The pads came on and the adrenaline was extremely high for Saturday’s practice with the Florida Gators. The hitting started early with the Bull in the ring and kept on throughout, intensifying in a goal line and end zone scrimmage at the end of practice that you will have close visual with our practice highlights. Here is what I saw from the offense, with a few other nuggets thrown in.
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After the first bit of individual drills, the opposing lines of scrimmage met in a half line drill. I would love to show some of the footage, but due to limitations we are forced to stick with, I want to show the scrimmage stuff. But…
I really liked what the interior of the offensive line was able to do. If they were forced backwards at all in this drill I never saw it. The ball was snapped right on a yard line and I never saw the defense cross that line unless the lineman was in pursuit of someone else and didn’t block the defender. Both Pounceys and Jim Tartt were not to be denied. The outside guys weren’t far off and even the tight ends were doing great, but some of the defensive ends and linebackers were able to make a push at times. Overall, the offensive line won this drill with authority.
When the team went to the inside run drill it was much of the same. The offense pushed off the line, however, the defense was able to allow too many break aways, and so most of the runs were very short. This is what you should get from a good tackling fast defense,. The speed should keep the backs from breaking too many. Still, Chris Rainey, Kestahn Moore, Mon Williams, , Brandon James, and Emmanuel Moody all had at least one break away during the long drill. We will talk more specifics on players later in the report.
I still don’t know what to call this one drill that some people mistakenly call the Oklahoma drill. Mainly it is the Bull in the Ring, except there is no ring, so I will call it the “Bull in the Open Ring.” This was the first sign that the pads were really on outside of the ring they had at the start of practice. There were a ton of exceptional battles and I will rattle off the ones I saw in rapid fire just like we were getting them live.
Louis Murphy over Major Wright big time. (Meyer lit into Major the way he was handles so easily, so they lined up again),Jason Watkins over Cunningham, Aaron Hernandez planted Dustin Doe…Doe came right back and put Hernandez on his butt, Mon Williams won a close one over Brendan Beal, Maurkice Pouncey beat Lawrence Marsh rather handily, Deonte beat Wondy, Hornsby beat Holliday, Nelson beat Rickerson, Carl Johnson and Carlos Dunlap jaw after tying, Ingram over Edwards, Brandon James over Pratt, Mike Pouncey over Troy Epps, Jaye Howard over Jim Barrie, Markihe Anderson over Butch Rowley, Bryan Thomas over Paul Wilson. John Curtis over Carl Moore, Moses Jenkins over Frazier, Newell over Duke Lemmens, Corey Hobbs over John Brown, James Smith over Dustin Doe, Lorenzo Edwards over Aaron Hernandez, Deonte Thompson over Janoris Jenkins, Carl Moore over Jeremy Brown (Moore’s helmet was ripped off as he lands on top of Brown and Meyer runs over, shakes Moore’s hand, and says “Welcome to Florida.” The crowd loved it.), Okine over Fairbanks, Mon Williams over Brendan Beal
The teams broke up into skill positions and lines and we got to see the skill guys go at it in the passing seven on seven drills. I would say in general the defense is really starting to play a better zone and making it harder for the quarterbacks to hit those creases. Again, this is a sign of a fast defense that knows what it is doing and can make proper reads.
Then it was the goal line and end zone scrimmage that we were anticipating for two days. The guys really got after it and the offense really started off hot. They actually missed the first points of the scrimmage when Percy Harvin dropped a touchdown pass, but then rallied for four straight scores. Here is how it played out. Play by play compliments of Franz Beard, some commentary by me.
GOAL LINE FULL CONTACT SCRIMMAGE PLAY-BY-PLAY
1-10@12: Kestahn Moore for six yards on a hard run.
2-4@6: Kestahn Moore stopped, no gain
3-4@6: Tim Tebow pass incomplete (Percy Harvin drop right ion the middle of the end zone)
* * *
1-10@12: Emmanuel Moody off right side for one yard
2-9@11: Moody around right end broke several tackles and pushed his way for 11 yards, TOUCHDOWN
* * *
1-10@12: Tebow pass to Aaron Hernandez on left side, 12 yards, TOUCHDOWN. The play saw the hardest hit of the day when Major wright clobbered Hernandez at the goal line. Hernandez was a bit woozy but his offensive teammates gang tackled him anyway.
