Notebook: Hill leading by example
Published: Monday, March 29, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at 12:19 a.m.
As Florida quarterback John Brantley dropped back to pass during Monday's practice, it looked as if he was about to make the play of the afternoon. He had a wide receiver open down the left side of the field and once the ball came out of his hand, it appeared the junior had slipped one past the defense.
But Brantley's tight spiral never made its intended destination.
From the center of the field, junior safety Will Hill's instincts kicked in, sending his body right. Before Brantley's target could react, Hill jumped in front, intercepting the almost perfect pass.
Hill admits that a year ago, he might not have done that.
“Last year, I took a lot of plays off,” Hill said.
Hill, blessed with exceptional football talent, didn't work as hard his second year, causing his field play to suffer. Now a starter, Hill said his attitude has changed and he's put more emphasis on running to the ball.
He has to. He's considered a leader now. His role is bigger and people expect more. One of those people is co-defensive coordinator Chuck Heater, who Hill says constantly applauds his hustle, but reminds him to keep the same intensity every play, drill and practice.
Hill is making strides as a leader, too. He's taken to younger players and said with his knowledge of Florida's system, it hasn't been tough guiding them.
“Everybody looks up to me to teach them new things, new schemes,” he said. “I'm very comfortable.”
New defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has seen Hill's film and the two have talked about bad habits. Through two weeks of practice, Austin said Hill's past weaknesses have not resurface.
“He's kind of a quiet guy, but when you watch him he's doing everything 100 miles per hour and that's good to see,” Austin said.
Redshirt senior receiver Carl Moore was absent from Monday's practice. Moore participated in Saturday's scrimmage, but was seen leaving the field after practice visibly upset.
When asked if he could say why Moore missed Monday's practice, receivers coach Zach Azzanni replied, “Not right now. When I find out some more information I'll let you know.”
It was unclear if Moore's actions Saturday were related to his absence.
Receivers in the backfield
Florida's coaches worked with freshmen receivers Solomon Patton and Robert Clark out of the backfield Monday.
Both were used on sweep plays and made some flashy moves on defenders for extra yardage, especially Patton, who got the bulk of the carries.
“He's a fast guy. We have to use that speed,” Azzanni said. “We wanted to get him on the edge and see what he could do. It's a whole different deal when you're carrying that ball out there with the (defensive) speed around here and we wanted to find out if he could do that.”
Running backs coach Stan Drayton was impressed by what he saw from the freshmen.
“They showed some good sight, some good bursts, some good flashes of some good things,” Drayton said. “You never know, I may have two more running backs when it's all said and done.”
Kevin Hogan, QB, Gonzaga, D.C.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Gig Harbor, Wa.
Ryan Shazier, DE/LB, Plantation
Brandon Fulse, TE, Fort Meade
Mike Blakely, RB, Manatee
Jordan Williams, LB, Gainesville
Ryan McGriff, QB, Gainesville
Redshirt sophomore cornerback Adrian Bushell returned to practice, but didn't participate. Austin said Bushell is “way behind” and “doesn't fit in anywhere” right now. He is serving a mandatory two days without pads for undisclosed off-the-field reasons. ... Senior running back Emmanuel Moody missed his second straight practice, but Drayton said Moody's ankle is fine and anticipates Moody returning this spring. “When the doctors say he's good to go, he'll be out there,” Drayton said.