The pads came on Saturday morning and the Gator defense showed immediate signs of growth.
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SDE: Justin Trattou, Carlos Dunlap, Jaye Howard
DT: Troy Epps, Torrey Davis, Terron Sanders
DT: Lawrence Marsh, John Brown
WDE: Jermaine Cunningham, Duke Lemmens, Earl Okine
What I liked: Dan McCarney is pushing the tempo of the defensive line. There were multiple times where the defense got in position before the snap, and he blew his whistle and made them do it again with better intensity. He was on Jermaine Cunningham during a few of the drills, telling him “Don’t just be a regular guy out here. Be special.” Another positive was not only that Torrey Davis was practicing, but that he was going at a high level. He got his hands up on many plays and deflected a pass in the goal line set. During the goal line scrimmage at the end of practice, Davis blew into the backfield and caused a Kestahn Moore fumble, which was recovered by Justin Trattou. Trattou is one of those guys who always find himself around the ball. He recovered two fumbles on the day, and continued to move inside and outside on the defensive line. Troy Epps is has shown steady improvement in his three days of practice. He broke through the defensive line and blew up the running back almost four yards behind the original line of scrimmage. Coach Meyer was very enthused by this play, came over shook his hand and sent Epps to the sideline almost as if he had his work in for the day. Meyer then yelled, “You can’t teach that!” Terron Sanders also made a big play where he burst through the line, picked Moody up and threw him to the ground for a loss.
What I didn’t like: There seemed to be confusion between some guys as to when they should be in or out. This was the first day with pads on, so that is understandable though. Lawrence Marsh jumped offside on a 4th and goal situation from the one yard line. McCarney yanked him out of the group and put John Brown in the game. Carlos Dunlap and Jaye Howard got yelled at by McCarney for not squaring their body up to the offensive lineman, and Dunlap crossed his feet over a few times. McCarney was all over him because he wasn’t in an athletic position and said, ‘You can’t play college football like that!’
WLB- Dustin Doe, Brandon Hicks,
MLB- Brandon Spikes/Lorenzo Edwards, Brendan Beal
SLB- AJ Jones, Ryan Stamper, John Jones
What I liked: Lorenzo Edwards took snaps almost the entire goal line drills with the first team, and Beal was with second team. Spikes didn’t participate in most of these drills, and I’m not sure why. Edwards was outstanding in his time. He’s very athletic for his size and makes his presence felt on running backs. Spikes participated in drills and showed how much he loves contact. During a running play, after the running back had already gone by, Spikes ran directly at Marcus Gilbert and hit him just for good measure. Dustin Doe made a few nice plays in both the run and passing game. All the linebackers are looking improved in pass coverage. The goal line set had linebackers getting through the offensive line on blitzes pretty easily, and rushed Cam Newton’s throw multiple times.
What I didn’t like: Beal looked pretty average to me today. Meyer yelled at him during the Oklahoma drills, saying “Where’s Beal? If you say you want to play, get in there!” The proceeding drill had him getting flattened. It’s not a cause for concern because he shows good instincts, but right now he looks a bit overmatched.
CB- Joe Haden, Markihe Anderson, Janoris Jenkins
CB- Wondy Pierre-Louis, Jacques Rickerson, Moses Jenkins, Jeremy Brown
S- Major Wright, Jamar Hornsby, Bryan Thomas, Ahmad Black
S- Dorian Munroe, John Curtis, Jerimy Finch
What I liked: The biggest improvement to me was Wondy Pierre-Louis. He gets fired up by competition and had the task of covering Louis Murphy for most of the goal line drills. A fade to Murphy was swatted away by him with ease. The two later got into a jawing match as Wondy told Murphy he wasn’t getting the ball because Pierre-Louis wouldn’t let him get open. Janoris Jenkins actually took a few reps with the second team today. During one-on-ones, he jumped an out route by Deonte Thompson and picked off Brantley’s pass. The other newcomer at cornerback was Jeremy Brown, who had a fine day himself. In seven-on-sevens, Brown made an outstanding read on the quarterback to have a diving interception go through his hands. Today was another good day for Joe Haden. The fade route was thrown twice by the offense, and broken up first by Wondy, and second a fade to Carl Moore was almost picked by Jacques Rickerson. The secondary showed heart in the goal line sets. Dorian Munroe made a nice tackle in the goal line set after Cornelius Ingram caught the ball at the four yard line to keep him from scoring on fourth down. The biggest hit of the day came from Ahmad Black. The offense used play action to move Cameron Newton out to his right so he could throw for the touchdown. Black read the play perfectly, flew in, hit Newton under the helmet, and threw him down. The defense was sent into a frenzy after this. Jerimy Finch also participated in the 11-on-11 drills, and even contributed with a pass breakup.
What I didn’t like: This is a tough one for me to pick because the coverage overall was impressive today. Moses Jenkins looked to me like he needs to gain some strength. Seven-on-seven drills had him covering Mon Williams for one play, and allowed Mon to catch the ball and break his tackle.
Player of the day:
There are multiple candidates for this one, but I’m going with Justin Trattou. He made two key fumble recoveries for the defense and is proving to be a key component for the defense. Meyer said he will play inside, but I think he’ll play a Ray McDonald role in the fall, playing defensive tackle and end.