It was a typical sweltering early August afternoon today on the University of Florida campus. The humidity was apparently set on drip, as many of those who watched the Gators practice, did so while wiping beads of sweat from their brow.
Freshman Practice Session
Two things immediately jump out while watching the freshmen- speed and athleticism. Most all of them have it. Those that don’t, bench press Volkswagons for kicks.
Percy Harvin and Jarred Fayson bring the speed and athleticism to the wide receiving crew. Lots of it. They are both so fluid running the route, going for the ball, and running after the catch. They haven’t been knocked off their route at the snap by a defensive back, but something tells me that these two won’t struggle with that very long. They both are pretty savvy and possess good strength.
Riley Cooper and Jamar Hornsby do not have the speed and moves of Harvin and Fayson, but they certainly look as though they’ll make Billy Gonzales day when they step up to throw a block for a teammate. I was impressed with Cooper’s hands as he hauled in a couple of receptions during drills. He also worked pretty hard on the outside to slip away from Rickerson, but only managed to get by him once.
I thought that St. Augustine cornerback Jacques Rickerson looked the best at the much needed position today. Rickerson did a nice job working the right corner position.
Brandon Spikes was the one defensive guy who despite wearing only a helmet and shorts looked as though he will definitely play this season. Bantering about who might play and who is likely to get the redshirt is fine for a general discussion, but you always err on the side of full gear. Spikes looked like he was disappointed that there were none around.
Many of the freshmen were out at the field tonight watching the veterans go through the workouts. Each of them were carrying a large container of Gatorade.
Andre Caldwell displayed some outstanding moves in working the defenders to get separation. There is no question that he has regained the athleticism and speed that many of us had hoped after breaking his leg in the Tennessee game last season.
Speaking of receivers- Can anyone cover Dallas Baker? He made a few outstanding moves, one where he turned Reggie Lewis around before he went to the ground as Baker hauled in the pass, running away during man-on-man drills. I didn’t see much after that, but those were enough for me.
Meyer should blast him on every play in which he fails to distance himself from defenders. Baker is so good that must have screwed up to not get separation. Obviously, I say that rather tongue-in-cheek, but my goodness does he have game.
CI. He looked pretty good out there. He is quite an imposing figure hauling in passes before defensive backs who are at least five inches shorter and weigh thirty pounds less. Ingram has a lot of room for improvement too.
Obviously seeing Steven Harris in workout gear was comforting. It doesn’t appear that Coach Urban Meyer has a definitive timetable when everything will be worked out for Harris’ return. So for now, he is day-to-day.
It wasn’t the best of evenings for Reggie Lewis. The senior struggled to stay on his feet, not to mention in sound coverage early during seven-on-seven drills. I’m not certain if there was a problem with his cleats or just getting re-acclimated with the turf. He slipped on consecutive opportunities. Lewis looked better as the practice session went along.
Playing opposite was Reggie Nelson, the playmaker. Nelson made a beautiful diving slap of the ball as it was about to land in the hands of David Nelson. Reggie had slipped as David made a turn and found himself a step behind. However, he quickly made up the ground and slapped the ball away to the appreciative hollers from his defensive teammates and the crowd.