Defense wins Saturday’s scrimmage

Published: Saturday, April 15, 2006 at 2:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 15, 2006 at 2:27 p.m.

It wasn’t a dominating performance by the defense, but in the end, it was the defense that came out on top of Saturday’s scrimmage.

Highlighting the defensive effort was linebacker Brandon Siler and his big hit on running back DeShawn Wynn.

“Big players make big plays, and that’s what I tried to do,” Siler said. “I definitely wasn’t in the zone (today), but I finished great.”

Despite Saturday’s defensive effort, there is still concern about the lack of depth at the linebacker position.

“It’s tough man,” Siler said. “We need some more linebackers.”

Head coach Urban Meyer said after the scrimmage that there are definitely some major concerns about the depth at linebacker, but he said Siler is becoming that special player people have long been expecting to see.

“I think he’s good, really good,” Meyer said. “I wont put the great label on him yet, but I think he’s getting to the point where he is getting really good.”

Even though the defense came out on top Saturday, Meyer said he was happy with what he has been seeing from his offense.

“It was a great work day today,” Meyer said. “I think it was one of our better scrimmages since I’ve been here.”

A main key to that has been the recent development by the two quarterbacks, who are looking more and more comfortable with every practice.

Freshman Tim Tebow is starting to throw the ball better, and senior Chris Leak is playing with confidence.

Leak is doing more at the line of scrimmage now than he ever has at Florida.

Under former coach Ron Zook there was no checking of plays by Leak, and he was never asked to read defenses and make play changes.

Meyer wants to change that and wants Leak to be able to read defenses and change plays at the line.

This has been Leak’s biggest challenge this spring and it is something the senior quarterback still needs to improve on.

“Leak was good today,” Meyer said. “We are trying to get him comfortable so he can change plays.”

Meyer said a major question answered in Saturday’s scrimmage was whether senior Billy Latsko, who has been recently moved to tailback, could handle running the ball.

In the scrimmage he proved hard for the defense to bring down, and Meyer said he hopes Latsko’s toughness can rub off on some of Florida’s other running backs.

Meyer called Latsko a nice addition to a group of backs that has improved a great deal since last year, even though a true starter has yet to emerge.

With just a week of spring practice left, look for Latsko to see more and more time with the ball in his hands.

“I’m very pleased with today,” Meyer said. “If you hit me on Wednesday, I would be disappointed in some areas.

“I’m going into that locker room feeling really good about what I saw today and that’s a bunch of guys that like being out here and playing and caring about each other and that’s really important right now.”

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