Two players on opposite sides of the ball who will play a major role in the Gators fortunes this season take a moment to talk about the summer, practice, and projections. Receiver Cornelius Ingram and cornerback Markihe Anderson provide some commentary.
When Tebow first got here did you have to watch your hands (because of the velocity of the ball)?
Cornelius Ingram: “That’s actually more of last spring once he first got here and the first time throwing it. Yeah, we kind of had a lot of jammed fingers, but we got used to it and change isn’t always bad. It was something we had to get used to it and by his throwing to us it came pretty easy.”
The receivers and db’s still have some rust they have to shake off?
Cornelius Ingram: “Oh yeah I think so. Yesterday, a lot of guys came out here trying with a lot of energy. All of the wide receivers were talking amongst ourselves saying how coming out and running routes by ourselves this summer and how the first day of practice going one-on-one against the db’s was different. We know what we have to do, we did it last year and we’ll get the focus back and get it done.”
You really use your body well when you’re out there and have a defender on you. You really lean back into him and use it to your advantage very well. How have you matured over the past year and a half as a receiver?
Cornelius Ingram: “It’s big. The coaches always tell me to use it to my advantage. I think that I did it just a little bit back then, because I really wasn’t used to it. You know, I was a quarterback. I can go out on a limb and say that I didn’t use it as much as I should have. I have a totally different mindset and use my size to my advantage.”
It will be interesting to see how the potential explosiveness of this offense and game management balance each other out with ball control. So many of you guys are capable of talking it to the house at anytime?
Cornelius Ingram: “We knew coming out that the offense would pretty much lead the team and we have to take care of business and do what is necessary. It was a defensive team last year. We have no selfish guys on the offense. Defenses are going to have a hard time defending Tebow and all of our team really. There are a lot of weapons here. We also know that we’ll have to take care of them (the defense) by using the clock and the coaches have a plan for that.”
So, are there any wrinkles that might include you taking the ball and chunking it downfield?
Cornelius Ingram: “(smiles) I really can’t say for certain, but I have heard some say that there are actually some plays that call for me to do that. That’s just what they say though.”
What happened to the ankle?
Markihe Anderson: “I rolled my ankle over a little bit. I stepped on (Louis) Murphy’s ankle and we got tangled up a little bit. It will be all right.”
What was the focus of the summer for the corners?
Markihe Anderson: “We focused on speed, strength, mental toughness, and just trying to get the chemistry together. We need to come together as a team. That’s what summers about. And that’s what these two-a-days are about. We need that chemistry. There are a lot of young guys out there that are going to have to play so all want to get on the same page and come together to come out there and do it again.”
With so many young guys, you are really are establishing yourself as one of the leaders. How strange is that so early in your career?
“Markihe Anderson: (laughs) It’s weird after following behind both Reggie’s (Nelson and Lewis), the (McCollum) twins, and Tony Joiner and Kyle. I’m basically trying to help them out a little bit, because I did play some last year. Some of these guys look at me as a role model. I’ll be a role model, so that we can be on the same page. Like I said, some of these guys are going to have to play this year, so we need them ready to play and to give them everything we can so they’ll be ready for anything.”
At this stage, is it just getting as many reps as possible for you or is there still some area that you specifically need to address?
Markihe Anderson: “There are a lot of things. I never settle for just good. I really want to be great and get everything down to a science. I want to know what I’m doing and feel comfortable it. I don’t want to just get through it. Once I’m comfortable, then I can make plays. You remember, I had to make that transformation from wide receiver (in high school) to corner. I had never played corner before. I’m just trying to learn as much as I can so that I’ll be ready for whatever they throw at me.”