* * *
1-10@12: Mon Williams off right side for two yards
2-8@10: Cam Newton pass to David Nelson, 10 yards, TOUCHDOWN. Nelson looked pretty quick down the right side, it was a very good sign for him I believe.
* * *
1-10@12: Tebow pass incomplete; Wondy Pierre-Louis on the breakup for Louis Murphy.
2-10@12: Brandon James no gain (Dustin Doe, John Brown on the stop)
3-10@12: Tebow pass incomplete (John Brown collapsed the pocket and Tebow had to hurry it)
* * *
1-10@12: Kestahn Moore -2 yards, Troy Epps was lightning in the backfield and Moore had no chance. Epps then gets chastised by Meyer for something he did (not sure) and gets pulled out in favor of John Brown.
2-12@14: Newton pass incomplete
3-12@14: Newton to Percy Harvin, left corner of the end zone, 14 yards, TOUCHDOWN. Percy had to slow down and caught it back pedaling in the corner..
* * *
1-10@12: Chris Rainey for two yards up the middle
2-8@10: 5-yard penalty false start Lawrence Marsh commits the penalty and gets pulled in favor of Torrey Davis.
2-13@15: Newton pass incomplete (Rickerson breakup)
3-13@15: Newton pass incomplete
* * *
1-10@12: Tebow to Louis Murphy, 12 yards, TOUCHDOWN. Murphy worked hard and fought hard for this one.
* * *
1-10@12: Rainey turns eight-yard loss into one-yard loss. He had to do some dancing but broke free.
2-10@13: Rainey for seven off right tackle. He hit the hole hard and got a lot of praise from coaches and teammates for the run.
3-4@6: Moody for no gain; face mask penalty, half the distance
1-3@3: Mon Williams one yard off left tackle
2-1@2: Mon Williams fumble, Jermaine Cunningham recovers
* * *
1-6@6: Brandon James four yards behind Jim Tartt
2-2@2: Brandon James for two yards behind Jim Tartt; TOUCHDOWN
* * *
1-6@6: Moody takes option pitch from Newton, six yards, TOUCHDOWN. Newton ran this one beautifully as he strung the linebackers out very wide and waited till the very last second to make the pitch. Moody did the rest and once he smelled the end zone, it was over.
* * *
1-6@6: James for four yards behind Wilks de-cleater
2-2@2: Offside defense, one yard penalty
2-1@1: Kestahn Moore fumble on slobber knocking hit by Brandon Spikes, Justin Trattou recovers
* * *
1-6@6: Newton sacked by Ahmad Black, minus eight yards, HIT OF THE DAY. Black came from seemingly nowhere and was a flash. He caught the unsuspecting Newton off guard. Newton has a 70-pound advantage but he went down fast and the defensive guys ran to Black in amazement and joy.
2-14@14: Newton to Carl Moore, right corner of the end zone, 14 yards, TOUCHDOWN. Moore used his body and hands to make space for the catch.
* * *
1-6@6: Moore takes pitch from Tebow, five yards (Joe Haden tackle)
2-1@1: Tebow fumbles snap
* * *
1-6@6: Mon Williams left side, two yards
2-4@6: Mon Williams right side, two yards
FOURTH DOWN AND GOAL
4-8@8: Tebow pass incomplete
4-6@6: Tebow pass to Cornelius Ingram, five yards
4-5@5: Newton pass to Cornelius Ingram, five yards, TOUCHDOWN
4-4@4: Newton pass incomplete (A.J. Jones quarterback pressure)
4-1@1: Tebow fumbles snap (Trattou recovers)
4-8@8: Newton pass incomplete (Finch with hit on Nelson for breakup). This is the first time I have noticed Finch in offense vs. defense action.
