Practice was a little quicker today as the Gators quit early to get in front of a television and watch the round ballers play Butler in the Sweet 16. Another day in shorts and no pads, it is still a little difficult to get anything out of any tiny bit of contact like the running game. Still, there were some things that stood out on the day in a positive and a negative light.
Two receivers stood out today and a third had another really good day for his second in a row. Cornelius Ingram, who also did a quick video interview that will play this weekend, continues to be a tough draw for any defender. The quick guys can’t handle him physically and the big ones cannot keep up.
Jarred Fayson was great today as well. I truly believe he is a guy that needs to get the ball four or five times a game and is sturdy enough to do more than that if one of the other mainstays in the offense has to miss some time. He is smooth, quick, and really getting better as a receiver after playing quarterback in high school.
David Nelson has looked really solid for two days straight, especially in 7 on 7 passing drills. Nelson is a big target and easy for the quarterbacks to see coming across the middle. He did just that a few times and caught the ball well in traffic now for the second straight day. We will have to see what he plays like when the pads go on tomorrow.
I think Justin Williams has been solid too, catching most everything thrown his way and also a lot of times in traffic. He did have one lapse today which we will get to in a minute.
Joe Haden continues to impress and had my selection for Play of the Day breaking an intended pass to Bubba Caldwell. Haden really does have all the tools to play the cornerback position and once he really knows what he is doing, looks to be an excellent player.
The running back rotation had Brandon James going first today. I started to write earlier today that James is my dark-horse pick to be the starter on game one. I just believe the kid is a ball player and can do some special things on the field.
Cam Newton got a little better today throwing some nice throws. He was a little apprehensive on day one, when making the throws.
Javier Estopinan was seen running through some drills today. I would assume he is not ready for contact tomorrow, but it is a good sign he was running with the first group a bit.
What I Didn’t Like…
Newton really struggles with pressure. A guy his size is going to have to learn to stand in there under pressure and throw the ball with a man in his face sometimes. He is tall enough to throw over them most of the time.
Justin Williams was singled out for not knowing his assignment twice in a row during 7 on 7 drills. That is to be expected with a guy that was running scout team all of last year, but it stood out like a sore thumb today.
Tim Tebow and Cam Newton threw into coverage again today, too many times for the staff to be happy.
The cornerback position is getting scarier with Wondy Pierre-Louis in attendance but not practicing with a pulled hamstring. Markihe Anderson, a starter for now, missed half the practice with some kind of back problem. Ahmad Black pulled up a little lame early in practice but continued on. Jacques Rickerson also missed action today after still recovering from arthroscopic surgery. That leaves the new positional transplants in Haden and Markus Manson as the lone scholarship healthy players by the end of practice.
You can’t really get anything out of the line play and the running game until the pads come on tomorrow, but the staff knows what they see on film. Some missed assignments on day one’s practice caused junior Kestahn Moore to fall behind sophomore Brandon James, at least for the second practice.
Maurice Hurt was getting a lot of reps at center, but did not snap the ball well at all today. Many times the ball rolled to the quarterback in the shotgun position. Player of the Day…
Joe Haden has been competing as well as anyone and gets the nod today. He also had the play of the day mentioned above.
Notables In Attendance…
Gator players of the recent past, Todd McCullough and Eric Wilbur were on hand today watching the practice intently. Gator signees Chris Rainey was eyeballing his competition in the fall as was signee John Brantley who has been to both practices so far.
Look for a fun report and video tomorrow when the Gators put on pads for the first time.