Gators' offseason to-do list
Published: Monday, May 12, 2008 at 9:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, May 12, 2008 at 9:09 p.m.
Come together, right now
* The Gators lacked unity and chemistry last season, which can be traced to the offseason a year ago, when UF was coming off the national championship and everyone was too giddy to detect any potential problems in those areas. Meyer stressed chemistry and unity throughout the spring, and the Gators did seem to be closer than they were last season. Now, they have to remain in that togetherness mode during the summer workouts and conditioning program. These guys are going to have to get together on their own and play pitch-and-catch and put themselves through drills. This is where that championship bond starts to take hold.
Come back, Percy (and others)
* Coming off his heel surgery in the spring, wide receiver Percy Harvin must now do everything the doctors and trainers tell him to do to get back to 100 percent in the next six or seven weeks. Harvin is such an important part of the offense, and the Gators need him back at full speed to set so many things in motion. He is one of several key injured players who must make a successful (and fairly quick) comeback. The others are offensive tackle Phil Trautwein, offensive guards James Wilson, Jim Tartt and Maurice Hurt, quarterback John Brantley, linebacker Ryan Stamper and defensive tackle Javier Estopinan.
Avoid the night life
* During the offseason last year, several players got in trouble with some rowdy and embarrassing late-night behavior. This reflects one thing — a lack of leadership. The leaders of the 2008 team, quarterback Tim Tebow and middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, need to step up and make sure their teammates stay in line. Going out is acceptable. Going out and doing something stupid is not. Of course, the Gators are off to a really embarrassing start, with safety Jamar Hornsby getting the boot last week for felony theft and fraud.
Hang on, Moody
* After a slow start, Southern Cal transfer Emmanuel Moody came on strong at tailback in the last week of the spring, then he rushed for more than 100 yards in the Orange and Blue Debut. But he wiped out all that good stuff by losing a fumble in the end zone. Meyer is adamant Moody (or any other tailback) won't see the field if there is a chance he's going to fumble. Moody has some serious talent, but to showcase it and become a major contributor in the fall, he's got to fix his problem with ball security this summer.
Keep eating, Rainey
* Redshirt freshman Chris Rainey had a breakout spring, producing big play after big play at tailback and receiver. The goal now is to put some meat (and more muscle) on his thin frame. He's been working at it and is closing in on 180 pounds. Meyer would like him to be at about 185 by the start of the season. Running backs coach Kenny Carter has said he envisions Rainey eventually being an explosive 195-pound tailback. With some size to go along with his speed and skill, Rainey has a chance to be Harvin-like this season. So, eat up, Chris.
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