Florida has completed Camp Meyer, and by all accounts it has been a successful campaign.
The Gators are a veteran team, and the No. 1 goal for Camp Meyer was to emerge from it injury free. Florida had some player get dinged up, but there were no major injuries and many of the players that were held out were able to go through some mental work and some physical drills.
The second goal was to add some new wrinkles to both the offensive and defensive schemes. I think you will see some hurry-up offense, maybe some plays with Tim Tebow and John Brantley together. Defensively, I think Florida will blitz more and start as many as three safeties on the field together in their three-down package.
The final goal was to find out which freshman could help right away and develop depth for the run in the SEC. I think the first two games (Sept. 5 vs. Charleston Southern and Sept. 12 vs. Troy) will help the offensive freshmen get some looks to see how they can handle it.
Riley Cooper and David Nelson have been solid but not spectacular wide receivers at the University of Florida. Both have excelled at downfield blocking and have been key for the Gators’ rushing attack. But will one of them step up to make the big receptions to help Florida’s passing game this season? I think both guys will help Florida a lot.
First, I think the top three receivers could be Aaron Hernandez, Deonte Thompson and Brandon James. Cooper and Nelson are good straight-ahead runners and downfield receivers. The other thing you really have to like about these two guys is the fact that they have both been in the “big” game. Statistically these two seniors may improve their numbers just slightly this season, but don’t discount their value to the Gators’ offense in 2009.
This and that: Florida really has two more weeks left of pre-season practice. This week is the first week of school that ends with a controlled scrimmage for past Florida lettermen Saturday. … The following Saturday is the season opener against Charleston Southern, and you have to wonder how much work the Gators’ starters will actually get. … It looks like Dustin Doe will get a second chance and with that the depth and experience on defense grows some more. After losing his job to injury a season ago, Doe did elevate his game beginning against Georgia. … I do think Emmanuel Moody has a chance to contribute more this season. It is hard to predict the injury bug that seems to find him and he reminds me of Deshawn Wynn who is having a great camp with Green Bay. … Florida has committed fewer penalties in each of the last three seasons. In 2006 the Gators committed 116, then 107 in 2007 and last season 102. This number could drop under 100 this year because of the experience of the football team. … I am not convinced that Florida’s defensive line is one of the best all-time. I still think the front four in ’06 was better. However, this group could prove me wrong. I like the numbers and the depth. When you have a guy like Duke Lemmens on the third team that is a pretty deep front. … The number to watch when evaluating a great defensive line is yards per carry. Remember sacks and tackles for loss help your rushing defense average. In 2006 teams averaged 2.74 yards per carry versus 3.35 last year. Look for UF to “run-blitz” more in 2009. … Finally, Urban Meyer’s Spread offense has improved every season in yards per play. In 2005, the Gators averaged 5.3 yards, in 2006 6.3 yards, in 2007 7.0 yards and last season 7.1 yards per play.