowding the Swamp when his fumble fingers are on full display against the mighty Redhawks.

Posted by: we own the Turds | March 23, 2010 at 08:48 AM

People, just imagine what someone with no point of reference would think (let's say an alien from another planet or maybe a Croat) if they read the posts on this blog and came across this person's posted-by name, "We own the Turds."
Alien Question 1: Does this person actually own human waste?
Question 2: Owning something implies value. Can I sell my deuce to the humans?
Question 3: How much does it cost per pound? Per ounce? Per gram?
Question 3: What's the resale value?
Question 4: Oh, I know, this is one of those strange examples of human sexual fetishism, the kind I learned about in post-graduated alien school. Example No. 3,403 why humans, in their fragile state of early evolutionary consciousness, still have more in common with their Earth animals than sentient life forms.
Question 5: Why make this fecal-ownership declaration in a public forum? Is it an example of humanoid religion?

Seriously, people. Get more creative with your posts and your handles. This is getting embarrassing. "We own the Turds"??? Seriously!?! If you're going to bring it, then bring it strong. Calling someone out for eating cheese grits is no insult at all. It's just a nod to enlightened culinary improvisation.

-jo-

The turd he is referencing has a Howard Hughes mustache and is still learning to communicate

What if someone called you A cheese grit eating turd? Would that be an insult?

Not only do I coach the offense but I have to tie Urbans shoes.

The Canes campus facility is fine, The Saints even used it before SB and X players use it in offseason. I live in Gainesville and have been to the Swamp it holds alot of people.But ALOT of seats suck, whatever Joe Robbie is called now is a nicer stadium just not owned by Miami just like the last stadium??? We won 5 titles playing at.

One man's turd is another man's 2 star recruit heading to Coral Gables stolen from Portland State in the class of Da U is back in 2010, er 2011, make that 2012, We are young.

Posted by: gators lose 4 this year | March 23, 2010 at 12:51 PM

gator fans dont want to hear that. This is all they have to hold on to. Facilitys suck, cant afford A coach, they dont have their own stadium, blah blah blah. There is A reason all those Cane pro bowlers come back in the off season to train at green tree. DJ Willams passed on A 100,000 dollar bonus to train at UM this year. Not that the gators had any pro bowlers but how many of their players come back to train in Gainesville?

Posted by: Bennie Blades | March 23, 2010 at 12:57 PM

You got that right Benny!

Posted by: Bennie Blades | March 23, 2010 at 12:57 PM

Heck, I even had to take A track scolly to the []_[].

Who wants to train at the swamp,
Valid points, you had NFL Probowlers, Green tree facilities, Pro Bowl Game, Super Bowl activities, South Beach, the girls, da U family, copies of 30 on 30, and you still didnt get Seantrel? He really isn't the cane type but he did win some type of recruit dream vacation courtesy of Da U then?

Posted by: Bryant "what time is ProBowl practice" McKinnie | March 23, 2010 at 01:11 PM


You were doing pretty good up untill the Seantrel part. Daddy wants him at USC. But if he wanted to come on A track scholly we would take him.

Yip

YIP, YIP, YIP.

Slayin fools up in this biatch today.

I can't wait for Aaron to catch a pitch between the tackles in the NFL =)

oh wait, they don't run those gimmicks in the NFL =(

Yip

Although I don't think that's what he meant but if Deonte can back up his talk so be it. Give me 1000 yards and 10 TDs!

Deonte is gonna have a breakout year. He was sensational in the Sugar Bowl and he has some chemistry with John Brantley. Carl Moore needs to stay healthy and Andre Debose needs to GET healthy. Frankie and TJ need to step it up because the new guys look promising...Hines is a beast...

cane trolls have NO LIFE

U've lost yoUr mind SARASOTA SCuMBAG...completely.

Posted by: Sergeant Shultz...I know nothing! | March 23, 2010 at 02:34

Playing fakey again I see, and i'm not Sarasota, not that it matters who you think I am.

Us cane trolls are simply talking smack to get a rise out you fools. Except for JO. I think the receivers will flourish with Brantley at qb. The only problem is that the majority of them are young and unproven.

yip yip yip yip.

gators come back to the swamp for good weed like Jo-Kim cant get laid even with NBA money.

HEY----leave the weed comments out. You won't even make it past the 1st round... U can't fix stupid

Maybe I didn't have a real QB bc I don't play in real offense.

10 TDs? No prob. 3 on the citadel, 3 on charleston southern and 3 on north Florida prep Christian high school.

Wait, is that 10? I haven't been to class in 2 years.

Oh no.... 2 more cheap TDs vs FSU and Bama when we're being blown out in the 4th.

There 10 TDs

They never had good WR like the U. I support only one and that was Percy because he is from VA where Im from. Tha Beach & Naughty by Norfolk baby.

Its All About The U.

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