4-6@6: Newton scrambles, six yards, TOUCHDOWN
4-5@5: Newton pass incomplete
4-4@4: Newton scrambles, four yards, TOUCHDOWN
4-1@1: Moody off right side, one yard, TOUCHDOWN
4-1@1: Newton fumbles snap
4-2@2: James off right side, two yards, TOUCHDOWN
4-2@2: Moore off left side, no gain (Lawrence Marsh, Dustin Doe, Black on tackle)
Tebow, Newton, Brantley
What I Liked: Newton’s option decision making is quite good. He also had a few times in the running drills where he was successful at keeping the ball when the ends crash hard on the running backs. This will make him a very effective runner. He is bit by bit learning to put touch on the ball and made some excellent throws down by the end zone that his receivers could catch.
Brantley had some great throws in the seven on seven drills. Hitting some right in the middle of the field at medium distance that were well placed throws. He is getting command of the offense.
What I Didn’t Like: The snap exchange when under center, especially with Tebow was really bad today. This was an issue at the goal line in the scrimmage portion of practice. John Brantley should have been intercepted again today when Jeremy Brown broke on an intermediate pass.
Moore, James, Williams, Moody, Rainey
Fullback: Wilks, Hernandez
What I Liked: There was some extremely good hard running from all the backs including the “little guys” Rainey and James. Every day Moody makes a play that makes people go wow. Today it was a short pass in the flat, he spun around and made Moses Jenkins look helpless in trying to defender him. Steve Wilks was the starter at fullback and had some blocks that would really make Billy Latsko proud. It looks as if Wilks has found a home and his crash mentality on the football field should suit him well at fullback.
What I Didn’t Like: Mainly fumbles by the backs. Both Kestahn Moore and Mon Williams had fumbles. That cannot happen, even though the hits were big time.
Receivers / Tight Ends
Starters: Harvin, Thompson, Ingram, Murphy
Backups: Carl Moore, Hernandez, Justin Williams, Paul Wilson, Nelson, Casey
What I Liked: Carl Moore made a great catch in seven on seven drills on the near sideline. He had the nice touchdown in the scrimmage portion too. He may already be the best at using his body to shield defenders from the ball. Thompson had another wow catch and run in seven on seven from a John Brantley throw in the middle of the field. He took a mid range post like pattern and caught it in the middle of the field and then turned it upfield in stride to score a long one.
What I Didn’t Like: A couple of drops, but nothing on the scale of yesterday. No Riley Cooper again (with the baseball team in Oxford). A few miscommunication with the quarterbacks, but all in all a great day.
Starters: LT: Johnson, LG Tartt, C Maurkice Pouncey, RG Mike Pouncey, RT Watkins
Backups: RT Gilbert, C Hobbs, LG Barrie
What I Liked: They showed their brute earlier in practice, basically dominating the defensive line. They even started out the scrimmage time dominating at the line of scrimmage. The interior line right now is just a bunch of brute force that should be able to blow anyone off the ball. The exterior linemen have agility and length and should do well.
What I Disliked: Honestly the defense caught up as the scrimmage played on. I think the numbers on defense wore down the offense a bit. The offense started the scrimmage ahead by four points and it came down to one play at the end to decide it all, and the defensive line started to get penetration late, especially on the second group. Righ now, depth is a concern, but when Trautwein and Hurt are back, plus hopefully Wilson, the depth on the line looks much better.
Odds and Ends:
I have seen some remarks as to James Wilson and how he appears to not be liking the situation out there. Honestly I think people are looking for the signs and when you aren’t participating, you aren’t going to look as involved, and somewhat disinterested. But, James Wilson was really getting into it when a couple of the offensive linemen won their battles in the one on one Bull in the Open Ring drill. I also watched him as he was playing out his assignments off to the side on plays that were being called at practice. He would get in his stance and then run the play for his position. I think LG from what I noticed. That doesn’t look like someone that is not thinking about participating in this offense down the road.
“That’s not good enough to beat LSU” — Dan McCarney to his linemen oafter a not so great effort during a drill.
“Point Georgia” — Urban Meyer. When he thought the effort was poor of both participants in the Bull in the Open Ring drill.
Player of the Day Offense: The Law Firm of Pouncey, Pouncey, and Tartt. They controlled the inside of the line all day long in my opinion.