Strong happy with progress on defense.


Published: Monday, April 17, 2006 at 8:13 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, April 17, 2006 at 8:13 p.m.

There has been constant talk from Florida coaches about the injuries plaguing the football team this spring.

As of Monday’s practice about 12 members of the team are seeing little or no action in spring drills, and many of the injured players are on the defensive side of the ball.

Despite having a thinned lineup due to injuries, defensive coordinator Charlie Strong contends he is happy with the progress of his defense this spring.

“We had a number of injuries, but they are doing pretty good right now,” Strong said.

The team has winners and losers on scrimmage days, and it was the defense that came out on top during Saturday’s scrimmage.

The defense has held its own all spring despite missing key players like Marcus Thomas, Ray McDonald, Jermaine McCollum and Jon Demps.

After Monday’s practice, Strong said the injuries to starters have given the second and third-string players valuable playing time.

This playing time, Strong said, is key in learning Florida’s defensive.

“What you like to do is get your young players and let them get the technique and fundamentals, and that’s what spring is all about,” Strong said."

He said he knows players like Marcus Thomas and Ray McDonald can play, but he really wants his younger players to step up and get the experience.

The Gators will have their last practice in full pads on Wednesday, will practice in shorts on Friday, and will conclude spring practice with the Orange and Blue scrimmage on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

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